Christ Child: Cultural Memories of a Young Jesus

Stephen J. Davis. Yale Univ., $45 (432p) ISBN 978-0-300-14945-6
Scholars have long debated the events of Jesus’s childhood. The biblical accounts offer few details of his life before age 30. In this dense but intriguing study by a fine scholar, Davis, professor of religious studies at Yale University offers new light on a very old document, the Paidika, or the Childhood Deeds of Jesus, popularly known as the Infancy Gospel of Thomas. The author argues that writings like the Paidika are best understood within the context of what he terms the “sociology of cultural memory,” the construction of myth based not on historical fact, but rather on a writer’s engagement with the past through the lenses of current cultural and societal mores. Hence the stories tell more about the writers than about their subject, Jesus of Nazareth. The author also explains how the Paidika was read by Jewish and Muslim audiences. Happily, the text of the Paidika is included, allowing the reader to experience this rich and powerful text, meeting the child Jesus through ancient eyes. (May)
Reviewed on: 04/14/2014
Release date: 05/01/2014
Genre: Nonfiction
Open Ebook - 429 pages - 978-0-300-20660-9
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