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Home > Fathers of the Church > Infancy Gospel of Thomas

The Infancy Gospel of Thomas

First Greek Form

Thomas the Israelite Philosopher's Account of the Infancy of the Lord.

1. I Thomas, an Israelite, write you this account, that all the brethren from among the heathen may know the miracles of our Lord Jesus Christ in His infancy, which He did after His birth in our country. The beginning of it is as follows:—

2. This child Jesus, when five years old, was playing in the ford of a mountain stream; and He collected the flowing waters into pools, and made them clear immediately, and by a word alone He made them obey Him. And having made some soft clay, He fashioned out of it twelve sparrows. And it was the Sabbath when He did these things. And there were also many other children playing with Him. And a certain Jew, seeing what Jesus was doing, playing on the Sabbath, went off immediately, and said to his father Joseph: Behold, your son is at the stream, and has taken clay, and made of it twelve birds, and has profaned the Sabbath. And Joseph, coming to the place and seeing, cried out to Him, saying: Why do you do on the Sabbath what it is not lawful to do? And Jesus clapped His hands, and cried out to the sparrows, and said to them: Off you go! And the sparrows flew, and went off crying. And the Jews seeing this were amazed, and went away and reported to their chief men what they had seen Jesus doing.

3. And the son of Annas the scribe was standing there with Joseph; and he took a willow branch, and let out the waters which Jesus had collected. And Jesus, seeing what was done, was angry, and said to him: O wicked, impious, and foolish! What harm did the pools and the waters do to you? Behold, even now you shall be dried up like a tree, and you shall not bring forth either leaves, or root, or fruit. And straightway that boy was quite dried up. And Jesus departed, and went to Joseph's house. But the parents of the boy that had been dried up took him up, bewailing his youth, and brought him to Joseph, and reproached him because, said they, you have such a child doing such things.

4. After that He was again passing through the village; and a boy ran up against Him, and struck His shoulder. And Jesus was angry, and said to him: You shall not go back the way you came. And immediately he fell down dead. And some who saw what had taken place, said: Whence was this child begotten, that every word of his is certainly accomplished? And the parents of the dead boy went away to Joseph, and blamed him, saying: Since you have such a child, it is impossible for you to live with us in the village; or else teach him to bless, and not to curse: for he is killing our children.

5. And Joseph called the child apart, and admonished Him, saying: Why do you do such things, and these people suffer, and hate us, and persecute us? And Jesus said: I know that these words of yours are not your own; nevertheless for your sake I will be silent; but they shall bear their punishment. And straightway those that accused Him were struck blind. And those who saw it were much afraid and in great perplexity, and said about Him: Every word which he spoke, whether good or bad, was an act, and became a wonder. And when they saw that Jesus had done such a thing, Joseph rose and took hold of His ear, and pulled it hard. And the child was very angry, and said to him: It is enough for you to seek, and not to find; and most certainly you have not done wisely. Do you not know that I am yours? Do not trouble me.

6. And a certain teacher, Zacchæus by name, was standing in a certain place, and heard Jesus thus speaking to his father; and he wondered exceedingly, that, being a child, he should speak in such a way. And a few days thereafter he came to Joseph, and said to him: You have a sensible child, and he has some mind. Give him to me, then, that he may learn letters; and I shall teach him along with the letters all knowledge, both how to address all the elders, and to honour them as forefathers and fathers, and how to love those of his own age. And He said to him all the letters from the Alpha even to the Omega, clearly and with great exactness. And He looked upon the teacher Zacchæus, and said to him: Thou who art ignorant of the nature of the Alpha, how can you teach others the Beta? Thou hypocrite! First, if you know, teach the A, and then we shall believe you about the B. Then He began to question the teacher about the first letter, and he was not able to answer Him. And in the hearing of many, the child says to Zacchæus: Hear, O teacher, the order of the first letter, and notice here how it has lines, and a middle stroke crossing those which you see common; (lines) brought together; the highest part supporting them, and again bringing them under one head; with three points of intersection; of the same kind; principal and subordinate; of equal length. You have the lines of the A.

