THE GOSPEL OF THOMAS
Translated by B. H. Cowper
[Extracted from his Apocryphal Gospels, pp. 128-69.]
1 | 2 | 3 |
4 | 5 | 6 | 7 |
8 | 9 | 10 |
11 | 12 | 13 | 14 |
15 | 16 | 17 |
18 | 19
II. Chs. 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11
III. Chs. 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15
TISCHENDORF gives us two Greek texts of this apocryphal book, and a Latin translation. It is of unquestionably early origin; indeed it is thought to have been known to Irenaeus before the end of the second century. Judging from its character, it has been regarded as written originally with the intention of favouring Docetism, though M. Nicolas finds in it traces of Judaising Christianity as well as of Docetism. "Whatever its origin, it is a document in many ways remarkable. The style of the Greek is often obscure and always rude and inferior, and its tone and temper betray a singular misapprehension of the true spirit and character of Christ. Possibly it was drawn up in Syria, and a Syriac text has been found in the British Museum and published by Dr. W. Wright. The Syriac text differs in various details from those of Tischendorf, of which it is to be regarded as another recension. The true authorship is of course unknown. It may be viewed as a collection of foolish traditions, or fables invented to supply an account of that period in our Lord's history, respecting which the genuine Gospels are almost silent. These fables were probably varied and multiplied by the writer. The most noticeable features of the book are its grossly fictitious character, and its anti-evangelical representations; or, as Bishop Ellicott says, "pious fraud and disguised heresy.'' It is of course utterly worthless, except as illustrating the recklessness of many professed followers of Christ at an early period. The miracles which it narrates are mostly either puerile, or malevolent and cruel. Some of its details are to be found in other Apocryphal Gospels, but next to the Protevangelium its plan is most specific; indeed, so far as Christ's infancy is concerned it is the most specific document of its class. The time over which it extends is supposed to be seven years. The stories of which it is made up are arranged chronologically, but it appears needless to exhibit a summary of them. There is good reason for believing that the Gospel of Thomas as here exhibited contains less than some ancient copies of it.
THE GOSPEL OF THOMAS (I.)
Sayings of Thomas, the Israelite Philosopher, on the Infant Acts of the Lord.
I Thomas the Israelite declare to all of you, who are brethren of the Gentiles, that I make known the infant acts and great deeds of our Lord Jesus Christ, which he did when he had been born in our country : whose beginning was in this wise:
This child Jesus, being five years old, was playing at the crossing of a stream, and he collected the running waters into pools, and immediately made them pure; and by his word alone he commanded them. 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 did, playing on the Sabbath, went immediately and said to Joseph his father: Behold thy child is at the watercourse, and hath taken clay and formed twelve birds, and hath profaned the Sabbath. And Joseph came to the place, and when he saw him he cried unto him saying. Why art thou doing these things on the Sabbath, which it is not lawful to do? And Jesus clapped his hands and cried unto the sparrows, and said to them, Go away: and the sparrows flew up, and departed, making a noise. And the Jews who saw it were astonished, and went and told their leaders what they had seen Jesus do.1
Now the son of Annas the Scribe was standing there with Joseph, and took a branch of a willow and spilled the water which Jesus had collected. And when Jesus saw what was done he was angry and said to him. Wicked, impious, and foolish one, wherein have the pools and the water wronged thee? Behold, now thou also shalt wither as a tree, and shalt not produce either leaves, or root, or fruit. And suddenly the boy withered altogether. And Jesus departed and went away to the house of Joseph. And the parents of him that was withered carried him, bemoaning his youth, and brought him to Joseph, and accused him (saying), Such a son hast thou as doeth such things.
Then again he went through the village, and a boy ran and thrust against his shoulder; and Jesus being vexed, said to him. Thou shalt not finish thy journey. And immediately he fell down and died. And some who saw what was done, said. Whence was this boy born? for every word of his becometh at once a deed. And the parents of him that was dead came to Joseph and made complaint, saying. Thou who hast such a child, canst not dwell with us in the village; teach him to bless and not to curse; for he killeth our children.
