About Today’s Reading of the Protevanglium of James

Just a quick note (and a test at the same time) regarding my reading of the Protevangelium of James on the DL today.  I was up against a time deadline so I wasn’t able to comment as much as I would have liked, but I wanted to make sure folks understood the centrality of the story regarding the birth of Jesus to later mythological and dogmatic development.  It is hard to say why this story gained such wide “traction” and reading in the centuries after Jesus.  I would surmise it is for the same reason the Young Messiah movie is being made: inordinate curiosity into that which God has not chosen to reveal.  In any case, the development of monasticism, an unbiblical (and unhealthy!) view of sexuality, joined together with stories like this to develop into the Marian doctrines that eventually led to the Marian dogmas that Rome continues to teach to this day, and in particular, the concept of the “Perpetual Virginity” of Mary.

I hope you noticed the very different “flavor” of this gnostic-influenced 2nd century document.  Did you notice how the writer was not familiar with Jerusalem, not familiar with the geography?  And how the names lacked the patronyms so often found in the actual gospels that can be traced to the real historical Jesus and His disciples?  Yes, obviously, the document was dependent upon the works of Matthew, Mark and Luke, plainly, betraying its allegedly having been written even before the ministry of Jesus.  It is likely the original author did not even intend his readers to take him seriously as far as the historicity of the account is concerned.  But it is the different worldview, the magical rather than the revelation-based supernatural (as we have in Scripture) that should be noted.

I think I will go ahead and read the Infancy Gospel of Thomas next.  And hopefully, as long as I am not dealing with loons on the Internet, we will have a little more time to actually delve into it.

BTW, about the URL:  chesed  is the glorious Hebrew term translated “lovingkindness, covenant faithfulness,” and is  central to the Hebrew Scriptures’ deep and abiding doctrine of grace.  297 isn’t just a random number, either.  It’s how many times the root appears in the Tanakh!


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