->''And did those feet, in ancient time\\
Walk upon England's mountains green?\\
And was the Holy Lamb of God\\
On England's pleasant pastures seen?''
-->-- '''Creator/WilliamBlake'''.

It's often remarked upon that Literature/TheBible goes into very little detail on the life of JesusChrist [[OffstageWaitingRoom between his birth and the last few years of his life]]. There's a few snippets about his childhood and [[CallToAdventure a fairly important bit]] when he's 12, but after that we get a huge TimeSkip to his early 30s.

Naturally, as with all [[StockUnsolvedMysteries unexplained mysteries]] about famous people, fiction writers have pounced on this period. Maybe he was [[JesusWasWayCool a bit of a party animal?]] Maybe he [[KungFuJesus sheltered himself away in a Shaolin monastery to learn how to fight evil?]] We deserve to know!

The missing years are often treated as the result of a [[AncientConspiracy Vatican cover-up]], especially as some of the Gnostic Gospels, which weren't deemed worthy of inclusion in the Bible, contain stories about Jesus' youth. It's more likely that his early life was much like anyone else's at the time, working in his father's carpentry business, and just [[LawOfConservationOfDetail wasn't interesting enough to mention]] in a tale about a great prophet. The fascination with [[RagsToRiches great people working their way up from humble origins]] is a much more recent phenomenon.

Even if this isn't the setting for the story, it's ripe grounds for ConversationalTroping between characters.

Related to BeethovenWasAnAlienSpy. Subtrope of StockUnsolvedMysteries.

As with any religious topic, the '''RuleOfCautiousEditingJudgement''' applies, so play nice.

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!!Examples:

* ''Film/{{Dogma}}'' explains that the Metatron told Jesus who he was at the age of 12; the gap is the result of one enormous HeroicBSOD as he tries to come to terms with that fact. However, Rufus reveals that the books talking about it were left out of the New Testament because they dealt heavily with Jesus's younger, non-divine brothers and sisters [[spoiler:- of which, one is [[TheHero Bethany]]'s ancestor]].
* The book ''LambTheGospelAccordingToBiff'', by Christopher Moore, is all about this. "Josh" travels to India, China, and The Middle East to visit TheThreeWiseMen, where they in turn teach Jesus one different facet of his later teachings. (In the afterword, Moore is specific in mentioning that Buddhism didn't reach China in the lifetime of Jesus. For him to study under a Buddha in Tibet would have been anachronistic.)
* The non-canonical [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Infancy_Gospel_of_Thomas Infancy Gospel of Thomas]] (not to be confused with the completely different, also non-canonical [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gospel_of_Thomas Gospel of Thomas]]) covers this. Including a young Jesus killing another child [[spoiler: [[BackFromTheDead before bringing him back]]]], and Jesus making insects and snakes out of mud and bringing them to life.
* A ''KidsInTheHall'' skit showed examples of Jesus' carpentry work - it turns out he wasn't a particularly skilled one.
* An episode of ''WesternAnimation/FamilyGuy'' shows him as a teenager, trying to deal with God being an absentee father who's shacked up with a bimbo.
-->'''Jesus:''' Uhh, Hey dad, so um.. Things aren't working out too well here. Can I come stay with you for a while?
-->'''God:''' Gosh, you know, I'd love to, son, but this isn't a very good time right now. ''[=*Hangs up, and returns to the girl in his bed*=]''\\
'''God:''' Alright then, now where were we?
-->'''Girl:''' Right about here. ''[=*Holds up a condom*=]''\\
'''God:''' Aww come on baby, it's my birthday!\\
'''Girl:''' No.
* The book ''The Breath of God'', by Jeffrey Small, is a suspense novel that follows an American graduate student who journeys to the Himalayas in search of proof that Jesus travelled through India during his lost years. Although the majority of the novel takes place in the present day, several chapters tell the story from the perspective of a teenage Jesus as he struggles with culture and teachings so different from his own.
* ''Yeshua: A Personal Memoir of the Missing Years of Jesus'', by Stanislaw Kapuscinski, is a fictional account of Jesus's journey to India and his preparation there for his later Palestinian mission. Kapuscinski weaves his own philosophy into the story.
* There is an {{Arthurian legend}} that Jesus travelled to Britain during his lost years -- this perhaps explains the idea that Joseph of Arimathea brought the HolyGrail to England after Jesus' death, and thus why the Knights of the Round Table are seeking it there. Creator/WilliamBlake's poem "And did those feet in ancient time" (better known as the lyrics to "Jerusalem") was inspired by this story.
* ''{{QI}}'' discussed the Infancy Gospels in one episode. Stephen Fry [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2R_djVYqJTg shared a story about a confrontation between the child Jesus and a group of many dragons that had suddenly sprung from a nearby cave.]]
** Another episode discussed the story about Jesus and Joseph of Arimathea coming to Glastonbury.
* ''The Tribune'' by Patrick Larkin tells of the adventures of a Roman officer named Lucius as he investigates murders and uncovers conspiracies in Judea. He encounters many YoungFutureFamousPeople from the New Testament, including Jesus, Paul, and Mary Magdalene. He himself turns out to be Luke.
* ''Literature/TheGoodManJesusAndTheScoundrelChrist'' by Creator/PhilipPullman creates an account of Jesus' childhood in which he had an EvilTwin named Christ. Jesus was a well-meaning but naive philosopher and revolutionary while Christ was a politically savvy schemer who eventually used his brother to create a powerful church.
* The ''Christ the Lord'' series by AnneRice is about this.