And Joseph called the boy to him privately and admonished him, saying, Why hast thou perpetrated such things, and (why do) these suffer, and hate and persecute us? And Jesus said, I know that .these thy words are not thine; nevertheless I will be silent because of thee; but they shall bear their punishment. And immediately they who accused him became blind. And they who saw it were greatly afraid and perplexed, and said concerning him, that every word he spake, whether good or bad, was a deed, and became a wonder. And when they saw that Jesus did thus, Joseph arose and took him by the ear and pulled it violently. And the child was angry and said to him. It is enough for thee to seek and not to find, and thou hast done very unwisely. Knowest thou not that I am thine? grieve me not.2
And a certain teacher named Zacchaeus stood in a certain place and heard Jesus saying these things to his father; and he wondered greatly that being a child he said such things. And after a few days he came to Joseph and said to him. Thou hast an intelligent child, and he hath understanding; come, give him to me, that he may learn letters, and I will teach him with his letters all science, and how to address the elders, and to honour them as ancestors and fathers, and to love those of his own age. And he told him all the letters from Alpha to Omega with much distinctness and clearly. And looking at the teacher Zacchaeus he saith to him. Thou that knowest not Alpha naturally, how dost thou teach Beta to others? Hypocrite; if thou knowest, first teach Alpha, and then we shall believe thee conceming Beta. Then he began to puzzle the teacher about the first letter, and he could not answer him. And in the hearing of many, the child said to Zacchaeus, Hear, teacher, the arrangement of the first letter, and notice here how it hath lines and a middle stroke which thou seest crossing those that are common, connected, with top projecting and again contracting, (thou seest) they are triform of the same kind, chief and subordinate, equal in length. Thou hast the lines of the Alpha.3
And when the teacher Zacchaeus heard the boy speak such and so great allegories of the first letter, he was perplexed by his great vindication and teaching, and said to those who were present, Alas, unhappy me! I am at a loss, I have brought shame upon myself by taking charge of this child. Take him away then, I entreat thee, brother Joseph, I cannot bear the severity of his gaze; I cannot explain the matter at all. This child is not of earthly parents, he is able to subdue even fire. Perhaps he was begotten before the world was made. What womb bore him, and what lap nursed him I know not. Alas, my friend, he surpasseth me, I shall not attain to his understanding. I have deceived myself, most wretched me! I desired to obtain a pupil, and I find I have a tutor. My friends, I am filled with shame, for I who am an old man am defeated by a child. I suffer affliction and death through this child; for this very hour I cannot look into his face. And when all say I was overcome by a little child, what can I say? or what can I tell of the lines of the first letter, which he told me of? I know not. friends; for I know not its beginning and end. Wherefore I beseech thee, brother Joseph, take him away to thy house. Whatever great thing He is, whether God or Angel, or what to say, I know not.
And when the Jews encouraged Zacchaeus, the child laughed greatly, and said: Now let thy works be fruitful, and let the blind in heart see. I come from above that I may curse them, and call to things on high, as He who sent me ordained for your sakes. And as the child paused in his speech, straightway all who had fallen under his curse were delivered. And thenceforward no one dared provoke him, lest he should curse him and he become blind.
And after some days Jesus was playing in a certain house in an upper room, and one of the children who were playing with him fell down from the house and died. And when the other children saw it, they fled, and Jesus remained alone. And the parents of him that was dead came and accused him [saying, verily thou causedst him to fall. But Jesus, said, I did not cause him to fall.] .... and they threatened him.4 Jesus leaped down from the roof and stood by the dead body of the child and cried with a loud voice, and said, Zeno! (for so was he called by name), rise and tell me; did I cast thee down? And immediately he rose and said, Nay, Lord, thou hast not cast me down, but raised me up. And seeing this they were amazed. And the parents of the boy glorified God for the miracle which had been done, and worshipped Jesus.5
After a few days, a certain young man was cleaving wood in the comer, and the axe fell and cut asunder the sole of his foot; and losing all his blood, he died. And there was a clamour and a crowd, and the child Jesus ran thither, and by force he passed through the throng, and took hold of the wounded foot of the young man, and straightway he was healed. And he said to the young man, Rise now, cleave wood, and remember me. And the crowd who saw what was done, worshipped the Child, saying, Truly the Spirit of God dwelleth in this Child.
And when he was six years old, his mother sent him to draw water and bring it home, giving him a water-pot. And being thronged by the crowd, the water-pot was broken. But Jesus spreading out the garment with which he was clothed, filled it with water, and carried it to his mother. And when his mother saw the miracle which was done, she kissed him, and kept to herself the wonders which she saw him do.6
And again, at the time for sowing, the Child went out with his father to sow corn in their field, and when his father sowed, the child Jesus also sowed one grain of corn. And having reaped and threshed it, he made a hundred quarters of it. And having called all the poor of the village to the threshing floor, he bestowed the corn on them; and Joseph took away what was left of the corn. Now Jesus was eight years old when he wrought this miracle.7
Now his father was a carpenter, and made at that time ploughs and yokes; and a couch was ordered of him by a certain rich man, to make it for him; and one of the pieces known as a side piece, being too short, they knew not what to do, wherefore the child Jesus said to his father Joseph, Lay down the two pieces of wood, and let the centre of one be upon the centre of the other. And Joseph did as the child said to him ; and Jesus stood at the other end, and took hold of the wood which was too short, and stretched it and made it equal to the other. His father Joseph saw and marvelled, and embracing the child he kissed him, saying: Happy am I, because God hath given this child to me.8
