So today I read something rather interesting in one of the many books from my personal library. This book was titled “Lost Scriptures: Books that Did Not Make It into the New Testament” by Bart D. Ehrman.
It is not a secret that I am a skeptic, it is also not a secret I love biblical history; however what I just read was amazing.
I can remember being in 2nd grade (I was 7 or 8 years old so this is roughly 18 or 19 years ago) my sister came home and told me that her teacher Mr. Johnson (he was the 7th grade teacher, that is how I know I was in second grade, my sister is 5 years older than me) told the class that there are biblical books about Jesus when he was a child and how he did very mischievous things to other people. The name of the biblical book was never given and I must admit I had forgotten all about it until a few days ago.
I am not sure as to what podcast I was listening to but there was a biblical scholar and historian (unsure of the name, forgive me) on the show. There was a call in question about the time gap on the life of Jesus Christ from the ages 2-12, then 13-30. The scholar sort of chuckled and said read The Infancy Gospel of Thomas (not to be confused with The Copitc Gospel of Thomas). He explained that it covers the early ages of Jesus Christ. It covers the first 12 years of boyhood, bridging the gap that is left in the second chapter of Luke.
After I heard this I went down into my library where I have literally hundreds of books I have never read, and made my way over to my religious section. It took me a few minutes but I was able to locate a few books that were about missing books of the Bible. I thumb through the table of contents and was able to find a book of mine that had The Infancy Gospel of Thomas in it.
First a little bit of history on this book. As I stated above this apocryphal book covers the first 12 years of Jesus Christ’s life. It was written by someone who calls himself Thomas the Israelite (not to be confused with Judas Thomas). Most scholars agree that this fascinating book was written sometime in the second century; however there seems to be some disagreement on whether it was originally written in Greek or Syriac. Most people know what Jesus was like as an adult and often wonder what Jesus was like as a child. Well The Infancy Gospel of Thomas is one of the earliest of accounts in these myths.
Now we get to the good stuff and I will tell you some of the great things Jesus did as a child. First the book starts out with Jesus at 5 years old and he is molding birds out of clay. When another Jewish man see’s this he runs to tell Joseph that Jesus has profaned the Sabbath (you are not supposed to work on the Sabbath). When Joseph finds Jesus and asks why he has done work on the Sabbath, Jesus claps his hands and the clay birds come to life and fly away.
Another story in this book describes a boy who grabbed a stick and scattered the water Jesus had gathered. Well this action irritated Jesus, so Jesus calls the boy an irreverent idiot, and asks him what the pools of water ever do to harm him. Jesus proceeds to say “now you will also be withered like a tree, and you will never bear leaves or roots or fruit.” Suddenly the boy withered away and the parents mourn at his lost youth.
We also have a story of a child who bumps into the shoulder of Jesus, again this irritates him greatly. Jesus shouts out “you will go no further on your way.” Right away the child falls down dead. The parents of the dead child banish Joseph, Mary and Jesus from the city.
Joseph calls out to Jesus and asks why he is doing such things? That the city people are suffering, they hate them and they are persecuting them. So Jesus puts a curse on those who were speaking ill of him and made everyone blind.
There are a few stories in this book that show Jesus being taken as a pupil to great teachers. Only Jesus is the one who does the teaching. The first teacher is a man named Zachaeus, who is embarrassed that he was taught by the young boy, but didn’t speak a foul tongue and so Jesus healed all those that he had cursed. The second teacher was irritated that Jesus was teaching him and smacks Jesus on the head, So Jesus cursed him and the teacher immediately fainted and fell to the ground on his face. The third teacher was a good friend to Joseph, he tells Joseph he will use flattery to help Jesus learn. After a few days the teacher says Jesus was my pupil, but he has become my teacher. He explains how wise Jesus is and for these good words, Jesus healed the other instructor he had cursed.
Some other stories include Jesus raising a child from the dead who fell off of a roof, Jesus raising an infant from the dead and Jesus raising a man who from the dead who died in a construction accident. There are also stories of Jesus feeding many from one piece of grain, carrying water home in cloth because the jar broke. Jesus also stretches a beam of wood to help Joseph in the construction of a bed. Jesus heals a man who cut his foot with an axe and also heals his brother James who was bitten by a poisonous snake.
Some scholars say that they are uncertain if this book was meant to be taken literal or for entertainment purposes, personally I have no clue. I can say however, that either way, it was a very entertaining book.