The Arabic Gospel of the Infancy of the Saviour.
In the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit, one God.
With the help and favour of the Most High we begin to write a book of the miracles of our Lord and Master and Saviour Jesus Christ, which is called the Gospel of the Infancy: in the peace of the Lord. Amen.
1. We find1 what follows in the book of Joseph the high priest, who lived in the time of Christ. Some say that he is Caiaphas.2 He has said that Jesus spoke, and, indeed, when He was lying in His cradle said to Mary His mother: I am Jesus, the Son of God, the Logos, whom thou hast brought forth, as the Angel Gabriel announced to thee; and my Father has sent me for the salvation of the world.
2. In the three hundred and ninth year of the era of Alexander, Augustus put forth an edict, that every man should be enrolled in his native place. Joseph therefore arose, and taking Mary his spouse, went away to3 Jerusalem, and came to Bethlehem, to be enrolled along with his family in his native city. And having come to a cave, Mary told Joseph that the time of the birth was at hand, and that she could not go into the city; but, said she, let us go into this cave. This took place at sunset. And Joseph went out in haste to go for a woman to be near her. When, therefore, he was busy about that, he saw an Hebrew old woman belonging to Jerusalem, and said: Come hither, my good woman, and go into this cave, in which there is a woman near her time.
3. Wherefore, after sunset, the old woman, and Joseph with her, came to the cave, and they both went in. And, behold, it was filled with lights more beautiful than the gleaming of lamps and candles,4 and more splendid than the light of the sun. The child, enwrapped in swaddling clothes, was sucking the breast of the Lady Mary His mother, being placed in a stall. And when both were wondering at this light, the old woman asks the Lady Mary: Art thou the mother of this Child? And when the Lady Mary gave her assent, she says: Thou art not at all like the daughters of Eve. The Lady Mary said: As my son has no equal among children, so his mother has no equal among women. The old woman replied: My mistress, I came to get payment; I have been for a long time affected with palsy. Our mistress the Lady Mary said to her: Place thy hands upon the child. And the old woman did so, and was immediately cured. Then she went forth, saying: Henceforth I will be the attendant and servant of this child all the days of my life.
4. Then came shepherds; and when they had lighted a fire, and were rejoicing greatly, there appeared to them the hosts of heaven praising and celebrating God Most High. And while the shepherds were doing the same, the cave was at that time made like a temple of the upper world, since both heavenly and earthly voices glorified and magnified God on account of the birth of the Lord Christ. And when that old Hebrew woman saw the manifestation of those miracles, she thanked God, saying: I give Thee thanks, O God, the God of Israel, because mine eyes have seen the birth of the Saviour of the world.
5. And the time of circumcision, that is, the eighth day, being at hand, the child was to be circumcised according to the law. Wherefore they circumcised Him in the cave. And the old Hebrew woman took the piece of skin; but some say that she took the navel-string, and laid it past in a jar of old oil of nard. And she had a son, a dealer in unguents, and she gave it to him, saying: See that thou do not sell this jar of unguent of nard, even although three hundred denarii5 should be offered thee for it. And this is that jar which Mary the sinner bought and poured upon the head and feet of our Lord Jesus Christ, which thereafter she wiped with the hair of her head. (Luk_7:37,Luk_7:38) Ten days after, they took Him to Jerusalem; and on the fortieth day (Lev_12:4) after His birth they carried Him into the temple, and set Him before the Lord, and offered sacrifices for Him, according to the command-meet of the law of Moses, which is: Every male that openeth the womb shall be called the holy of God. (Exo_13:2; Luk_2:23)
6. Then old Simeon saw Him shining like a pillar of light, when the Lady Mary, His virgin mother, rejoicing over Him, was carrying Him in her arms. And angels, praising Him, stood round Him in a circle, like life guards standing by a king. Simeon therefore went up in haste to the Lady Mary, and, with hands stretched out before her, said to the Lord Christ: Now, O my Lord, let Thy servant depart in peace, according to Thy word; for mine eyes have seen Thy compassion, which Thou hast prepared for the salvation of all peoples, a light to all nations, and glory to Thy people Israel. Hanna also, a prophetess, was present, and came up, giving thanks to God, and calling the Lady Mary blessed. (Luk_2:25-38)
7. And it came to pass, when the Lord Jesus was born at Bethlehem of Judæa, in the time of King Herod, behold, magi came from the east to Jerusalem, as Zeraduscht6 had predicted; and there were with them gifts, gold, and frankincense, and myrrh. And they adored Him, and presented to Him their gifts. Then the Lady Mary took one of the swaddling-bands, and, on account of the smallness of her means, gave it to them; and they received it from her with the greatest marks of honour. And in the same hour there appeared to them an angel in the form of that star which had before guided them on their journey; and they went away, following the guidance of its light, until they arrived in their own country. (Mat_2:1-22)
8. And their kings and chief men came together to them, asking what they had seen or done, how they had gone and come back, what they had brought with them. And they showed them that swathing-cloth which the Lady Mary had given them. Wherefore they celebrated a feast, and, according to their custom, lighted a fire and worshipped it, and threw that swathing-cloth into it; and the fire laid hold of it, and enveloped it. And when the fire had gone out, they took out the swathing-cloth exactly as it had been before, just as if the fire had not touched it. Wherefore they began to kiss it, and to put it on their heads and their eyes, saying: This verily is the truth without doubt. Assuredly it is a great thing that the fire was not able to burn or destroy it. Then they took it, and with the greatest honour laid it up among their treasures.
9. And when Herod saw that the magi had left him, and not come back to him, he summoned the priests and the wise men, and said to them: Show me where Christ is to be born. And when they answered, In Bethlehem of Judæa, he began to think of putting the Lord Jesus Christ to death. Then appeared an angel of the Lord to Joseph in his sleep, and said: Rise, take the boy and His mother, and go away into Egypt. (Mat_2:13, Mat_2:14) He rose, therefore, towards cockcrow, and set out.