And Joseph seeing the understanding of the child and his growth, that he was becoming a youth, considered that he should not remain unacquainted with letters, and he took him and handed him over to another teacher: and the teacher said to Joseph, I will first instruct him in Greek, and then in Hebrew, for the teacher knew the cleverness of the child, and was afraid of him. Nevertheless he wrote the alphabet and repeated it to him for a long time; and he did not answer him; and Jesus said to him, If thou art indeed a teacher, and if thou knowest the letters well, tell me the power of Alpha, and I will tell thee that of Beta; and the teacher, being annoyed, struck him on the head, and the child was vexed and cursed him, and immediately he became senseless, and fell upon his face on the ground, and the child returned to the house of Joseph. And Joseph was grieved, and charged his mother, saying, thou shalt not send him outside the door, for they die who provoke him to anger.9
And after some time, another instructor, who was a near friend of Joseph, said to him. Bring me the child to school, perhaps I may be able with coaxing to teach him letters. And Joseph said. If thou art bold enough, brother, take him with thee; and he took him with him with fear and much inward conflict; but the child went cheerfully, and boldly entering the school, he found a book lying upon the desk, and he took it up but did not read the letters in it, but opened his mouth and spake by the Holy Spirit, and taught the law to those who stood around. And a great crowd assembled and stood by listening to him, and they wondered at the beauty of his teaching, and the fluency of his words, because, although a child, he spake such things. Now when Joseph heard it, he was afraid, and ran into the school, thinking whether this teacher was unskilful. But the teacher said to Joseph, Thou must know, brother, that I received the child as a pupil, but he is full of much grace and wisdom; and now I beseech thee, take him to thy house. And when the child heard this, he straightway laughed at him and said, Because thou hast rightly spoken and rightly testified, for thy sake he that was smitten shall be healed. And forthwith the other teacher was healed. And Joseph took the child and went to his home.10
And Joseph sent his son James to tie up wood and carry it into his house; and the child Jesus also followed him; and as James was gathering sticks, a viper bit the hand of James; and when he was tortured and near dying, Jesus approached and blew on the bite, and the pain at once ceased; and the beast was rent, and immediately James remained well.11
And after these things, a certain child among the neighbours of Joseph, fell sick and died, and his mother wept for him exceedingly; and Jesus heard that great grief and trouble prevailed, and ran in haste, and found the child dead; and he touched him on the breast and said to him, I say unto thee, babe, thou shalt not die, but live, and be with thy mother. And immediately he looked up and smiled. And he said to the woman. Take him and give him milk, and remember me. And the crowd that stood by wondered and said, Verily this Child was either God or- an angel of God, for every word of his is at once a deed. And Jesus went out thence to play with other children.12
And after some time, there was a house built, and a great clamour, and Jesus stood and went thither, and seeing a man lying dead, he took him by his hand and said, I say unto thee, man, arise, and do thy work; and he straightway arose and worshipped him. And the crowd which saw, wondered and said. This is a heavenly child; for he hath saved many souls from death, and hath to save them all his life.
And when he was twelve years old, his parents went, according to custom, to Jerusalem to the feast of the passover with their companions, and after the passover, they were returning to their homes, and when they returned, the child Jesus went up to Jerusalem; but his parents thought he was in the company. And when they had journeyed one day, they sought him among their kinsfolk, and not finding him they were sorrowful, and went back to the city seeking him; and after the third day they found him in the temple sitting among the doctors, and hearing the law and questioning them. And all gave heed and marvelled how he, being a child, puzzled the elders and doctors of the people, resolving the chapters of the law and the parables of the prophets. And his mother, Mary, came to him and said, Child, why hast thou done this to us? Behold, we have sought thee sorrowing. And Jesus said to them, Why seek ye me? Know ye not that I must be about my Father's business? And the scribes and Pharisees said. Art thou the mother of this child? And she said, I am. And they said to her, Blessed art thou among women, for God hath blessed the fruit of thy womb; for such glory and such virtue and wisdom, we never either saw or heard. And Jesus arose and followed his mother, and was subject to his parents. And his mother stored up all that happened. And Jesus advanced in wisdom, stature, and grace.13 To him be glory for ever and ever. Amen.
THE GOSPEL OF THOMAS. (II.)
After the remarks prefixed to the former recension of the Gospel of Thomas, little remains to be said. This is a briefer collection of the same stories, commencing when Jesus was five years old and ending when he was eight. The details, however, are not always the same in the two books. If the longer text of this false Gospel contains less than some ancient copies, it is to be supposed that, for one reason or another, transcribers and editors only appropriated so much of it as suited their purpose. This shorter copy is inserted here to show how little importance was really attached to documents of this kind. That it was so is manifest from the extraordinary freedom which was taken with them, altering, abridging, omitting, or adding to them at pleasure. To such an extent was this carried that probably the restoration of a single original text of this class is beyond all hope of attainment. The shorter Thomas was first published by Tischendorf.
BOOK OF THE HOLY APOSTLE THOMAS,
CONCERNING THE CONDUCT OF THE LORD WHEN A CHILD
I Thomas the Israelite have thought it necessary to make known to all the brethren of my nation the infantine marvels which our Lord Jesus Christ wrought while he dwelt in the body in the city of Nazareth, entering on the fifth year of his age.
