The
Infancy Gospel of Thomas

I, Thomas the Israelite, am reporting to you, all my non-Jewish brothers and sisters, to make known the extraordinary childhood deeds of our Lord Jesus Christ--what he did after his birth in my region. This is how it all started:

When this boy, Jesus, was five years old, he was playing at the ford of a rushing stream.[2] He was collecting the flowing water into ponds and made the water instantly pure. He did this with a single command.[3] He then made soft clay and shaped it into twelve sparrows. He did this on the sabbath day, and many other boys were playing with him.[4] But when a Jew saw what Jesus was doing while playing on the sabbath day, he immediately went off and told Joseph, Jesus's father; "See here, your boy is at the ford and has taken mud and fashioned twelve birds with it, and so has violated the sabbath." [5] So Joseph went there, and as soon as he spotted him shouted, "Why are you doing what is not permitted on the sabbath?" [6] But Jesus simply clapped his hands and shouted to the sparrows: "Be off, fly away, and remember me, you who now are alive!" And the sparrows took off and flew away noisily. [7] The Jews watched in amazement, then left the scene to report to their leaders what they had seen Jesus doing.

The Son of Annas the scholar, standing there with Jesus, took a willow branch and drained the water Jesus had collected.[2] Jesus, however, saw what happened and became angry, saying to him, "Damn you, you irreverent fool! What harm did the ponds of water do to you? From this moment you, too, will dry up like a tree, and you'll never produce leaves or root or bear fruit." [3] In an instant the boy had completely withered away. Then Jesus departed and left for the house of Joseph. [4] The parents of the boy who had withered away picked him up and were carrying him out, sad because he was so young. And they came to Joseph and accused him: "It's your fault--your boy did all this."

Later he was going through the village again when a boy ran by and bumped him on the shoulder. Jesus got angry and said to him, "You won't continue your journey. [2] And all of a sudden he fell down and died. [3] Some people saw what had happened and said, "Where has this boy come from? Everything he says happens instantly!" [4] The parents of the dead boy came to Joseph and blamed him, saying, "Because you have such a boy, you cannot live with us in the village, or else teach him to bless and not to curse. He's killing our children!"

So Joseph summoned his child and admonished him in private, saying, "Why are you doing all this? These people are suffering and so they hate and harass us." Jesus said, "I know that the words I spoke are not my words. Still, I'll keep quiet for your sake. But those people must take their punishment." There and then his accusers became blind. [3] Those who saw this became very fearful and at a loss. All they could say was, "Every word he says, whether good or bad, has became a deed-- a miracle, even!" When Joseph saw that Jesus had done such a thing, he got angry and grabbed the boy's ear and pulled very hard. The boy became infuriated with him and replied, "It is one thing for you to seek and not find; it's quite another for you to act this unwisely. [6] Don't you know that I don't really belong to you? Don't make me upset."

A teacher by the name of Zaccheaus was listening to everything Jesus was saying to Joseph, and was astonished, saying to himself, "He is just a child, and saying this!" [2] And so he summoned Joseph and said, "You have a bright child, and he has a good mind. Hand him over to me so he can learn his letters. I'll teach him everything he needs to know so as not to be so unruly." [3] Joseph replied, "No one is able to teach this child except God alone. Don't consider him to be a small cross, brother." [4] When Jesus heard Joseph saying this he laughed and said to Zacchaeus, "Believe me, teacher, what my father has told you is true.[5] I am the Lord of these people and I am present with you and have been born among you and am with you.[6] I know where you have come from and how many years you'll live. I swear to you, teacher, I existed when you were born. If you wish to be a perfect teacher, listen to me and I'll teach you wisdom that no one else has known except me and the one who sent me to you.[7] It's you who happens to be my student, and I know how old you are and how long you will live.[8] When you see the cross that my father mentioned, then you'll believe that everything I've told you is true." [9] The Jews who were standing by heard Jesus marveled and said, "How strange and paradoxical! This child is barely five years old and yet he says such things. In fact, we've never heard anyone say the kind of things this child does." [10] Jesus said to them in reply, "Are you really amazed? Rather, consider what I've said to you. The truth is that I also know when you were born, and your parents, and I announce this paradox to you: when the world was created, I existed among with the one who sent me to you."[11] The Jews, once they heard the child speaking like this, became angry and were unable to say anything in repy. But the child skipped forward and said to them, "I've made fun of you because I know your tiny minds marvel at trifles." [13] When, therefore, they thought that they were being comforted by the child's exhortation, the teacher said to Joseph, "Bring him to the classroom and I'll teach him the alphabet." [14] Joseph took him by the hand and led him to the classroom. The teacher wrote the alphabet for him and began the instruction by repeating the letter alpha many times. But the child clammed up and did not answer him for a long time. [16] No wonder, then, the teacher got angry and struck him on the head. The child took the blow calmly and replied to him, "I'm teaching you rather than being taught by you: I already know the letters you are teaching me, and your condemnation is great. To you these letters are like a bronze pitcher or a clashing cymbal, which can't produce glory or wisdom because it is all just noise. [17] Nor does anyone understand the extent of my wisdom." When he got over being angry he recited the letters from the alpha to the omega very quickly. [19] He then looked at the teacher and told him, "Since you don't know the real nature of the letter alpha, how are you going to teach the letter beta? You imposter, if you know, teach me first the letter alpha and I'll trust you with the letter beta."[21] He began to quiz the teacher about the first letter, but he was unable to say anything. [22] Then while many were listening, he said to Zacchaeus, "Listen, teacher, and observe the arrangement of the first letter: How it has two straight lines or strokes proceeding to a point in the middle, gathered together, elevated, dancing, three-cornered, two-cornered, not antagonistic, of the same family, providing the alpha has lines of equal measure."

After Zacchaeus the teacher had heard the child expressing such intricate allegories regaurding the first letter, he despaired of defending his teaching. [2] He spoke to those present: "Poor me, I'm utterly bewildered, wretch that I am. I've heaped shame upon myself because I took on the child. So take him away, I beg you, brother Joseph. I cannot endure the severity of his look or his lucid speach. [4] This child is no ordanary mortal; he can even tame fire!" Perhaps he was born before the creation of the world. [5] What sort of womb bore him, what sort of mother nourished him?--I don't know. [6] Poor me, friend, I've lost my mind. [7] I've deceived myself, I who am wholly wretched. I strove to get a student, and I have found to have a teacher. [8] Friends, I think of the shame, because, although I am an old man, I've been defeated by a mere child. [9] And so I can only despair and die on account of this child; right now I cannot look him in the face. [10] When everybody says I have been defeated by a small child, what can I say? And what can I report about the lines of the first letter which he told me about? I just don't know, friends. For I don't know it's beginning or it's end. [11] Therefore, I ask you brother Joseph, take him back to your house. What a great thing he is--god or angel or whatever else I might call him--I don't know."