10. While he is reflecting how be is to set about his journey, morning came upon him after he had gone a very little way. And now he was approaching a great city, in which there was an idol, to which the other idols and gods of the Egyptians offered gifts and vows. And there stood before this idol a priest ministering to him, who, as often as Satan spoke from that idol, reported it to the inhabitants of Egypt and its territories. This priest had a son, three years old, beset by several demons; and he made many speeches and utterances; and when the demons seized him, he tore his clothes, and remained naked, and threw stones at the people. And there was a hospital in that city dedicated to that idol. And when Joseph and the Lady Mary had come to the city, and had turned aside into that hospital, the citizens were very much afraid; and all the chief men and the priests of the idols came together to that idol, and said to it: What agitation and commotion is this that has arisen in our land? The idol answered them: A God has come here in secret, who is God indeed; nor is any god besides Him worthy of divine worship, because He is truly the Son of God. And when this land became aware of His presence, it trembled at His arrival, and was moved and shaken; and we are exceedingly afraid from the greatness of His power. And in the same hour that idol fell down, and at its fall all, inhabitants of Egypt and others, ran together.
11. And the son of the priest, his usual disease having come upon him, entered the hospital, and there came upon Joseph and the Lady Mary, from whom all others had fled. The Lady Mary had washed the cloths of the Lord Christ, and had spread them over some wood. That demoniac boy, therefore, came and took one of the cloths, and put it on his head. Then the demons, fleeing in the shape of ravens and serpents, began to go forth out of his mouth. The boy, being immediately healed at the command of the Lord Christ, began to praise God, and then to give thanks to the Lord who had healed him. And when his father saw him restored to health, My son, said he, what has happened to thee? and by what means hast thou been healed? The son answered: When the demons had thrown me on the ground, I went into the hospital, and there I found an august woman with a boy, whose newly-washed cloths she had thrown upon some wood: one of these I took up and put upon my head, and the demons left me and fled. At this the father rejoiced greatly, and said: My son, it is possible that this boy is the Son of the living God who created the heavens and the earth: for when he came over to us, the idol was broken, and all the gods fell, and perished by the power of his magnificence.
12. Here was fulfilled the prophecy which says, Out of Egypt have I called my son. (Hos_9:1; Mat_2:15) Joseph indeed, and Mary, when they heard that that idol had fallen down and perished, trembled, and were afraid. Then they said: When we were in the land of Israel, Herod thought to put Jesus to death, and on that account slew all the children of Bethlehem and its confines; and there is no doubt that the Egyptians, as soon as they have heard that this idol has been broken, will burn us with fire.7
13. Going out thence, they came to a place where there were robbers who had plundered several men of their baggage and clothes, and had bound them. Then the robbers heard a great noise, like the noise of a magnificent king going out of his city with his army, and his chariots and his drums; and at this the robbers were terrified, and left all their plunder. And their captives rose up, loosed each other’s bonds, recovered their baggage, and went away. And when they saw Joseph and Mary coming up to the place, they said to them: Where is that king, at the hearing of the magnificent sound of whose approach the robbers have left us, so that we have escaped safe? Joseph answered them: He will come behind us.
14. Thereafter they came into another city, where there was a demoniac woman whom Satan, accursed and rebellious, had beset, when on one occasion she had gone out by night for water. She could neither bear clothes, nor live in a house; and as often as they tied her up with chains and thongs, she broke them, and fled naked into waste places; and, standing in cross-roads and cemeteries, she kept throwing stones at people, and brought very heavy calamities upon her friends. And when the Lady Mary saw her, she pitied her; and upon this Satan immediately left her, and fled away in the form of a young man, saying: Woe to me from thee, Mary, and from thy son. So that woman was cured of her torment, and being restored to her senses, she blushed on account of her nakedness; and shunning the sight of men, went home to her friends. And after she put on her clothes, she gave an account of the matter to her father and her friends; and as they were the chief men of the city, they received the Lady Mary and Joseph with the greatest honour and hospitality.
15. On the day after, being supplied by them with provision for their journey, they went away, and on the evening of that day arrived at another town, in which they were celebrating a marriage; but, by the arts of accursed Satan and the work of enchanters, the bride had become dumb, and could not speak a word. And after the Lady Mary entered the town, carrying her son the Lord Christ, that dumb bride saw her, and stretched out her hands towards the Lord Christ, and drew Him to her, and took Him into her arms, and held Him close and kissed Him, and leaned over Him, moving His body back and forwards. Immediately the knot of her tongue was loosened, and her ears were opened; and she gave thanks and praise to God, because He had restored her to health. And that night the inhabitants of that town exulted with joy, and thought that God and His angels had come down to them.
16. There they remained three days, being held in great honour, and living splendidly. Thereafter, being supplied by them with provision for their journey, they went away and came to another city, in which, because it was very populous, they thought of passing the night. And there was in that city an excellent woman: and once, when she had gone to the river to bathe, lo, accursed Satan, in the form of a serpent, had leapt upon her, and twisted himself round her belly; and as often as night came on, he tyrannically tormented her. This woman, seeing the mistress the Lady Mary, and the child, the Lord Christ, in her bosom, was struck with a longing for Him, and said to the mistress the Lady Mary: O mistress, give me this child, that I may carry him, and kiss him. She therefore gave Him to the woman; and when He was brought to her, Satan let her go, and fled and left her, nor did the woman ever see him after that day. Wherefore all who were present praised God Most High, and that woman bestowed on them liberal gifts.
17. On the day after, the same woman took scented water to wash the Lord Jesus; and after she had washed Him, she took the water with which she had done it, and poured part of it upon a girl who was living there, whose body was white with leprosy, and washed her with it. And as soon as this was done, the girl was cleansed from her leprosy. And the towns people said: There is no doubt that Joseph and Mary and that boy are gods, not men. And when they were getting ready to go away from them, the girl who had laboured under the leprosy came up to them, and asked them to let her go with them.
