The Protevangelium of James and the creative rewriting of Matthew and Luke


Book Section

© Oxford University Press 2018. The so-called Protevangelium of James is perhaps the most historically significant of all the non-canonical gospels. In prefacing its account of the birth of Jesus with an account of the birth and childhood of Mary, it has directly or indirectly shaped beliefs about the ‘holy family’ throughout Christian history. It is beyond doubt that the author is familiar with Matthew and Luke’s birth narratives and that he uses them extensively. Yet his use of source texts is seldom predictable, often creative, and almost always in the service of forging a compelling narrative that serves his idiosyncratic take on the tradition. The Protevangelium is a masterpiece of creative synthesis that reveres its source materials while being unafraid to plough its own furrow. This chapter investigates how the Protevangelium interprets and rewrites synoptic narratives, paying special attention to the author’s rewriting of the stories of the annunciation and the birth of Jesus.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Goodacre, M

Published Date

  • January 1, 2018

Book Title

  • Connecting Gospels: Beyond the Canonical/Non-Canonical Divide

Start / End Page

  • 57 - 76

International Standard Book Number 13 (ISBN-13)

  • 9780198814801

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1093/oso/9780198814801.003.0004

Citation Source

  • Scopus