Previous Question Next Question
   
protoevangelium of James
Question from Elisa Cancillieri on 12/28/2003:

I read the Protoevangelium of James a few years ago, after hearing Fr. Groeschel say it was interesting and worth reading. Lately the media is talking a lot about all the gnostic Gospels that didn't make it into the Canon. I have 3 questions about James'. I am under the impression that James' "gospel" is not one of the heretical gnostic gospels, but simply an early Christian writing that may be partially true or partially legend. Obviously it is not the insprired word of God as the 4 New Testament Gospels. Is this correct? There are 3 things in the Protoevanelium of James that are not in the Bible, which seem to be unofficial Christian tradition. (Mary riding to Bethlehem on a donkey, Joseph being much older than Mary and the names of Mary's parent, Joachim and Anne) Did these traditions come from this "gospel" or from other sources? If these are considered correct by the Church, why does our Catholic church not follow the Orthodox churches belief that Jesus's "brothers" are half-brothers from Joseph's previous marriage as is written in James' "gospel"? Why do we consider those named in the New Testament to be Jesus's cousins instead? Thank you, Elisa

Answer by Fr. John Echert on 1/12/2004:

The Protoevangelium is not to be classed with the Gnostic writings of old, which were products of heretical groups, claiming secret knowledge. On the other hand, as you note, we cannot elevate this work to the level of Sacred Scripture, as it has no guarantee of inerrancy. This early work reflects at least some ancient traditions, held by at least some substantial part of the early Church. As to the general preference for the view that the "brothers" of the Lord are likely kinfolk, and not step-siblings from a previous marriage by Joseph, we have likely been strongly infuenced by the Western Fathers, including Saint Jerome, who strongly dismissed the view that they were step-siblings. Saint Jerome had a great command of the ancient languages and customs, and while not an infallible source, is worth attending to.

Thanks, Elisa

Father Echert

COPYRIGHT 2014

Click here to send this Question and Answer to a friend                    

Previous Question Next Question


News Blog From the Vatican by Joan Lewis


Back to topics list.

 

HOME - EWTNews - FAITH - TELEVISION - RADIO - LIBRARY - CHANNEL FINDER WATCH ONLINE - FAQ - EWTNKids
WHAT'S NEW - EWTN MOBI - GENERAL - RELIGIOUS CATALOGUE - PILGRIMAGES - PRESS ROOM - ESPAÑOL

Terms of Use      Privacy Policy      Contact Us

EWTN Global Catholic Network
5817 Old Leeds Rd., Irondale, AL 35210 USA 1-205-271-2900