18. When they had given her permission, she went with them. And afterwards they came to a city, in which was the castle of a most illustrious prince, who kept a house for the entertainment of strangers. They turned into this place; and the girl went away to the prince’s wife; and she found her weeping and sorrowful, and she asked why she was weeping. Do not be surprised, said she, at my tears; for I am overwhelmed by a great affliction, which as yet I have not endured to tell to any one. Perhaps, said the girl, if you reveal it and disclose it to me, I may have a remedy for it. Hide this secret, then, replied the princess, and tell it to no one. I was married to this prince, who is a king and ruler over many cities, and I lived long with him, but by me he had no son. And when at length I produced him a son, he was leprous; and as soon as he saw him, he turned away with loathing, and said to me: Either kill him, or give him to the nurse to be brought up in some place from which we shall never hear of him more. After this I can have nothing to do with thee, and I will never see thee more. On this account I know not what to do, and I am overwhelmed with grief. Alas! my son. Alas! my husband. Did I not say so? said the girl. I have found a cure for thy disease, and I shall tell it thee. For I too was a leper; but I was cleansed by God, who is Jesus, the son of the Lady Mary. And the woman asking her where this God was whom she had spoken of, Here, with thee, said the girl; He is living in the same house. But how is this possible? said she. Where is he? There, said the girl, are Joseph and Mary; and the child who is with them is called Jesus; and He it is who cured me of my disease and my torment. But by what means, said she, wast thou cured of thy leprosy? Wilt thou not tell me that? Why not? said the girl. I got from His mother the water in which He had been washed, and poured it over myself; and so I was cleansed from my leprosy. Then the princess rose up, and invited them to avail themselves of her hospitality. And she prepared a splendid banquet for Joseph in a great assembly of the men of the place. And on the following day she took scented water with which to wash the Lord Jesus, and thereafter poured the same water over her son, whom she had taken with her; and immediately her son was cleansed from his leprosy. Therefore, singing thanks and praises to God, she said: Blessed is the mother who bore thee, O Jesus; dost thou so cleanse those who share the same nature with thee with the water in which thy body has been washed? Besides, she bestowed great gifts upon the mistress the Lady Mary, and sent her away with great honour.
19. Coming thereafter to another city, they wished to spend the night in it. They turned aside, therefore, to the house of a man newly married, but who, under the influence of witchcraft, was not able to enjoy his wife; and when they had spent that night with him, his bond was loosed. And at daybreak, when they were girding themselves for their journey, the bridegroom would not let them go, and prepared for them a great banquet.
20. They set out, therefore, on the following day; and as they came near another city, they saw three women weeping as they came out of a cemetery. And when the Lady Mary beheld them, she said to the girl who accompanied her: Ask them what is the matter with them, or what calamity has befallen them. And to the girl’s questions they made no reply, but asked in their turn: Whence are you, and whither are you going? for the day is already past, and night is coming on apace. We are travellers, said the girl, and are seeking a house of entertainment in which we may pass the night. They said: Go with us, and spend the night with us. They followed them, therefore, and were brought into a new house with splendid decorations and furniture. Now it was winter; and the girl, going into the chamber of these women, found them again weeping and lamenting. There stood beside them a mule, covered with housings of cloth of gold, and sesame was put before him; and the women were kissing him, and giving him food. And the gift said: What is all the ado, my ladies, about this mule? They answered her with tears, and said: This mule, which thou seest, was our brother, born of the same mother with ourselves. And when our father died, and left us great wealth, and this only brother, we did our best to get him married, and were preparing his nuptials for him, after the manner of men. But some women, moved by mutual jealousy, bewitched him unknown to us; and one night, a little before daybreak, when the door of our house was shut, we saw that this our brother had been turned into a mule, as thou now beholdest him. And we are sorrowful, as thou seest, having no father to comfort us: there is no wise man, or magician, or enchanter in the world that we have omitted to send for; but nothing has done us any good. And as often as our hearts are overwhelmed with grief, we rise and go away with our mother here, and weep at our father’s grave, and come back again.
21. And when the girl heard these things, Be of good courage, said she, and weep not: for the cure of your calamity is near; yea, it is beside you, and in the middle of your own house. For I also was a leper; but when I saw that woman, and along with her that young child, whose name is Jesus, I sprinkled my body with the water with which His mother had washed Him, and I was cured. And I know that He can cure your affliction also. But rise, go to Mary my mistress; bring her into your house, and tell her your secret; and entreat and supplicate her to have pity upon yon. After the woman had heard the girl’s words, they went in haste to the Lady Mary, and brought her into their chamber, and sat down before her weeping, and saying: O our mistress, Lady Mary, have pity on thy hand-maidens; for no one older than ourselves, and no head of the family, is left – neither father nor brother – to live with us; but this mule which thou seest was our brother, and women have made him such as thou seest by witchcraft. We beseech thee, therefore, to have pity upon us. Then, grieving at their lot, the Lady Mary took up the Lord Jesus, and put Him on the mule’s back; and she wept as well as the women, and said to Jesus Christ: Alas! my son, heal this mule by Thy mighty power, and make him a man endowed with reason as he was before. And when these words were uttered by the Lady Mary, his form was changed, and the mule became a young man, free from every defect. Then he and his mother and his sisters adored the Lady Mary, and lifted the boy above their heads, and began to kiss Him, saying: Blessed is she that bore Thee, O Jesus, O Saviour of the world; blessed are the eyes which enjoy the felicity of seeing Thee.
