Early Life of Virgin Mary Till The Birth of Jesus Christ

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Its the Catholic Church that gives most importance to the Virgin Mary among all the Churches. But yet they fail to give an account of her early life in their version of the bible. Here I have tried to give a brief account of the early life of Mary until the birth of Jesus. The information comes from the Gospel of James, who is said to be the brother of Jesus (Son of Joseph). This gospel gives us an entirely different view on Mary, Joseph and the events during the birth of Christ.

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Parents of Mary (Introduction)

Joachim was an extremely rich man. He always brought a double offering to the Lord. Joachim and his wife Anna did not have children for a long time. Once Joachim was discouraged from giving his offering to the Lord first, by a man called Reubel, because he has not conceived a child in Israel. Joachim became extremely frustrated and went away to the history of the twelve tribes of his people, saying to himself, “I will look in the history of the twelve tribes of Israel and see whether I am the only one who has not conceived a child in Israel”. To his disappointment he searched and found that all the righteous people had raised children in Israel. He reminded himself about the patriarch Abraham and that the Lord God gave his son Isaac to him in his last days.

Then, Joachim was extremely frustrated and did not appear to his wife, but gave himself to the desert and pitched his tent there. He fasted forty days and forty nights. All the while, Joachim was saying to himself, “I will not go down for food or drink until the Lord my God visits me; prayer will be my food and drink.”

Anna also became extremely frustrated went down to her garden to walk around. She saw a laurel tree and sat down under it. And after a rest, she petitioned the Lord, saying, “God of my ancestors, bless me and hear my prayer, just as you blessed our mother Sarah and gave her son Isaac to her”. Suddenly, an angel of the Lord stood in front of her, saying, “Anna, Anna, the Lord God has heard your prayer. You will conceive and give birth and your child will be spoken of everywhere people live”. Anna said, “As the Lord God lives, whether I give birth to either a male or a female child, I will bring it as an offering to the Lord my God and it will be a servant to him all the days of its life”. Next, two angels came, saying to her, “Look your husband Joachim is coming with his flocks”. For an angel of the Lord had gone down to Joachim, saying, “Joachim, Joachim, the Lord God has heard your prayer. Go down from here. Look, your wife Anna has conceived in her womb”. After nine months (Another book says seven months), Anna gave birth to a baby girl.

At the Temple of the Lord

When the child turned three she was taken to the temple of the load. While Mary was in the temple of the Lord, she was fed like a dove and received food from the hand of an angel. When she turned twelve, a group of priests took counsel together, saying, “Look, Mary has been in the temple of the Lord twelve years. What should we do about her now, so that she does not defile the sanctuary of the Lord our God?”

As the high priest was praying for a way, an angel of the Lord stood before, saying, “Zachariah, Zachariah, depart from here and gather the widowers of the people and let each one carry a staff. And the one whom the Lord God points out with a sign, she will be his wife.”

After all the widowers have gathered, Zachariah received everyone’s rod and went into the temple and prayed. When he was finished with the prayer, he took the rods and went out and gave them to each man, but there was no sign among them. Finally, Joseph took his rod. Suddenly, a dove came out of the rod and stood on Joseph’s head. And the high priest said, “Joseph! Joseph! You have been chosen by lot to take the virgin into your own keeping.”

Joseph replied, saying, “I have sons and am old, while she is young. I will not be ridiculed among the children of Israel”. But fearing God, Joseph took her into his own possession. And he said to her, “Mary, I took you from the temple of the Lord and now I bring you into my house. I am going out to build houses, but I will come back to you. The Lord will protect you”.

At the house of Joseph

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As one day she took the cup and went out to fill it with water. A voice suddenly said to her, “Rejoice, blessed one. The Lord is with you. You are blessed among women”. Mary looked around to the right and the left to see where this voice came from. Trembling she went into her house. Setting down the cup, she took the purple thread and sat down on the chair and spun it. Suddenly, an angel stood before her saying, “Do not be afraid Mary. You have found grace before the Lord of all. You will conceive from his word”. Upon hearing this, however, Mary was distraught, saying to herself, “If I conceive from the Lord God who lives, will I also conceive as all women conceive?” And the Angel of the Lord said, “Not like that, Mary. For the power of God will come over you. Thus, the holy one who is born will be called son of the most high. You will call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins”. Mary said, “See, I am the servant of the Lord before him. Let it happen to me according to what you say”. These mysteries happened when she was sixteen.

In the sixth month of her pregnancy, Joseph came from his house-building and went into the house to find her swelling. And he struck his face and threw himself on the ground in sackcloth and wept bitterly, “How can I look to the Lord God? What will I pray about her, for I took her as a virgin from the temple of the Lord and did not guard her? (4) Who has set this trap for me? Who did this evil in my house? Who stole the virgin from me and defiled her. Then, she wept bitterly, saying, “I am pure and I did not know a man”. And Joseph said to her, “Where did this thing in your womb come from then?” But she said, “As the Lord my God lives, I do not know where it came from.”

