trees, having even of themselves bowed down, approach the children."

It is clear that both the Qur'an and the author of the apocryphal "History of the Nativity of Mary" have unconsciously borrowed from Buddhist sources these particular incidents. This fact of course disproves the truth of the narrative.

Were proof required to show that, even as late as Muhammad's time, Buddhist legends were prevalent in Western Asia and were accepted as Christian history, it would be afforded by the existence of the tale of "Barlaam and Josaphat." This legend was written in Greek in the sixth century of the Christian era, as some hold, though it is more generally attributed to Johannes Damascenus, who flourished at the court of the Khalifah Al Mansur (A.D. 753-74). Josaphat, the Christian prince of the book, is undoubtedly Buddha himself, and his name is a corruption of Bodhisattva, one of Buddha's many titles. The main source of the tale is the Sanskrit legendary story of Buddha known as the Lalita Vistara. Yet Josaphat is a saint in both the Greek and the Roman Churches, in the former of which August 26 is sacred to him, in the latter November 27.

3. Story of the Childhood of Jesus.

In what has been already related we have learnt something of what the Qur'an teaches on this subject. But we must now deal with the matter more at length.


In Surah III., Al 'Imran, 41, 43, we are informed that before Christ's birth the Angel said of Him:— "And He shall speak to men in the cradle" ... And in Surah XIX., Maryam, 29-31, as we have already seen, we are informed that, when the Virgin Mary's people reproached her, she made a sign towards the Child, implying that they should ask Him of His origin. They said in surprise, "How shall we talk with one who is a child in the cradle?" Then the Child Jesus spoke to them, saying, "Verily I am God's Servant: He hath brought Me the Book and made Me a Prophet."

The origin of this legend is not far to seek. We have already seen that one of the apocryphal Gospels represents Christ, when on His journey to Egypt in His infancy, as addressing the palm-tree and bidding it bow down and permit His Mother to pluck its fruit. But probably the source from which Muhammad borrowed the incident is Injilu't Tufuliyyah, better known as the Arabic Gospel of the Infancy. In the first chapter of that work we read:—

"We have found it recorded in the book of Josephus the Chief Priest, who was in the time of Christ (and men say that he was Caiaphas), that this man said that Jesus spake when He was in the cradle, and said to Mary His Mother, ‘Verily I am Jesus, the Son of God, the Word which thou hast borne, according as the angel Gabriel gave