22. Moreover, both the sisters said to their mother: Our brother indeed, by the aid of the Lord Jesus Christ, and by the salutary intervention of this girl, who pointed out to us Mary and her son, has been raised to human form. Now, indeed, since our brother is unmarried, it would do very well for us to give him as his wife this girl, their servant. And having asked the Lady Mary, and obtained her consent, they made a splendid wedding for the girl; and their sorrow being changed into joy, and the beating of their breasts into dancing, they began to be glad, to rejoice, to exult, and sing – adorned, on account of their great joy, in most splendid and gorgeous attire. Then they began to recite songs and praises, and to say: O Jesus, son of David, who turnest sorrow into gladness, and lamentations into joy! And Joseph and Mary remained there ten days. Thereafter they set out, treated with great honours by these people, who bade them farewell, and from bidding them farewell returned weeping, especially the girl.
23. And turning away from this place, they came to a desert; and hearing that it was infested by robbers, Joseph and the Lady Mary resolved to cross this region by night. But as they go along, behold, they see two robbers lying in the way, and along with them a great number of robbers, who were their associates, sleeping. Now those two robbers, into whose hands they had fallen, were Titus and Dumachus. Titus therefore said to Dumachus: I beseech thee to let these persons go freely, and so that our comrades may not see them. And as Dumachus refused, Titus said to him again: Take to thyself forty drachmas from me, and hold this as a pledge. At the same time he held out to him the belt which he had about his waist, to keep him from opening his mouth or speaking. And the Lady Mary, seeing that the robber had done them a kindness, said to him: The Lord God will sustain thee by His right hand, and will grant thee remission of thy sins. And the Lord Jesus answered, and said to His mother: Thirty years hence, O my mother, the Jews will crucify me at Jerusalem, and these two robbers will be raised upon the cross along with me, Titus on my right hand and Dumachus on my left; and after that day Titus shall go before me into Paradise. And she said: God keep this from thee, my son. And they went thence towards a city of idols, which, as they came near it, was changed into sand-hills.
24. Hence they turned aside to that sycamore which is now called Matarea,8 and the Lord Jesus brought forth in Matarea a fountain in which the Lady Mary washed His shirt. And from the sweat of the Lord Jesus which she sprinkled there, balsam was produced in that region.
25. Thence they came down to Memphis, and saw Pharaoh, and remained three years in Egypt; and the Lord Jesus did in Egypt very many miracles which are recorded neither in the Gospel of the Infancy nor in the perfect Gospel.
26. And at the end of the three years He came back out of Egypt, and returned. And when they had arrived at Judæa, Joseph was afraid to enter it; but hearing that Herod was dead, and that Archelaus his son had succeeded him, he was afraid indeed, but he went into Judæa. And an angel of the Lord appeared to him, and said: O Joseph, go into the city of Nazareth, and there abide.
Wonderful indeed, that the Lord of the world should be thus borne and carried about through the world!
27. Thereafter, going into the city of Bethlehem, they saw there many and grievous diseases infesting the eyes of the children, who were dying in consequence. And a woman was there with a sick son, whom, now very near death, she brought to the Lady Mary, who saw him as she was washing Jesus Christ. Then said the woman to her: O my Lady Mary, look upon this son of mine, who is labouring under a grievous disease. And the Lady Mary listened to her, and said: Take a little of that water in which I have washed my son, and sprinkle him with it. She therefore took a little of the water, as the Lady Mary had told her, and sprinkled it over her son. And when this was done his illness abated; and after sleeping a little, he rose up from sleep safe and sound. His mother rejoicing at this, again took him to the Lady Mary. And she said to her: Give thanks to God, because He hath healed this thy son.
28. There was in the same place another woman, a neighbour of her whose son had lately been restored to health. And as her son was labouring under the same disease, and his eyes were now almost blinded, she wept night and day. And the mother of the child that had been cured said to her: Why dost thou not take thy son to the Lady Mary, as I did with mine when he was nearly dead? And he got well with that water with which the body of her son Jesus had been washed. And when the woman heard this from her, she too went and got some of the same water, and washed her son with it, and his body and his eyes were instantly made well. Her also, when she had brought her son to her, and disclosed to her all that had happened, the Lady Mary ordered to give thanks to God for her son’s restoration to health, and to tell nobody of this matter.
29. There were in the same city two women, wives of one man, each having a son ill with fever. The one was called Mary, and her son’s name was Cleopas. She rose and took up her son, and went to the Lady Mary, the mother of Jesus, and offering her a beautiful mantle, said: O my Lady Mary, accept this mantle, and for it give me one small bandage. Mary did so, and the mother of Cleopas went away, and made a shirt of it, and put it on her son. So he was cured of his disease; but the son of her rival died. Hence there sprung up hatred between them; and as they did the house-work week about, and as it was the turn of Mary the mother of Cleopas, she heated the oven to bake bread; and going away to bring the lump that she had kneaded, she left her son Cleopas beside the oven. Her rival seeing him alone – and the oven was very hot with the fire blazing under it – seized him and threw him into the oven, and took herself off. Mary coming back, and seeing her son Cleopas lying in the oven laughing, and the oven quite cold, as if no fire had ever come near it, knew that her rival had thrown him into the fire. She drew him out, therefore, and took him to the Lady Mary, and told her of what had happened to him. And she said: Keep silence, and tell nobody of the affair; for I am afraid for you if you divulge it. After this her rival went to the well to draw water; and seeing Cleopas playing beside the well, and nobody near, she seized him and threw him into the well, and went home herself. And some men who had gone to the well for water saw the boy sitting on the surface of the water; and so they went down and drew him out. And they were seized with a great admiration of that boy, and praised God. Then came his mother, and took him up, and went weeping to the Lady Mary, and said: O my lady, see what my rival has done to my son, and how she has thrown him into the well; she will be sure to destroy him some day or other. The Lady Mary said to her: God will avenge thee upon her. Thereafter, when her rival went to the well to draw water, her feet got entangled in the rope, and she fell into the well. Some men came to draw her out, but they found her skull fractured and her bones broken. Thus she died a miserable death, and in her came to pass that saying: They have digged a well deep, but have fallen into the pit which they had prepared. (Psa_7:15, Psa_55:6)
30. Another woman there had twin sons who had fallen into disease, and one of them died, and the other was at his last breath. And his mother, weeping, lifted him up, and took him to the Lady Mary, and said: O my lady, aid me and succour me. For I had two sons, and I have just buried the one, and the other is at the point of death. See how I am going to entreat and pray to God. And she began to say: O Lord, Thou art compassionate, and merciful, and full of affection. Thou gavest me two sons, of whom Thou hast taken away the one: this one at least leave to me. Wherefore the Lady Mary, seeing the fervour of her weeping, had compassion on her, and said: Put thy son in my son’s bed, and cover him with his clothes. And when she had put him in the bed in which Christ was lying, he had already closed his eyes in death; but as soon as the smell of the clothes of the Lord Jesus Christ reached the boy, he opened his eyes, and, calling upon his mother with a loud voice, he asked for bread, and took it and sucked it. Then his mother said: O Lady Mary, now I know that the power of God dwelleth in thee, so that thy son heals those that partake of the same nature with himself, as soon as they have touched his clothes. This boy that was healed is he who in the Gospel is called Bartholomew.
