A VACATION THATíS OUT OF THE ORDINARY
Barnabas, born Joseph, was an Early Christian, one of the earliest Christian disciples in Jerusalem. According to Acts 4:36 Barnabas was a Cypriot Jew. Named an apostle in Acts 14:14, he and Saint Paul undertook missionary journeys together and defended Gentile converts against a faction promoting Gentile circumcision (see also Judaizers). They gained many converts in Antioch (c 43-44), traveled together making more converts (c 45-47), and participated in the Council of Jerusalem (c 50). Barnabas and Paul successfully evangelized among the "God-fearing" gentiles who attended synagogues in various Hellenized cities of Anatolia (modern day Turkey).
Barnabas' story appears in the Acts of the Apostles, and Paul mentions him in some of his epistles. Tertullian named him as the author of the Epistle to the Hebrews, but this and other attributions are conjecture. Clement of Alexandria ascribed an early Christian epistle to Barnabas (Epistle of Barnabas), but that is highly improbable.
Although the date, place, and circumstances of his death are, as yet, historically unverifiable, Christian tradition holds that Barnabas was martyred at Salamis, Cyprus, in 61 CE. He is traditionally identified as the founder of the Cypriot Church. The feast day of St Barnabas is celebrated on June 11.
Some traditions hold that Aristobulus of Britannia, one of the Seventy Disciples, was the brother of Barnabas.
Barnabas appears mainly in Acts, a Christian history of the early Christian church. He also appears in several of Paul's epistles.
Barnabas is one of the first teachers of the church at Antioch (Acts 13:1). Barnabas was a Levite. He was a native of Cyprus, where he possessed land (Acts 4:36, 37), which he sold, giving the proceeds to the church in Jerusalem. When Saint Paul returned to Jerusalem after his conversion, Barnabas took him and introduced him to the apostles (9:27). Easton, in his Bible Dictionary, supposes that they had been fellow students in the school of Rabbi Gamaliel.
The prosperity of the church at Antioch led the apostles and brethren at Jerusalem to send Barnabas there to superintend the movement. He found the work so extensive and weighty that he went to Tarsus in search of Paul, "an admirable colleague", to assist him. Paul returned with him to Antioch and labored with him for a whole year (Acts 11:25, 26). At the end of this period, the two were sent up to Jerusalem (AD 44) with the contributions the church at Antioch had made for the poorer members of the Jerusalem church.
Shortly after they returned, bringing John Mark with them, they were appointed as missionaries to Asia Minor, and in this capacity visited Cyprus and some of the principal cities of Pamphylia, Pisidia, and Lycaonia (Acts 13:14). With the conversion of Sergius Paulus, Paul begins to gain prominence over Barnabas from the point where the name "Paul," his Roman name, is substituted for "Saul" (13:9); instead of "Barnabas and Saul" as heretofore (11:30; 12:25; 13:2, 7) we now read "Paul and Barnabas" (13:43, 46, 50; 14:20; 15:2, 22, 35); only in 14:14 and 15:12, 25 does Barnabas again occupy the first place, in the first passage with recollection of 14:12, in the last two, because Barnabas stood in closer relation to the Jerusalem church than Paul. St. Paul appears as the preaching missionary (13:16; 14:8-9, 19-20), whence the Lystrans regarded him as Hermes, St. Barnabas as Zeus (14:12). Returning from this first missionary journey to Antioch, they were again sent up to Jerusalem to consult with the church there regarding the relation of Gentiles to the church (Acts 15:2; Galatians 2:1). According to Gal. 2:9-10, Barnabas was included with Paul in the agreement made between them, on the one hand, and James, Peter, and John, on the other, that the two former should in the future preach to the pagans, not forgetting the poor at Jerusalem. This matter having been settled, they returned again to Antioch, bringing the agreement of the council that Gentiles were to be admitted into the church.
