The Infancy Gospel of Thomas
From "The Apocryphal New Testament"
M.R. James-Translation and Notes
Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1924
Here beginneth a treatise of the Boyhood of Jesus according to Thomas.
I. How Mary and Joseph fled with him into Egypt.
When there was a tumult because search was made by Herod for our Lord Jesus Christ,
that he might slay him, then said an angel unto Joseph: Take Mary and her child and flee into
Egypt from the face of them that seek to slay him. Now Jesus was two years old when he entered
into Egypt. And as he walked through a sown field he put forth his hand and took of the ears and
put them upon the fire and ground them and began to eat. [And he gave such favour unto that
field that year by year when it was sown it yielded unto the lord of it so many measures of wheat
as the number of the grains which he had taken from it.] Now when they had entered into Egypt
they took lodging in the house of a certain widow, and abode in the same place one year. And
Jesus became three years old. And seeing boys playing he began to play with them. And he took
a dried fish and put it into a basin and commanded it to move to and fro, and it began to move.
And again he said to the fish: Cast out thy salt that is in thee and go into the water. And it came
to pass. But when the neighbours saw what was done they told it to the widow woman in whose
house his mother Mary dwelt. And she when she heard it hasted and cast them out of her
II. How a Master cast him out of the city.
1 And as Jesus walked with Mary his mother through the midst of the marketplace of the
city, he looked about and saw a master teaching his pupils. And behold twelve sparrows which
were quarrelling one with another fell from the wall into the lap of the master who taught the
boys. And when Jesus saw it he laughed and stood still. 2 Now when that teacher saw him
laughing, he said to his pupils in great anger: Go, bring him hither unto me. And when they had
brought him, the master took hold on his ear and said: What sawest thou that thou didst laugh?
And he said unto him: Master, see, my hand is full of corn, and I shewed it unto them, and
scattered the corn, which they are carrying away in danger: for this cause they fought with one
another that they might partake of the corn. 3 And Jesus left not the place until it was
accomplished. And for this cause the master laboured to cast him out of the city together with his
III. How Jesus came out of Egypt.
1 And behold, an angel of the Lord met with Mary and said unto her: Take the child and
return into the land of the Jews: for they are dead which sought his life. So Mary arose with
Jesus, and they went into the city Nazareth, which is in the inheritance of his (her?) father. 2 But
when Joseph departed out of Egypt after the death of Herod, he took Jesus into the wilderness
until there was quiet in Jerusalem from them that sought the life of the child. And he gave thanks
to God for that he had given him understanding, and because he had found grace before the Lord
or, And Mary arose with Jesus, and they went unto the city of Capernaum which is of Tiberias,
unto the inheritance of her father. 2 But when Joseph heard that Jesus was come out of Egypt
after the death of Herod, he took him, &c.
or, After these things an angel of the Lord came unto Joseph and unto Mary the mother of Jesus
and said unto them: Taketh he child, return into the land of Israel, for they are dead that sought
the life of the child. And they arose and went to Nazareth where Joseph possessed the goods of
his father. 2 And when Jesus was seven years old, there was quiet in the realm of Herod from all
them that sought the life of the child. And they returned unto Bethlehem and abode there.
IV. What Jesus did in the city of Nazareth.
It is a glorious work for Thomas the Israelite (Ismaelite) the apostle of the Lord to tell of
the works of Jesus after he came out of Egypt unto Nazareth. Hear (understand) therefore all of
you beloved brethren, the signs which the Lord Jesus did when he was in the city of Nazareth: as
it is said in the first chapter.
1 Now when Jesus was five years old there was a great rain upon the earth, and the child
Jesus walked about therein. And the rain was very terrible: and he gathered the water together
into a pool and commanded with a word that it should become clear: and forthwith it did so.
2 Again, he took of the clay which came of that pool and made thereof to the number of
twelve sparrows. Now it was the Sabbath day when Jesus did this among the children of the
Hebrews: and the children of the Hebrews went and said unto Joseph his father: Lo, thy son was
playing with us and he took clay and made sparrows which it was not right to do upon the
Sabbath, and he hath broken it. And Joseph went to the child Jesus, and said unto him:
Wherefore hast thou done this which it was not right to do on the Sabbath? But Jesus spread
forth (opened) his hands and commanded the sparrows, saying: Go forth into the height and fly:
ye shall not meet death at any man's hands. And they flew and began to cry out and praise
almighty God. But when the Jews saw what was done they marvelled and departed, proclaiming
the signs which Jesus did.