7. And when the teacher Zacchæus heard the child speaking such and so great allegories of the first letter, he was at a great loss about such a narrative, and about His teaching. And He said to those that were present: Alas! I, wretch that I am, am at a loss, bringing shame upon myself by having dragged this child hither. Take him away, then, I beseech you, brother Joseph. I cannot endure the sternness of his look; I cannot make out his meaning at all. That child does not belong to this earth; he can tame even fire. Assuredly he was born before the creation of the world. What sort of a belly bore him, what sort of a womb nourished him, I do not know. Alas! My friend, he has carried me away; I cannot get at his meaning: thrice wretched that I am, I have deceived myself. I made a struggle to have a scholar, and I was found to have a teacher. My mind is filled with shame, my friends, because I, an old man, have been conquered by a child. There is nothing for me but despondency and death on account of this boy, for I am not able at this hour to look him in the face; and when everybody says that I have been beaten by a little child, what can I say? And how can I give an account of the lines of the first letter that he spoke about? I know not, O my friends; for I can make neither beginning nor end of him. Therefore, I beseech you, brother Joseph, take him home. What great thing he is, either god or angel, or what I am to say, I know not.

8. And when the Jews were encouraging Zacchæus, the child laughed aloud, and said: Now let your learning bring forth fruit, and let the blind in heart see. I am here from above, that I may curse them, and call them to the things that are above, as He that sent me on your account has commanded me. And when the child ceased speaking, immediately all were made whole who had fallen under His curse. And no one after that dared to make Him angry, lest He should curse him, and he should be maimed.

9. And some days after, Jesus was playing in an upper room of a certain house, and one of the children that were playing with Him fell down from the house, and was killed. And, when the other children saw this, they ran away, and Jesus alone stood still. And the parents of the dead child coming, reproached. ..and they threatened Him. And Jesus leaped down from the roof, and stood beside the body of the child, and cried with a loud voice, and said: Zeno— for that was his name— stand up, and tell me; did I throw you down? And he stood up immediately, and said: Certainly not, my lord; you did not throw me down, but hast raised me up. And those that saw this were struck with astonishment. And the child's parents glorified God on account of the miracle that had happened, and adored Jesus.

10. A few days after, a young man was splitting wood in the corner, and the axe came down and cut the sole of his foot in two, and he died from loss of blood. And there was a great commotion, and people ran together, and the child Jesus ran there too. And He pressed through the crowd, and laid hold of the young man's wounded foot, and he was cured immediately. And He said to the young man: Rise up now, split the wood, and remember me. And the crowd seeing what had happened, adored the child, saying: Truly the Spirit of God dwells in this child.

11. And when He was six years old, His mother gave Him a pitcher, and sent Him to draw water, and bring it into the house. But He struck against some one in the crowd, and the pitcher was broken. And Jesus unfolded the cloak which He had on, and filled it with water, and carried it to His mother. And His mother, seeing the miracle that had happened, kissed Him, and kept within herself the mysteries which she had seen Him doing.

12. And again in seed-time the child went out with His father to sow grain in their land. And while His father was sowing, the child Jesus also sowed one grain of grain. And when He had reaped it, and threshed it, He made a hundred kors; and calling all the poor of the village to the threshing-floor, He gave them the grain, and Joseph took away what was left of the grain. And He was eight years old when He did this miracle.

13. And His father was a carpenter, and at that time made ploughs and yokes. And a certain rich man ordered him to make him a couch. And one of what is called the cross pieces being too short, they did not know what to do. The child Jesus said to His father Joseph: Put down the two pieces of wood, and make them even in the middle. And Joseph did as the child said to him. And Jesus stood at the other end, and took hold of the shorter piece of wood, and stretched it, and made it equal to the other. And His father Joseph saw it, and wondered, and embraced the child, and blessed Him, saying: Blessed am I, because God has given me this child.

14. And Joseph, seeing that the child was vigorous in mind and body, again resolved that He should not remain ignorant of the letters, and took Him away, and handed Him over to another teacher. And the teacher said to Joseph: I shall first teach him the Greek letters, and then the Hebrew. For the teacher was aware of the trial that had been made of the child, and was afraid of Him. Nevertheless he wrote out the alphabet, and gave Him all his attention for a long time, and He made him no answer. And Jesus said to him: If you are really a teacher, and art well acquainted with the letters, tell me the power of the Alpha, and I will tell you the power of the Beta. And the teacher was enraged at this, and struck Him on the head. And the child, being in pain, cursed him; and immediately he swooned away, and fell to the ground on his face. And the child returned to Joseph's house; and Joseph was grieved, and gave orders to His mother, saying: Do not let him go outside of the door, because those that make him angry die.

