Second Gospel of the Infancy of Jesus Christ


2. Jesus miraculously clears the water after rain, 4. plays with clay sparrows, which he animates on the sabbath day.

1. I, Thomas, an Israelite, judged it necessary to make known to our brethren among the Gentiles, the actions and miracles of Christ in his childhood, which our Lord and God Jesus Christ wrought after his birth in Bethlehem in our country, at which I myself was astonished; the beginning of which was as follows.

This book is conjectured to have been originally connected with the Gospel of Mary, and is attributed to the Apostle Thomas, mentioned in Matthew 10:3 and in John 11:16, 14:5, 20:24-28.

He was a twin and was called Didymus because in Greek the word literally means a testicle, and since the testes come in pairs, it was colloquial usage meaning a twin male. (The English word "testes" comes from Latin and has an interesting connection with "testimony," for ancient Roman men put their hands over their testicles while swearing an oath.)

According to tradition, Thomas labored in Persia and India, suffering martyrdom near Madras.

2. [New paragraph in the oldest extant manuscripts] When the child Jesus was five years of age and there had been a shower of rain that was now over, Jesus was playing with other Hebrew boys by a running stream, and the waters ran over the banks and stood in little lakes;
3. But the water instantly became clear and useful again; they readily obeyed him after he touched them only by his word.
4. Then he took from the bank of the stream some soft clay and formed out of it twelve sparrows; and there were other boys playing with him.
5. But a certain Jew seeing the things which he was doing, namely, his forming clay into the figures of sparrows on the Sabbath day, went presently away and told his father Joseph,
6. Behold, your boy is playing by the river side, and has taken clay and formed it into twelve sparrows, and profanes the Sabbath.
7. Then Joseph came to the place where he was, and when he saw him, called to him, and said, Why do you that which is not lawful to do on the Sabbath day?
8. Then Jesus clapping together the palms of his hands, called to the sparrows, and said to them: Go, fly away; and while you live remember me.

There is something haunting about these words when compared with: "I watch, and am as a sparrow alone upon the house top" (Psalm 102:7); "Are not two sparrows sold for a farthing? and one of them shall not fall on the ground without your Father....Fear ye not therefore, ye are of more value than many sparrows" (Matthew 10:29, 31); Luke 12:6 says "five sparrows sold for two farthings..." In other words, sparrows are cheap to people, but people are precious to God.

9. So the sparrows fled away, making a noise.
10. The Jews seeing this, were astonished and went away and told their chief persons what a strange miracle they had seen wrought by Jesus.

2. Causes a boy to wither who broke down his fish-pools, 6. partly restores him, 7. kills another boy, 16. causes blindness to fall on his accusers, 18. for which Joseph pulls him by the ear.

1. Besides this, the son of Anna the scribe was standing there with Joseph, and took a bough of a willow tree and scattered the waters which Jesus had gathered into lakes.
2. But the boy Jesus, seeing what he had done, became angry and said to him, You fool, what harm did the lake do to you, that you should scatter the water?
3. Behold, now you shall wither as a tree and not bring forth either leaves, or branches, or fruit.

Recall Christ's astonishing and apparently pointless miracle of cursing a fig tree, causing it to wither because it bore no fruit, recorded in Matthew 21:19.

4. And immediately he became withered all over.
5. Then Jesus went away home. But the parents of the boy who was withered, lamenting the misfortune of his youth, took and carried him to Joseph, accusing him, and said, Why do you keep a son who is guilty of such actions?
6. Then Jesus at the request of all who were present healed him, leaving only some small member to continue withered, so they might take warning.
7. [New paragraph in the oldest extant manuscripts] Another time Jesus went into the street and a boy running by rushed into his shoulder;
8. At which Jesus became angry and said to him, You will go no farther.
9. And he instantly fell down dead:
10. Which when some persons saw, they said, Where was this boy born, that everything which he says presently comes to pass?
11. Then the parents of the dead boy went to Joseph and complained, saying, You are not fit to live with us in our city, having such a boy as that:
12. Either teach him that he bless and not curse, or else depart with him, for he kills our children.
13. [New paragraph in the oldest extant manuscripts] Then Joseph calling the boy Jesus by himself, instructed him saying, Why do you such things to injure the people so that they hate us and persecute us?
14. But Jesus replied, I know that what you say is not of yourself, but for your sake I will say nothing;
15. But they who have said these things to you will suffer everlasting punishment.
16. And immediately they who had accused him became blind.
17. And all who saw it were exceedingly afraid and confounded, and said concerning him, Whatever he says, whether good or bad, immediately comes to pass: and they were amazed.
18. And when they saw this action of Christ, Joseph arose, and plucked him by the ear, at which the boy was angry and said to him, Be easy;
19. For if they seek for us, they will not find us: you have done very imprudently.

Compare with: "Then said Jesus again unto them, I go my way, and ye shall seek me, and shall die in your sins: whither I go ye cannot come" (John 8:21).

20. Do you not know that I am yours? Trouble me no more.

That is, he will be subject to Joseph.

1. Christ astonishes his schoolmaster by his learning.

1. A certain schoolmaster named Zaccheus, standing in a certain place, heard Jesus speaking these things to his father.
2. And he was much surprised that being a child, he should speak such things; and after a few days he came to Joseph and said,
3. You have a wise and sensible child; send him to me so he may learn to read.
4. When he sat down to teach the letters to Jesus, he began with the first letter Aleph;
5. But Jesus pronounced the second letter Mpeth (Beth), Cghimel (Gimel), and said over all the letters to him to the end.
6. Then opening a book, he taught his master the prophets; but he was embarrassed and at a loss to conceive how he came to know the letters.
7. And he arose and went home, wonderfully surprised at so strange a thing.

The ambiguity of pronouns leaves unclear who was embarrassed. Some moderns, who are furthest from the events, intimate Jesus was illiterate; the ancient witnesses, who were closest to the events, state the contrary. According to non-canonical and canonical sources, Jesus could read and write. In John 8:6, 8, when a women caught in adultery is brought to Jesus, he stoops and writes on the ground, and Luke 4:16 says he customarily read in the synagogue.

1. Fragment of an adventure at a dyer's.

1. As Jesus was passing by a certain shop, he saw a young man dipping (or dyeing) some cloths and stockings of a sad color in a furnace, doing them according to every person's particular order;
2. The boy Jesus went to the young man who was doing this and took some of the cloths....

Here ends the fragment of Thomas's Gospel of the Infancy of Jesus Christ. This English translation is made from the Greek original printed by Cotelerius in his notes on the constitution of the Apostles, from a fragmentary manuscript in the French King's Library, No. 2279.

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