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Acts of Barnabas

BARNABAS, ACTS OF. The earliest post-canonical tradition, in the Pseudo-Clementines, links Barnabas with Alexandria (Homilies) or Rome (Recognitions). Later there were two cycles of tradition, one linking him with Milan, the other with Cyprus. It is the latter which appears in the Acts of Barnabas, prob. composed in Cyprus not earlier than the 5th cent. The book claims to be written by John Mark (converted by Paul, Barnabas and Silas, and baptized in Iconium!), and is clearly based on the canonical Acts. It recounts the travels of Barnabas with Paul, their quarrel over Mark, and Barnabas’ later travels and martyrdom in Cyprus, after which Mark went to Alexandria. More sober and less extravagant than other apocryphal acts, it is essentially an imaginative expansion of the canonical book.

Bibliography

Text in Lipsius-Bonnet, Acta apostolorum apocrypha II. 2. 292ff; tr. in Ante-Nicene Christian Library XVI (1870), 293ff.; Lipsius, Die apokryphen Apostelgeschichten II. 2. 270 ff.