15. And after some time, another master again, a genuine friend of Joseph, said to him: Bring the child to my school; perhaps I shall be able to flatter him into learning his letters. And Joseph said: If you have the courage, brother, take him with you. And he took Him with him in fear and great agony; but the child went along pleasantly. And going boldly into the school, He found a book lying on the reading-desk; and taking it, He read not the letters that were in it, but opening His mouth, He spoke by the Holy Spirit, and taught the law to those that were standing round. And a great crowd having come together, stood by and heard Him, and wondered at the ripeness of His teaching, and the readiness of His words, and that He, child as He was, spoke in such a way. And Joseph hearing of it, was afraid, and ran to the school, in doubt lest his master too should be without experience. And the master said to Joseph: Know, brother, that I have taken the child as a scholar, and he is full of much grace and wisdom; but I beseech you, brother, take him home. And when the child heard this, He laughed at him directly, and said: Since you have spoken aright, and witnessed aright, for your sake he also that was struck down shall be cured. And immediately the other master was cured. And Joseph took the child, and went away home.

16. And Joseph sent his son James to tie up wood and bring it home, and the child Jesus also followed him. And when James was gathering the fagots, a viper bit James' hand. And when he was racked with pain, and at the point of death, Jesus came near and blew upon the bite; and the pain ceased directly, and the beast burst, and instantly James remained safe and sound.

17. And after this the infant of one of Joseph's neighbours fell sick and died, and its mother wept sore. And Jesus heard that there was great lamentation and commotion, and ran in haste, and found the child dead, and touched his breast, and said: I say to you, child, be not dead, but live, and be with your mother. And directly it looked up and laughed. And He said to the woman: Take it, and give it milk, and remember me. And seeing this, the crowd that was standing by wondered, and said: Truly this child was either God or an angel of God, for every word of his is a certain fact. And Jesus went out thence, playing with the other children.

18. And some time after there occurred a great commotion while a house was building, and Jesus stood up and went away to the place. And seeing a man lying dead, He took him by the hand, and said: Man, I say to you, arise, and go on with your work. And directly he rose up, and adored Him. And seeing this, the crowd wondered, and said: This child is from heaven, for he has saved many souls from death, and he continues to save during all his life.

19. And when He was twelve years old His parents went as usual to Jerusalem to the feast of the passover with their fellow-travellers. And after the passover they were coming home again. And while they were coming home, the child Jesus went back to Jerusalem. And His parents thought that He was in the company. And having gone one day's journey, they sought for Him among their relations; and not finding Him, they were in great grief, and turned back to the city seeking for Him. And after the third day they found Him in the temple, sitting in the midst of the teachers, both hearing the law and asking them questions. And they were all attending to Him, and wondering that He, being a child, was shutting the mouths of the elders and teachers of the people, explaining the main points of the law and the parables of the prophets. And His mother Mary coming up, said to Him: Why have you done this to us, child? Behold, we have been seeking for you in great trouble. And Jesus said to them: Why do you seek me? Do you not know that I must be about my Father's business? And the scribes and the Pharisees said: Are you the mother of this child? And she said: I am. And they said to her: Blessed are you among women, for God has blessed the fruit of your womb; for such glory, and such virtue and wisdom, we have neither seen nor heard ever. And Jesus rose up, and followed His mother, and was subject to His parents. And His mother observed all these things that had happened. And Jesus advanced in wisdom, and stature, and grace. Luke 2:41-52 To whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.

Second Greek Form

The Writing of the Holy Apostle Thomas Concerning the Childhood of the Lord.

1. I Thomas the Israelite have deemed it necessary to make known to all the brethren of the heathen the great things which our Lord Jesus Christ did in His childhood, when He dwelt in the body in the city of Nazareth, going in the fifth year of His age.

2. On one of the days, there being a rainstorm, He went out of the house where His mother was, and played on the ground where the waters were flowing. And He made pools, and brought in the waters, and the pools were filled with water. Then He says: It is my will that you become clear and excellent waters. And they became so directly. And a certain boy, the son of Annas the scribe, came past, and with a willow branch which he was carrying threw down the pools, and the water flowed out. And Jesus turning, said to him: O impious and wicked, how have the pools wronged you, that you have emptied them? You shall not go on your way, and you shall be dried up like the branch which you are carrying. And as he went along, in a short time he fell down and died. And when the children that were playing with him saw this, they wondered, and went away and told the father of the dead boy. And he ran and found his child dead, and he went away and reproached Joseph.

