The Gospel of Barnabas as a counter-history in the power relations of Morisco Spain

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http://urn.fi/URN:NBN:fi:hulib-201506161481
Title: The Gospel of Barnabas as a counter-history in the power relations of Morisco Spain
Author: Kärkkäinen, Jarkko-Pekka
Other contributor: Helsingin yliopisto, Teologinen tiedekunta
University of Helsinki, Faculty of Theology
Helsingfors universitet, Teologiska fakulteten
Publisher: Helsingfors universitet
Date: 2014
Language: eng
URI: http://urn.fi/URN:NBN:fi:hulib-201506161481
http://hdl.handle.net/10138/155414
Thesis level: master's thesis
Discipline: The Religious Roots of Europe
The Religious Roots of Europe
The Religious Roots of Europe
Abstract: In my thesis I examined a pseudepigraphal gospel called the Gospel of Barnabas (GOB). This so called gospel has been an important part of the Muslim polemics against Christianity since the beginning of the 20th century. Many Muslim scholars claim that it is the only true Gospel written by Jesus’ close disciple and apostle Barnabas. However, the majority of the Western scholars claim that it is really a medieval Islamic writing. My approach to the study of the GOB was quite theoretical; I used two different theories through which I tried to get new information on the GOB. The first theory is the counter-history theory developed by Amos Funkenstein and David Biale. Through this theory I examined the GOB itself and tried to analyse if it can be seen as a counter-history. With this theory I answered to the research question “what kind of text is the GOB?” The other theory is the power relations theory by James C. Scott. Through this theory I examined the historical situation of Moriscos in Spain and tried to see if it is reasonable to locate the origins of the GOB there. With power relations theory my aim was to answer to the research question “where and why was the GOB written?” Through the counter-history theory I found out that the author of the GOB has used mainly Christian sources to produce a different depiction of Jesus’ life. With the thematic analysis I discovered that the GOB redacts many important Christian dogmas with Islamic ideas and so produces an Islamic counter-history of the narratives of the canonical gospels. Hence, as an answer to the research question of what kind of text the GOB is, I would say that the GOB is an (polemical?) Islamic counter-history of the Christian idea of Jesus. Through the power relations theory I found out that the power relations between dominant Christians and subordinate Moriscos was a very fruitful context for a writing such as the GOB to emerge. The GOB can be seen as a disguised intellectual resistance, where the message and the messenger are hidden. It was probably written to influence the Christian majority. To the research question of where and why the GOB was written, I answer that it was probably written in Morisco Spain as an intellectual resistance.
Subject: Gospel of Barnabas
counter-history
power relations
Morisco
lead books


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