The Infancy Gospels of Jesus: Apocryphal Tales from the Childhoods of Mary and Jesus-Annotated & Explained

Overview

Early Christian legends of divine power, miraculous events, fear and admiration can inform your own spiritual journey.

The three principal infancy gospelsthe Infancy Gospel of James, the Gospel of the Infancy, and the Infancy Gospel of Thomasare accounts of the births and early lives of Mary the Virgin Mother, and Jesus. Originating in the second through fifth centuries, these apocryphal stories are fictions but nevertheless of great historical interest in terms of the beliefs ...

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The Infancy Gospels of Jesus: Apocryphal Tales from the Childhoods of Mary and Jesus - Annotated & Explained

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Overview

Early Christian legends of divine power, miraculous events, fear and admiration can inform your own spiritual journey.

The three principal infancy gospelsthe Infancy Gospel of James, the Gospel of the Infancy, and the Infancy Gospel of Thomasare accounts of the births and early lives of Mary the Virgin Mother, and Jesus. Originating in the second through fifth centuries, these apocryphal stories are fictions but nevertheless of great historical interest in terms of the beliefs and storytelling of early Christians, for they are the sources of well-known Christian legends as well as of some of Christianitys beloved heroes and heroines.

This fascinating and accessible exploration of formative influential narratives takes you deep into the early Christian religious thinking that provides the basis for Marys biography, ideas about her purity, as well as the prayers, feasts, and iconic representations that celebrate her life. These extraordinary folktales also provide some shocking imagery of the young Jesus, the incarnation of Godequally human and divineas he learns to control his supernatural powers and apply them for good.

Now you can experience the mystery and amusement of these charming folktales without any previous knowledge of early Christian history or thought. This SkyLight Illuminations edition offers insightful yet unobtrusive commentary that explains references and philosophical terms, shares inspiring interpretations, and gives you a deeper understanding of the sources of devotion Christians feel for Mary and the holy infant Jesus.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781594732584
  • Publisher: Skylight Paths Publishing
  • Publication date: 5/1/2009
  • Series: SkyLight Illuminations Series
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 141
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.40 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Meet the Author

Stevan Davies is professor of religious studies at Misericordia University and has studied the non-canonical gospels and acts for over thirty years. Among his books are The Gospel of Thomas: Annotated and Explained, The Secret Book of John: The Gnostic Gospel—Annotated and Explained (both SkyLight Paths) and The Revolt of the Widows: The Social World of the Apocryphal Acts. He has also published books about the canonical Christian scriptures including New Testament Fundamentals and Jesus the Healer: Possession, Trance and the Origins of Christianity. His website (www.misericordia.edu/users/davies/thomas/thomas.htm) is a leading Internet resource on the Gospel of Thomas.

A. Edward Siecienski, PhD is assistant professor of philosophy at the Richard Stockton College of New Jersey and also serves as Clement and Helen Pappas Professor of Byzantine Civilization and Religion at the college's Interdisciplinary Center for Hellenic Studies.

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Table of Contents

Foreword A. Edward Siecienski v

Introduction: Tales from the Childhood of Mary and Jesus ix

The Gospel of James 1

Joachim and Anne: The Gift of Mary 3

Mary: The Story of Her Birth 9

Mary: Raised in Blessing and Purity 13

Joseph: Mary's Protector 19

Mary: Miraculous Conception 29

Joseph and Mary: Accused and Tested 33

Mary and Joseph: The Christmas Story 41

The Magi: In Search of a King 53

Herod: The Murder of Zechariah 57

The Gospel of the Infancy 63

A Cave, Not a Stable: The Nativity Story 65

A Sinful Mary and the Anointing of Christ 71

Jesus in the Temple 73

The Magi and Herod: Varying Views of Jesus 75

Into Egypt: The Holy Family in Flight 77

Exorcising a Deaf and Dumb Demon 83

The Bridegroom Mule: A Brother Restored 87

Bandits: In Them, Jesus Sees His Destiny 93

Balsams in His Path: The Holy Child Returns 95

The Co-Wife's Punishment 97

Satan's Bite: The Young Judas Iscariot 101

Divine Mischief: The Boy Jesus at Play 103

The King, Christ and a Snake 107

The Infancy Gospel of Thomas 111

The Introduction to the Gospel of Thomas 113

Clay Sparrows: A Dark Miracle 115

The Vengeful Boy: Christ in Conflict 119

The Young Healer Explores His Powers 125

Divine Carpenter: Jesus Adjusts His Elder's Mistakes 127

The Pupil Teachers His Teacher 129

The Miraculous Physician 133

In the House of My Father: Jesus in the Temple 135

Notes 138

Suggestions for Further Reading 140

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 23, 2012

    Good source material, well organized and very readable

    Davies does a nice job organizing ancient texts that never made it into the canons of the Bible.

    It is perfect source material for those with interest in the nativity of Mary and Jesus, and the life of Jesus as a young boy. Of course, we have very little to go on in the old and New Testament regarding either.

    This book will be best for those who are strong in their faith, and clear about orthodox doctrines regarding Christ's Nativity, Divinity, and Mary's birth without sin. Catholics will find some objection to conclusions made in the annotations, some of which are unsupported opinions of the author that depart from an otherwise objective presentation.

    Sometimes, the conclusions reached by the author are illogical and unsupported, For example, his conclusion that the massacre of the holy innocents never occurred and was a convenient fiction created by Matthew to ensure that Jesus Fulfilled Old Testament prophecy and "came out of Egypt." It is not uncommon for some historians and theologians to reach this conclusion, however, it fails to take into account the fact that King Herod was a violent and wicked man who murdered many of his family members, and was completely capable of ordering the massacre of children under two in Judea. Proving that something didn't occur by the absence of historical evidence for it is always a fallacious argument.

    But more than that, if the apostle Matthew lied about this event, then what would keep him from lying about other events which he recorded in his gospel? To undermine the divinely inspired Scriptures and suggest that they contain untruths and made-up stories is to undermine both the writer and the message.

    The forward and introduction are especially interesting and well written, and the source material either supports scripture, tradition, or both, or is plausible and seems credible, or passages stand as good tales from vivid imaginations.

    I'll be borrowing from these resources for my next historical fiction novel about The Knights of the Trinity ...

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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