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The So-Called Letter of Barnabas

By James T. Majewski ( bio - articles - email ) | Jul 22, 2023 | In Catholic Culture Audiobooks (Podcast)

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“The helpers of our faith are fear and patience; our allies are long-suffering and self-control.

The so-called Letter of Barnabas is neither a letter nor by St. Barnabas. Written by an anonymous author sometime between the years 70 and 150 AD, it is a work of allegorical scriptural interpretation chiefly notable for its early date. Having been composed well before collection of the New Testament into a canon, the Letter of Barnabas attempts to illustrate the Old Testament’s fulfillment in Christ and to warn the early Christians against accepting it in a strictly literal sense. Relying on his own imagination and best lights, the author succeeds to a greater and lesser extent throughout, sometimes reading an unhistorical meaning into the sacred texts. The letter ends with an exposition of the “Two Ways” similar to that found in the Didache.

Links

Translation courtesy of Catholic University of America Press: https://verbum.com/product/120401/the-apostolic-fathers

Alternate translation: https://www.catholicculture.org/culture/library/view.cfm?id=3840

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Theme music: 2 Part Invention, composed by Mark Christopher Brandt, performed by Thomas Mirus. ©️2019 Heart of the Lion Publishing Co./BMI. All rights reserved.

James T. Majewski is Director of Customer Relations for CatholicCulture.org, the “voice” of Catholic Culture Audiobooks, and co-host of Criteria: The Catholic Film Podcast. Based in New York City, he holds both a BA in Philosophy and an MFA in Acting. See full bio.

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