Skip to comments.Jesus played cricket as a child
Posted on 08/09/2008 9:09:34 PM PDT by afraidfortherepublic
MELBOURNE: It is possible that cricket, a game venerated all over the Commonwealth, is older than currently thought.
In fact, Jesus may have played the game (or a similar bat-and-ball combination) as a child, according to an ancient Armenian manuscript.
Long before the English launched cricket some 300 years ago, similar games were being played as early as the 8th century in the Punjab region, Derek Birley writes in his Social History of English Cricket.
But an Armenian scholar says there is good reason to believe that similar games were played in the Middle East long before that time.
Dr Abraham Terian, recently a visiting professor at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem as Fulbright Distinguished Chair in the Humanities, points to a rare manuscript as his source.
Terian notes that in the Armenian Gospel of the Infancy, translated into Armenian in the 6th century from a much older lost Syriac original, a passage tells of Jesus playing what may well be the precursor of cricket, with a club and ball.
Terian, who discovered the manuscript more than a decade ago at the Saint James Armenian Monastery in the Old City of Jerusalem, says he has now identified the same passage in a couple of other manuscripts of the same gospel of which some 40 copies exist in various archival collections in Europe and the Middle East, including the oldest copy now in Yerevan, the capital of the Armenian Republic.
The latter manuscript is dated 1239, whereas the undated Jerusalem manuscript is considerably later.
Quoting from his Armenian source, Terian says the gospel relates how Jesus, at the age of nine, had been apprenticed to a master dyer named Israel in Tiberias, on the shores of the Sea of Galilee.
"Jesus is instructed to watch Israel's house and not leave the place while the master goes away on a tour to collect clothes to be dyed. But no sooner has Israel left the house, than Jesus runs out with the boys," The Daily Telegraph quoted Terian, as saying.
"The most amazing part of the story of the nine-year-old Jesus playing a form of cricket with the boys at the sea shore, is that he would go on playing the game on water, over the sea waves," he added.
He gives the following translation: "He (Jesus) would take the boys to the seashore and, carrying the playing ball and the club, he would go over the waves of the sea as though he was playing on a frozen surface, hitting the playing ball.
They sang, "Ma-ary, mild, ca-all home your child..."
The problem was solved when, "He built them a bridge from the beams of the sun, so that they would play ball with me...."
I remember that the album cover (The Last Month of the Year) said that the Kingston Trio had carefully sought researched, translated, and arranged these very unusual old songs, some of the dating to mideival times, that comprised this album -- one of my all-time favorites.
Perhaps your ping lists would be interested in this article.
Jesus was quoted as saying, “That was a wicked googly!”
Dunno about cricket, but I saw a Jesus doing yardwork up the street the other day.
My favorite album — Christmas, or otherwise. I have both the LP and the CD. I got the LP as a gift through the mail many years ago and it arrived with a small crack in the edge. I liked it so much, however, (and there was no way to exchange it) that I kept it and would hover over the arm on the turntable to give it a little push whenever it got stuck. The CD is much more satisfactory!
My children used to think that the picture on the allllbum was so funny, when they were growing up.
Thanks for posting.
I’m afraid to ask what that means. Do I want to know? I hope it is nice.
Of course he did. His Father is an Englishman
Do not use potty language or references to potty language on the Religion Forum.
This sounds like the apocrophal “Protoevangelium of James” or “Infancy Gospel of James”, one of the books not included in the canonical Bible.
Gosh, 4 out of 15 posts zotted! This is worse than a Protestant vs, Catholic thread!
One was removed by request and three were removed for language.
It's in the Bible - it's actually in the FIRST THING in the Bible.
For it is written:
"In the BIG INNINING..."
Probably so. But that does not detract from its interest. It is a very old document and a very old story.
Let me try again...
You Must Be “KIDDING” Me.
Much better. Thank you.
Mary sends Jesus out to play with the caution, "Let me hear no ill of you when I come home." Some rich kids taunt Jesus that he is just a nobody, "born in an oxen's stall." After Jesus builds a bridge of sunbeams and the nasty little rich kids run over it, the bridge vanishes and they all fall in the river "and drownded were all three".
Mary needless to say is not pleased, and she pulls a withy (a willow branch) from the garden and whips Jesus with it. He curses the willow tree -
"O bitter withy, o bitter withy, that makes me so to smart,
The withy shall be the firstest tree, to wither from the heart."
I think Steeleye Span also did a version more recently.
If Jesus was into Cricket, I seem to recall Moses being into locusts in Egypt.