3. And Jesus made of that clay twelve sparrows, and it was the Sabbath. And a child ran and told Joseph, saying: Behold, your child is playing about the stream, and of the clay he has made sparrows, which is not lawful. And when he heard this, he went, and said to the child: Why do you do this, profaning the Sabbath? But Jesus gave him no answer, but looked upon the sparrows, and said: Go away, fly, and live, and remember me. And at this word they flew, and went up into the air. And when Joseph saw it, he wondered.

4. And some days after, when Jesus was going through the midst of the city, a boy threw a stone at Him, and struck Him on the shoulder. And Jesus said to him: You shall not go on your way. And directly falling down, he also died. And they that happened to be there were struck with astonishment, saying: Whence is this child, that every word he says is certainly accomplished? And they also went and reproached Joseph, saying: It is impossible for you to live with us in this city: but if you wish to do so, teach your child to bless, and not to curse: for he is killing our children, and everything that he says is certainly accomplished.

5. And Joseph was sitting in his seat, and the child stood before him; and he took hold of Him by the ear, and pinched it hard. And Jesus looked at him steadily, and said: It is enough for you.

6. And on the day after he took Him by the hand, and led Him to a certain teacher, Zacchæus by name, and says to him: O master, take this child, and teach him his letters. And he says: Hand him over to me, brother, and I shall teach him the Scripture; and I shall persuade him to bless all, and not to curse. And Jesus hearing, laughed, and said to them: You say what you know; but I know more than you, for I am before the ages. And I know when your fathers' fathers were born; and I know how many are the years of your life. And hearing this, they were struck with astonishment. And again Jesus said to them: You wonder because I said to you that I knew how many are the years of your life. Assuredly I know when the world was created. Behold, you do not believe me now. When you see my cross, then will you believe that I speak the truth. And they were struck with astonishment when they heard these things.

7. And Zacchæus, having written the alphabet in Hebrew, says to Him: Alpha. And the child says: Alpha. And again the teacher: Alpha; and the child likewise. Then again the teacher says the Alpha for the third time. Then Jesus, looking in the master's face, says: How can you, not knowing the Alpha, teach another the Beta? And the child, beginning from the Alpha, said by Himself the twenty-two letters. Then also He says again: Hear, O teacher, the order of the first letter, and know how many entrances and lines it has, and strokes common, crossing and coming together. And when Zacchæus heard such an account of the one letter, he was so struck with astonishment, that he could make no answer. And he turned and said to Joseph: This child assuredly, brother, does not belong to the earth. Take him, then, away from me.

8. And after these things, on one of the days Jesus was playing with other children on the roof of a house. And one boy was pushed by another, and hurled down upon the ground, and he died. And seeing this, the boys that were playing with him ran away; and Jesus only was left standing upon the roof from which the boy had been hurled down. And when the news was brought to the parents of the dead boy, they ran weeping; and finding their boy lying dead upon the ground, and Jesus standing above, they supposed that their boy had been thrown down by Him; and fixing their eyes upon Him, they reviled Him. And seeing this, Jesus directly came down from the roof, and stood at the head of the dead body, and says to him: Zeno, did I throw you down? Stand up, and tell us. For this was the name of the boy. And at the word the boy stood up and adored Jesus, and said: My lord, you did not throw me down, but you have brought me to life when I was dead.

9. And a few days after, one of the neighbours, when splitting wood, cut away the lower part of his foot with the axe, and was on the point of death from loss of blood. And a great number of people ran together, and Jesus came with them to the place. And He took hold of the young man's wounded foot, and cured him directly, and says to him: Rise up, split your wood. And he rose up and adored Him, giving thanks, and splitting the wood. Likewise also all that were there wondered, and gave thanks to Him.

10. And when He was six years old, Mary His mother sent Him to bring water from the fountain. And as He went along, the pitcher was broken. And going to the fountain He unfolded His overcoat, and drew water from the fountain, and filled it, and took the water to His mother. And seeing this, she was struck with astonishment, and embraced Him, and kissed Him.

