Texts

Old Irish metrical version of the Infancy Gospel of Thomas
verse beg. Imbu maccán cóic blíadnae

  • Old Irish
  • verse
Old Irish metrical version (48 qq) of the Infancy Gospel of Thomas, which is preserved in a late manuscript (NLI MS G 50) only. It relates a number of deeds which Jesus is supposed to have performed as an infant, such as the creation of sparrows out of clay, his encounters with boys thwarting him, his revelations to the scholar Zacharias and various miracles. The Irish poem may have been based on an Old Latin version, which ultimately goes back to a Greek or Syriac text.
Initial words (verse)
  • Imbu maccán cóic blíadnae
Manuscripts
Language
  • Old Irish
Date
c.700? According to Carney, this poem and the short one that follows (Maire máthair in maic bic) “seem somewhat older than those of Blathmac, and a seventh- rather than an eighth-century date may perhaps be thought of”.
Form
verse (primary)
Number of stanzas
48

Classification

Subjects

 nativity of Jesus
JesusJesus
(fl. c.5 BC–30/33 AD)
Christ, Jesus Christ
Galileian Jewish religious leader whom Christians believe to be the incarnation of God on earth, the Saviour of mankind and Messiah (the Christ) through His death and resurrection.
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JosephJoseph
son of Jacob and Rachel
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Sources

Primary sources Text editions and/or modern translations – in whole or in part – along with publications containing additions and corrections, if known. Diplomatic editions, facsimiles and digital image reproductions of the manuscripts are not always listed here but may be found in entries for the relevant manuscripts. For historical purposes, early editions, transcriptions and translations are not excluded, even if their reliability does not meet modern standards.

[ed.] [tr.] Herbert, Máire [intr., ed., tr.], and Martin McNamara [intr., notes], “A versified narrative of the childhood deeds of the Lord Jesus”, in: Breatnach, Caoimhín, John Carey, Brian Ó Cuív, Pádraig Ó Fiannachta, Martin McNamara, Jean-Daniel Kaestli, and Diarmuid Ó Laoghaire (eds), Apocrypha Hiberniae, part I: Evangelia infantiae, 2 vols, vol. 1, Corpus Christianorum, Series Apocryphorum 13, Turnhout: Brepols, 2001. 441–483.
[ed.] [tr.] Carney, James [ed.], The poems of Blathmac, son of Cú Brettan: together with the Irish Gospel of Thomas and a poem on the Virgin Mary, Irish Texts Society 47, London: Irish Texts Society, 1964.
90–92
[ed.] [tr.] Carney, James, “Two Old Irish poems”, Ériu 18 (1958): 1–43.  
comments: Edition and translation of two poems from Dublin, National Library of Ireland, MS G 50:
  1. ‘Imbu macan coig bliadhna’ (pp. 10-26), Irish version of the Infancy Gospel of Thomas (apocryphal text)
  2. ‘Mairi mathair, an maic bic’ (pp. 26-29), poem on the Virgin Mary.
10–26
[tr.] [ed.] Greene, David, and Frank O'Connor, “2: Jesus and the sparrows”, in: Greene, David, and Frank O'Connor [Michael O'Donovan], A golden treasury of Irish poetry, A.D. 600 to 1200, London: Macmillan, 1967. 23–24.
First extract from the poem, with text from Carney’s ITS edition.
[tr.] [ed.] Greene, David, and Frank O'Connor, “3: Jesus at school”, in: Greene, David, and Frank O'Connor [Michael O'Donovan], A golden treasury of Irish poetry, A.D. 600 to 1200, London: Macmillan, 1967. 25–26.
Second extract from the poem, with text from Carney’s ITS edition.