3 But a Pharisee which was with Jesus took a branch of an olive tree and began to empty
the pool which Jesus had made. And when Jesus saw it he was vexed and said to him: O thou of
Sodom, ungodly and ignorant, what hurt did the fountain of water do thee, which I made? Lo,
thou shalt become like a dry tree which hath neither roots nor leaf nor fruit. And straightway he
was dried up and fell to the earth and died: but his parents carried him away dead and reviled
Joseph, saying: Behold what thy son hath done: teach thou him to pray and not to
V. How the people of the city were grieved against Joseph because of that which Jesus did.
1 And after some days as Jesus walked with Joseph through the city, there ran one of the
children and smote Jesus on the arms: but Jesus said unto him: So finish thou thy course. And
immediately he fell to the earth and died. But they when they saw this wonder, cried out saying:
From whence cometh this child? And they said unto Joseph: It is not right that such a child
should be among us. And he departed and took him with him. And they said to him: Depart out
of this place; and if thou must be with us, teach him to pray and not to blaspheme: for our sons
are put to death by him (lit. lose their senses). 2 And Joseph called Jesus and began to admonish
him, saying: Wherefore blasphemest thou? They that dwell in this place conceive hatred against
us. But Jesus said: I know that these words are not mine but thine: yet for thy sake I will hold
my peace: But let them see (? bear) their own foolishness. And straightway they that spake
against Jesus were made blind, and as they walked to and fro they said: Every word that cometh
out of his mouth hath fulfillment. 3 And when Joseph saw what Jesus had done he took hold on
him by his ear in anger: but Jesus was vexed and said unto Joseph: It sufficeth thee to see me and
not to touch me. For thou knowest not who I am, which if thou knewest, thou wouldest not
grieve me. And albeit I am with thee now, yet was I made before thee.
VI. How Jesus was treated by the Master.
1 There was therefore a man named Zacheus who heard all that Jesus said unto Joseph,
and he marvelled in himself and said: I have never beheld such a child that spake so. And he
came near unto Joseph and said to him: Thou hast a wise child: deliver him to me to learn letters,
and when he is learned in the study of the letters, I will teach him reverently that he become not
foolish. Joseph answered and said unto him: No man is able to teach him but God only. Think
you that this young child will be the occasion unto us of little torment, my brother? [There should
be mention of a cross in this sentence. Syriac has, Thinkest thou that he is worthy to receive a
little cross? See below.]
2 But when Jesus heard Joseph saying these things, he said unto Zacheus: Verily, O
master, all things that proceed out of my mouth are true. And I am before all men, and I am
Lord, but ye are the children of strangers: for unto me is given the glory of them (or of the
worlds) but unto you nothing is given: for I am before all worlds. And I know how many are the
years of thy life, and when thou shalt raise that standard (i. e. the cross) whereof my father spake,
then shalt thou understand that all things that proceed out of my mouth are true.
3 But the Jews which stood by and heard the words which Jesus spake, marvelled and
said: Now have we seen such wonders and heard such words from this child, as we have never
heard neither shall hear from any other man, neither from the chief priests nor the doctors nor the
Pharisees. 4 Jesus answered and said unto them: Wherefore marvel ye? Do ye think it a thing
incredible that I have told you the truth? I know when ye were born, and your fathers: and if I
should say more unto you, I know when the world was created, and who sent me unto you.
When the Jews heard the word which the child spake, they were wroth because they were
not able to answer him. And the child turned himself about and rejoiced and said: I spake unto
you a proverb; but I know that ye are weak and know not anything.
5 Now that master said unto Joseph: Bring him unto me and I will teach him letters. And
Joseph took the child Jesus and brought him to the house [of a certain master] where other
children also were taught. But the master began to teach him the letters with sweet speech, and
wrote for him the first line which goeth from A unto T, and began to flatter him and to teach him
(and commanded him to say the letters:) but the child held his peace. 6 Then that teacher smote
the child on the head and when the child received the blow, he said unto him: I ought to teach
thee and not thou to teach me. I know the letters which thou wouldest teach me, and I know that
ye are unto me as vessels out of which cometh nought but sound, and neither wisdom nor
salvation of the soul. And beginning the line he spake all the letters from A even unto T fully with
much quickness: and he looked upon the master and said: But thou knowest not how to interpret
A and B: how wouldest thou teach others? Thou hypocrite, if thou knowest and canst tell me
concerning A, then will I tell thee concerning B. But when the teacher began to expound
concerning the first letter, he was not able to give any answer.
