Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Two Thieves and a Funeral

From Brandon Hawk:
Recently, I’ve been reading Mary Dzon’s new book, The Quest for the Christ Child in the Later Middle Ages (Philadelphia, PA: U of Pennsylvania P, 2017), and it’s turned out to be quite appropriate for the season of Lent leading up to Easter. This might seem somewhat odd, given the focus on Jesus’ childhood rather than his later life and death. But Dzon demonstrates that many medieval representations of Jesus as child also evoke strong links with his Crucifixion. This is especially true in later medieval devotional writings, but it may also be found in many other texts.

Some of the conceptual links between Jesus’ childhood and death come from earlier apocryphal narratives that influenced medieval people. While most apocryphal infancy gospels have little in them directly regarding Jesus’ death or afterward–which is expected, considering that they focus on his childhood–there is one fascinating instance in an apocryphal gospel that I’ve recently been reading: the Arabic Gospel of the Infancy of the Saviour. In this apocryphon, an explicit connection between Jesus’ childhood and death is found during the Holy Family’s flight to Egypt, when Jesus, Mary, and Joseph are stopped by two robbers. (Read more.)

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