This book, which purports to have been written by the Apostle James, the brother of the Lord, records the events leading up to the birth of the Theotokos.
The influence of this work in the life of the Church in regards to Mary is difficult to overestimate. Although Church councils condemned it repeatedly on the grounds that it was not an authentic writing of the New Testament, these condemnations did not discourage its reputation in the least.
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Although most people have never seen or heard of it, this book gives us many details concerning the life of the Mother of God that have become familiar through the Feast Days dedicated to her memory. In The Protoevangelium of St. James we discover that the names of the Virgin Mary's parents were Joachim and Anna. It relates to us the events of her conception, birth, presentation in the Temple, her betrothal to Joseph and the Nativity in Bethlehem. However, simply because the book is regarded as "apocryphal," we must not conclude that it is filled with myths and fables.
The Protoevangelium of St. James
While it is true that much of the apocryphal literature was the product of heretics desiring to spread their views, there are works that were produced for different reasons, such as an innocent desire to know the details of the life of Christ or the Mother of God that were not recorded in the Gospels. When the apocryphal Gospel of Thomas a collection of sayings of Jesus was discovered in the late 's, many scholars had no problem seeing in it the origin of the Gospels - a theory no longer very popular but one that shows how much impact these works can have even in modern times.
Many times Apocryphal books, such as the Protoevangelium of St. James , blend factual material with artistic embellishment. For instance, it is certainly possible that since the Acts of the Apostles records Mary's presence at the Pentecost and the Gospels reveal that she was a well-known figure in the Early Church, the names of her parents, Joachim and Anna, were well known among the faithful in the early Church.
It is also possible that many of the traditions found in the book were passed down orally from an earlier time until they were brought together in this written form. Although we disdain any and all "oral traditions" today, such was not the case in the ancient word. For example, among the collections of writings of the Apostolic Fathers are often found the literary remains of Papias, who heard the Apostle John preach and was the Bishop of Hierapolis.
Protoevangelium of James – Apocryphicity
He recounts the basis of his writings:. If, then, any one who had attended on the elders came, I asked minutely after their sayings, what Andrew or Peter said, or what was said by Philip, or by Thomas, or by James, or by John, or by Matthew, or by any other of the Lord's disciples: which things Aristion and the presbyter John, the disciples of the Lord, say.
For I imagined that what was to be got from books was not so profitable to me as what came from the living and abiding voice. It is possible that the parents of the Theotokos lived near the Temple, providing a basis for such things as her Presentation, even if those events are not understood to be literally true in every detail. In fact, in Jerusalem today there is an Orthodox women's monastery literally a stone's throw from the Temple site that claims to be built over the house of Joachim and Anna.
The Protoevangelium of St. James
Below is a list that we have compiled. We cannot guarantee however that the list is one hundred percent correct. You will understand this if you put into the Google Search Engine; "Lost Books of the Bible" the results, at last count runs into over , search results. Why this has happened is matter for much debate, deliberate or unintentional exclusion by the church to the number of variations in current Bibles published in different countries.
Within the Angelic Tradition some believe the the books were removed to protect the ancient Kabbalistic Knowledge that they contained.
These books are referred to as the Apocrypha or Deuterocanonical books. These texts where primarily written between the the time of the production of the Old and New Testaments.
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Therefore these books may teach what is not true or at least inaccurate. Finally it has also been identified that some stark errors can be identified in the Apocrypha books. If you wish to peruse this area of information please refer to the following website's:.