In my previous post I introduced the seventh-century Gospel of Pseudo-Matthew, one of the most popular Christian writings of the Middle Ages.  It tells an expanded version of the events leading up to Jesus’ birth, and then yet more legendary tales of what happened afterward.   I continue here with another intriguing portion of the account: the events surrounding Mary conceiving Jesus, even though she was a virgin, and the reactions of Joseph when he realizes she is pregnant, and then – something completely missing from the New Testament – the religious “test” inflicted on her by others to see if she was telling the truth.

Again, this is taken from the translation in my book The Other Gospels, produced with my colleague Zlatko Pleše.


The Annunciation


1 On the next day while Mary was standing beside the fountain to fill her small pitcher, an angel appeared to her and said, “You are blessed, Mary, for you have prepared a dwelling place for God in your spirit.   Behold, a light will come from heaven in order to dwell in you, and through you it will enlighten all the world.”   Likewise on the third day while she was working the purple with her fingers, a young man of indescribable beauty came in to her.  When Mary saw him she was afraid and began to tremble.  He said to her, “Do not fear, Mary; you have found favor with God.[1]  Behold, you will conceive and bring forth a king who will rule not only on earth but also in heaven; and he will reign forever and ever.”


Joseph Discovers Mary’s Condition


1 While these things were happening, Joseph was in Capernaum beside the sea, occupied with his work, for he was a carpenter.  He had stayed there for nine months.  And so, when he returned to his house, he found Mary pregnant and he began to tremble all over; and out of anguish he …

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