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Cursing in the Infancy Gospel of Thomas

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image of Vigiliae Christianae

One of the most notable features of the so-called Infancy Gospel of Thomas is its depiction of several punitive miracles, or curses, performed by the child Jesus. Previous scholarly treatments of the text have often dismissed these curses as merely another type of miracle, rather than as a special feature of IGT deserving of further study. This article examines the curses with an eye toward their distinctive qualities, and then seeks to find a match for the resulting paradigm in other literature, both Christian and non-Christian, from the ancient Mediterranean setting. A possible match is found in the cursing stories told of the ascetics of fourth-century Syria, as related by Theodoret of Cyrrhus in his Religious History.

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