31. Moreover, there was there a leprous woman, and she went to the Lady Mary, the mother of Jesus, and said: My lady, help me. And the Lady Mary answered: What help dost thou seek? Is it gold or silver? or is it that thy body be made clean from the leprosy? And that woman asked: Who can grant me this? And the Lady Mary said to her: Wait a little, until I shall have washed my son Jesus, and put him to bed. The woman waited, as Mary had told her; and when she had put Jesus to bed, she held out to the woman the water in which she had washed His body, and said: Take a little of this water, and pour it over thy body. And as soon as she had done so, she was cleansed, and gave praise and thanks to God.
32. Therefore, after staying with her three days, she went away; and coming to a city, saw there one of the chief men, who had married the daughter of another of the chief men. But when he saw the woman, he beheld between her eyes the mark of leprosy in the shape of a star; and so the marriage was dissolved, and became null and void. And when that woman saw them in this condition, weeping and overwhelmed with sorrow, she asked the cause of their grief. But they said: Inquired not into our condition, for to no one living can we tell our grief, and to none but ourselves can we disclose it. She urged them, however, and entreated them to entrust it to her, saying that she would perhaps be able to tell them of a remedy. And when they showed her the girl, and the sign of leprosy which appeared between her eyes, as soon as she saw it, the woman said: I also, whom you see here, laboured under the same disease, when, upon some business which happened to come in my way, I went to Bethlehem. There going into a cave, I saw a woman named Mary, whose son was he who was named Jesus; and when she saw that I was a leper, she took pity on me, and handed me the water with which she had washed her son’s body. With it I sprinkled my body, and came out clean. Then the woman said to her: Wilt thou not, O lady, rise and go with us, and show us the Lady Mary? And she assented; and they rose and went to the Lady Mary, carrying with them splendid gifts. And when they had gone in, and presented to her the gifts, they showed her the leprous girl whom they had brought. The Lady Mary therefore said: May the compassion of the Lord Jesus Christ descend upon you; and handling to them also a little of the water in which she had washed the body of Jesus Christ, she ordered the wretched woman to be bathed in it. And when this had been done, she was immediately cured; and they, and all standing by, praised God. Joyfully therefore they returned to their own city, praising the Lord for what He had done. And when the chief heard that his wife had been cured, he took her home, and made a second marriage, and gave thanks to God for the recovery of his wife’s health.
33. There was there also a young woman afflicted by Satan; for that accursed wretch repeatedly appeared to her in the form of a huge dragon, and prepared to swallow her. He also sucked out all her blood, so that she was left like a corpse. As often as he came near her, she, with her hands clasped over her head, cried out, and said: Woe, woe’s me, for nobody is near to free me from that accursed dragon. And her father and mother, and all who were about her or saw her, bewailed her lot; and men stood round her in a crowd, and all wept and lamented, especially when she wept, and said: Oh, my brethren and friends, is there no one to free me from that murderer? And the daughter of the chief who had been healed of her leprosy, hearing the girl’s voice, went up to the roof of her castle, and saw her with her hands clasped over her head weeping, and all the crowds standing round her weeping as wall. She therefore asked the demoniac’s husband whether his wife’s mother were alive. And when he answered that both her parents were living, she said: Send for her mother to come to me. And when she saw that he had sent for her, and she had come, she said: Is that distracted girl thy daughter? Yes, O lady, said that sorrowful and weeping woman, she is my daughter. The chiefs daughter answered: Keep my secret, for I confess to thee that I was formerly a leper; but now the Lady Mary, the mother of Jesus Christ, has healed me. But if thou wishest thy daughter to be healed, take her to Bethlehem, and seek Mary the mother of Jesus, and believe that thy daughter will be healed; I indeed believe that thou wilt come back with joy, with thy daughter healed. As soon as the woman heard the words of the chief’s daughter, she led away her daughter in haste; and going to the place indicated, she went to the Lady Mary, and revealed to her the state of her daughter. And the Lady Mary hearing her words, gave her a little of the water in which she had washed the body of her son Jesus, and ordered her to pour it on the body of her daughter. She gave her also from the clothes of the Lord Jesus a swathing-cloth, saying: Take this cloth, and show it to thine enemy as often as thou shalt see him. And she saluted them, and sent them away.
34. When, therefore, they had gone away from her, and returned to their own district, and the time was at hand at which Satan was wont to attack her, at this very time that accursed one appeared to her in the shape of a huge dragon, and the girl was afraid at the sight of him. And her mother said to her: Fear not, my daughter; allow him to come near thee, and then show him the cloth which the Lady Mary hath given us, and let us see what will happen. Satan, therefore, having come near in the likeness of a terrible dragon, the body of the girl shuddered for fear of him; but as soon as she took out the cloth, and placed it on her head, and covered her eyes with it, flames and live coals began to dart forth from it, and to be cast upon the dragon. O the great miracle which was done as soon as the dragon saw the cloth of the Lord Jesus, from which the fire darted, and was cast upon his head and eyes! He cried out with a loud voice: What have I to do with thee, O Jesus, son of Mary? Whither shall I fly from thee? And with great fear he turned his back and departed from the girl, and never afterwards appeared to her. And the girl now had rest from him, and gave praise and thanks to God, and along with her all who were present at that miracle.
