The Two Children

A Study of the Two Jesus Children in Literature and Art

By David Ovason

Format: Paperback

Explores the ancient belief that two children, both named Jesus, were born in Bethlehem.

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David Ovason explores the ancient belief that two children, both named Jesus, were born in Bethlehem to two sets of parents named Joseph and Mary.


Although the gospels of Matthew and Luke give some support to the tradition of 'two Jesus children', the idea was not adopted by the established church. It lingered on, however, particularly in the literature of esoteric sects such as Gnosticism, and later in fifteenth-century Italian art.


Ovason pays close attention to the ancient literature discovered at Qumran near the Dead Sea, and at Chenoboskion in Egypt. Hebrew, Aramaic, Coptic and Greek texts from those sites confirm the belief in the existence of two messiahs. Ovason also explores many fascinating and apocryphal texts that contain references to the two children, which were later expunged or glossed over by church apologists.


The author goes on to speculate about why the tradition then became so popular again in early fifteenth-century Italian art, and studies traces of the two children theme in the work of Ambrogio Borgognone, Defendente Ferrari, Raphael and Leonardo de Vinci.


This is fascinating reading for anyone interested in church history and theology, and esoteric traditions.

Additional Information

Additional Information

Format Paperback
Imprint Lindisfarne Books
Publication Date 28 Apr 2011
ISBN 9781584200963
Number of Pages 512

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