Fringe review: The Secret Book of Jesus

By John Lyle Belden

The apocryphal gospels that didn’t make the cut for the canonical Bible can still intrigue and enlighten, as Maximum Verbosity’s “The Secret Book of Jesus” at the IndyFringe Indy Eleven Theatre shows.

Phillip Low presents, without comment, readings from little-known sources including the Protoevangalium of James, Infancy Gospel of Thomas, History of Joseph the Carpenter, Gospel of Nicodemus, Gospel of Peter, Apocryphon of James, Gospel of Judas and The Questions of Bartholomew, as well as Robert de Boron’s Joseph d’Arimathea (which ties into a certain British legend).

Low’s delivery is crisp and entertaining, and contains no judgment of the texts. With virgin birth and Christ’s miracles accepted as truth, why balk at the infant Jesus confronting a dragon? Especially intriguing is the story of little boy Jesus learning the consequences of losing his temper.

For anyone who is interested in these ancient works, whether you regard them as heresy or just intriguing tales, this is definitely a show to include on your Fringe schedule.

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