Early indication of Jesus’ childhood miracle found on 1,600-year-old papyrus fragment


A small piece of papyrus dating to the 4th or 5th century is shining a light on Jesus’ childhood.

The fragment contains a portion of the Infancy Gospel of Thomas. It is considered a biblical apocryphal, or something that is not canon to scripture, The Washington Post reported.

The papyrus, which was kept at a university library in Hamburg, Germany, is the oldest copy of the gospel known — written around the 2nd century A.D. and supports the findings that the original gospel was written in Greek, UPI reported.

It measures 4 inches long by 2 inches wide and has 13 lines with 10 letters per line, the researchers said in a news release.

Only a handful of words appear on the fragment, but one was Jesus, after translating it “letter by letter” the scientists “quickly realized it could not be an everyday document,” Lajos Berkes of Humboldt University of Berlin said in a news release. Berks worked with Gabriel Nocchi Macedom, both papyrologists, from the University of Liege in Belgium.

Other words included “crowning” and “branch” which helped them determine that it was from the Infancy Gospel of Thomas.

UPI reported it also describes a “miracle” that a 5-year-old Jesus molded river clay into sparrows and then gave them life. It is called the “vivication of the sparrows,” according to Fox News.

“Jesus plays at the ford of a rushing stream and moulds twelve sparrows from the soft clay he finds in the mud. When his father Joseph rebukes him and asks why he is doing such things on the holy Sabbath, the five-year-old Jesus claps his hands and brings the clay figures to life,” the press release said.

“The fragment is of extraordinary interest for research,” Berkes said, according to Fox News. “On the one hand, because we were able to date it to the 4th to 5th century, making it the earliest known copy. On the other hand, because we were able to gain new insights into the transmission of the text.”

The document has what the Post called “clumsy writing” which caused it to be considered insignificant. Now experts think it was a practice document at a school or monastery.

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