11. And when Jesus had come to the eighth year of His age, Joseph was ordered by a certain rich man to make him a couch. For he was a carpenter. And he went out into the field to get wood; and Jesus went with him. And having cut two pieces of wood, and smoothed them with the axe, he put the one beside the other; and in measuring he found it too short. And when he saw this he was grieved, and sought to find another piece. And seeing this, Jesus says to him: Put these two pieces together, so as to make both ends even. And Joseph, in doubt as to what the child should mean, did as he was told. And He says to him again: Take a firm hold of the short piece. And Joseph, in astonishment, took hold of it. Then Jesus also, taking hold of the other end, drew it towards Himself, and make it equal to the other piece of wood. And He says to Joseph: Grieve no more, but do your work without hindrance. And seeing this, he wondered greatly, and says to himself: Blessed am I, because God has given me such a boy. And when they came back to the city, Joseph gave an account of the matter to Mary. And when she heard and saw the strange miracles of her son, she rejoiced and glorified Him, with the Father and the Holy Spirit, now and ever, and for evermore. Amen.

Latin Form

Here Begins the Treatise of the Boyhood of Jesus According to Thomas.

Chapter 1. How Mary and Joseph Fled with Him into Egypt.

When a commotion took place in consequence of the search made by Herod for our Lord Jesus Christ to kill Him, then an angel said to Joseph: Take Mary and her boy, and flee into Egypt from the face of those who seek to kill Him. And Jesus was two years old when He went into Egypt.

And as He was walking through a field of grain, He stretched forth His hand, and took of the ears, and put them over the fire, and rubbed them, and began to eat.

And when they had come into Egypt, they received hospitality in the house of a certain widow, and they remained in the same place one year.

And Jesus was in His third year. And seeing boys playing, He began to play with them. And He took a dried fish, and put it into a basin, and ordered it to move about. And it began to move about. And He said again to the fish: Throw out your salt which you have, and walk into the water. And it so came to pass. And the neighbours, seeing what had been done, told it to the widow woman in whose house Mary His mother lived. And as soon as she heard it, she thrust them out of her house with great haste.

Chapter 2. How a Schoolmaster Thrust Him Out of the City.

And as Jesus was walking with Mary His mother through the middle of the city market-place, He looked and saw a schoolmaster teaching his scholars. And behold twelve sparrows that were quarrelling fell over the wall into the bosom of that schoolmaster, who was teaching the boys. And seeing this, Jesus was very much amused, and stood still. And when that teacher saw Him making merry, he said to his scholars with great fury: Go and bring him to me. And when they had carried Him to the master, he seized Him by the ear, and said: What did you see, to amuse you so much? And He said to him: Master, see my hand full of wheat. I showed it to them, and scattered the wheat among them, and they carry it out of the middle of the street where they are in danger; and on this account they fought among themselves to divide the wheat. And Jesus did not pass from the place until it was accomplished. And this being done, the master began to thrust Him out of the city, along with His mother.

Chapter 3. How Jesus Went Out of Egypt.

And, lo, the angel of the Lord met Mary, and said to her: Take up the boy, and return into the land of the Jews, for they who sought His life are dead. And Mary rose up with Jesus; and they proceeded into the city of Nazareth, which is among the possessions of her father. And when Joseph went out of Egypt after the death of Herod, he kept Him in the desert until there should be quietness in Jerusalem on the part of those who were seeking the boy's life. And he gave thanks to God because He had given him understanding, and because he had found favour in the presence of the Lord God. Amen.

Chapter 4. What the Lord Jesus Did in the City of Nazareth.

It is glorious that Thomas the Israelite and apostle of the Lord gives an account also of the works of Jesus after He came out of Egypt into Nazareth. Understand all of you, my dearest brethren, what the Lord Jesus did when He was in the city of Nazareth; the first chapter of which is as follows:—

And when Jesus was five years old, there fell a great rain upon the earth, and the boy Jesus walked up and down through it. And there was a terrible rain, and He collected it into a fish-pond, and ordered it by His word to become clear. And immediately it became so. Again He took of the clay which was of that fish-pond, and made of it to the number of twelve sparrows. And it was the Sabbath when Jesus did this among the boys of the Jews. And the boys of the Jews went away, and said to Joseph His father: Behold, your son was playing along with us, and he took clay and made sparrows, which it was not lawful to do on the Sabbath; and he has broken it. And Joseph went away to the boy Jesus, and said to Him: Why have you done this, which it was not lawful to do on the Sabbath? And Jesus opened His hands, and ordered the sparrows, saying: Go up into the air, and fly; nobody shall kill you. And they flew, and began to cry out, and praise God Almighty. And the Jews seeing what had happened, wondered, and went away and told the miracles which Jesus had done. But a Pharisee who was with Jesus took an olive branch, and began to let the water out of the fountain which Jesus had made. And when Jesus saw this, He said to him in a rage: Thou impious and ignorant Sodomite, what harm have my works the fountains of water done you? Behold, you shall become like a dry tree, having neither roots, nor leaves, nor fruit. And immediately he dried up, and fell to the ground, and died. And his parents took him away dead, and reproached Joseph, saying: See what your son has done; teach him to pray, and not to blaspheme.

