The Infancy Gospel of Thomas attests to a reluctance among early Christians to regard Jesus as learning from his senior contemporaries, a tendency that has persisted throughout the centuries, contributing to an image of Jesus standing apart from Judaism and addressing it from outside. This image is reinforced by reading practices that include the Hebrew Bible or Protestant Old Testament, but not the Apocrypha/Deuterocanonicals, such that the reader brings an anachronistic portrait of Judaism to the study of the early church. Familiarity with post-prophetic Jewish literature, however, leads to a much greater appreciation of how much Jewish sources contributed to the formation of Jesus and his brothers. Criteria for assessing influence are discussed.
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