I’m happy to comply.
“The Bitter Withy” doesn’t sound very Christ-like. :/
That’s one way to go with it. But Moses was into tennis, too. After all, he served in Pharoh’s court.
There's a whole raft of pious medieval legends that grew up around the infancy of Christ, since the Bible and for that matter sacred Tradition say next to nothing about it.
The medieval mind could leave no hole unfilled and no blank space unaccounted for. And sometimes what the ordinary folk used to fill the blank was not what we would consider "Christ-like".
But we can still enjoy it for what it is. And it does have a beautiful tune (at least my version does).
You know that Jesus drove a Honda, but he didn't like to talk about it - he said, "I do not speak of my own Accord."
There's a whole raft of pious medieval legends that grew up around the infancy of Christ, since the Bible and for that matter sacred Tradition say next to nothing about it.Sure enough, and many of them are quite beautiful and pious. I can certainly enjoy those for what they are, even though they are merely legends. But how can the ones that portray Christ, the very Son of God, in an irreverent and frankly nasty way be considered "pious"?
Many of the songs "of the people", that is to say folk songs from rural England, point morals that seem a little odd to modern urban/suburban people and as you say even a little nasty. But you have to think about where they're coming from, so to speak.
I think this folk song speaks to the old Anglo-Saxon people who were put down by the Norman aristocracy - to the unlettered rural folk who worked hard for their living and were looked down upon by the gentry - pointing the moral that the gentry and nobility ("we are lord's children, born in the lofty hall, and you are but a poor maid's child, born in an ox's stall") shouldn't be mean to the poor folk because you never know who you might be talking to.
Think of all the Grimm's Fairy Tales in which the kind child who is polite and helpful to the poor beggar-woman or the starving dog who turns out to be a fairy in disguise.
I think it also says something about the proper use of power, and that children haven't the sense to use it wisely.
As I said, you have to take it as it stands. Medieval folk did not put their religion into a box and just take it out on Sunday -- most went to daily Mass and religion was in everything they did. So the simple country folk saw religion as a matter of daily life -- and it is a bit too coarse for our modern sensibilities.
Sigh, You got me.
Oh, thank you. I’m not really kidding (this was a news item in The Times of India, after all) but I do not for a minute think that Jesus played cricket!
I do, however, find it interesting that this is a very old story and the The Times of India chose to publish it on a day when Catholic Churches all over the world were reading the St. Matthew Gospel about Jesus walking on water with St. Peter.
It also made me remember the old Kingston Trio song which (previously) I had thought was just a fanciful song and not based on anything. Now, I learn that it was based on this 4th century tale from Armenia.
In my own church, the homilist told a modern day joke about a retriever and 3 hunters to illustrate the old Gospel story. So, you see, we are still doing it — using stories and analogies to illustrate a larger point.
You are correct. The program notes from the Kingston Trio album say that the song “Mary Mild” was taken from the “Bitter Withy”.
“Mary Mild, a version of the ballad “The Bitter Withy” is founded on an Oriental legend known in Europe before the end of the 11th century. The story, not found in official church writings, tells of Jesus at the age of eleven being chastized by Mary for building a bridge of sunbeams to illustrate his divine power to neighborhood children who refuse to play with a child so humble born. The “bridge of sunbeams” miracle has been traced from Egypt to Ireland and to the lives of the medieval saints.”
The Kingston Trio version omits the references to switches and spanking.
I used to teach folk singing to kids at summer camp, and while the gruesome murder ballads were their absolute favorites they liked "The Bitter Withy" very much. They thought it was funny - I guess it is in a way, like the old "Mommy mommy!" and "Little Audrey" jokes.
I wish I could find the tune on line. The Watersons album, Sound, Sound Ye Instruments of Joy, seems to follow the Alan Lomax field recordings in the idea that 'folk music' has to sound ugly. And it isn't the same tune as the one that Maddy Prior used on Flesh and Blood, or else it's altered beyond recognition by the horrible singing voice and delivery of the performer.
Many of the songs "of the people", that is to say folk songs from rural England, point morals that seem a little odd to modern urban/suburban people and as you say even a little nasty. But you have to think about where they're coming from, so to speak.None of the morals or motifs that you mention are odd in the least, but that's not the point. "The Bitter Withy" does not utilize for its instructive purposes a make-believe fairy or youthful hero/demigod who has yet to realize and tame his power, but Christ Himself. That's an important point because I think that how we speak of Christ should reflect what we believe about Who He Is, and just what that means for us and for our salvation.
