Saturday, September 11, 2010
Jesus as Dennis the Menace in the Infancy Gospel
In a recent post on the Infancy Gospel of Thomas, I mentioned John Dominic Crossan's comparison of the child Jesus in the Infancy Gospel with Dennis the Menace. When I heard him say "Dennis the Menace", I instantly thought of the character pictured above on the left, Dennis the Menace from the British comic The Beano. It occurred to me later that since this was an American programme, Banned from the Bible, broadcast on the History Channel, he was perhaps referring to the character pictured in the middle above, the American Dennis the Menace, who is almost exactly the same age as his British namesake, both first published in March 1951.
But which one was John Dominic Crossan referring to? Both of them are mischievous young boys, but my ignorance of the American version makes it difficult for me to compare and contrast. The British Dennis is undoubtedly a "brat", but which would Crossan have known? His time spent in both Ireland and America will have given him exposure to both versions, but I'd guess it's the American one he will have known best, perhaps especially if he has children, grandchildren, nieces or nephews over here.