On a certain day there was a shower, and he went out of the house where his mother was, and played on the ground where the water ran down. And having made pools, he stopped the water, and the pools were filled with water. Then said he, I will that ye waters be clear and bright. And immediately they became so. And a certain child of Annas the Scribe coming by and carrying a willow stick, broke down the pools with the stick, and the water ran out. And Jesus turned and said to him, Impious and lawless one, why have the pools offended thee, and why hast thou emptied them? Thou shalt not return on thy way, and shalt be withered like the stick which thou holdest. And as he went, a little after he fell down and expired. And when the children who played with him saw it they marvelled, and went and told it to the father of him that was dead. And he ran and found his child dead, and he went away, accusing Joseph.
And Jesus made out of the clay twelve sparrows: and it was the Sabbath. And a certain child ran and told Joseph saying, Behold thy child is playing by the watercourse, and hath made sparrows out of the clay, which is not lawful. And when he heard it he went and said to the Child, Why dost thou do thus, profaning the Sabbath? And Jesus did not answer him, but, looking at the sparrows, he said. Go, fly away, and while ye live remember me. And at the word they flew and went ofi" into the air. And Joseph saw and marvelled.
And after some days, as Jesus was passing through the city, a boy threw a stone at him and hit him on the shoulder. And Jesus said to him. Thou shalt not finish thy journey; and immediately he also fell down and died. And they that happened to be there were astonished, saying, Whence cometh this child, that every word he speaketh forthwith becometh a deed? But they also went away and accused Joseph, saying, Thou canst not dwell with us in this city. But if thou wilt, teach thy child to bless and not to curse, for he slayeth our children, and whatever he saith straightway cometh to pass.
And Joseph sat upon his seat and the child stood before him : and taking hold of him by the ear, he pulled it violently. And Jesus looking at him said, It is sufficient for thee.
And on the morrow, taking him by the hand, he led him to a certain instructor, named Zacchaeus, and said to him. Take this boy and teach him letters. And he said. Hand him over to me, brother, and I will teach him the Scripture, and will persuade him to bless all, and not to curse. And when Jesus heard, he laughed and said to them. Ye say what ye know; but I understand more than you ; for before the worlds I am, and I know when your fathers' fathers were born, and I understand how many are the years of your lives.14 And every one that heard was astonished. And Jesus said to them again, Ye marvel that I said to you, I know how many are the years of your lives. Verily I know when the world was created.15 Behold, ye believe me not at present : when ye see my cross, then ye will believe that I say true. And they were amazed when they heard these things.
And Zacchaeus wrote the alphabet in Hebrew, and said to him. Alpha. And the child said Alpha. And the teacher said again, Alpha. And the child said the same. Then again a third time the teacher said. Alpha. Then Jesus, looking at the instructor, said, Thou that knowest not Alpha, how wilt thou teach another the Beta? And the child, beginning at Alpha, said of himself the twenty-two letters. Then again he said. Hearken, teacher, to the arrangement of the first letter, and know how many accessories and lines it hath, and marks which are common, transverse, and connected. And when Zacchaeus heard such accounts of one letter, he was amazed and could not answer him ; and he turned to Joseph and said, Verily this child is not earth-born; therefore take him away from me.
And after these things, Jesus was one day playing with other boys upon the top of a house. And one child was thrust down by another headlong to the ground and died. And when the boys who played with him saw it, they fled ; and Jesus was left alone standing upon the housetop from which the boy had been pushed down. And when the parents of the dead boy learned it, they ran with weeping, and finding the boy lying dead upon the ground, but Jesus standing above, suspecting that the boy had been pushed down by him, they looked at and reviled him. And when Jesus saw this, he immediately leaped down from the house-top, and stood by the head of him that was dead, and said to him, Zeno, did I cast thee down? Arise and speak (for the boy was so called). And at the word the boy arose, and worshipping Jesus said. Lord, thou didst not cast me down, but when I was dead thou gavest me life.
And a few days after, one of the neighbours, cleaving wood, cut off the sole of his foot with his hatchet, and becoming senseless was about to die. And much people running together, Jesus also came there with them. And he took hold of the wounded foot of the young man and healed him instantly, and said to him, Arise, cleave thy wood. And he arose and worshipped him, giving thanks and cleaving the wood. In like manner also, all who were there wondered and gave thanks to him.
And when he was seven years old, his mother Mary sent him to fetch water from the well, and as he went his pitcher was broken, and, going on to the well, he spread out his garment, and drew water from the well and filled it, and he took the water and carried it to his mother. And she saw and was amazed, and embraced and kissed him.
And when he came to the eighth year of his age, Joseph was ordered by a certain rich man to make a couch for him; for he was a carpenter. And he went out into the field to gather wood, and Jesus went with him. And having cut down two trees, and shaped the one, he put it beside the other, and when he measured he found it too short, and on seeing this he was grieved, and sought to find another. But Jesus seeing it, saith to him. Lay these two together in order to make them equal. And Joseph, being at a loss as to what the child meant, did what was bidden. And he saith to him again, Take firm hold of the short piece of wood; and Joseph, wondering, took hold of it. Then Jesus also took hold of the other end and pulled it, and he made it equal to the other piece, and said to Joseph: Grieve no longer, but do thy work without impediment. And when he saw, he marvelled exceedingly, and said within himself. Blessed am I, that God hath given to me such a child. And when they went away into the city, Joseph related it to Mary; and when she saw and heard the wondrous miracles of her Son, she rejoiced, glorifying him, with the Father, and the Holy Spirit, now and always, and for ever and ever. Amen.
