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Citation for The Arabic Infancy Gospel

Citation styles are based on the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th Ed., and the MLA Style Manual, 2nd Ed..

MLA

Elliott, J. K. . "The Arabic Infancy Gospel." In The Apocryphal New Testament. Oxford Biblical Studies Online. Oct 30, 2014. <http://www.oxfordbiblicalcstudies.com/article/book/acprof-9780198261827/acprof-9780198261827-chapter-8>.

Chicago

Elliott, J. K. . "The Arabic Infancy Gospel." In The Apocryphal New Testament. Oxford Biblical Studies Online, http://www.oxfordbiblicalcstudies.com/article/book/acprof-9780198261827/acprof-9780198261827-chapter-8 (accessed Oct 30, 2014).

The Arabic Infancy Gospel

J. K. Elliott

This is another collection of material that has made use of the Protevangelium of James (= PJ) and Infancy Thomas. Chapters 1–10 are based on PJ, and 36–55 show many similarities with Thomas (it is, however, difficult to use the Arabic Gospel to solve the literary and textual problems of Thomas). In between (i.e. chapters 11–35) the author has drawn on a large collection of fantasies, the origin of which is likely to be Egyptian. In this middle section the interest is focused on benevolent miracles wrought in particular by Mary during the sojourn in Egypt. The consistency of the book, as with other comparable collections, is not always faultless. In ch. 26 Joseph is told to go to Nazareth, yet in 27 onwards the story is resumed in Bethlehem. It may well be, therefore, that 26 is from a different source. Other similar inconsistencies can be detected, betraying the heterogeneous origin of many of the sources behind the composition.

Like the Armenian Infancy Gospel (see below), the Arabic is likely to go back to a Syrian archetype, which could be of the fifth–sixth century. Much of the material is embodied in the Syriac History of the Virgin 1 See the edition by E. A. Wallis Budge, The History of the Blessed Virgin Mary and the History of the Likeness of Christ (London, 1899; repr. New York, 1976) (= Luzac's Semitic Text and Translation Series 4 and 5). , and a comparative study of the two is found in Peeters's introduction to his translation (p. vi). Although there may be no direct link between the two, such comparisons reinforce the argument for Syriac influence on the Arabic Infancy Gospel. Other links may be seen in the writings of the ninth‐century Syriac father, Isho dad of Merv, who seems to be aware of this Arabic Gospel in his commentary on Matthew. The title of this gospel, ‘The Book of Joseph Caiaphas’, may also be another significant indicator of its provenance in so far as Caiaphas was believed by Syrian Jacobites to have become a Christian (according to Cowper, p. lxxvii).

The Arabic text on which Sike's translation of 1697 was based has since been lost. Arabic manuscripts have, however, subsquently been discovered in Rome and Florence. The Laurentian manuscript now edited by Provera was described in Assemani's catalogue. 2 S. E. Assemani, Bibliothecae Mediceae Laurentianae et Palatinae codicum manuscriptorum orientalium catalogus (Florence, 1742), 72–3. Sike's bilingual edition has been used, sometimes with emendations, in most subsequent Arabic editions and/or Latin translations.

In his assessment of the worth of this book Cowper (p. lxxx) comments: ‘Ignorance, folly and mendacity are here at least as conspicuous as piety’. Only a few sample chapters are translated here (13–15, 17, 23–4, 27, 37, 40), preceded by James's summary of the whole text. Most of them are typical of the racy and vivid style of the book as a whole. They smack of the ‘Thousand and One Nights' rather than pious Christian literature. All of these chapters (but not 27) were included in Schonfield's selection from Walker's translation. 3 H. J. Schonfield, Readings From the Apocryphal Gospels (London, 1940). In addition he gives 16, 18, 20–1, 22). Chapter 23 tells of the meeting with the Good Thief, which is also to be found in the Acta Pilati (Greek B).

My extracts are translated from Tischendorf.

Editions

Latin

  • H. Sike, Evangelium Infantiae vel liber apocryphus de Infantia Salvatoris ex manuscripto edidit ac latina versione et notis illustravit (Utrecht, 1697) (and in Arabic).

  • Fabricius, i. 168–212 (with introduction, 128–67). 4 All these editions are based on Sike's.

  • Jones, ii, 208–72 (with Eng. trans.).

  • C. C. L. Schmidius (= Schmid), Corpus omnium veterum apocryphorum extra biblia, i (Hadamar [Wiesbaden], 1804). 4 All these editions are based on Sike's.

  • Thilo, i, pp. xxvi–xliv, 63–158 (with Arabic text as revised by E. Rödiger). 4 All these editions are based on Sike's.

  • Tischendorf, EA, pp. xlviii–liii, 181–209 (text as revised by H. Fleischer).

Arabic

  • Giles, i. 12–32.

  • M. Provera, Il Vangelo arabo dell’ Infanzia (Jersusalem, 1973).

Synopses

Aland13 prints a Latin version of the Arabic Infancy Gospel 50–3 and Greek A of Infancy Thomas 19. 1–5 with Luke 2: 41–52 (Jesus in the Temple at the age of twelve). Huck–Greeven13 includes Fleischer's Latin version of 50 and 53.

Modern Translations

English

  • Hone (‘I Infancy’), 38–60.

  • Cowper, 170–216.

  • Walker, 100–24.

  • James, 80–2 (brief summaries, but the Miracle of the Dyer, Arabic ch. 37 (not 38, pace James, p. 66) and the Children in the Oven, Arabic ch. 40, are set out on pp. 66–8).

  • Hennecke3, i. 400–1 and 408–9 (chs. 17, 23–4, 37, 40).

  • Hennecke5, i. 452–3, 460–1. (chs. 17, 23–4, 37, 40).

French

  • Migne, Dictionnaire, i, cols. 973–1008.

  • P. Peeters, Évangiles apocryphes, ii L’Évangiles de l'enfance (Paris, 1914), i–xxix, 1–68. (= Textes et documents, ed. H. Hemmer and P. Lejay).

  • Amiot, 93–107 (extracts).

  • Éac, 207–38.

German

  • E. Bock, Die Kindheit Jesu: Zwei apokryphe Evangelien (Munich, 1924) (= Christus Aller Erde 14–15). [The other of the two gospels is Pseudo‐Matthew, above.]

  • Hennecke3, 299–300, 305–6 (O. Cullmann) (chs. 17, 23–4, 37, 40).

  • Hennecke5, i. 360–1, 365–6 (O. Cullmann) (chs. 17, 23–4, 37, 40).

Italian

  • Bonaccorsi, i. 232–59.

  • Erbetta, i. 2, 102–23.

  • Moraldi, i. 281–311.

  • A. M. Di Nola, Evangelio Arabo dell’ Infanzia (Parma, 1963).

Spanish

  • González‐Blanco, ii. 42–88.

  • de Santos Otero, 309–38 (with Latin).

Notes:

1 See the edition by E. A. Wallis Budge, The History of the Blessed Virgin Mary and the History of the Likeness of Christ (London, 1899; repr. New York, 1976) (= Luzac's Semitic Text and Translation Series 4 and 5).

2 S. E. Assemani, Bibliothecae Mediceae Laurentianae et Palatinae codicum manuscriptorum orientalium catalogus (Florence, 1742), 72–3.

3 H. J. Schonfield, Readings From the Apocryphal Gospels (London, 1940). In addition he gives 16, 18, 20–1, 22).

4 All these editions are based on Sike's.

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