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The Syriac Tradition of the Infancy Gospel of Thomas


A Critical Edition and English Translation


A long-awaited and essential tool for the study of one of the earliest texts of the Christian Apocrypha and an important text in Syriac literature, theology, and history.
Publisher: Gorgias Press LLC
Availability: In stock
SKU (ISBN): 978-1-4632-0584-3
  • *
Publication Status: In Print

Publication Date: Jul 27,2017
Interior Color: Black
Trim Size: 6 x 9
Page Count: 344
Languages: English, Syriac
ISBN: 978-1-4632-0584-3
$99.00
$59.40

The Infancy Gospel of Thomas, like many apocryphal gospels, has been much transformed over the course of its transmission. Though composed in Greek in the second century, the gospel is extant in a number of other languages and a myriad of forms. The most well-known form is a 19-chapter version in Greek based on late manuscripts (none earlier than the fourteenth century); but it is now widely-believed among scholars of the text that a shorter 16-chapter version preserved in Syriac, Latin, Ethiopic, and Georgian manuscripts is closer to the gospel’s original form. Of these manuscripts, those in Syriac are by far the most important: two of them are very early (fifth/sixth centuries) and thus their text has undergone fewer changes than the texts of the other witnesses. Any study of the Infancy Gospel of Thomas needs to take account of the Syriac tradition, now possible with this new critical edition. Wider studies of Syriac literature and history also benefit from this edition as the gospel was very popular in the Syrian milieu where it generated a number of further translations (an Arabic Infancy Gospel of Thomas, and sections incorporated into the Arabic Infancy Gospel and the Armenian Infancy Gospel) and became incorporated into two popular Life of Mary collections. The present volume includes a history of scholarship on the Syriac Infancy Gospel of Thomas, a description of the extant manuscripts (now numbering over twenty-five and divided into three recensions), and editions and translations of each recension of the text.

The Infancy Gospel of Thomas, like many apocryphal gospels, has been much transformed over the course of its transmission. Though composed in Greek in the second century, the gospel is extant in a number of other languages and a myriad of forms. The most well-known form is a 19-chapter version in Greek based on late manuscripts (none earlier than the fourteenth century); but it is now widely-believed among scholars of the text that a shorter 16-chapter version preserved in Syriac, Latin, Ethiopic, and Georgian manuscripts is closer to the gospel’s original form. Of these manuscripts, those in Syriac are by far the most important: two of them are very early (fifth/sixth centuries) and thus their text has undergone fewer changes than the texts of the other witnesses. Any study of the Infancy Gospel of Thomas needs to take account of the Syriac tradition, now possible with this new critical edition. Wider studies of Syriac literature and history also benefit from this edition as the gospel was very popular in the Syrian milieu where it generated a number of further translations (an Arabic Infancy Gospel of Thomas, and sections incorporated into the Arabic Infancy Gospel and the Armenian Infancy Gospel) and became incorporated into two popular Life of Mary collections. The present volume includes a history of scholarship on the Syriac Infancy Gospel of Thomas, a description of the extant manuscripts (now numbering over twenty-five and divided into three recensions), and editions and translations of each recension of the text.

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Contributor Biography

Tony Burke

Tony Burke is Associate Professor of Religious Studies at York University in Toronto, Canada. He is the author of De infantia Iesu evangelien Thomae graece, a critical edition of the Greek tradition of the Infancy Gospel of Thomas for the Corpus Christianorum Series Apocryphorum, and is co-editor of New Testament Apocrypha: More Non-canonical Scriptures. 

Table of Contents (v)

Foreword (vii)

Abbreviations (xi)

1 History of Scholarship (1)

2 Descriptions and Classification of the Manuscripts (25)

  1 Recension A (25)

    1.1 Related Tradition: Arabic Infancy Gospel of Thomas (51)

2 Recension W (West Syrian) (53)

  2.1 Group a (55)

  2.2 Group b (67)

  2.3 Group c (74)

  2.4 Additional Life of Mary Manuscripts (81)

  2.5 Garšūnī Manuscripts (84)

3 Recension E (East Syrian) (88)

  3.1 East Syriac Hist. Vir. Manuscripts with IGT (93)

  3.2 East Syriac Hist. Vir. Manuscripts without IGT (98)

  3.3 Additional Hist. Vir. Manuscripts (110)

  3.4 Related Texts and Traditions: Arabic Infancy Gospel and Armenian Infancy Gospel (112)

3 Texts and Translations (123)

  Recension Sa (126)

  Recension Sw (170)

  Recension Se (212)

  Arabic Infancy Gospel of Thomas (229)

4 Synopsis (245)

5 Glossary (291)

Bibliography (311)

Index (329)

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