There are two distinct versions of IGT in Latin. The first is an “Old Latin” version extant in a fragmentary palimpsest, incorporated into some manuscripts of the Gospel of Pseudo-Matthew, and translated into Irish verse. The second, found here, is a later translation of the Greek D recension.
The Late Latin IGT (=LT) was published first by C. von Tischendorf from a single manuscript: Vat. lat. 4578 (14th cent.). The Latin version was notable at the time because it was the first witness discovered which includes the Egyptian Prologue. However, it lacks two large sections toward the end of the text (corresponding to Ga 17:2-18:1; 19:1-3).LT has a large untapped manuscript tradition. One manuscript in particular, Berne Burgerbibliothek 271 (14th cent.), was actually printed in full in a 1760 catalogue by J. Sinner (Catalogus Codicum MSS Bibliothecae Bernensis, 1:245-258)—a century before Tischendorf; yet it seems to have escaped the knowledge of subsequent scholars. At least three other manuscripts are known and a number of Pseudo-Matthew manuscripts contain all or part of LT. Tischendorf employed one of these (Paris, Bib. nat., lat. 11867) in his notes to LT.
A complete assessment of the LT manuscripts would do little to enhance our understanding of the original text of IGT but it would be valuable for increasing our knowledge of the Greek D recension.The following translation was made by Roberts and Donaldson from Tischendorf’s edition of Vat. lat. 4578.
Here Begins the Treatise of the Childhood of Jesus According to Thomas.
1 1 When a commotion took place in consequence of the search made by Herod for our Lord Jesus Christ to kill him, then an angel said to Joseph, “Take Mary and her boy, and flee into Egypt from the face of those who seek to kill him.” And Jesus was two years old when he went into Egypt.
2 And as he was walking through a field of corn, he stretched out his hand, and took of the ears, and put them over the fire, and rubbed them, and began to eat.
4 And Jesus was in his third year. And seeing boys playing, he began to play with them. And he took a dried fish, and put it into a basin, and ordered it to move about. And it began to move about. And he said again to the fish, “Throw out the salt which you have, and walk into the water.” And it so came to pass. And the neighbours, seeing what had been done, told it to the widow woman in whose house Mary his mother lived. And as soon as she heard it, she thrust them out of her house with great haste.
2 1 And as Jesus was walking with Mary his mother through the middle of the city market-place, he looked and saw a schoolmaster teaching his scholars. And behold twelve sparrows that were quarrelling fell over the wall into the bosom of that schoolmaster, who was teaching the boys. And seeing this, Jesus was very much amused, and stood still.
2 And when that teacher, saw him making merry, he said to his scholars with great fury, “Go and bring him to me.” And when they had carried him to the master, he seized him by the ear, and said, “What did you see, to amuse you so much?” And he said to him, “Master, see my hand full of wheat. I showed it to them, and scattered the wheat among them, and they carry it out of the middle of the street where they are in danger; and on this account they fought among themselves to divide the wheat.”
3 And Jesus did not pass from the place until it was accomplished. And this being done, the master began to thrust him out of the city, along with his mother.
3 1 And, lo, the angel of the Lord met Mary, and said to her, “Take up the boy, and return into the land of the Jews, for they who sought his life are dead.” And Mary rose up with Jesus, and they proceeded into the city of Capernaum, which is Tiberias, among the possessions of her father.
2 And when Joseph went out of Egypt after the death of Herod, he kept him in the desert until there should be quietness in Jerusalem on the part of those who were seeking the boy’s life. And he gave thanks to God because he had given him understanding, and because he had found favour in the presence of the Lord God. Amen.
4 It is glorious that Thomas the Israelite and apostle of the Lord gives an account of the works of Jesus after he came out of Egypt into the city of Nazareth. Understand all of you, my dearest brethren, what the Lord Jesus did when he was in the city of Nazareth. The first chapter of which is as follows:
1 And when Jesus was five years old, there fell a great rain upon the earth, and the boy Jesus walked up and down through it. And there was a terrible rain, and he collected it into a fish-pond, and ordered it by his word to become clear. And immediately it became so.
