I was reading today on ABC about an Iranian movie that is the answer to Mel Gibson’s Passion. It is called “The Messiah” and tells the Muslim story of Christ. Jesus is only a prophet and is not killed by the Romans on a cross but escapes to heaven and Judas is killed in his place. By the time you reach page three of the article it has devolved into the usual conspiracy theories; the filmmaker states, “If you listen to what Jesus said, Jesus talked about the Prophet Mohammad, many, many times. And it was eliminated in the Gospels and the Bibles that [made it through] history.” This ‘fact’ is based on the Gospel of Barnabas which is a very late (sixteenth century) document. Although Muslims often present it as evidence for their view of Christ and Jesus’ supposed foretelling of the coming of Muhammad it also contains material that both Christians and Muslims would consider heretical. It is unfortunate that the filmmaker believes this movie will create dialogue between Christians and Muslims. Hopefully what it will do is demonstrate the difference between adherents of the two religions in how they deal with blasphemous movies. There is much to be learned in that.
22/2/2008 Update. I was reading Ricoblog today and noticed that he also mentions the ABC news article. He provides a link to an article from Vox Evangelica by F. P. Cotterell on the Gospel of Barnabas. He provides more detailed information on why this document provides nothing of the evidence Muslims seek from it. The article was published in 1977 so obviously Muslims have been beating this dead horse for a long time.