The Arabic Infancy Gospel of Thomas

Published by Sergio Noja from a manuscript from Milan (Biblioteca Ambrosiana, G 11 sup). See Sergio Noja, “L’Évangile arabe apocryphe de Thomas, de la ‘Biblioteca Ambrosiana’ de Milan (G 11 sup),” in Biblische und Judistische Studien: Festschrift für Paolo Sacchi (ed. Angelo Vivian; Judentum und Umwelt 29; Paris: Peter Lang, 1990), 681-690; idem, “À propos du texte arabe d’un évangile apocryphe de Thomas de la Ambrosiana de Milan,” in YAD-NAMA: im memoria di Alessandro Bausani (eds. Biancamana Scarcia Amoretti and Lucia Rostagno; 2 vols.; Roma: Bardi Editore, 1991), 1:335-341). The text below is from Noja’s French translation of the original Arabic.


In the name of God who created, who saw and who speaks. We put in writing the miracles of Jesus in his childhood.

2 1 When he had reached the age of five years, Jesus went out one Sabbath with the children; they were playing.
2 Jesus began to mould some clay and he made twelve birds from it.
3 When the people saw this, they said to Joseph: “Look, he is doing what is not permitted to do on the day of the Sabbath.”
4 At that moment, Jesus clapped his hands in the direction of the clay objects, saying: “Fly, oh birds!” They flew away.
5 And everyone marveled at what they had seen. Together, they praised God.

3 1 After that, Jesus made some pitchers with the clay and filled them with water. Then a boy appeared who took a dried up olive branch; he broke them.
2 Then Jesus said to him: “You will also become as dried up as the stick in your hand.”
3 The boy became all stiff, and Jesus went away, leaving him thus.

4 1 Jesus walked on a path with Joseph when a boy arrived suddenly behind him and hit him on the shoulder. Jesus said to him then: “You will no longer move from there.” The boy fell to the ground stone dead.
2 His parents arrived, found him dead and said to Joseph: “Your son said this evil thing. Take him to Nazareth!”

5 1 Joseph thrashed him and scolded him strongly.
2 Jesus said to him then: “Scold me so. It is enough that you may have some authority over me, but you do this without knowing what you do.”

6 1 A teacher named Zacchaeus scolded him, saying to him: “Oh child, poorly raised. You answer your father this way because you have no respect for your elders.”
2 Then he said to Joseph: “Entrust him to me so that I may teach him to respect elders.”
2a Joseph brought him and said to Zacchaeus: “Who is able to correct this boy? For he is only destined to die crucified on a long piece of wood?”
2f Zacchaeus then said to Jesus: “Say alif, ba’, ta’, ta’…” But Jesus kept quiet and did not say a word to him. Then Zacchaeus hit him on the head with his hand.

7 1 After that Zacchaeus began to yell and said to everyone:
4 “This boy, or this is a god or an angel, for after giving him a slap, my soul is rebelling against me, to come out at last of my body.” Then he fell stone dead.

9 1 One certain Sabbath day, Jesus came out with the children. They were playing on the terraces of the houses. One of them fell and died. When the boys saw that he was dead, they ran away. No one remained except Jesus.
2 Then the family of the boy arrived. They found Jesus alone with the child and said to him: “Is it you who have thrown the boy to the ground?” He said to them: “Ask him if it is me who has thrown him to the ground.” They said: “He is dead, how are we able to ask him?”
3 Then Jesus said to the boy, yelling: “Boy, is it me who has thrown you to the ground?” The boy said: “No my Lord, it is not you who has thrown me to the ground.”
4 All the people who were there were amazed and said among themselves: “Could this one not be the Messiah, who makes miracles in his childhood? What will he do when he is grown?”

One day in winter, a group of boys were playing in a house. Jesus joined them. When it was time for lunch, each of them ate and Jesus went to his mother’s house to eat. Shortly after, the boys came back, but when Jesus came back they split up and hid in three houses. Jesus went into one house and saw none of them. But there was there a group of men who were seated and speaking to each other. Jesus said to them: “Where are the boys?” They answered: “They have gone out to play.” He headed for one of the three houses and asked: “Who is in this house?” They answered: “Pigs.” And he said to them: “Then let it be so!”…Then he went to the third house and asked: “Who is in this house?” They answered: “Wolves.” And he said to them: “Then let it be so!” Then he left and went away. As he was moving away from the three houses with intelligence, knowledge, and wisdom, the people said…They called to the boys: “Come, Jesus is leaving.” But no-one answered. They ran to open the doors and saw that the boys had become what he had said: pigs, monkeys, wolves. The people cried and mourned for their boys. Many gathered and all marveled at this sign

11 1 At the age of seven, Jesus was sent to the spring to get some water. But the jar broke.
2 He carried the water in his hands, bringing it at last to the house. Then he poured it in another jar and filled it.