2 Again he took of the clay which was of that fish-pond, and made of it to the number of twelve sparrows. And it was the Sabbath when Jesus did this among the boys of the Jews. And the boys went away, and said to Joseph His father: Behold, thy son was playing along with us, and he took clay and made sparrows, which it was not lawful to do on the Sabbath. And Joseph went away to the boy Jesus, and said to him, “Why have you done this, which it was not lawful to do on the Sabbath?” And Jesus opened his hands, and ordered the sparrows, saying, “Go up into the air, and fly; nobody shall kill you.” And they flew, and began to cry out, and praise God Almighty. And the Jews seeing what had happened, wondered, and went away and told the miracles which Jesus had done.
3 But a Pharisee who was with Jesus took an olive branch, and began to let the water out of the fountain which Jesus had made. And when Jesus saw this, he said to him in a rage, “You impious and ignorant Sodomite, what harm have my works the fountains of water done to you? Behold, you shall become like a dry tree, having neither roots, nor leaves, nor fruit.” And immediately he dried up, and fell to the ground, and died. And his parents took him away dead, and reproached Joseph, saying, “See what your son has done; teach him to pray, and not to blaspheme.”
5 1 And a few days after, as Jesus was walking through the town with Joseph, one of the children ran up and struck Jesus on the arm. And Jesus said to him, “You shall not finish your journey. And immediately he fell to the ground, and died. And those who saw these wonderful things cried out, saying, “Whence is that boy?” And they said to Joseph, “It is not right for such a boy to be among us. Go away from this place; but if you must live with us, teach him to pray, and not to blaspheme, for our children have been killed.”
2 Joseph called Jesus, and reproved him, saying, “Why do you blaspheme? For these people who live here hate us.” And Jesus said, “I know that these words are not mine, but yours; but I will hold my tongue for your sake, for they will consider their foolishness.” And immediately those who were speaking against Jesus became blind. And they walked up and down, and said, “All the words which proceed from his mouth are accomplished.”
3 And Joseph seeing what Jesus had done, in a fury seized him by the ear; and Jesus said to Joseph in anger, “It is enough for you to see me, not to touch me. For you know not who I am; but if you did know, you would not make me angry. And although just now I am with you, I was made before you.”
6 1 Therefore a certain man named Zacheus listened to all that Jesus was saying to Joseph, and in great astonishment said to himself: Such a boy speaking in this way I have never seen. And he went up to Joseph, and said: That is an intelligent boy of thine; hand him over to me to learn his letters; and when he has thoroughly learned his letters, I shall teach him honourably, so that he may be no fool. But Joseph answered and said to him: No one can teach him but God alone. You do not believe that that little boy will be of little consequence?
2 And when Jesus heard Joseph speaking in this way, He said to Zacheus: Indeed, master, whatever proceeds from my mouth is true. And before all I was Lord, but you are foreigners. To me has been given the glory of the ages, to you has been given nothing; because I am before the ages. And I know how many years of life thou wilt have, and that thou wilt be carried into exile: and my Father hath appointed this, that thou mayest understand that whatever proceeds from my mouth is true.
3 And the Jews who were standing by, and hearing the words which Jesus spoke, were astonished, and said: We have seen such wonderful things, and heard such words from that boy, as we have never heard, nor are likely to hear from any other human being,-either from the high priests, or the masters, or the Pharisees.
4 Jesus answered and said to them: Why do you wonder? Do you consider it incredible that I have spoken the truth? I know when both you and your fathers were born, and to tell you more, when the world was made: I know also who sent me to you. And when the Jews heard the words which the child had spoken, they wondered, because that they were not able to answer. And, communing with Himself, the child exulted and said: I have told you a proverb; and I know that you are weak and ignorant.
5 And that schoolmaster said to Joseph: Bring him to me, and I shall teach him letters. And Joseph took hold of the boy Jesus, and led Him to the house of a certain schoolmaster, where other boys were being taught. Now the master in soothing words began to teach Him His letters, and wrote for Him the first line, which is from A to T, and began to stroke Him and teach Him.
