Hospitality and Perfume of the Bandit

Hospitium et fragrantia latronis

Other titles: Quomodo Maria et Ioseph fugerunt in Aegyptum cum Ihesu et de latrone, quem inuenerunt in deserto, De bono latrone, the Good Bandit

Standard abbreviation: Hosp. Perf. Band.

Clavis number(s): CANT 78.3

Category: Infancy Gospels

Related literature: Arabic Infancy Gospel, Die Neu Eu, Ethiopic Miracles of Jesus, Gospel of Pseudo-Matthew, Homily of the Church on the Rock, Hospitality of Dysmas, Hospitality and Ointment of the Bandit, Book about the Birth of the Savior, Narrative of Joseph of Arimathea, Narrationes de vita et conversatione beatae Mariae virginis et de pueritia et adolescentia salvatoris, Rebellion of Dimas, Vision of Theophilus, Vita beate virginis Marie et Salvatoris rhythmica.

Compiled by: Mark G. Bilby, California State University, Fullerton (mgb8n@virginia.edu).

Citing this resource (using Chicago Manual of Style): Bilby, Mark Glen. “Hospitality and Perfume of the Bandit.” e-Clavis: Christian Apocrypha. Accessed DAY MONTH YEAR. http://www.nasscal.com/e-clavis-christian-apocrypha/hospitality-and-perfume-of-the-bandit/.

Posted July 2016. Updated July 2017.

1. SUMMARY

This short story was interpolated between chs. 17.2 and 18.1 in the Gospel of Pseudo-Matthew, right at the point of transition between the infancy narratives and the sojourn to Egypt narratives. The Holy Family here encounters the bandit on the flight to Egypt, but apparently inside of Egypt, rather than in Israel or elsewhere. The main character is identified as part of a gang of desert bandits. Though he customarily kills all travelers who come across his path, he has second thoughts about these targets and decides instead to show them hospitality in his own small home. He invites them back, and they accept. When they arrive, it is time for the bandit’s child to take a bath, and the bandit tells his wife to give the infant Jesus a bath before their son, who is described as “leprous and scabby.” When their son bathes in the water leftover from Jesus’ bath, he is instantly cured from leprosy, leading the bandit to call Jesus “the son of God” and to worship him. Some time later, the bandit leads the Holy Family on their way. They come to a spring, and Mary washes Jesus’ clothes there and wrings the leftover, fragrant liquid into an alabaster vessel. Much later, when the bandit’s family is suffering from poverty, he sells this miraculous perfume to Mary Magdalene, whose demons are exorcised when she first anoints herself with it. Later the Magdalene uses this same perfume to anoint Jesus for his passion. The story concludes by connecting this hospitable Egyptian bandit with the one who on the cross begged to be remembered by Jesus.

2. RESOURCES

3. BIBLIOGRAPHY

3.1 Manuscripts and Editions

3.1.1 Latin

L  London, British Library, Harley 3199 (=Gijsel Q3a5), fols. 104v–106r (14th cent.)

V  Vatican, Biblioteca Apostolica, Vat. Lat. 6300 (=Gijsel Q3a7), fols. 118r–119r (15th cent.)

Geerard, Maurits. “Gute Schächer: Ein neues unediertes Apokryphon.” Pages 85–89 in La spiritualité de l’univers byzantin dans le verbe et l’image. Edited by Kristoffel Demoen and Jeannine Vereecken. Instrumenta Patristica 30. Steenbrugis: In Abbatia S. Petri; Turnhout: Brepols, 1997 (diplomatic edition based on BL Harley 3199).

3.2. Modern Translations

3.2.1 English

Bilby, Mark Glen. “The Hospitality and Perfume of the Bandit.” In vol. 2 of New Testament Apocrypha: More Noncanonical Scriptures. Edited by Tony Burke and Brent Landau. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, forthcoming.

3.3 General Works

Bilby, Mark Glen. As the Bandit Will I Confess You: Luke 23, 39–43 in Early Christian Interpretation. Turnhout: Brepols; Strasbourg: University of Strasbourg, 2013. A critical overview of patristic interpretations of the so-called good bandit.

Bilby, Mark Glen. “The Hospitality of Dysmas.” Pages 39–51 in vol. 1 of New Testament Apocrypha: More Noncanonical Scriptures. Edited by Tony Burke and Brent Landau. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2016. The introduction covers and compares various medieval stories about the bandit.

Dzon, Mary. “Out of Egypt, Into England: Tales of the Good Thief for Medieval English Audiences.” Pages 147–241 in Devotional Culture in Late Medieval England and Europe: Diverse Imaginations of Christ’s Life. Edited by Stephen Kelly and Ryan Perry. Medieval Church Studies 31. Turnhout: Brepols, 2014.

Geerard, Maurits. “Gute Schächer: Ein neues unediertes Apokryphon.” Pages 85–89 in La spiritualité de l’univers byzantin dans le verbe et l’image. Edited by Kristoffel Demoen and Jeannine Vereecken. Instrumenta Patristica 30. Steenbrugis: In Abbatia S. Petri; Turnhout: Brepols, 1997 (diplomatic edition based on BL Harley 3199).

Gounelle, Rémi. “Une légende apocryphe relatant la rencontre du bon larron et de la sainte famille en Égypte (BHG 2119y).” AnBoll 121 (2003): 241–72. Recounts many of the legends about the bandit and shows their respective affinities with the edited and translated text.

Klapisch-Zuber, Christiane. Le Voleur De Paradis : Le Bon Larron Dans L’art Et La Société (XIVe-XVIe Siècles). Paris: Alma, 2015.