Chapter 5. How the Citizens Were Enraged Against Joseph on Account of the Doings of Jesus.

And a few days after, as Jesus was walking through the town with Joseph, one of the children ran up and struck Jesus on the arm. And Jesus said to him: So shall you not finish your journey. And immediately he fell to the ground, and died. And those who saw these wonderful things cried out, saying: Whence is that boy? And they said to Joseph: It is not right for such a boy to be among us. And Joseph went and brought Him. And they said to him: Go away from this place; but if you must live with us, teach him to pray, and not to blaspheme: but our children have been killed. Joseph called Jesus, and reproved Him, saying: Why do you blaspheme? For these people who live here hate us. And Jesus said: I know that these words are not mine, but yours; but I will hold my tongue for your sake: and let them see to it in their wisdom. And immediately those who were speaking against Jesus became blind. And they walked up and down, and said: All the words which proceed from his mouth are accomplished. And Joseph seeing what Jesus had done, in a fury seized Him by the ear; and Jesus said to Joseph in anger: It is enough for you to see me, not to touch me. For you know not who I am; but if you knew, you would not make me angry. And although just now I am with you, I was made before you.

Chapter 6. How Jesus Was Treated by the Schoolmaster.

Therefore a certain man named Zacheus listened to all that Jesus was saying to Joseph, and in great astonishment said to himself: Such a boy speaking in this way I have never seen. And he went up to Joseph, and said: That is an intelligent boy of yours; hand him over to me to learn his letters; and when he has thoroughly learned his letters, I shall teach him honourably, so that he may be no fool. But Joseph answered and said to him: No one can teach him but God alone. You do not believe that that little boy will be of little consequence? And when Jesus heard Joseph speaking in this way, He said to Zacheus: Indeed, master, whatever proceeds from my mouth is true. And before all I was Lord, but you are foreigners. To me has been given the glory of the ages, to you has been given nothing; because I am before the ages. And I know how many years of life you will have, and that you will be carried into exile: and my Father has appointed this, that you may understand that whatever proceeds from my mouth is true. And the Jews who were standing by, and hearing the words which Jesus spoke, were astonished, and said: We have seen such wonderful things, and heard such words from that boy, as we have never heard, nor are likely to hear from any other human being—either from the high priests, or the masters, or the Pharisees. Jesus answered and said to them: Why do you wonder? Do you consider it incredible that I have spoken the truth? I know when both you and your fathers were born, and to tell you more, when the world was made: I know also who sent me to you. And when the Jews heard the words which the child had spoken, they wondered, because that they were not able to answer. And, communing with Himself, the child exulted and said: I have told you a proverb; and I know that you are weak and ignorant.

And that schoolmaster said to Joseph: Bring him to me, and I shall teach him letters. And Joseph took hold of the boy Jesus, and led Him to the house of a certain schoolmaster, where other boys were being taught. Now the master in soothing words began to teach Him His letters, and wrote for Him the first line, which is from A to T, and began to stroke Him and teach Him. And that teacher struck the child on the head: and when He had received the blow, the child said to him: I should teach you, and not you me; I know the letters which you wish to teach me, and I know that you are to me like vessels from which there come forth only sounds, and no wisdom. And, beginning the line, He said the letters from A to T in full, and very fast. And He looked at the master, and said to him: You cannot even tell us what A and B are; how do you wish to teach others? O hypocrite, if you know and will tell me about the A, then will I tell you about the B. And when that teacher began to tell about the first letter, he was unable to give any answer. And Jesus said to Zacheus: Listen to me, master; understand the first letter. See how it has two lines; advancing in the middle, standing still, giving, scattering, varying, threatening; triple intermingled with double; at the same time homogeneous, having all common.

