Eg studerer framleis i ledige stunder den koptiske tradisjonen om flukta til Egypt. I den samanhengen har eg i dag sett på forteljingane i Pseudo-Matteus» evangelium eller Matteus» barndomsevangelium. Dette er eit apokryft evangelium av usikkert opphav. Skriftet sjølv gir seg ut for å vera skrive av evangelisten Matteus på hebraisk og omsett til latin av Hieronymus (347-420).

Barndomsevangelia er “fromme” forteljingar om Jesu oppvekst, forteljingar som var svært populære i oldkyrkja. Eg har tidlegare skrive litt om andre barndomsevangelium her.

I dag fann eg altså fram til Pseudo-Matteus fordi ein relativt stor del av skriftet (kap 17-25) handlar om flukta til Egypt.

Her er ei av forteljingane, frå Pseudo-Matteus 18:

And having come to a certain cave, and wishing to rest in it, the blessed Mary dismounted from her beast, and sat down with the child Jesus in her bosom. And there were with Joseph three boys, and with Mary a girl, going on the journey along with them. And, lo, suddenly there came forth from the cave many dragons; and when the children saw them, they cried out in great terror. Then Jesus went down from the bosom of His mother, and stood on His feet before the dragons; and they adored Jesus, and thereafter retired. Then was fulfilled that which was said by David the prophet, saying: Praise the Lord from the earth, you dragons; ye dragons, and all you deeps. And the young child Jesus, walking before them, commanded them to hurt no man. But Mary and Joseph were very much afraid lest the child should be hurt by the dragons. And Jesus said to them: Do not be afraid, and do not consider me to be a little child; for I am and always have been perfect; and all the beasts of the forest must needs be tame before me.

Elles er det Pseudo-Matteus som første gong nemner at det var ein okse og eit esel til stades ved Jesu fødsel! For oss som kjenner julesangen Et barn er født i Betlehem, er dette så naturleg at me neppe tenkjer over at dette ikkje er nemnt i juleevangeliet i Lukas 2. Her er det aktuelle avsnittet i Pseudo-Matteus 14:

And on the third day after the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ, the most blessed Mary went forth out of the cave, and entering a stable, placed the child in the stall, and the ox and the ass adored Him. Then was fulfilled that which was said by Isaiah the prophet, saying: The ox knows his owner, and the ass his master’s crib. (Isaiah 1:3) The very animals, therefore, the ox and the ass, having Him in their midst, incessantly adored Him. Then was fulfilled that which was said by Abacuc the prophet, saying: Between two animals you are made manifest. In the same place Joseph remained with Mary three days.

Heile teksten til Pseudo-Matteus finn du blant anna på den katolske sida New Advent. Wikipedia har ein artikkel om skriftet her.

Nytt frå Jesu barndom

Blant dei nytestamentlege apokryfane finn me to kjente barndomsevangelier; Jakobs Protoevangelium frå ca år 150 og Thomas» barndomsevangelium frå det andre eller tredje århundre. Dette er «fromme» forteljingar om Jesu oppvekst, forteljingar som var svært populære i oldkyrkja.

Nyleg fortalde den israelske avisa Ma’ariv om ein forskar som har omsett og publisert Det armenske barndomsevangeliet som han har funne i det armenske kvarteret i Gamlebyen i Jerusalem. I dette skriftet meiner han det er ein referanse til at Jesus som barn dreiv med ballspel ved Gennesaretsjøen!

Meldinga fann eg i Caspari Center Media Review 12.08.2008 under overskrifta «Early Christianity»:

Ma’ariv, August 11, 2008

According to research published by Armenian scholar Dr. Abraham Terian, Jesus may have played a game similar to cricket in his childhood in the Galilee. An ancient Armenian manuscript which he has analyzed suggests that Jesus played a game in which a ball is hit with a club. In his recently-published translation of the «Armenian Gospel of the Infancy,» a manuscript he discovered a decade ago at the Saint James Armenian Monastery in the Old City of Jerusalem, Terian has ostensibly identified a reference to Jesus playing with a ball with a group of friends. Instructed to watch his master’s house, the young apprentice runs off, «carrying a bat and ball in his hand,» to play with his friends «on the shores of the Sea of Galilee and thus demonstrated to them his ability to walk on water.

Oppdatering: Her finn du nøyaktig info om boka. Forlaget skriv:

  • An entirely new contribution to the study of New Testament Apocrypha, the first ever translation of a rare document in its entirety, based on the earliest extant Armenian manuscript of this gospel.
  • Annotated with extensive references to other Infancy Gospels and related texts within the Armenian tradition, providing the significant variants in translation.
  • An appendix provides a translation of three distinct Armenian versions of the Protevangelium of James, the earliest of the Infancy Gospels.
  • Contributes to the study of early Christian literature, highlighting popular traditions in the Early Church that were known in both the East and the West. The Armenian Gospel of the Infancy is a sixth-century translation from a Syriac text that no longer exists.

The various versions of the Infancy Gospels illustrate how stories about the Virgin and Child lend themselves to be told and retold – much like the stories in the canonical Gospels. This first translation of the full text of the Armenian Gospel of the Infancy, itself derived from a sixth-century Syriac text that no longer exists, provides two variants of the famous narrative and several recensions or ancient editions. Stories about Jesus, many of them unique to this gospel, are included to show how he exercised his sovereign and divine will even as a child.
This edition also contains three early Armenian versions of the Protevangelium of James, which with other ancient sources dependent on it (like the Infancy Gospel of Thomas and the Gospel of Pseudo-Matthew) constitute the basic tradition in the formation of the later Infancy Gospels. These writings are our earliest sources about the parents of the Virgin Mary (Joachim and Anne) and her miraculous birth. They also form the basis for the dogma of her Immaculate Conception and perpetual virginity after the birth of Jesus, and lay the ground for certain of the Marian feasts celebrated since the fourth century.
Terian’s engaging introduction and annotation of the texts place this rare document clearly in its cultural and historical context and provide extensive references to the surrounding textual tradition. These extraordinary stories will appeal to all with an interest in the early church.

Readership: Scholars and students of new testament apocryphal texts; of Armenian language and culture