Who is beautiful Krishna or Jesus
The divine child - part 3Jesus - irrepressible and quick-tempered
The crib remains empty. Because the birth of Jesus takes place in a cave. The only protection that pregnant Maria finds. Josef goes to look for a midwife. Suddenly time stops. Joseph experiences that everything stops moving, the sheep freeze, the shepherds stop eating, the birds also stop in the air.
"So the entire cosmos stands still for a moment. That is also a certain motif that is known from antiquity. That is the moment when the birth of Jesus occurs, which Joseph experiences in his own way," says the evangelical Theologian Jens Schröter from the Humboldt University of Berlin.
This is the way in which it is made clear here that it is an extraordinary event that happened outside of time, outside of things.
When Jesus comes into the world, a light shines
The birth of Jesus in the cave is described in the Protevangelium of James. The text dates from the second century and was particularly widespread and popular in the Eastern Church. When Jesus comes into the world, a blinding light shines in the cave. Joseph brings the midwife to Mary, who praises the virgin birth as a miracle. When Salomé doubts what has happened and examines the virginity with her own hands after the birth, her hands wither. Horrified, she laments her unbelief, but is healed again when she worships the baby Jesus.
Virgin births are not invented by Christians, they were more common in ancient times. The Christian childhood legends dedicate many chapters to the purity and chastity of Mary that she was of Davidic sex. In the Buddha-Vita, too, a supernatural birth is attested early on.
"With Moses or Plato or Alexander the Great, that means that when such prominent figures are born, special things happen that are not unique to antiquity. That is to say that they are different from all other people," says Jens Schröter.
Blossoms sprout, scents blow, birds chirp
Even in the earliest texts, the birth of the baby Jesus is accompanied by cosmic miraculous signs - like the birth of the other divine children Buddha and Krishna. Gods and heavenly beings protect the newborn Savior. This is how lucky star constellations appear. Blossoms sprout, scents blow, birds chirp. Not only the heavenly beings cheer, the divine splendor penetrates to the darkest inhabitants of hell. Because with the divine child a future savior will also be born who will lead people on the right path. There are many elements in the childhood gospels that have also flowed into art. The stable, the flight into Egypt or stories about little Jesus.
Mary with baby Jesus in her arms in the Church of St. Alban in Hardheim, Baden-Wuerttemberg. (picture alliance / dpa / Photo: Friedel Gierth)
Jens Schröter: "The whole thing shows that early Christianity not only lived from texts that we have in the New Testament, which we call canonical or biblical. Rather, it has always moved within a larger area of tradition. And Christianity too has lived from such traditions, actually always, which are not biblical traditions in the strict sense of the word. But certainly take up these biblical traditions, interpret them and pass them on. And that is the real value and the real attraction of this type of scriptures. "
The childhood gospel of Thomas also dates from the second century. It shows a baby Jesus who still appears to be untamed. A child who rumbles, is offended, or takes revenge. A little rough. When the five-year-old Jesus played by a stream on the Sabbath and formed sparrows out of clay, the adults complained to the father Joseph that the child was breaking the holiday commandments. When Joseph admonishes little Jesus, he just claps his hands and says to the sparrows: Away with you! And the sparrows spread their wings and flew away.
He should wither like a tree, that boy withered immediately
In other stories, Jesus curses his playmates. Once when Jesus built a dam and another boy just drains the water, Jesus gets angry. He insults the boy as godless and foolish. It should now wither like a tree. And immediately that boy withered and died. But the parents complained bitterly to Josef.
Another boy bumped into little Jesus once while he was playing. Jesus also cursed this boy. He shouldn't continue on his way. And the bump fell and died. But the parents were frightened. They asked where this Jesus came from. They asked Joseph to leave the village. Unless Joseph teaches him to bless instead of curse. Joseph corrected little Jesus. When asked why he was doing this, Jesus replied:
"I know that these words are not yours, nevertheless I want to keep silent about you. But those should bear their punishment."
And immediately those who reported him went blind. Then Joseph pulled little Jesus by the ear. But the five-year-old rebukes his father.
"It's all legendary"
Jens Schröter: "So everything we can say about the birth and childhood of Jesus is all legendary. It is this one script, this childhood story by Thomas, that contains such strange, offensive episodes, that's the way it is."
The educator Zacchaeus was amazed at the understanding of the little Jesus and wanted to teach and instruct him the scriptures.
Joseph with Mary and the baby Jesus as figures in a Christmas crib (dpa / picture alliance / Daniel Karmann)
And Jesus continues to question the teacher. But Zacchaeus could not answer the boy's erudition. Deeply saddened, he asks Joseph to take back his son Jesus. He says:
"I cannot bear the severity of his gaze, even once more his penetrating speech. This child is not earth-born. That can also tame fire. It was probably conceived before the creation of the world. This is somehow something great, a God or an angel.
Jesus teaches or curses
Going to school for the first time is an example that also appears in the Buddha Vita. The divine children already know all characters or scripts. They are omniscient and instead instruct their schoolmasters. Only Krishna does not need writing in the jungle. The school visits of little Jesus are taken up several times in the childhood story of Thomas. Jesus teaches or curses other schoolmasters for failing to recognize the boy's divine nature. When Zacchaeus sees his error, all who Jesus once cursed will be instantly healed.
But the little Jesus still finds his role in the childhood story. He's healing a young man who hacked his foot. And when he was helping his father to sow wheat, Jesus only buried a single grain. The father harvests 400 truckloads of grain from it. Jesus gave all the grain that was left to the poor of the village. In further episodes he even brings the dead to life.
The scholars are touched by the boy's wisdom
It boils down to the 12-year-old Jesus silencing the elders and scribes in the temple in Jerusalem - this is also in the Gospel of Luke. As the Divine Son, Jesus knows the scriptures and their interpretation. The scholars are touched by the boy's wisdom.
The Virgin Mary with her newborn son Jesus of Nazareth. (imago / Danita Delimont)
Attending the temple is an episode in which divine children can reveal their true natures. The story of how he first visited a temple was also told about the little Buddha. All statues of gods from the Vedic / Hindu cult immediately fall on their face and worship the Buddha boy. Little Krishna also ends the sacrificial cult for the old Vedic god Indra and introduces a new religion. The legends of the temple visit underline the universality and the cosmological claim of the teaching of the divine children. Of course, the childhood legends have no historical content, says the theologian Jens Schröter, but:
"It is really interesting with these texts, I find that a very exciting field, that especially with these texts you can clearly see how literary reception and visual reception like that intertwine. That is very important for this phase of Christianity's history."
The life paths of the divine children are similar
All divine children seem related to one another. You are walking a similar wonderful path in life. After supernatural conception and birth, the children have to prove themselves. In the world they are persecuted or threatened and survive all dangers unscathed.
They have irrepressible powers like little Krishna or are brimming with wisdom and knowledge like Buddha and Jesus. They don't go through the right stages of development like other children. But their surroundings sometimes find themselves bothered by their perfection. Her divine nature remains misunderstood for a long time until it comes to a public appearance:
In the temple, at school, or in a situation of demon threat. There are stories about divine children like Krishna, Buddha or Jesus in many religions. Their miracles can be alarming or astonishing. In any case, they give an insight into the popular beliefs of the respective religion. There, beyond high theologies, there was a feeling for other divine realities that stand behind the wording that religious images refer to allegories. The child scheme works.
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