35. Another woman was living in the same place, whose son was tormented by Satan. He, Judas by name, as often as Satan seized him, used to bite all who came near him; and if he found no one near him, he used to bite his own hands and other limbs. The mother of this wretched creature, then, hearing the fame of the Lady Mary and her son Jesus, rose up and brought her son Judas with her to the Lady Mary. In the meantime, James and Joses had taken the child the Lord Jesus with them to play with the other children; and they had gone out of the house and sat down, and the Lord Jesus with them. And the demoniac Judas came up, and sat down at Jesus’ right hand: then, being attacked by Satan in the same manner as usual, he wished to bite the Lord Jesus, but was not able; nevertheless he struck Jesus on the right side, whereupon He began to weep. And immediately Satan went forth out of that boy, fleeing like a mad dog. And this boy who struck Jesus, and out of whom Satan went forth in the shape of a dog, was Judas Iscariot, who betrayed Him to the Jews; and that same side on which Judas struck Him, the Jews transfixed with a lance. (Joh_19:34)
36. Now, when the Lord Jesus had completed seven years from His birth, on a certain day He was occupied with boys of His own age. For they were playing among clay, from which they were making images of asses, oxen, birds, and other animals; and each one boasting of his skill, was praising his own work. Then the Lord Jesus said to the boys: The images that I have made I will order to walk. The boys asked Him whether then he were the son of the Creator; and the Lord Jesus bade them walk. And they immediately began to leap; and then, when He had given them leave, they again stood still. And He had made figures of birds and sparrows, which flew when He told them to fly, and stood still when He told them to stand, and ate and drank when He handed them food and drink. After the boys had gone away and told this to their parents, their fathers said to them: My sons, take care not to keep company with him again, for he is a wizard: flee from him, therefore, and avoid him, and do not play with him again after this.
37. On a certain day the Lord Jesus, running about and playing with the boys, passed the shop of a dyer, whose name was Salem; and he had in his shop many pieces of cloth which he was to dye. The Lord Jesus then, going into his shop, took up all the pieces of cloth, and threw them into a tub full of indigo. And when Salem came and saw his cloths destroyed, he began to cry out with a loud voice, and to reproach Jesus, saying: Why hast thou done this to me, O son of Mary? Thou hast disgraced me before all my townsmen: for, seeing that every one wished the colour that suited himself, thou indeed hast come and destroyed them all. The Lord Jesus answered: I shall change for thee the colour of any piece of cloth which thou shalt wish to be changed. And immediately He began to take the pieces of cloth out of the tub, each of them of that colour which the dyer wished, until He had taken them all out. When the Jews saw this miracle and prodigy, they praised God.
38. And Joseph used to go about through the whole city, and take the Lord Jesus with him, when people sent for him in the way of his trade to make for them doors, and milk-pails, and beds, and chests; and the Lord Jesus was with him wherever he went. As often, therefore, as Joseph had to make anything a cubit or a span longer or shorter, wider or narrower, the Lord Jesus stretched His hand towards it; and as soon as He did so, it became such as Joseph wished. Nor was it necessary for him to make anything with his own hand, for Joseph was not very skilful in carpentry.
39. Now, on a certain day, the king of Jerusalem sent for him, and said: I wish thee, Joseph, to make for me a throne to fit that place in which I usually sit. Joseph obeyed, and began the work immediately, and remained in the palace two years, until he finished the work of that throne. And when he had it carried to its place, he perceived that each side wanted two spans of the prescribed measure. And the king, seeing this, was angry with Joseph; and Joseph, being in great fear of the king, spent the night without supper, nor did he taste anything at all. Then, being asked by the Lord Jesus why he was afraid, Joseph said: Because I have spoiled all the work that I have been two years at. And the Lord Jesus said to him: Fear not, and do not lose heart; but do thou take hold of one side of the throne; I shall take the other; and we shall put that to rights. And Joseph, having done as the Lord Jesus had said and each having drawn by his own side, the throne was put to rights, and brought to the exact measure of the place. And those that stood by and saw this miracle were struck with astonishment, and praised God. And the woods used in that throne were of those which are celebrated in the time of Solomon the son of David; that is, woods of many and various kinds.
40. On another day the Lord Jesus went out into the road, and saw the boys that had come together to play, and followed them; but the boys hid themselves from Him. The Lord Jesus, therefore, having come to the door of a certain house, and seen some women standing there, asked them where the boys had gone; and when they answered that there was no one there, He said again: Who are these whom you see in the furnace?9 They replied that they were kids of three years old. And the Lord Jesus cried out, and said: Come out hither, O kids, to your Shepherd. Then the boys, in the form of kids, came out, and began to dance round Him; and the women, seeing this, were very much astonished, and were seized with trembling, and speedily, supplicated and adored the Lord Jesus, saying: O our Lord Jesus, son of Mary, Thou art of a truth that good Shepherd of Israel; have mercy on Thy handmaidens who stand before Thee, and who have never doubted: for Thou hast come, O our Lord, to heal, and not to destroy. And when the Lord Jesus answered that the sons of Israel were like the Ethiopians among the nations, the women said: Thou, O Lord, knowest all things, nor is anything hid from Thee; now, indeed, we beseech Thee, and ask Thee of Thy affection to restore these boys Thy servants to their former condition. The Lord Jesus therefore said: Come, boys, let us go and play. And immediately, while these women were standing by, the kids were changed into boys.