And Zacheus, seeing that He so divided the first letter, was stupefied about the first letter, and about such a human being and such learning; and he cried out, and said: Woe's me, for I am quite stupefied; I have brought disgrace upon myself through that child. And he said to Joseph: I earnestly entreat you, brother, take him away from me, because I cannot look upon his face, nor hear his mighty words. Because that child can tame fire and bridle the sea: for he was born before the ages. What womb brought him forth, or what mother nursed him, I know not. Oh, my friends, I am driven out of my senses; I have become a wretched laughing-stock. And I said that I had got a scholar; but he has been found to be my master. And my disgrace I cannot get over, because I am an old man; and what to say to him I cannot find. All I have to do is to fall into some grievous illness, and depart from this world; or to leave this town, because all have seen my disgrace. An infant has deceived me. What answer can I give to others, or what words can I say, because he has got the better of me in the first letter? I am struck dumb, O my friends and acquaintances; neither beginning nor end can I find of an answer to him. And now I beseech you, brother Joseph, take him away from me, and lead him home, because he is a master, or the Lord, or an angel. What to say I do not know. And Jesus turned to the Jews who were with Zacheus, and said to them: Let all not seeing see, and not understanding understand; let the deaf hear, and let those who are dead through me rise again; and those who are exalted, let me call to still higher things, as He who sent me to you has commanded me. And when Jesus ceased speaking, all who had been affected with any infirmity through His words were made whole. And they did not dare to speak to Him.

Chapter 7. How Jesus Raised a Boy to Life.

One day, when Jesus was climbing on a certain house, along with the children, He began to play with them. And one of the boys fell down through a back-door, and died immediately. And when the children saw this, they all ran away; but Jesus remained in the house. And when the parents of the boy who had died had come, they spoke against Jesus: Surely it was you who made him fall down; and they reviled Him. And Jesus, coming down from the house, stood over the dead child, and with a loud voice called out the name of the child: Sinoo, Sinoo, rise and say whether it was I that made you fall down. And suddenly he rose up, and said: No, my lord. And his parents, seeing such a great miracle done by Jesus, glorified God, and adored Jesus.

Chapter 8. How Jesus Healed a Boy's Foot.

And a few days thereafter, a boy in that town was splitting wood, and struck his foot. And a great crowd went to him, and Jesus too went with them. And He touched the foot which had been hurt, and immediately it was made whole. And Jesus said to him: Rise, and split the wood, and remember me. And when the crowd saw the miracles that were done by Him, they adored Jesus, and said: Indeed we most surely believe that You are God.

Chapter 9. How Jesus Carried Water in a Cloak.

And when Jesus was six years old, His mother sent Him to draw water. And when Jesus had come to the fountain, or to the well, there were great crowds there, and they broke His pitcher. And He took the cloak which He had on, and filled it with water, and carried it to His mother Mary. And His mother, seeing the miracles which Jesus had done, kissed Him, and said: O Lord, hear me, and save my son.

Chapter 10. How Jesus Sowed Wheat.

In the time of sowing, Joseph went out to sow wheat, and Jesus followed him. And when Joseph began to sow, Jesus stretched out His hand, and took as much wheat as He could hold in His fist, and scattered it. Joseph therefore came at reaping-time to reap his harvest. Jesus came also, and collected the ears which He had scattered, and they made a hundred pecks of the best grain; and he called the poor, and the widows, and the orphans, and distributed to them the wheat which He had made. Joseph also took a little of the same wheat, for the blessing of Jesus to his house.

Chapter 11. How Jesus Made a Short Piece of Wood of the Same Length as a Longer One.

And Jesus reached the age of eight years. Joseph was a master builder, and used to make ploughs and ox-yokes. And one day a rich man said to Joseph: Master, make me a couch, both useful and beautiful. And Joseph was in distress, because the wood which he had brought for the work was too short. And Jesus said to him: Do not be annoyed. Take hold of this piece of wood by one end, and I by the other; I and let us draw it out. And they did so; and immediately he found it useful for that which he wished. And He said to Joseph: Behold, do the work which you wish. And Joseph, seeing what He had done, embraced Him, and said: Blessed am I, because God has given me such a son.

Chapter 12. How Jesus Was Handed Over to Learn His Letters.