THE GOSPEL OF THOMAS. (III.)
The Latin text of this contains at the commencement certain details which are not in either of the Greek texts. It commences with the flight into Egypt, the account of which occupies chaps, i.-iii. The fourth chapter begins with an introduction answering to that at the head of the Greek copies. The Latin writer has taken no small liberty with his original, if we may judge from the longer Thomas, and has made it an object to paraphrase and expand his materials in some of the stories, while he has condensed and abbreviated others, omitting altogether two or three of them. The conclusion is not in the Greek at all. It was first published by Tischendorf from a manuscript in the Vatican library. The editor has found some fragments of another Latin text, of probably the fifth century, and more nearly agreeing with the Greek. We translate the Latin Thomas, to illustrate more fully the nature and extent of the variations to be found in the Christian Apocrypha.
THE LATIN GOSPEL OF THOMAS;
OR, THE CHILDHOOD OF JESUS, ACCORDING TO THOMAS
How Mary and Joseph fled with him into Egypt.
When a commotion had been raised, because a search, bad been made by Herod after our Lord Jesus Christ that he might slay him, then an angel said to Joseph, Take Mary and her child, and flee into Egypt from the face of those who seek to slay him. Now Jesus was two years old when he entered Egypt.
And as he walked through a corn-field, he put out his hand,
and took of the ears, and put them on the fire, and crushed them, and began to
Now when they had come into Egypt, they found a lodging in the house of a certain widow, and they passed one year in the same place.
And Jesus was three years old, and when he saw boys playing, he began to play with them. And he took a dry fish and put it in a bason, and ordered it to breathe, and it began to breathe. And he said again to the fish: Reject the salt which thou hast, and go into the water; and so it came to pass.16 But the neighbours, seeing what was done, told the widow woman in whose house Mary his mother was staying, and when she heard it, she cast them out of her house in great haste.
How a Teacher cast Him out of the city.
And as Jesus was walking with Mary his mother through the city market-place, he looked up and saw a teacher teaching his pupils; and behold twelve sparrows which were quarrelling together fell from the wall into the lap of the teacher who was teaching the boys. But when Jesus saw it he laughed and stopped. When the teacher saw him laughing, in a great rage he said to his pupils. Go, fetch him to me. Now when they had taken him, the master took hold of his ear, and said, what hast thou seen that thou hast made merry? But he said, Behold master, a handful of corn. I showed it to them and scattered the corn, which, at their peril, they carry away; for it was this that they were fighting for that they might divide the corn. And Jesus departed not thence till it was accomplished; and when this was done, the teacher began to cast him out of the city along with his mother.
How Jesus departed out of Egypt
And behold an angel of the Lord met Mary and said to her, Take the Child and return into the land of the Jews, for they are dead who sought his life. And Mary arose with Jesus, and they went to the city of Nazareth, which is in the proper possessions of her father. Now when Joseph went out of Egypt after the death of Herod, he took him into the desert until there should be peace in Jerusalem from those who sought the Child's life; and he thanked God that he gave him understanding, and that he found favour before the Lord God.17 Amen.
What the Lord Jesus did in the city of Nazareth
It is glorious that Thomas the Israelite and apostle of the Lord should also tell of the works of Jesus after he came out of Egypt into Nazareth. Understand, all of you, dearest brethren, what the Lord Jesus did when he was in the city of Nazareth, which is in the first chapter.18
Now when Jesus was five years old, there came a great rain upon the earth, and the child Jesus walked through it: and there was a dreadful rain, which he gathered into a pool, and commanded by his word that it should become pure, and immediately it became so. Again he took of the clay which was in that pool and made of it the number of twelve sparrows. Now it was the Sabbath when Jesus did this among the Jewish children, and the Jewish children went away saying to Joseph his father. Behold thy son was playing with us, and he took clay and made sparrows, which it was not right to do on the Sabbath, and violated it. And Joseph went to the child Jesus, and said to him, "Why hast thou done that which it was not right to do on the Sabbath? And Jesus, spreading out his hands, commanded the sparrows, saying, Retire aloft and fly; ye shall find death from no one: and they flew up and began with a cry to praise Almighty God. And the Jews who saw what was done were astonished, and departed, declaring the signs which Jesus did. But a Pharisee, who was there with Jesus, took an olive branch and began to disperse the pool of water which Jesus had made, and when Jesus saw this, he was troubled and said. Impious and ignorant man of Sodom, what wrong have the pools of water, my works, done to thee? Behold thou shalt become as a dry tree, not having roots, or leaves, or fruit; and straightway he was withered and fell to the earth and died. Now his parents carried away his dead body, and they blamed Joseph, saying, Behold what thy son hath done: teach him to pray and not blaspheme.
