The Infancy Gospel of Thomas: Georgian

The Georgian version of IGT (Geo) is extant in a single manuscript of the tenth century (Tblisi, Cod. A 95 [pp. 568-572]), though the text is believed to be much earlier. It was published in Georgian in 1918 and Russian in 1917-1920 and more recently in Latin by G. Garitte in 1956 (“Le fragment géorgien de l’Évangile de Thomas,” Revue d’histoire ecclesiastique 51: 511-520). It has yet to be translated directly into English. The only modern western language in which Geo has appeared previously is Italian, in Luigi Moraldi’s Apocrypha collection (Apocrifi del Nuovo Testamento, 2 vols. [Turin: Unione Tipografico-Editrice Torinese, 1971], pp. 276-279).

Like Syr, Eth and the Old Latin tradition, Geo lacks Ga 1 and, perhaps originally also Ga 10, 17 and 18; unfortunately, its full extent cannot be determined as the manuscript terminates following ch. 7:2. Several readings in Geo are difficult to decipher, likely due to a transmission path through at least one other language: Armenian. If an Armenian version of IGT once existed, it is no longer extant, though it may have served as a source for the Armenian Gospel of the Infancy which features material from the Protoevangelium of James. (chs. 1-14) and stories of Jesus’ sojourn in Egypt (chs. 15-18), and a few vague parallels with IGT (IGT 9=16:7-15 and 17:3-14; IGT 6=19-20:6; and IGT 13=20:7-15).

The following text is translated from Garitte’s Latin translation. Chapter and verse divisions follow the standard numbering of Tischendorf’s Greek A text except chapter six which is significantly longer in the Georgian and other versions.   


The Childhood of our Lord Jesus Christ

  2 1 When he was still a boy, nearing five years of age, Jesus went and played near a passing over of rain and streams. He enclosed the water and held it back and made a pool. And it happened thereupon that he raised and purified the water with the sand and collected it together purified in a pool.

  2 Then he took the soft white clay from the purified water; and he made that it into twelve sparrows. And it was the Sabbath and many other children were playing with him.

  3 And when one of the Jews saw that he was with the children making this, he directed himself to Joseph his father and led him and showed him, and said to him, “Is it good to work of this kind on the Sabbath day, to make these birds from clay?”

  4 And Joseph came, scolded him and said to him, “Why did you do this on the Sabbath day?” But when he heard this, he began to clap his hands, and he made those birds fly away in the presence of all those and said to them, “Fly away and remember me living one.” And some birds flew away, crying.

  5 When a Pharisee saw this, he was terrified and sank and thereupon went away hastily to tell his friends.


  3 1 Then Anna, the son of the high priest, who also came with Joseph, immediately took a branch of willow and emptied out those pools of water which were gathered together by Jesus, and emptied the collection of water.

  2 When Jesus saw what he did, he said to him, “O wood, o tree dried with a branch, be consumed at the root through the power of the breath of Iona.”

  3 And at once the boy fell, dried up.


  4 1 Then Jesus was going with Joseph, and a child came and bumped into his shoulder. Jesus became angry and said to him, “You shall not go your way.” And at once the boy fell down forthwith and died. Those standing there raised a loud shouting and they said, “Whence has this child been born to us? Because all of his words are work done.”

  2 The family of the dead one came and stood by Joseph and said to him, “If your child will be at your house, you are not allowed to live among us. Now teach him so that he may bless and not curse.”


  5 1 Then Joseph appeared and was teaching him and said to him, “Because you speak badly these people hate us.” The boy Jesus began to speak and said to him, “These words of yours are wise enough. I knew to set up those children on the way.” And then he began to say thus, “And if they do not accept the curse, certainly they will accept the punishment.” At the same time that they mocked him, at once they were blinded.

  2 But Joseph, when he saw, was angry and seized his ear and pulled hard.

  3 But he looked at Joseph and said, “Behold, it is enough to you to seek me and to find. You, enjoying an opportunity, have accepted in the hands knowledge.”


  6 1 A certain Zacchaeus was listening to this speech spoken to Joseph and said to Joseph, “Such a child you have! Harsh and impudent.

  2 “Consider handing him over to a teacher so that he learns to love companions and respect elders and get a pleasant face from elders, so that also he acquires compassion for his own sons, accepting them and teaching them.”

  3 And Joseph said, “Who can accept and teach such a child? Do not consider him small of order.”

  4 The boy answered him and said to him, “From those words of yours, teacher, which you now spoke, I consider myself a stranger, because I am outside you (pl) and inside you (pl), because a certain noble birth as flesh is not with me. But you, behold! stand above the law. For in your nativity I appeared, and perhaps you shall think since you are  father, that you may draw from the son an instruction no-one has known nor has taught another. And the cross which you spoke about you may raise it, of whose son it is, because I shall be exalted greater. Tell me, therefore, that sign of your generation, whence it may be just as they understand. I alone know and you do not know whence you have come, or how much time you will last.”

  5 And those standing thus were astonished and cried with a great voice and said, “This great hearing and new wisdom and speech of this kind we have never heard neither from teachers nor from Pharisees nor from other kinsmen. Whence was this one, because he is not has not yet completed five years, and you (pl) have seen, indeed, how this one shouted! A child of this kind has not been seen by us.”

  6 Then he began to speak and said, “You are astonished or rather you are incredulous, because I speak to you, because I said to you when you were born. More do I know: I have seen and heard a voice.”

  7 Jesus stood in their presence and said, “I joked with you because you bring indignity to glory because you are indeed unequal by your mind.”

 8 But he began to speak gently to them and the teacher Zacchaeus said to Joseph, “Indeed give that child of yours to me and I shall teach him what is appropriate to teach him.” And he placed a hand on his head and led him to school. And he entered and the boy ceased speaking. But the teacher Zacchaeus taught the letters many times. And he began to teach a second time from alpha and he asked back that he might answer him, and he remained silent. Thereupon the teacher became angry and struck him by the hand on his head. The boy answered and said to him, “I am greatly astonished to teach the ignorant. I am more able to say than you that you speak like a gong sounds and like cymbals ring that do not know the sound of words nor have thought and intelligence.”

  9 And Jesus began to say all the words from alpha through to omega with much accuracy. Then he said, “Who not knowing alpha, teaches beta in such a manner? Indeed, explain to me first the alpha, then I will believe you concerning also the beta of which you spoke.”

  10 And Jesus began to examine the form and name of the first letter which has these names: stretched out, upside down, from above, swept around, a kind of gem, a form of treasure, equally begotten.


  7 1 But Zacchaeus his teacher stood astonished at such great derivation, knowledge, beauty and wonderful character of speech. He cried in a great voice and said, “Woe to me because I have brought on myself such a thing.

  2 “Remove him from me, I ask you, because it is not proper indeed to walk upon your ground. Truly this one is worthy of that great cross. He can even consume fire. Thus I think he existed before the water of the flood of Noah. Which womb was it that bore him? Or what mother conceived this holy one? I am made blind and I cannot endure. I am passed in the mind. I have deceived myself; madness approaches me. I thought to bring a disciple into my house…