6 And that teacher struck the child on the head: and when He had received the blow, the child said to him: I should teach thee, and not thou me; I know the letters which thou wishest to teach me, and I know that you are to me like vessels from which there come forth only sounds, and no wisdom. And, beginning the line, He said the letters from A to T in full, and very fist. And He looked at the master, and said to him: Thou indeed canst not tell us what A and B are; how dost thou wish to teach others? O hypocrite, if thou knowest and will tell me about the A, then will I tell thee about the B. And when that teacher began to tell about the first letter, he was unable to give any answer.
7 And Jesus said to Zacheus: Listen to me, master; understand the first letter. See how it has two lines; advancing in the middle, standing still, giving, scattering, varying, threatening; triple intermingled with double; at the same time homogeneous, having all common.
8 And Zacheus, seeing that He so divided the first letter, was stupefied about the first letter, and about such a human being and such learning; and he cried out, and said: Woe's me, for I am quite stupefied; I have brought disgrace upon myself through, that child.
9 And he said to Joseph: I earnestly entreat thee, brother, take him away from me, because I cannot look upon his face, nor hear his mighty words. Because that child can tame fire and bridle the sea: for he was born before the ages. What womb brought him forth, or what mother nursed him, I know not.
10 Oh, my friends, I am driven out of my senses; I have become a wretched laughing-stock. And I said that I had got a scholar; but he has been found to be my master. And my disgrace I cannot get over, because I am an old man; and what to say to him I cannot find. All I have to do is to fall into some grievous illness, and depart from this world; or to leave this town, because all have seen my disgrace. An infant has deceived me. What answer can I give to others, or what words can I say, because he has got the better of me in the first letter? I am struck dumb, O my friends and acquaintances; neither beginning nor end can I find of an answer to him.
11 And now I beseech thee, brother Joseph, take him away from me, and lead him home, because he is a master, or the Lord, or an angel. What to say I do not know.
12 And Jesus turned to the Jews who were with Zacheus, and said to them: Let all not seeing see, and not understanding understand; let the deaf hear, and let those who are dead through me rise again; and those who are exalted, let me call to still higher things, as He who sent me to you hath commanded me. And when Jesus ceased speaking, all who had been affected with any infirmity through His words were made whole. And they did not dare to speak to Him.
7 1 One day, when Jesus was climbing on a certain house, along with the children, He began to play with them. And one of the boys fell down through a back-door, and died immediately: And when the children saw this, they all ran away; but Jesus remained in the house.
9 1 And when Jesus was six years old, His mother sent Him to draw water. And when Jesus had come to the fountain, or to the well, there were great crowds there, and they broke His pitcher.
10 1 In the time of sowing, Joseph went out to sow wheat, and Jesus followed him. And when Joseph began to sow, Jesus stretched out His hand, and took as much wheat as He could hold in His fist, and scattered it.
11 1 And Jesus reached the age of eight years, Joseph was a master builder, and used to make ploughs and ox-yokes. And one day a rich man said to Joseph: Master, make me a couch, both useful and beautiful. And Joseph was in distress, because the wood which he had brought for the work was too short.
12 1 And Joseph, seeing that He had such favour, and that He was increasing in stature, thought it right to take Him to learn His letters. And he handed Him over to another teacher to be taught. And that teacher said to Joseph: What letters dost thou wish me to teach that boy? Joseph answered and said: First teach him the Gentile letters, and then the Hebrew. For the teacher knew that He was very intelligent, and willingly took Him in hand. And writing for Him the first line, which is A and B, he taught Him for some hours. But Jesus was silent, and made him no answer.
3 And Jesus returned home. And Joseph gave orders to Mary His mother, not to let Him go out of the court of his house.
13 1 Many days after came another teacher, a friend of Joseph, and said to him: Hand him over to me, and I with much sweetness will teach him his letters. And Joseph said to him: If thou art able, take him and teach him. May it be attended with joy. When the teacher had taken Him, he went along in fear and in great firmness, and held Him with exultation.
14 And Joseph sent James to gather straw, and Jesus followed him. And while James was gathering the straw, a viper bit him; and he fell to the ground, as if dead from the poison. And Jesus seeing this, blew upon his wound; and immediately James was made whole, and the viper died.