13 1 Jesus was at home when Joseph made a bed seven elbows long. But one piece of wood was nearly an elbow short. Joseph began to search the house for some wood he would be able to use but he did not find it. Then, when Jesus saw him so concerned, he said to him: “Do not worry. Take one end of this piece of wood, while I take the other and I shall lengthen it.”
2 And the wood became as long as was desired. Joseph was amazed at him and marveled at all this.

14 1 After this, they led Jesus to a teacher. When he had seated himself near him, the teacher said to him: “Pronounce alif and nothing else.”
2 And Jesus said, “What is the significance of an alif and nothing else?” The teacher got angry and began to hit him, but his hand dried up, then he died.
3 When Joseph heard the news, he said to Mary: “Do not let your son go out any longer from the house, for he has already committed great crimes.”

16 1 One day, James and Joseph went out to the country to cut some wood, and Jesus went with them. While the two were on their way, a great viper stood in front of them. James sought to kill it, but it turned against him and killed him. And James fell to the ground.
2 Jesus found his way to him and blew on the same place as the wound. There he no longer saw a trace of the venomous wound. Then, similarly he blew on the viper which died instantly. Thereupon they cut the wood and went back home together.

Another time, Jesus found himself in the market speaking with a dyer. But, while they were speaking, Jesus went into the shop, took a costly robe and threw it into a black container. The dyer returned and saw this. He struck himself on the face and pulled out his beard, saying: “Boy, today you have brought me great worry and caused very expensive damage. Why have you done this?” And Jesus said to him: “What is it?” The dyer answered: “This robe is ruined, for it had to be died in red and you have died it in black.” Jesus said to him: “Do not be concerned; do you not wish the robe to be red?” “Yes,” he said, and Jesus went to the black container and now it was red, the most beautiful red. The dyer marveled at this, as did all who were present. The dyer kissed Jesus on the head and said to him: “May you be blessed among the sons of Israel.” Then Jesus said to him: “Give me all the robes so that I can die them the best colour.” Then the dyer was very troubled at his words. Then Joseph said to him: “Give them to him, and have no fear.” He gave to him, therefore, 11 robes and said to him: “Dye for me each robe as you have done for the known robe with which you intervened.” And the dyer wrote on the robes (the desired colour) and threw them in the container of red dye. Then each robe came out the colour that he had written on it. When the people saw this, they praised God and said: “We have never seen anything like this. What will happen to this boy? We have never had something like this and we never will!”

At this time Jesus was eight years old. The years following he did not act in any manner publicly, and he did not do anything else until he arrived finally at his thirtieth year, the moment when he arrived at the age of the first Adam at the time of creation. Then he went to John the Baptist and was baptized by him so that the water was thus consecrated. Then he gathered around him 12 disciples. That year Joseph died at 117 years old, leaving Jesus and his mother in Nazareth, as well as James and Yusa and also his brother Cleophas and the sister of Mary, as the gospel affirms on this subject: “At the cross stood his mother and his mother’s sister” in person. To tell the truth, Mary had no sister or brother. And Jesus began to travel with…all over the territory of Judea, and on the borders of Jordan and Galilee for three and a half years after his baptism and he performed miracles there.

The one who is divinely the Almighty, and who the prophets had confirmed, wanted to be subjected to all sufferings already mentioned; he thus overcame the enemy (Satan) who had controlled Adam and his descent and thus accomplished (all) the justice towards him (Satan) and towards Adam and his descent. Thanks to his submission and his patience before the injustice and derision, he established the proof of his divinity with regard to the world and its ancient injustice. And he saved the one who was oppressed (man) by snatching him from him (Satan), while clearly revealing his justice, his absolute power and his elevation to the place rightly prepared to him, to him as to his descendants and whoever believes in God and accomplishes good deeds.

This is when the Holy Spirit made shine in him the perfect Divinity and made him reach the heights in the company of all the Saints.

To Our Lord and Our Redeemer Jesus Christ are the glory, the power and dignity now, always and forever. Amen.