How the citizens were offended against Joseph because of the deeds of Jesus
And a few days after, as Jesus walked with Joseph through the town, one of the children ran against him and smote him on the elbow. And Jesus said to him, Thou shalt not finish thy journey. And immediately he fell to the ground and died. Now when they saw the miracles, they cried saying. Whence is this child? And they said to Joseph, Such a child ought not to be among us. And he took him and went away. And they said to him. Depart from this place, but if thou must be with us, teach him to pray and not to blaspheme: but our sons are foolish. And Joseph called Jesus and scolded him, saying. Why dost thou blaspheme? The inhabitants cherish hatred against us. But Jesus said, I know those words are not mine, but are thine; yet I will be silent for thy sake: but let them see in their own wisdom. And immediately they who spake against Jesus were made blind. And they walked about and said, All the words which proceed from his mouth, have effect. And when Joseph saw what Jesus did, he took him by the ear in a rage. But Jesus being troubled said to Joseph, It is enough for thee to see me, not to touch me. For thou knowest not who I am: but if thou knewest thou wouldst not grieve me. And although I am now with thee I was made before thee.
How Jesus was treated by the teacher
Then a certain man named Zacchaeus heard all that Jesus said
to Joseph, and wondering in himself he said, I never saw such a child speaking
thus. And he came to Joseph and said. Thou hast a wise child; send him to learn
his letters; and when he hath been taught in the knowledge of letters, I will
teach him honourably that he may not become foolish. But Joseph answered and
said to him, No one can teach him save God alone. Dost thou believe that Little
One will be small? Now when Jesus heard Joseph say such things, he said to
Zacchaeus, Verily, master, for however great things proceed from my mouth, they
are true. And I was Lord before all men; but ye are aliens. For the glory of
ages is given to me; nothing is given to you; for before the ages I am. And I
know how many will be the years of thy life; and that thou wilt be taken into
exile; as my Father hath said, that thou mayest understand that all things which
proceed from my mouth are true. But the Jews who stood by and heard the words
which Jesus spake, were astonished and said, We have seen such marvels, and
heard such words from this Child as we never heard nor shall hear from any other
man, neither from chief priests, nor doctors, nor Pharisees.19
And Jesus answered and said to them, Why do ye wonder? Do ye account it
incredible because I have spoken the truth? I know when ye and your fathers were
born, and, if I tell you more, when the world was made; I know also who hath
sent me to you. When the Jews heard the words which the Child spoke, they
wondered at that which they could not answer. And, returning to himself, the
Child exulted and said, I have spoken a proverb to you: but I know that ye are
weak and ignorant.
But the teacher said to Joseph, Bring him to me; I will teach him letters. And Joseph took hold of the child Jesus, and brought him into the house of a certain teacher, where other boys were taught.20 And the master with pleasant speech began to teach him letters, and wrote for him the first lesson which is from A to T, and began to caress him and to teach him. But the instructor smote the Child on the head; and the boy, when he had received the blow, said to him, I ought to teach thee, and not thou to teach me. I know the letters which thou wouldst teach me, and I know that ye are unto me as vessels out of which proceed sounds only and not wisdom.21 And beginning the lesson, he said through the letters from A to T very rapidly. And he looked at the master and said to him, Thou who knowest not how to interpret what A is and T; how wilt thou teach others? hypocrite, if thou knowest and wilt tell me about A, then I will tell thee about B. But when the doctor began to teach him about the first letter, he was not able to give him an answer. And Jesus said to Zacchaeus, Hear me, doctor; understand the first letter. Observe how it hath two lines; in the middle, advancing, remaining, giving, scattering, varying, menacing: threefold and doubly mingling: in like manner at the same time having all things common.22 When Zacchaeus saw that he so divided the first letter, he was astonished at the first letter, and at such a man and teaching, and he cried out and said, Alas for me, I am confounded; I have hired shame to myself by means of this child. And he said to Joseph, I pray thee earnestly, brother, take him from me, for I cannot look at his face, nor hear his weighty sayings. For this child can subdue fire, and restrain the sea; for he was born before the ages. What womb bare him, or what mother nourished him, I know not. my friends, I am humbled in my mind; unhappy I am mocked. I said I had a pupil; but he is found to be my teacher. And I cannot overcome my shame, for I am old; and I cannot tell what to say to him. Wherefore I must fall into great weakness, and leave this world, or depart from this city: for all see my shame: a child hath deceived me. What answer can I make to others, or what words can I repeat, since he hath defeated me at the first letter? I am astounded, my friends and acquaintances, neither can I find beginning or end in response to him. And now I pray thee, brother Joseph, take him from me and lead him to thy house, for he is a master, or a Lord, or an angel. What to say, I know not.
And Jesus turning to the Jews who were with Zacchaeus, said to them, Now let all who see not, see, and those who understand not, understand, and the deaf hear, and let those who are dead because of me rise again, and let me call to higher things those who are lofty, as He who sent me to you commanded me. Now when the child Jesus had left off speaking, all the infirm were restored who had been made infirm through his words. And they dared not to speak to him.
