The Childhood of Jesus provides an in-depth analysis of the apocryphal Infancy Gospel of Thomas, an ancient tale about Jesuss boyhood years that narrates his play with other children, miraculous deeds, first visits to school, and conflicts with his teachers.
The gospel ends with a retelling of the New Testament story of Jesus as a twelve year old in the temple. Originating in second-century, Greek-speaking Christianity, it was quickly translated into other languages, including Latin and Syriac, and enjoyed widespread popularity in the Middle Ages, when it was included as part of the Gospel of Pseudo-Matthew. Aasgaard presents the history of research history and analyses its story, transmission, narrative world and values, theology, views of gender and childhood, social setting, and audience much of which has not been previously treated.
He sees the Infancy Gospel of Thomas as reflecting oral storytelling, and possessing far more narrative qualities than has been previously assumed.