41. Now in the month Adar, Jesus, after the manner of a king, assembled the boys together. They spread their clothes on the ground, and He sat down upon them. Then they put on His head a crown made of flowers, and, like chamber-servants, stood in His presence, on the right and on the left, as if He were a king. And whoever passed by that way was forcibly dragged by the boys, saying: Come hither, and adore the king; then go thy way.
42. In the meantime, while these things were going on, some men came up carrying a boy. For this boy had gone into the mountain with those of his own age to seek wood, and there he found a partridge’s nest; and when he stretched out his hand to take the eggs from it, a venomous serpent bit him from the middle of the nest, so that he called out for help. His comrades accordingly went to him with haste, and found him lying on the ground like one dead. Then his relations came and took him up to carry him back to the city. And after they had come to that place where the Lord Jesus was sitting like a king, and the rest of the boys standing round Him like His servants, the boys went hastily forward to meet him who had been bitten by the serpent, and said to his relations: Come and salute the king. Bat when they were unwilling to go, on account of the sorrow in which they were, the boys dragged them by force against their will. And when they had come up to the Lord Jesus, He asked them why they were carrying the boy. And when they answered that a serpent had bitten him, the Lord Jesus said to the boys: Let us go and kill that serpent. And the parents of the boy asked leave to go away, because their son was in the agony of death; but the boys answered them, saying: Did you not hear the king saying: Let us go kill the serpent? and will you not obey him? And so, against their will the child was carried back. And when they came to the nest, the Lord Jesus said to the boys: Is this the serpent’s place? They said that it was; and the serpent, at the call of the Lord, came forth without delay, and submitted itself to Him. And He said to it: Go away, and suck out all the poison which thou hast infused into this boy. And so the serpent crawled to the boy, and sucked out all its poison. Then the Lord Jesus cursed it, and immediately on this being done it burst asunder; and the Lord Jesus stroked the boy with his hand, and he was healed. And he began to weep; but Jesus said: Do not weep, for by and by thou shalt be my disciple. And this is Simon the Cananite,10 of whom mention is made in the Gospel. (Mat_10:4, etc.)
43. On another day, Joseph sent his son James to gather wood, and the Lord Jesus went with him as his companion. And when they had come to the place where the wood was, and James had begun to gather it, behold, a venomous viper bit his hand, so that he began to cry out and weep. The Lord Jesus then, seeing him in this condition, went up to him, and blew upon the place where the viper had bitten him; and this being done, he was healed immediately.
44. One day, when the Lord Jesus was again with the boys playing on the roof of a house, one of the boys fell down from above, and immediately expired. And the rest of the boys fled in all directions, and the Lord Jesus was left alone on the roof. And the relations of the boy came up and said to the Lord Jesus: It was thou who didst throw our son headlong from the roof. And when He denied it, they cried out, saying: Our son is dead, and here is he who has killed him. And the Lord Jesus said to them: Do not bring an evil report against me; but if you do not believe me, come and let us ask the boy himself, that be may bring the truth to light. Then the Lord Jesus went down, and standing over the dead body, said, with a loud voice: Zeno, Zeno, who threw thee down from the roof? Then the dead boy answered and said: My lord, it was not thou who didst throw me down, but such a one cast me down from it. And when the Lord commanded those who were standing by to attend to His words, all who were present praised God for this miracle.
45. Once upon a time the Lady Mary had ordered the Lord Jesus to go and bring her water from the well. And when He had gone to get the water, the pitcher already full was knocked against something, and broken. And the Lord Jesus stretched out His handkerchief, and collected the water, and carried it to His mother; and she was astonished at it. And she hid and preserved in her heart all that she saw.
46. Again, on another day, the Lord Jesus was with the boys at a stream of water, and they had again made little fish-ponds. And the Lord Jesus had made twelve sparrows, and had arranged them round His fish-pond, three on each side. And it was the Sabbath-day. Wherefore a Jew, the son of Hanan, coming up, and seeing them thus engaged, said in anger and great indignation: Do you make figures of clay on the Sabbath-day? And he ran quickly, and destroyed their fish-ponds. But when the Lord Jesus clapped His hands over the sparrows which He had made, they flew away chirping.
Then the son of Hanan came up to the fish-pond of Jesus also, and kicked it with his shoes, and the water of it vanished away. And the Lord Jesus said to him: As that water has vanished away, so thy life shall likewise vanish away. And immediately that boy dried up.
47. At another time, when the Lord Jesus was returning home with Joseph in the evening. He met a boy, who ran up against Him with so much force that He fell. And the Lord Jesus said to him: As thou hast thrown me down, so thou shall fall and not rise again. And the same hour the boy fell down, and expired.
48. There was, moreover, at Jerusalem, a certain man named Zacchæus, who taught boys. He said to Joseph: Why, O Joseph, dost thou not bring Jesus to the to learn his letters? Joseph agreed to do so, and reported the matter to the Lady Mary. They therefore took Him to the master; and he, as soon as he saw Him, wrote out the alphabet for Him, and told Him to say Aleph. And when He had said Aleph, the master ordered Him to pronounce Beth. And the Lord Jesus said to him: Tell me first the meaning of the letter Aleph, and then I shall pronounce Beth. And when the master threatened to flog Him, the Lord Jesus explained to him the meanings of the letters Aleph and Beth; also which figures of the letter were straight, which crooked, which drawn round into a spiral, which marked with points, which without them, why one letter went before another; and many other things He began to recount and to elucidate which the master himself had never either heard or read in any book. The Lord Jesus, moreover, said to the master: Listen, and I shall say them to thee. And He began clearly and distinctly to repeat Aleph, Beth, Gimel, Daleth, on to Tau. And the master was astonished, and said: I think that this boy was born before Noah. And turning to Joseph, be said: Thou hast brought to me to be taught a boy more learned than all the masters. To the Lady Mary also be said: This son of thine has no need of instruction.