How Jesus raised a boy
One day when he went up on a certain house-top with some children, Jesus began to play with them, But one of the boys fell through the back-door, and immediately died. And when the children saw it, they all fled; but Jesus remained on the house-top. And when the parents of the boy that was dead, had come, they said to Jesus, Truly thou didst make him fall. And they laid wait for him. But Jesus going down from the house, stood over the dead child, and called with a loud voice the name of the child, Sinoo, Sinoo, arise and say if I made thee fall. And suddenly he arose and said, No, Lord. Now when his parents saw so great a miracle which Jesus did, they glorified God and adored Jesus.23
How Jesus healed the foot of a boy
Now after a few days a certain boy was splitting wood in the same village, and wounded his foot. And a great crowd came to him, and Jesus came with, them. And he touched the foot which was hurt, and it was immediately made well. And Jesus said to him, Arise, chop wood, and remember me. Now when the crowd saw the signs which were done with him, they adored Jesus and said. Truly we believe most certainly that thou art God.24
How Jesus brought water in his garment
And when Jesus was six years old, his mother directed him to draw some water. And when Jesus came to the fountain or well, there were great multitudes there and they broke his waterpot. But he took his garment with which he was clothed, and filled it with the water, and brought it to Mary his mother. And when his mother saw the miracle which Jesus did, she kissed him and said. Lord, hear me, and save my son.
How Jesus sowed wheat
Now when it was seed-time, Joseph went out to sow wheat and Jesus followed him. But when Joseph began to sow, Jesus put out his hand, and took of the wheat as much as he could hold in his fist, and scattered it. Then Joseph came in the time of reaping, that he might reap his crop. Jesus also came, and gathered the ears which he had scattered, and they made a hundred bushels of the best corn. And he called the poor, and widows, and orphans, and bestowed on them the wheat which he had made. Of the same corn Joseph took a little for a blessing from Jesus to his house.25
How Jesus made a short piece of wood equal to a longer
And Jesus was eight years old. Joseph was a carpenter, and made ploughs and yokes for oxen. On a certain day a rich man said to Joseph, Master, make me a couch both useful and handsome. Now Joseph was in trouble because the wood which he had cut out for this work was too short. Jesus said to him, Be not sad. Take this wood at one end, and I at the other, and we will stretch it. Which also was done. And immediately he found it fit for what he wanted it. And he said to Joseph, Behold, make what thou wilt. Now when Joseph saw what he had done, he embraced him and said, Blessed am I, in that God hath given me such a son.
How Jesus was sent to learn Letters
And when Joseph saw that he had such grace, and increased in stature, he thought he would send him to learn letters; and he sent him to another teacher to teach him. And the teacher said to Joseph, What letters dost thou wish the boy to be taught? Joseph answered and said, First teach him Gentile letters, and afterwards the Hebrew. Now the teacher knew him to be of excellent understanding, and received him willingly. And when he had written for him the first lesson, which is A and B, he taught him for some hours. But Jesus was silent and answered nothing. Jesus said to the teacher, If thou art truly a teacher and truly knowest letters, tell me the power of A, and I will tell thee the power of B. Then, being filled with wrath, his master smote him on the head, and Jesus being angry, cursed him, and he fell suddenly and died.
And Jesus returned to his home. But Joseph directed Mary his mother not to suffer him to go out of the court of his house.
How he was sent to another master
After many other days, there came another teacher, the friend
of Joseph, and said to him, Send him to me, and I will teach him his letters
with much kindness. And Joseph said to him. If thou art very competent take and
teach him. May it be with joy! When the teacher had received him, he went with
fear and great decision, and held him with great exultation. And when he had
come to the teacher's house, he found a book lying in the place, and he took
hold of it and opened it, and did
not read what was written in the book, but opened his mouth and spake by the
Holy Spirit and taught the law. And all who stood there heard him attentively,
and the master sat near him and heard him gladly, and entreated him to teach
more. When a crowd had gathered they heard all the holy doctrine which he
taught, and the precious word, which proceeded from His mouth, who, although so
young, said such things.
When Joseph heard this he was afraid, and rimming ....26 the master where Jesus was said to Joseph, Know, brother, that I took thy child to teach or to instruct; but he is filled with much gravity and wisdom. Behold, now take him with joy to thy house, brother; for the gravity which he hath is given him of the Lord. When Jesus heard the master saying thus, he was pleased, and said, ho, now master, thou hast spoken truly. For thy sake he must rise who was dead. And Joseph took him to his home.
How Jesus delivered James from the bite of a Serpent
Now Joseph sent James to gather stubble, and Jesus followed him. But while James was gathering stubble, a viper bit him, and he fell to the ground as if dead through the venom. And when Jesus saw it, he breathed on his wound, and immediately James was made whole, and the viper died.
