"For example, Joseph was reported from many sources to have been much older than the 15-year-old Mary, and a widower with four children.... James and Simon are well known to have been brothers of Jesus, but few understand that they were His older brothers," according to Kimball. Perhaps more surprising is that Jesus was most likely born with the help of a midwife named Solome in a cave outside Bethlehem near the ancient tomb of Rachel. Readers may also be surprised to read that Jesus might have been persecuted and nailed to the cross as much for his insistence on allowing young women and wives to study with him as for his assertion that he was the Son of God.
Like believing in Christianity, believing in these stories is an act of faith. Despite Kimball's impressive research, scholars could no doubt argue the validity of his findings for centuries hence. Nonetheless, it is a valuable and intriguing collection of stories that briefly (the book is only 96 pages long) recount the legends of Christ's childhood, including his early acts of healing, miracles, and his first childhood encounter with a Satan-possessed, biting child named Judas. --Gail Hudson
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