How Was Jesus *Really* Born? The Proto-Gospel of James

In my last post I mentioned the Proto-Gospel of James in relation to a textual variant (in Luke) that indicates that Mary gave birth not *in* Bethlehem but *en route* there.   That made me think it would be a good time to say something about what else is in this intriguing book.  You can find my recent translation of it in the collection of non-canonical Gospels that I edited, translated, and introduced with my colleague Zlatko Plese, called The ...

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Jesus’ (Young?) Mother and (Half?) Brothers? The Proto-Gospel of James

A few days ago lot of readers made comments on the question (thanks to the Roy Moore newsflashes) of whether Mary was a young girl when she got married; and now I have mentioned Jesus’ mother and brothers in Mark’s Gospels.  So let me say a few more things about them.

The earliest non-canonical source that talks about Jesus’ mother (indicating she was a teenager — not something found in the NT) and his brothers (were they really is brothers?) is ...

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Newsweek Article on Christmas: Part 1

 

 

In my last post I made an off-the-cuff comment about an article about Christmas that I wrote for Newsweek four years ago (2012).   Someone asked for more information, and I see now that I never posted the article on the blog.  So I’ll post it here in two parts.  Here is the first half:

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This past September, Harvard University professor Karen King unveiled a newly discovered Gospel fragment that she entitled “The Gospel of Jesus’ Wife.”  This wisp of a papyrus ...

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Jesus’ Brothers?!? And the Proto-Gospel of James

 

One more post on the Proto-Gospel of James.  As it turns out, this Gospel was very popular in Eastern, Greek-speaking Christianity throughout the Ages, down to modern times; and a version of it was produced – with serious additions and changes – in Latin, that was even more influential in Western Christianity (a book now known as the Gospel of Pseudo-Matthew).   In some times and places, these books were the main source of “information” that people had for knowing about ...

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When Time Stood Still

Tomorrow in my graduate seminar on the early Christian apocrypha we finish translating the Proto-Gospel of James (aka: the Protevangelium Jacobi). We have done about five or six chapters a week for each of the past few weeks; next week we begin to translate the Infancy Gospel of Thomas, another really great text.

In an earlier post I mentioned one of the most significant passages of the Proto-Gospel, where the midwife Salome doubts that a virgin had given birth (note: she ...

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The Christmas Story: Some Basic Background

Now that I have posted a couple of my earlier published reflections on Christmas, I can make some comments in a series of posts, going into a bit more detail. This first post more or less states some of the basic information that most readers know, but that it’s worth while stressing as a kind of ground clearing exercise.

To begin with, we are extremely limited in our sources when it comes to knowing anything at all about the ...

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