How Jesus raised a Child
After a few days, a child, his neighbour, died, and his
mother greatly lamented him. Jesus hearing this went and stood over the child,
and smote on his breast, and said, I say unto thee, infant, do not die, but
live; and instantly the child arose. And Jesus said to the child's mother, Take
thy son and give him the breast, and remember me. And the crowd who saw this
miracle said. In truth this is a heavenly child, for he hath already freed many
souls from death, and saved all that hoped in him.27
The Scribes and Pharisees said to Mary, Art thou the mother of this child? And Mary said, Truly I am. And they said to her, Blessed art thou among women, for God hath blessed the fruit of thy womb, in that he hath given thee such a glorious child and such a gift of wisdom, as we never saw nor heard. Jesus rose and followed his mother. But Mary kept in her heart all the great signs which Jesus did among the people, in that he healed many sick. But Jesus increased in stature and wisdom, and all who saw him glorified God the Father Almighty, who is blessed for ever and ever. Amen.
After all these things, I, Thomas the Israelite, have written
what I saw and remembered for the Gentiles and our brethren; and many other
things which Jesus did, who was born in the land of Judah. Behold the house of
Israel hath seen all things from the first even to the last : what great signs
and marvels Jesus did among them, very good and invisible to his father, as the
Holy Scripture28 telleth; and
the prophets testified to his works among all the people of Israel. And it is he
who shall judge the world according to the will of immortality,29
for he is the Son of God in all the world. All glory and honour for ever
becometh him who liveth and
reigneth God through all ages for ever. Amen.
1 Comp. Pseudo-Matth. xxvi., etc.
2 Pseudo-Matth. xxix.
3 Pseudo-Matth. xxx., xxxi.
4 The text is here corrupt or defective.
5 Pseudo-Matt, xxiii.
6 Pseudo-Matt, xxxiii.
7 Pseudo-Matt, xxxiv.
8 Pseudo-Matth. xxxvii.
9 Pseudo-Matth. xxxviii.
10 Pseudo-Matth. xxxix.
11 Pseudo-Matth. xli.
12 Comp. Pseudo-Matth. xl.
13 Luke ii. 41-52.
14 Comp. John viii. 56.
15 Comp. John i. 3.
16 The fish appears to have been both salted and dried.
17 The three preceding chapters clearly form no part of the Gospel of Thomas, although prefixed to it. Where they come from I know not.
18 This paragraph is clearly a very slight modification of what the ancient editor found as the introduction to the book. See the copies from the Greek.
19 John vii. 46; Matt. vii. 29.
20 About A.D. 570, Antoninus of Placentia says he went to Nazareth, "wherein are many marvels. Also there lies in the synagogue the book in which the Lord had put A, B, C. In the synagogue also there is the beam where the Lord sat with other children; this beam is moved and raised by Christians, but Jews can in no wise move it, nor does it allow itself to be carried out." Chapter v., as translated by myself in the Journal of Sacred Literature for January, 1866.
21 1 Cor. xiii. 1; xiv. 7.
22 Like the corresponding passage in others of the false Gospels, this passage is of course intentionally obscure.
23 This shows plainly enough the writer's belief in the Deity of Jesus.
24 This shows with equal plainness that the writer distinguished between the Deity and the humanity in Christ. The prayer is remarkable, salvajilium nieum!
25 The phrase "took a little for a blessing," points to the belief in what the whole system of relics rests upon. Pilgrims to the Holy Land in the sixth century "took a little for a blessing," of many things which the priests invited or allowed them to take. See for example the pilgrimage of Antoninus of Placentia, chap, xviii., etc. (translated by myself for the Journal of Sacred Literature, January, 1866), Antoninus was shown, cir. a.d. 570, the field in which Jesus produced the miraculous crop of corn. In chap, xiii., speaking of Jericho, he says, "Before the Church is the sacred field of the Lord, in which our Lord sowed corn with his own hand, sowing as much as three bushels of corn, which also is gathered twice a year; first in the month of February that it may be used at the communion at Easter; where it has been gathered it is ploughed, and gathered again with the rest of the harvest. Then it is ploughed again." The reader will compare this for himself with the version in the text. Certainly it puts a new face on the transaction, and especially the miraculous part of it. It would almost seem as if the miracle had not yet been invented; and if so, this false Gospel was compiled, or at least translated, at a still later date. The phrase "to take or receive for a blessing" is a Hebraism for a gift (John xv. 19; 2 Kings v. 15); but the ecclesiastical application of it must be understood in a wider sense, as something with which blessing is connected, a kind of spiritual charm, etc.
26 There is a gap in the construction which Dr. Tischendorf thus supplies: "Came to the school (or door) fearing the master might die. But Salvos fecit may here mean 'cured' or 'healed,' as the like phrase in the Gospels (Luke vii. 50; xviii. 42; and James v. 15, where salvabit has the same sense).
27 Luke i. 28.
28 The writer seems careful to distinguish between his work and Holy Scripture.
29 Acts xvii. 31. The phrase "the will of immortality" is perhaps equivalent to "immortal will."