And Joseph, seeing that He had such favour, and that He was increasing in stature, thought it right to take Him to learn His letters. And he handed Him over to another teacher to be taught. And that teacher said to Joseph: What letters do you wish me to teach that boy? Joseph answered and said: First teach him the Gentile letters, and then the Hebrew. For the teacher knew that He was very intelligent, and willingly took Him in hand. And writing for Him the first line, which is A and B, he taught Him for some hours. But Jesus was silent, and made him no answer. Jesus said to the master: If you are indeed a master, and if you indeed know the letters, tell me the power of the A, and I shall tell you the power of the B. Then His master was filled with fury, and struck Him on the head. And Jesus was angry, and cursed him; and he suddenly fell down, and died.

And Jesus returned home. And Joseph gave orders to Mary His mother, not to let Him go out of the court of his house.

Chapter 13. How He Was Handed Over to Another Master.

Many days after came another teacher, a friend of Joseph, and said to him: Hand him over to me, and I with much sweetness will teach him his letters. And Joseph said to him: If you are able, take him and teach him. May it be attended with joy. When the teacher had taken Him, he went along in fear and in great firmness, and held Him with exultation. And when He had come to the teacher's house, He found a book lying there, and took it and opened it, and did not read what was written in the book; but opened His mouth, and spoke from the Holy Spirit, and taught the law. And, indeed, all who were standing there listened to Him attentively; and the master sat down beside Him, and listened to Him with pleasure, and entreated Him to teach them more. And a great crowd being gathered together, they heard all the holy teaching which He taught, and the choice words which came forth from the mouth of Him who, child as He was, spoke such things. And Joseph, hearing of this, was afraid, and running. ..the master, where Jesus was, said to Joseph: Know, brother, that I have received your child to teach him or train him; but he is filled with much gravity and wisdom. Lo, now, take him home with joy, my brother; because the gravity which he has, has been given him by the Lord. And Jesus, hearing the master thus speaking, became cheerful, and said: Lo, now, master, you have truly said. For your sake, he who is dead shall rise again. And Joseph took Him home.

Chapter 14. How Jesus Delivered James from the Bite of a Serpent.

And Joseph sent James to gather straw, and Jesus followed him. And while James was gathering the straw, a viper bit him; and he fell to the ground, as if dead from the poison. And Jesus seeing this, blew upon his wound; and immediately James was made whole, and the viper died.

Chapter 15. How Jesus Raised a Boy to Life.

A few days after, a child, His neighbour, died, and his mother mourned for him sore. Jesus, hearing this, went and stood over the boy, and knocked upon his breast, and said: I say to you, child, do not die, but live. And immediately the child rose up. And Jesus said to the boy's mother: Take your son, and give him the breast, and remember me. And the crowd, seeing this miracle, said: In truth, this child is from heaven; for already has he freed many souls from death, and he has made whole all that hope in him.

The scribes and Pharisees said to Mary: Are you the mother of this child? And Mary said: Indeed I am. And they said to her: Blessed are you among women, Luke 1:28 since God has blessed the fruit of your womb, seeing that He has given you such a glorious child, and such a gift of wisdom, as we have never seen nor heard of. Jesus rose up and followed His mother. And Mary kept in her heart all the great miracles that Jesus had done among the people, in healing many that were diseased. And Jesus grew in stature and wisdom; and all who saw Him glorified God the Father Almighty, who is blessed for ever and ever. Amen.

And all these things I Thomas the Israelite have written what I have seen, and have recounted them to the Gentiles and to our brethren, and many other things done by Jesus, who was born in the land of Judah. Behold, the house of Israel has seen all, from the first even to the last; how great signs and wonders Jesus did among them, which were exceedingly good, and invisible to their father, as holy Scripture relates, and the prophets have borne witness to His works in all the peoples of Israel. And He it is who is to judge the world according to the will of immortality, since He is the Son of God throughout all the world. To Him is due all glory and honour for ever, who lives and reigns God through all ages of ages. Amen.

About this page

Source. Translated by Alexander Walker. From Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol. 8. Edited by Alexander Roberts, James Donaldson, and A. Cleveland Coxe. (Buffalo, NY: Christian Literature Publishing Co., 1886.) Revised and edited for New Advent by Kevin Knight. <http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/0846.htm>.

Contact information. The editor of New Advent is Kevin Knight. My email address is feedback732 at newadvent.org. (To help fight spam, this address might change occasionally.) Regrettably, I can't reply to every letter, but I greatly appreciate your feedback — especially notifications about typographical errors and inappropriate ads.

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