Gospel of James Christmas

Protevangelium of James

Tischendorf version.  M.R.  James translation 1924

From Greek, but oldest version is Syriac

The traditional view is that the “Christmas” gospels such as Protevangelium of James are composed much later than that of Matthew and Luke.  What is interesting is in considering a work like Protevangelium of James or one of its sources could be the original from which the Luke and Matthew texts were adapted.

It would appear that one redactor is responsible for extracting the ideas out of Protevangelium of James, reworking the stories, and distributing the text between Matthew and Luke.  These traditions are completely ignored in the Gospel of Mark and the Gospel of Marcion version of the Gospel of Luke, which either did not wish to have Jesus be presented in such human terms or Luke did not contain the stories at that time.  In both Matthew and Luke, the birth stories seem to have been appended to the gospel at a later stage.  This could be around the year 140 or even later.

Notice how the birth of Mary is downplayed in the Matthew/Luke tradition.  Catholic tradition has preserved her “immaculate conception” as official without acknowledging the Protevangelium of James or any other account of her birth as authoritative.