It is quite likely, however, that the epistle of Galatians was written prior to the Jerusalem council, and that it refers to a meeting between Paul, Barnabas, and Peter, James, and John that happened earlier. Much of the scholarship of the 1800s assumes that Galatia was a province to the north of the first missionary journey churches started through Paul and Barnabas' ministry as described in Acts 13-14. But archeology and recent scholarship accepts the fact that the province of Galatia included many of the first missionary journey churches. It would have been very strange indeed for Paul to have omitted the fact that the apostles and elders of the Jerusalem church had not laid circumcision as a requirement upon the Gentiles considering the topic of the epistle after it became a controversy in Galatia. It is more likely that Paul the epistle was written some time before the Jerusalem council, and that teachers came from Jerusalem to Antioch teaching the need for it after Paul wrote his epistle to the Galatianurches from the first missionary journey, addressing this issue.
After they had returned to Antioch from the Jerusalem council and after spending some time there (15:35), Paul asked Barnabas to accompany him on another journey (15:36). Barnabas wished to take John Mark along, but Paul did not, as he had left them on the former journey (15:37-38). The dispute ended by Paul and Barnabas taking separate routes. Paul took Silas as his companion, and journeyed through Syria and Cilicia; while Barnabas took John Mark to visit Cyprus (15:36-41). According to Hippolytus of Rome, John Mark is not Mark the Cousin of Barnabas, and Barnabas did not dispute with Paul because of personal favor to a blood relative, but due to his character as his nickname Barnabas ("Son of Encouragement") indicates.
Barnabas is not mentioned again by Luke in the Acts of the Apostles. However, in Gal. 2:13 a little more is learned about him, that he followed Peter's example of not eating with Gentiles; and from 1 Corinthians 9:6 it may be gathered that he continued to labor as missionary. It is believed that his argument with Paul was resolved.
The earliest confirmed site of human activity on Cyprus is Aetokremnos, situated on the south coast, indicating that hunter-gatherers were active on the island from around 10,000 BCE, with settled village communities dating from 8200 BC. The arrival of the first humans correlates with the extinction of the dwarf hippos and dwarf elephants. Water wells discovered by archaeologists in western Cyprus are believed to be among the oldest in the world, dated at 9,000 to 10,500 years old.
Remains of an 8-month-old cat were discovered buried with its human owner at a separate Neolithic site in Cyprus. The grave is estimated to be 9,500 years old, predating ancient Egyptian civilization and pushing back the earliest known feline-human association significantly. The remarkably well-preserved Neolithic village of Khirokitia is a UNESCO World Heritage Site dating to approximately 6800 BCE.
The island was part of the Hittite empire during the late Bronze Age until the arrival of two waves of Greek settlement. The first wave consisted of Mycenaean Greek traders who started visiting Cyprus around 1400 BCE. A major wave of Greek settlement is believed to have taken place following the Bronze Age collapse of Mycenaean Greece in the period 1100Ė1050 BCE, with the island's predominantly Greek character dating from this period. Cyprus occupies an important role in Greek mythology being the birthplace of Aphrodite and Adonis, and home to King Cinyras, Teucer and Pygmalion. Beginning in the 8th century BCE Phoenician colonies were founded on the south coast of Cyprus, near present day Larnaca and Salamis.
Cyprus was ruled by Assyria for a century starting in 708 BCE, before a brief spell under Egyptian rule and eventually Persian rule in 545 BCE. The Cypriots, led by Onesilus, king of Salamis, joined their fellow Greeks in the Ionian cities during the unsuccessful Ionian Revolt in 499 BCE against the Achaemenid Empire. The revolt was suppressed, but Cyprus managed to maintain a high degree of autonomy and remained oriented towards the Greek world.
The island was brought under permanent Greek rule by Alexander the Great and the Ptolemies of Egypt following his death. Full Hellenization took place during the Ptolemaic period, which ended when Cyprus was annexed by the Roman Republic in 58 BCE.