James the Just, the brother of Jesus was the Infancy Gospel of James dedicated to, sometimes also called the Proto-Gospel of James. He would have died by a club according to Clement of Alexandria or been stoned to death as Hegesippus is claiming. The stoning to death is also mentioned by Josephus. He is dating the death of James either to 62 or 69 AD depending on the narration.
The properly expressed name is Ya’ahov (Jacob). Protoevangelium is derived from the Old Testament word “Evangelion” which means good news. So, the Protoevangelium of James would mean the good news about Jacob or James.
The Infancy Gospel of James emerged sometime in the 2nd century AD and was popularised in the 4th century AD by Hippolytus and Origen.
When was the Infancy Gospel of James written?
The Infancy Gospel of James is dependent on Matthew and Luke, texts known to be written after 70 AD (most likely in the 80s AD). Most scholars would place the date of creation of the text in the second half of the 2nd. century AD.
Who wrote the infancy gospel of James?
Although in the Infancy Gospel of James the Author is claiming – with the word: I James, who wrote this account – that he has written it. It can’t be James who would have written it. The brother of Jesus would most likely not be able to write or even write it in Greek as Hebrew. We don’t know who wrote it. It is even hard to speculate who the suspects of this text are – other than for example with the Gospel of Thomas where we could narrow it down.
What is the Infancy Gospel of James?
The Infancy Gospel of James is a gospel attributed to James, the brother of Jesus. It is a short document, only about 30 or 40 pages long. Unlike the Infancy Gospel of Thomas which is focusing on the life of the young Jesus (who was a brat – a killer actually), the Gospel of James is dealing with the virtues of the mother of Jesus Mary as well as her relationship with Jesus. In the canonical gospels, Jesus’ earthly father Joseph was not mentioned after the Christmas story Jesus’ mother Mary is named and took part in the adult Jesus’ life in all four gospels. In John, she is not named explicitly. However, in the Infancy Gospel of James, she is referred to as “the mother of Jesus” or simply “Mary”.
Most of what we think to know about Mary doesn’t come from the New Testament (check out my episode on when was the New Testament written), the bulk of the “information” comes actually from the Gospel of James, although it was left out of the New Testament.
The idea of a virgin is given birth is present in Luke and Matthew it is not as detailed as in the Infancy James and most of the details in the New Testament are rooted in the Gospel of James. For example the Immaculate Conception. The vast amount of Pauline Christians is convinced that Mary (not Jesus) was conceived immaculately (without sin) and that she lived a sinless life and she received pregnancy through the holy spirit. The Idea is that Jesus was born in a mother’s body which was flawless and without sin. This religious idea doesn’t come from Matthew or Luke, it comes from Infancy James and was picked up by the orthodoxy churches and it became the doctrine of these institutions.
In the canonical Gospels, Mary is defined as a young woman. Joesph’s age is not mentioned in them. Most of you think about Joesph as an old man, I reckon, the Infancy Gospel of James is the source of this tradition.
Mary’s Perpetual Virginity
– According to Infancy James, Mary was all her life a perpetual virgin.
– Jesus’ siblings are explained as older children of Joseph from an earlier wife who has died prior to his marriage with Mary
– Since Joesph is simply Jesus’ adoptive father, James, Jude, Thomas and other siblings are likewise adopted, brothers and sisters
The Gospel of James begins with Mary’s parents, Joachim and Anna. The text is following on models of Abram and Sarai in Genesis, along with the mothers of Samson, Samuel (Hannah) and John the Baptist (Elizabeth), Anna has been unable to have children. After permanent mocking, Anna preys for a miracle. Then an angel of the Lord heard her and told her that she will be the mother of the mother of the Messiah. Anna was very happy as you can imagine and she praised the Lord Yahweh that he heard her prayers…
– Anna miraculously gives birth to a girl who is named Mary
– When Mary turns 3, her parents fulfil their pledge and give her to the priests who raise her in the precincts of the templeThe Gospel of James is telling a story about the life of Mary the mother of Jesus. The story is based on the apocryphal book called Protevangelium of James.
– In the Infancy Gospel of James, Mary was in the Temple of the Lord; she was nurtured like a dove and received food from the hand of an angel.
Joseph selected as the father
An angel tells the boss of the priest of the temple in which Mary dwelled that they should assemble all the widowers and God will give a sign. God obviously has chosen Joseph to marry Mary.
Joseph was supposedly reluctant to marry a young woman but the priest could convince him to do it by citing some old bible phrases. Joseph gave up his resistance to the marriage and swore an oath to protect her and gods child…
Summary of Infancy Gospel of James
The creator of the Gospel of James makes the attempt – like in other Gospels of the time – to point out that miracles are all showing the “divineness” of Jesus and the build-up to Jesus’ life should further underline the truth of the Christian / Jewish faith. Why the catholic/orthodox church has not included the Gospel of James in the bible, is surprising and let us wonder because of many of the ‘”information” was used to push a certain narrative.