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Thomas, on the Infancy of Christ

(Not to be confused with the Gospel of Thomas or the Acts of Thomas). We present it here in both its longer and shorter Greek forms.


First Greek form

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: Therefore do you 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 bad 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 immediately 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 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 immediately 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 your? Do not trouble me.

6. And a certain teacher, Zacchaeus by name, was standing in a certain place, and heard Jesus saying this 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 on the teacher Zacchaeus, and said to him: you who are ignorant of the nature of the Alpha, how can you teach others the Beta? You 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 Zacchaeus: 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 Zacchaeus 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 on myself by having dragged this child here. 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, 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 Zacchaeus, 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, in case 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 have 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 corn in their land. And while his father was sowing, the child Jesus also sowed one gain of corn. 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 corn, and Joseph took away what was left of the corn. 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 are 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 test this 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 on 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-travelers. 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. To whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.

Second Greek form

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 on 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 failing down, he also died. And those who happened to be there were struck with astonishment, saying: How does he come from, 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, Zacchaeus 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 Zacchaeus, 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 Zacchaeus 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 on the ground, and he died. And seeing this, the boys that were playing with him ran away; and Jesus only was left standing on 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 on the ground, and Jesus standing above, they supposed that their boy had been thrown down by him; and fixing their eyes on 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.