Why Was The Letter of Barnabas Attributed to Barnabas?

QUESTION:

So why was the Letter of Barnabas thought to have been written by Barnabas?

 

BACKGROUND:

This question was asked in reference to my discussion of “Gematria” in the Letter of Barnabas. For fuller background, if you’re interested, you should refer to this post: “Another Instance of Gematria (For Members)” (the search function on the blog is very good, btw; it is in the upper right hand corner of your screen).

In that post I note that the “Letter of Barnabas” was not actually ...

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Melito and arly Christian Anti-Judaism

I AM IN THE PROCESS OF MAKING THE PENULTIMATE EDITS ON MY MY BIBLE INTRODUCTION.  TODAY I HAD TO REVIEW AN EXCURSUS ON EARLY JEWISH-CHRISTIAN RELATIONS IN WHICH I DISCUSS THE RISE OF ANTI-JUDAISM IN THE EARLY CHURCH, IN CLUDING THIS BIT ON MELITO OF SARDIS.  I THOUGHT IT MIGHT BE WORTH POSTING HERE.

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Melito was a bishop of the city of Sardis in Asia Mino in the mid to late second century.  Today he is best known for a sermon ...

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Modern Interest in the Apostolic Fathers

An interest in the “church Fathers” emerged in Western Europe among humanists of the Renaissance, many of whom saw in the golden age of patristics their own forebears — cultured scholars imbued with the classics of Western Civilization, concerned with deep religious and philosophical problems. No wonder, then, that the humanists focused their attention on the writings of the “great” Fathers of the church such as Chrysostom, Ambrose, Augustine, Jerome, the Cappadocians, and the like, while showing virtually no interest ...

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The Collection: Apostolic Fathers

About a week or so ago I talked about translating the Apostolic Fathers for the Loeb Classical Library. Some people have asked me to say more about the Apostolic Fathers. It may be useful to devote a couple of posts to this collection: when were these authors first gathered together? Who decides which books should be included in the corpus? On what grounds? Etc. For much of this I draw from the Introduction in my edition.

The term “apostolic father” first ...

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Lost Gospels That Are Still Lost 3: The Greater Questions of Mary

I have been discussing some of the Gospels that we know about because they are mentioned, or even quoted, by church fathers, but that no longer survive. Another, particularly intriguing, Gospel like this – one that I desperately wish we had, for reasons that will soon become clear — is known as “The Greater Questions of Mary” (i.e., of Mary Magdalene). My following comments on it are more or less lifted from my Introduction in the recent Apocryphal Gospels volume.

One ...

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Lost Gospels That Are Still Lost 1

QUESTION:

Are there any lost gospels mentioned by early Christian authors that have not been discovered yet?

RESPONSE:

Ah, this is a great question. The answer is definitely yes. But I don’t think I know all of them, and it would be worth while compiling a list. Maybe someone has compiled one already. In fact, someone probably has! I just don’t recall ever seeing one.

But there are indeed Gospels mentioned by Christian authors that we no longer have. I think ...

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A Stranger Problem with Lake’s Translation

Other problems with the edition of the Apostolic Fathers done by Kirsopp Lake relate to the period when he produced it. This is scarcely an avoidable problem, of course; but the reality is that his time is not ours. Lake was born in 1872 and was given, then, a solid Victorian education in the classics in Oxford. And there are passages in his translation where his cultural milieu shines through, none more clearly than in Barnabas 10, where Barnabas is ...

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Problems with Lake’s Translation of the Apostolic Fathers

Some people have asked if I could give some examples of the problems with the translations of the Apostolic Fathers in the original edition done by Kirsopp Lake. It’s a fair enough question – although I do want to stress for the 29th time that I think on the whole he made a very fine translation indeed. But there are some serious and widely recognized problems with it.

As one might expect, the translations are dated in places. No longer do ...

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Lake’s Apostolic Fathers

I mentioned that the first edition of the Loeb Apostolic Fathers  was done by Kirsopp Lake and that I think he was a great scholar and that it was a great edition.  I’ve always looked up to him, as a brilliant scholar of an earlier generation with very many interests closely parallel to mine.   Our backgrounds could not be more different.  He grew up in England and went to Oxford; I grew up in Kansas and went ...

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The Art of Translation

When I agreed to produce a new translation of the Apostolic Fathers for the Loeb Classical Library, my first thought was: How hard can it be?  These were texts that I had read and studied from the time I was in my PhD program in the early 1980s.  I translated them regularly with my graduate students.  I taught seminars on them.   It can’t be that tough, can it?

Oh boy was I wrong.   If you’re not accustomed ...

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