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Maria Lectrix

Public domain audiobooks, six days a week, for folks with a Catholic taste in literature. Enjoy! Clan Honor Mondays: Fitz-James O'Brien works. Lit Tuesdays: Short stories, novels, or poems. Acts of the Wednesdays: Early Christian works. Mystery Thursdays: Mystery short stories or novels. Lit Fridays: Short stories, novels, or poems. Saintly Saturdays: Later Christian works.

Mary reading to ChristA Vatican Library catalog page, 1518

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

#64: The Proto-Evangelium of James

The Proto-Evangelium of James is almost certainly not by James or entirely factual. The early Church mostly didn't think it was inspired, either. (All of which are excellent reasons why you won't find it in your Bible.)

However, this second century tale has survived in over 130 mss. That's popularity. It's an interesting blend of Bible fanfic and oral tradition. The Church has traditionally accepted it as containing a few grains of truth, such as the names of Mary's parents. Just don't take it too seriously.

Caveats: At times, the translation is jumbled because the manuscripts are pretty jumbled, too. Also, there's a tiny bit of Part 2 that's not work-safe. When the story mentions Salome, you're almost there.

(Btw, you'll notice that the author of this piece took the Eastern view that James the Less was Joseph's son by a previous marriage, not the Western view that James was Jesus' cousin. However, since Joseph and Mary were apparently cousins, and Aramaic uses the word "brother" for every sort of cousin there is, both interpretations could in fact be true. Ah, the joys of Middle Eastern tribal life, in which marrying some cousin is almost unavoidable, if you marry inside your tribe.)

UPDATE: If you've just been reading Time magazine's cover story about Joseph, and you're looking for The Protevangelium of James... well, The Protevangelium of James is a typo. "Proto-Evangelium" is the search term you want.

Part 1 (from Mary's conception and birth to Mary's pregnancy)
Part 2 (Jesus' nativity to the flight to Egypt)
34 min.


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