Turkey: Vatican asks to examine ancient bible, media

It may contain pro-Islamic apocryphal gospel of Barnabas

23 February, 17:59

St. Peter's Basilica in Vatican City St. Peter's Basilica in Vatican City

 (ANSAmed) - ANKARA - The website of Turkish newspaper Zaman, which quotes the daily Bugun, reports that the Vatican's request regards a 1500-year-old bible that was discovered by Turkish police during an anti-smuggling operation in 2000 and handed over to the Ankara Ethnography Museum.
   The bible is reportedly written in Aramaic, with the Syriac alphabet on leather sheets and is said to be worth the equivalent of 17 million euros (even a single Xerox copy is estimated at 1.3 to 1.7 million).
   Another Turkish newspaper, Star, claims that ''it may be a copy of the much-debated Gospel of Barnabas, which Muslims claim is an original gospel that was later suppressed. The oldest existent copies of this gospel date back to the 16th century and are written in Italian and Spanish."
   The Gospel of Barnabas, the website of the Islamic newspaper Zaman points out, contradicts the canonical New Testament, ''but has strong parallels with the Islamic view of Jesus. Much of its content and themes parallel Islamic ideas and it includes a prediction by Jesus of the Prophet Muhammad coming to earth."
Aramaic, the website of newspaper Hurriyet explains, is the language Jesus is thought to have spoken. The only people who still speak the language live in a village near Damascus (Wikipedia indicates several villages in Syria).
   Turkey's Culture and Tourism Minister Ertugrul Gunay has told journalists that the Court of Ankara has sent the 1500-year-old bible to the Ministry, ''probably written in Aramaic, a language that is similar to the one spoken by Jesus,'' reports Turkish press agency Anadolu, adding that the Minister has announced that this bible needs to be repaired and that it will be showcased afterwards. (ANSAmed).

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