Thursday, September 8, 2022

The Infancy Gospel of Thomas - Chapter 1


The first chapter of the Infancy Gospel of Thomas is very short, so this part of my series will be short as well. The translation I am using for this series was created by Mark M. Mattinson, and it is a public domain translation. Given how this translation is not protected under copyright law, I will be including the full text of the relevant passages for each of my entries in this series.

Let us begin.


I, Thomas the Israelite, thought it necessary to make known to all the Gentile brothers (and sisters) all the things done by our Lord Jesus Christ in the village of Nazareth, after he was born in our region of Bethlehem. This is the beginning:

The first chapter ends with a transition into the next chapter. This chapter is entirely about the author, the people to whom he has addressed his writing, and the subject of his writing. The writer identifies himself as “Thomas the Israelite”. Presumably, this is the Thomas that was one of the Twelve Apostles of Jesus Christ. If you read the introduction that I wrote for this series, you are probably wondering, “Why did Daniel say that nobody knows who wrote the Infancy Gospel of Thomas? Doesn’t the Infancy Gospel of Thomas begin with Thomas identifying himself as the author?”

I did not err in the statement that I made regarding the lack of information surrounding the author of the Infancy Gospel of Thomas. I had already known that Thomas was the person to whom the book in question has been attributed, but that does mean that he actually wrote it. The clearest evidence that suggests that this book was not, in fact, written by Thomas is the year that it was written. The ministry of Jesus Christ ended some time in the early first century, while the Infancy Gospel of Thomas was most likely written some time in the second century, The evidence in question is so damning to the legitimacy of the Infancy Gospel of Thomas that I would feel comfortable referring to said evidence as being proof, rather than evidence. Thomas had been deceased for a while before this book had been written, so he absolutely did not write this book.

I could spend much more time coming up with more arguments to refute, but I would rather get into the interesting part of this chapter.

I would like to draw your attention to the phrase “thought it necessary to make known”, and how it makes the author sound like a tattletale. What some (though, not many) would claim to be a “lost book of the Bible” sounds more like a letter a preschool teacher would write to a parent, informing the parent of their child’s misbehavior and poor hygiene.

Thomas (yes, I know Thomas did not write this, but I cannot keep explaining this every time I have to mention the author) begins by letting us know that he felt it was necessary to write about what Jesus had been up to in His early years. Thomas addresses his writing to his Gentile “brothers (and sisters)”.

Perhaps the choice to include “(and sisters)” was made by the translator(s), but I would like to imagine that the original author was an egalitarian.

There is not much more to this chapter, so I would like to conclude this essay with a paraphrase of the text:

I am Thomas. I am most notable for being an Israelite, but that will never be important, so forget I even mentioned it. I am writing this to my Gentile gals and pals, just to let you all know about what Jesus was doing when He was a little kid. I did not want to write this, but He forced my hand.

Jesus Christ was born in Bethlehem, but if you cared about His birth, you would be reading Matthew or Luke. You are reading my writing, so you are obviously more interested in what Jesus actually did as a child. Buckle up, folks:

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