Bradley Rice, the Student Member on the NASSCAL board, was interviewed on the Talk Gnosis podcast about Nicolas Notovitch’s Life of Issa, a late nineteenth-century apocryphon depicting Jesus’ teenage years in India. Brad presented a paper at the 2015 York Christian Apocrypha Symposium on the text. To give you a flavor of what Brad has to say on the podcast, here is the abstract for the paper:
“The Apocryphal Tale of Jesus? A Journey to India: Nicolas Notovitch and the Life of Saint Issa Revisited.”
When published in 1894, Nicolas Notovitch’s The Unknown Life of Jesus Christ surprised the public with an unknown scroll—the Life of Saint Issa—which described how Jesus spent his adolescence in India, learning the teachings of Hindus and Buddhists before beginning his public ministry in Galilee. The Life of Saint Issa was, of course, soon exposed as a fake written by none other than Notovitch himself. But while often dismissed as a forgery, the Life of Saint Issa may also be understood as part of a broader tradition of apocryphal infancy narratives and, in its own way, as a kind of modern “infancy gospel.” Notovitch’s Life of Saint Issa will thus serve as the springboard for a larger discussion of medieval and modern apocrypha which tell of Jesus’ journey to India, in which I will illustrate the continuity of ancient and modern apocrypha and explore how they might be studied in comparable ways.