"Behold, the angel of the Lord appeareth to Joseph in a dream, saying, Arise, and take the young child and his mother, and flee to Egypt, and be thou there until I bring thee word: for Herod will seek the young child to destroy him." - MATTHEW 2:13
   How much do we really know about Jesus?
   Not as much as we might think, according to a new film documentary focusing on the little-known childhood of Christianity's savior.
   Titled "Jesus in Egypt," the film is based on a book of the same name by author Paul Perry, widely known for his work on near-death experiences.
   Like Perry's book, the film focuses on the flight of Jesus' family to Egypt from Israel after King Herod threatened to "destroy" the boy Jesus, as St. Matthew wrote in the New Testament.
   The film was prepared by a team led by Perry that includes Florida archaeologist John de Bry, 61. De Bry is a veteran of many projects, including a quest for the ships of the pirate Capt. William Kidd off Madagascar in 2000.
   The film, providing information little known outside Egypt, takes viewers on a long trek through the nation's ruins and dusty desert towns, looking at the predominantly Muslim country's Christian past.
   It also talks about the boy Jesus toppling idols and maturing quickly into a spiritual leader as his family traveled through Egypt.
   For centuries, Christians in the northeastern African nation have kept records and documents about the family's journey there, but the Bible, with the exception of a few verses, concentrates primarily on the last three years of Jesus' life.
   Because of that, the majority of the world's Christians know little about Jesus in Egypt, the 54-year-old Perry said from his home in Paradise Valley, Ariz.
   While Egypt is a predominantly Muslim country, it also is home to several million Coptic Christians and the group's headquarters.
   Perry, for his part, says he decided to write the book after learning how vital the story of Jesus' family is to Christians living in Egypt.
   He made two journeys to scores of places the family is said to have stopped in the country, according to Coptic tradition. The first journey was for the book in 2001, and the second for the documentary, which took seven weeks to film in early 2004.
   Because of concern about possible Muslim threats, the Egyptian government in 2004 gave the filmmakers plenty of security, as they had for Perry during his first trip in 2001. No incidents occurred either time.
   The film shows many scenes and images, all of which are based on the centuries-old oral traditions and documents gathered by the Coptic Church but not on any new archaeological or documentary evidence.
   Even without new evidence, de Bry, before leaving for Cairo in June, said, "We can no longer deny that there is a certain degree of truth to the tradition of the Holy Family in Egypt, a tradition based on a collective memory of historical events. The burden of proof is not on those who believe in the tradition but those who do not."
   Of his latest venture, de Bry added, ''I'm not a born-again Christian, but this experience has changed me spiritually. It's been enlightening.''