Turkey says it has acquired a 1,500-year-old Bible in which Jesus Christ is believed to have foretold the advent of Prophet Mohammed (Peace be upon Him), press reports said on Monday.
Pope Benedict XVI has reportedly requested to see the book, which has been hidden in Turkey for the last 12 years before it was revealed this week.
The Book, worth around $28 million, is said to contain Jesus’ prediction of the Prophet’s coming but was suppressed by the Christian Church for years for its strong resemblance to the Islamic view of Jesus, Turkish culture and tourism minister Ertugrul Gunay was quoted on Monday as saying.
“In line with Islamic belief, the Gospel treats Jesus as a human being and not a God. It rejects the ideas of the Holy Trinity and the Crucifixion and reveals that Jesus predicted the coming of the Prophet Mohammed,” Gunay told the British Daily Mail newspaper.
“In one version of the gospel, he is said to have told a priest: ‘How shall the Messiah be called? Mohammed is his blessed name…..and in another, Jesus denied being the Messiah, claiming that he or she would be Ishmaelite, the term used for an Arab,” he added.
According to the report, carried by Gulf newspapers and the Saudi Alarabiya news network, Muslims believe the text, which many say is the Gospel of Barnabas, is an addition to the original gospels of Mark, Matthew, Luke and John. St. Barnabas is traditionally identified as the founder of the Cypriot Church, an early Christian later named an apostle.
Gunay said the Vatican has officially requested to see the book, which Turkey had discovered during a police anti-smuggling operation in 2000.
The gang was convicted of smuggling various items seized during the operation, including the Bible, and all the artifacts were kept in a safe at an Ankara courthouse. It remained closely guarded by authorities before being handed over to the Ankara Ethnography Museum where it will soon be put on show.