7 Then said Jesus unto Zacheus: Hearken unto me, O master and understand the first
letter. Give ear unto me, how that it hath two lines (eight quite unintelligible descriptive phrases
8 Now when Zacheus saw that he so divided the first letter he was confounded at such
names, and at his teaching, and cried out and said: Woe is me, for I am confounded: I have hired
shame unto myself by means of this child. And he said unto Joseph: I beseech thee earnestly, my
brother, take him away from me: for I cannot look upon his face nor hear his mighty words. For
this child is able to subdue the fire and to restrain the sea, for he was born before the worlds.
What womb bare him or what manner of mother brought him up I know not. 10 O my friends, I
am astray in my wits, I am mocked, wretched man that I am. I said that I had a disciple, but he is
found to be my master. I cannot overcome my shame, for I am old, and I cannot find wherewithal
to answer him, so that I am like to fall into heavy sickness and depart out of the world or go away
from this city, for all men have seen my shame, that a child hath ensnared me. What can I answer
any man, or what words can I speak, for he hath overcome me at the first letter! I am
confounded, O ye my friends and acquaintances, and I can find neither first nor last to answer
him. 11 And now I beseech thee brother Joseph, remove him from me and take him unto thine
house, for either he is a sorcerer or a god (Lord) or an angel, and what to say I know not.
12 And Jesus turned himself unto the Jews that were with Zacheus and said unto them:
Now let all them that see not see and let them understand which understand not, and let the deaf
hear, and let them arise which have died by my means, and let me call them that are high unto that
which is higher, even as he that sent me unto you hath commanded me. And when the child Jesus
ceased speaking, all the afflicted were made whole, as many as had been afflicted at his word.
And they durst not speak unto him.
VII. How Jesus raised up a boy.
1 Now on a day, when Jesus climbed up upon an house with the children, he began to play
with them: but one of the boys fell down through the door out of the upper chamber and died
straightway. And when the children saw it they fled all of them, but Jesus remained alone in the
house. 2 And when the parents of the child which had died came they spake against Jesus saying:
Of a truth thou madest him fall. But Jesus said: I never made him fall: nevertheless they accused
him still. Jesus therefore came down from the house and stood over the dead child and cried with
a loud voice, calling him by his name: Zeno, Zeno, arise and say if I made thee fall. And on a
sudden he arose and said: Nay, Lord. And when his parents saw this great miracle which Jesus
did, they glorified God, and worshipped Jesus.
VIII. How Jesus healed the foot of a boy.
1 And aft er a few days a certain boy of that village was cleaving wood, and smote his
foot. 2 And when much people came unto him, Jesus also came with them. And he touched the
foot which was hurt, and forthwith it was made whole. And Jesus said unto him: Arise and
cleave the wood and remember me. But when the multitude that were with him saw the signs
which were done they worshipped Jesus and said: of a truth we believe surely that thou art
IX. How Jesus bare water in his cloak.
1 And when Jesus was six years old, his mother sent him to draw water. And when Jesus
was come unto the well there was much people there and they brake his pitcher. 2 But he took
the cloak which he had upon him and filled it with water and brought it to Mary his mother. And
when his mother saw the miracle that Jesus did she kissed him and said: Lord, hearken unto me
and save my son.
X. How Jesus sowed wheat.
1 Now when it was seed time, Joseph went forth to sow corn, and Jesus followed after
him. And when Joseph began to sow, Jesus put forth his hand and took of the corn so much as he
could hold in his hand, and scattered it. 2 Joseph therefore came at the time of harvest to reap his
harvest. And Jesus also came and gathered the ears which he had sown, and they made an
hundred measures of good corn: and he called the poor and the widows and fatherless and gave
them the corn which he had gained, save that Joseph took a little thereof unto his house for a
blessing [of Jesus].
XI. How Jesus made a short beam even with a long one.
1 And Jesus came to be eight years old. Now Joseph was a builder and wrought ploughs
and yokes for oxen. And on a day a certain rich man said unto Joseph: Sir, make me a bed
serviceable and comely. But Joseph was troubled because the beam which he had made ready for
the work was short. 2 Jesus said unto him: Be not troubled, but take thou hold of this beam by
the one end and I by the other, and let us draw it out. And so it came to pass, and forthwith
Joseph found it serviceable for that which he desired. And he said unto Joseph: Behold, fashion
that thou wilt. But Joseph when he saw what was done embraced him and said: Blessed am I for
that God hath given me such a son.