Medieval folk did not put their religion into a box and just take it out on Sunday -- most went to daily Mass and religion was in everything they did.And so it should be with us. Perhaps we need to look very hard at ourselves and at our society, at why we compartmentalize things to such an extent that we separate our faith from our "secular" lives, and how the Gospel can have any meaning at all for us if our faith does not become ingrained into our very beings and manifest itself in every aspect of our lives: Every action, every thought, every breath we take should be for Christ. (Just writing this convicts me of how far I fall short. Lord have mercy, for I am a great sinner.)
All I'm saying is that if you were a 15th century yeoman or laborer somewhere out in the wilds of Wiltshire, you would probably be more focussed on the Incarnation as God made man, with emphasis on the man. Their lives were hard, often cut suddenly short, and their horizon was only as far as they could see, since they were unlettered and most never travelled more than a few miles from where they were born.
Their circumstances made their view of Christ quite different from ours, who have the luxury of literacy, easy work, and modern conveniences. It gives us a different perspective!
I think the whole point of studying history is to enable us to think ourselves into another person's head and see things from their vantage point, even if it's different from ours and in our view erroneous. C.S. Lewis recommended "reading old books" for precisely that reason, since our blind spots are not their blind spots and their mistakes are not the same as ours. It opens up your mind.
All I'm saying is that if you were a 15th century yeoman or laborer somewhere out in the wilds of Wiltshire, you would probably be more focussed on the Incarnation as God made man, with emphasis on the man.Building a bridge of sunbeams puts emphasis on the man? The only way I can see that the story puts emphasis on the man is by way of sin, and as we know Christ is without sin. A folktale about the Christ child playing games with other children is IMHO a charming way to demonstrate His (innocent and pure) humanity; a folktale about Him (God forbid!) drowning other children is not.
Their lives were hard, often cut suddenly short, and their horizon was only as far as they could see, since they were unlettered and most never travelled more than a few miles from where they were born.And this is why the Apostolic function of the Church was (and still is!) imperative. The apostles and their successors were and are charged with bringing the Gospel to the world, because a lost and broken world cannot come to Christ by itself. But:
Their circumstances made their view of Christ quite different from ours, who have the luxury of literacy, easy work, and modern conveniences. It gives us a different perspective!There is One Christ, and the Church is also One: There is One Faith that is held by the saints in all times and in all places: The Gospel that Peter preached is the same one that Paul preached, the same one received and handed down by Ignatius and Irenaeus and Athanasius and so on down to this very day. We may have different perspectives in different ages, but we receive the same Gospel; and it tells us of Christ Who is the very Word of God Incarnate: True God and perfect Man.
I think the whole point of studying history is to enable us to think ourselves into another person's head and see things from their vantage point, even if it's different from ours and in our view erroneous. C.S. Lewis recommended "reading old books" for precisely that reason, since our blind spots are not their blind spots and their mistakes are not the same as ours. It opens up your mind.Interesting you should bring that up! :) Lewis wrote that in a preface to a new translation of St. Athanasius the Great's On the Incarnation, and it was St. Athanasius himself in this very work who expressed the kernel of the Gospel: "For He became Man so that we might become God."
Imagine what St. Athanasius would think of our borrowing and lending money at interest!!!
It's only intended to make you thinkMission accomplished, then! Just look at all the proverbial ink we've spilled over a simple medieval English folk song. :)
although I think that Medieval Man was thinking that it was only justice, along the lines of the "They Needed Killing" defense (which is still good in certain Southern states)In the intrest of the continuance of the currently friendly North-South relations, this damn Yankee's not going to touch that one! :)
Imagine what St. Athanasius would think of our borrowing and lending money at interest!!!Imagine, indeed! Given the epidemic of personal debt, perhaps that's something we should rethink as well.
What is the "fair" cost of renting money? Secured? Unsecured? Bad credit risk? How will construction contractors get their money before the concrete's in the ground?
It's easy to say you'll outlaw pawnshops and payday loans, but there are improvident folks who rely on them to get from paycheck to paycheck. Nobody wants 'em to starve or get thrown on the street.
And, of course, when medieval beliefs forbade lending at interest, they got around it by importing Jewish moneylenders. The Treasure and the Law
By the way, that's the last story in Kipling's Puck of Pook's Hill, ostensibly a children's book but, as Kipling himself admitted, actually written for grownups.
I can spill an enormous amount of ink over almost anything!
Note: this topic is from August 2008.
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Of course not.
It was baseball. : D