NASSCAL Member Publication: Tony Burke, The Syriac Tradition of the Infancy Gospel of Thomas

Tony Burke, ed. and trans. The Syriac Tradition of the Infancy Gospel of Thomas: A Critical Edition and English Translation. Gorgias Eastern Christian Studies 48. Piscataway, NJ: Gorgias Press, 2017.

Abstract: 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. The study of the Infancy Gospel of Thomas will benefit greatly from a critical edition of the Syriac tradition.  Syriac studies would also benefit 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 and divided into three recensions), and editions and translations of each recension of the text.

See the catalog page at Gorgias Press and download this preview of the table of contents and introduction.