49. Thereafter they took Him to another and a more learned master, who, when be saw Him, said: Say Aleph. And when He had said Aleph, the master ordered him to pronounce Beth. And the Lord Jesus answered him, and said: First tell me the meaning of the letter Aleph, and then I shall pronounce Beth. And when the master hereupon raised his hand and flogged Him, immediately his hand dried up, and he died. Then said Joseph, to the Lady Mary: From this time we shall not let him go out of the house, since every one who opposes him is struck dead.
50. And when He was twelve years old, they took Him to Jerusalem to the feast. And when the feast was finished, they indeed returned; but the Lord Jesus remained in the temple among the teachers and elders and learned men of the sons of Israel, to whom He put various questions upon the sciences, and gave answers in His turn.11 For He said to them: Whose son is the Messias? They answered Him: The son of David. Wherefore then, said He, does he in the Spirit call him his lord, when he says, The Lord said to my lord, Sit at my right hand, that I may put thine enemies under thy footsteps?12 Again the chief of the teachers said to Him: Hast thou read the books? Both the books, said the Lord Jesus, and the things contained in the books. And He explained the books, and the law, and the precepts, and the statutes, and the mysteries, which are contained in the books of the prophets – things which the understanding of no creature attains to. That teacher therefore said: I hitherto have neither attained to nor heard of such knowledge: Who, pray, do you think that boy will be?
51. And a philosopher who was there present, a skilful astronomer, asked the Lord Jesus whether He had studied astronomy. And the Lord Jesus answered him, and explained the number of the spheres, and of the heavenly bodies, their natures and operations; their opposition; their aspect, triangular, square, and sextile; their course, direct and retrograde; the twenty-fourths,13 and sixtieths of twenty-fourths; and other things beyond the reach of reason.
52. There was also among those philosophers one very skilled in treating of natural science, and he asked the Lord Jesus whether He had studied medicine. And He, in reply, explained to him physics and metaphysics, hyperphysics and hypophysics, the powers likewise and humours of the body, and the effects of the same; also the number of members and bones, of veins, arteries, and nerves; also the effect of heat and dryness, of cold and moisture, and what these give rise to; what was the operation of the soul upon the body, and its perceptions and powers; what was the operation of the faculty of speech, of anger, of desire; lastly, their conjunction and disjunction, and other things beyond the reach of any created intellect. Then that philosopher rose up, and adored the Lord Jesus, and said: O Lord, from this time I will be thy disciple and slave.
53. While they were speaking to each other of these and other things, the Lady Mary came, after having gone about seeking Him for three days along with Joseph. She therefore, seeing Him sitting among the teachers asking them questions, and answering in His turn, said to Him: My son, why hast thou treated us thus? Behold, thy father and I have sought thee with great trouble. But He said: Why do you seek me? Do you not know that I ought to occupy myself in my Father’s house? But they did not understand the words that He spoke to them. Then those teachers asked Mary whether He were her son; and when she signified that He was, they said: Blessed art thou, O Mary, who hast brought forth such a son. And returning with them to Nazareth, He obeyed them in all things. And His mother kept all these words of His in her heart. And the Lord Jesus advanced in stature, and in wisdom, and in favour with God and man. (Luk_2:46-52)
54. And from this day He began to hide His miracles and mysteries and secrets, and to give attention to the law, until He completed His thirtieth year, when His Father publicly declared Him at the Jordan by this voice sent down from heaven: This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased; the Holy Spirit being present in the form of a white dove. (Mat_3:13-17; Luk_3:21-23)
55. This is He whom we adore with supplications, who hath given us being and life, and who hath brought us from our mothers’ wombs; who for our sakes assumed a human body, and redeemed us, that He might embrace us in eternal compassion, and show to us His mercy according to His liberality, and beneficence, and generosity, and benevolence. To Him is glory, and beneficence, and power, and dominion from this time forth for evermore. Amen.
Here endeth the whole Gospel of the Infancy, with the aid of God Most High, according to what we have found in the original.
1 Or, have found.
2 He is called Joseph Caiaphas in Josephus, Antiq., xviii. 2.2.
3 The Latin translation in Tischendorf has Hierosolyma, which, as the form in the rest of the translation is feminine, means “from Jerusalem.” But as the Arabic can mean only “to Jerusalem,” the acc. plural of the neut. form may be here intended.
4 Or, with the lights of lamps and candles, more beautiful than lightning, and more splendid than sunlight.
5 Joh_12:5. The denarius was worth about 7 3/4d.
6 For this prediction of Zoroaster, see Smith’s Dictionary of the Bible, art. Magi.
7 Burning to death was the punishment of those convicted of sacrilege and the practice of magic. It was inflicted also on slaves for grave offences against their masters.
8 Matarea, or Mataryeh, the site of Heliopolis or On, is a little way to the N.E. of Cairo. Ismail Pasha is said to have presented, on his visit to the Paris Exhibition of 1867, the tree and the ground surrounding it to the Empress of the French. For some interesting particulars about the tree, see a paragraph, by B. H. C. (i.e., Mr. B. Harris Cowper, who has translated the Apocryphal Gospels), in the Leisure Hour for ad November, 1867.
9 Perhaps the correct reading is fornice, archway, and not fornace.
10 [So the Latin; but the Greek word in the Gospels is equivalent to “zealot.” See Rev. Vers. in the lists of the Apostles. – R.]
11 Luk_2:42-47. [A comparison of the two narratives is very suggestive. The Evangelist Luke does not present any such monster of precocity, nor does he adventure into discussions “upon the sciences.” – R.]
12 Psa_110:1; Mat_22:42-45. [The Latin reads: vestigis pedum tuorum, “the footsteps of thy feet.” The original term, “footstool,” has evidently been misunderstood by some transcriber. – R.]
13 The scripulum was the twenty-fourth part of the as. It is likely here put for the notion of a planet during our hour. Pliny, N. H., ii. 10, uses the word to signify an undefined number of degrees, or parts of a degree.