XII. How Jesus was delivered over to learn letters.
1 And when Joseph saw that he had so great grace and that he increased in stature, he
thought to deliver him over to learn letters. And he delivered him to another doctor that he
should teach him. Then said that doctor unto Joseph: What manner of letters wouldest thou
teach this child? Joseph answered and said: Teach him first the letters of the Gentiles and after
that the Hebrew. Now the doctor knew that he was of an excellent understanding, and received
him gladly. And when he had written for him the first line, that is to say A and B, he taught him
for the space of some hours: but Jesus held his peace and answered nothing. 2 At the last Jesus
said unto the master: If thou be verily a master and indeed knowest the letters, tell me the power
of A and I will tell thee the power of B. Then was the master filled with indignation and smote
him on the head. But Jesus was wroth and cursed him, and on a sudden he fell down and died. 3
But Jesus returned unto his own home. And Joseph enjoined Mary his mother that she should not
let him go out of the court of the house.
XIII. How he was delivered unto another master.
1 After many days there came another doctor which was a friend of Joseph and said unto
him: Deliver him to me and I will teach him letters with much gentleness. And Joseph said unto
him: If thou art able, take him and teach him, and it shall be done gladly. And when the doctor
received Jesus, he went with fear and great boldness and took him rejoicing. 2 And when he was
come unto the house of the doctor, he found a book lying in that place and took it and opened it,
and read not those things which were written therein, but opened his mouth and spake by the
Holy Ghost and taught the law: and all that stood by hearkened attentively, and the teacher sat
by him and heard him gladly and entreated him to continue teaching. And much people gathered
together and heard all the holy doctrine which he taught and the beloved words which proceeded
out of his mouth marvelling that he being a little child spake such things.
3 But when Joseph heard, he was afraid and ran unto the place where Jesus was; and the
master said unto Joseph: Know my brother, that I received thy child to teach him and instruct
him, but he is filled with great grace and wisdom. Therefore behold now, take him unto thy house
with joy, because the grace which he hath is given him of the Lord. 4 And when Jesus heard the
master speak thus he was joyful and said: Lo, now thou hast well said, O master: for thy sake
shall he rise again who was dead. And Joseph took him unto his own home.
XIV. How Jesus made James whole of the bite of a serpent.
Now Joseph sent James to gather straw, and Jesus followed after him. And as James
gathered straw, a viper bit him and he fell to the earth as dead by means of the venom. But when
Jesus saw that, he breathed upon his wound and forthwith James was made whole, and the viper
XV. How Jesus raised up a boy.
After a few days a child that was his neighbour died, and his mother mourned for him
sore; and when Jesus heard, he went and stood over the child, and smote him on the breast and
said: Child, I say unto thee, die not, but live. And immediately the child arose: and Jesus said
unto the mother of the child: Take up thy son and give him suck, and remember me. 2 But the
multitudes when they saw that miracle said: Of a truth this child is from heaven, for now hath he
set free many souls from death and hath saved all them that hoped in him.
[A gap in all the Latin MSS. filled by the Greek text A, cap. 19,1-3 Jesus and the doctors in the
3 The Scribes and Pharisees said unto Mary: Art thou the mother of this child? and Mary
said: Of a truth I am. And they said unto her: Blessed art thou among women, because God
hath blessed the fruit of thy womb in that he hath given thee a child so glorious: for so great gifts
of wisdom we have never seen nor heard in any.
4 And Jesus arose and followed his mother. But Mary kept in her heart all the great signs
which Jesus wrought among the people, in healing many that were sick. And Jesus increased in
stature and wisdom, and all that saw him glorified God the Father Almighty: Who is blessed for
ever and ever. Amen.
All these things have I, Thomas the Israelite (Ismaelite), written and recorded for the
Gentiles and for our brethren, and likewise many other things which Jesus did, which was born in
the land of Juda. Behold, the house of Israel hath seen all these from the first even unto the last,
even how great signs and wonders Jesus did among them, which were good exceedingly. And
this is he which shall judge the world according to the will of his Father, immortal and invisible, as
the holy Scripture declareth and as the prophets have testified of his works among all the peoples
of Israel: for he is the Son of God throughout all the World. And unto him belongeth all glory
and honour everlastingly, who liveth and reigneth God, world without end. Amen.
Scanned and Edited by
Northwest Nazarene College, 1995