In this sleep an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph, saying, “Do not fear this child. For the child in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will bear a son for you and you will call his name Jesus. For he will save his people from their sins”. Joseph arose from his sleep and glorified the God of Israel who had given grace to him. And he guarded the child.

When the priests came to know what had happened, they led Mary with Joseph to the law court. Joseph and Marry swear that they have done nothing wrong. The high priest said, “I will give you the water of the Lord’s wrath to drink and it will make your sin clear in your eyes”. And taking the water, the high priest gave it to Joseph to drink and sent him out into the desert. And he returned unharmed. After wards he made the young girl drink also and sent her out into the desert. And she came back unharmed. And all the people were astonished that their sins were not revealed. And the high priest said, “If the Lord God has not revealed your sins, I will not judge you either.” And he released them. And Joseph took Mary and went away to his house, rejoicing and praising the God of Israel.

Birth Of Jesus Christ (Jammanuel)

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Then, there was an order from the Emperor Augustus to have everyone in Bethlehem of Judea be registered for a census. Joseph said, “I will register my sons. But this child? What will I do about him? How will I register him? And my wife? Oh, I am ashamed. Should I register her as my daughter? The children of Israel know that she is not my daughter. This day, I will do as the Lord wants.” And he saddled his donkey and sat her on it and his son led and Samuel followed. When they came to the middle of the journey, Mary said to him, “Joseph, take me off the donkey, the child pushing from within me to let him come out”. He found a cave and led her there and stationed his sons to watch her, while he went to find a Hebrew midwife in the land of Bethlehem. He saw a woman coming down from the mountain and she said to him, “Man, where are you going?”

He said “I am seeking a Hebrew midwife.”

Replying, she said to him, “Are you from Israel?”

And he said to her, “Yes.”

Then, she said, “And who is giving birth in the cave?”

And he said, “The one who has pledged to be married to me.”

And she said to him, “She is not your wife?”

And he said to her, “She is Mary, the one who was raised in the temple. I won her by lot to be my wife. She is not yet my wife, but has a fetus from the Holy Spirit.”

And the midwife said, “Really?”

And Joseph said to her, “Come and see.”

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So the midwife went with him. And they stood near the cave and a dark cloud was hovering over the cave. And the midwife said, “My soul glorifies this day, for today my eyes have seen a miracle: salvation has come to Israel”. And immediately, the cloud withdrew from the cave and a great light appeared in the cave so that their eyes could not bear it. And a little while later the same light withdrew until an infant appeared. And he came and took the breast of his mother, Mary. And the midwife cried out and said, “How great this day is for me, for I have seen this new miracle.”

Read Further

You are encouraged to read further. Remember that to be a good Christian one have to be a truth seeker. The primary source of information comes from the Gospel of James in the book ‘Lost Scriptures’ by Barth D. Ehrman. I have also provided a link to a PDF version of the Gospel below. The PDF version seems to be missing some details though. The actual gospel goes a little further.

Please feel free to post your comments and opinions.

6 Responses to Early Life of Virgin Mary Till The Birth of Jesus Christ

  1. Pingback: And the Virgin’s Name Was Mary (Pt. 1) « pigtailsinpaint

  2. Love this story. I’ve read all the early church versions I could find. One thing- if you read Gospel of Mary and Pseudo Matthew, it is clear that the dove did not fly out of the wood of the staff, but flew onto the staff and flew off from it. The greek ‘ek’ is a little general and seems to have been mistranslated in its intended meaning. This becomes important as many reject proto-James just for this single oddity.

    Jebahdisrael
  3. Its certain that thousands of years of translation, copying and tweaking to suit the beliefs of each group had completely changed the story of Christ. But I am glad that the 11th commandment still stands.
    “Thou Shalt Love Thy Neighbor as Thyself”

  4. Pingback: Jesus Christ and Gautama Buddha, Similarities and Differences | Blokeish.com

  5. ive read this page and its pretty awesome. this was all lovely..

  6. JEWS DESTROY CHRISTENDOM/S MYTHS

    The Catholic Church’s Response
    to Our Critique of Christian Credibility

    Because Christianity offers the second-most credible claim of any world religion, we opted to provide its most traditional branch — the Catholic Church — with an opportunity to respond to some of our critical observations. In early December, 1995, we forwarded the following three questions to Pope John Paul II:

    (1) The Gospels teach that Jesus appeared to the disciples after his resurrection. We are unclear, however, whether those appearances took place in Jerusalem or in the Galilee (or at both locales). According to our reading, the Galilean accounts seem to rule out prior Jerusalem appearances. Where did Jesus actually appear? If he appeared in Jerusalem, how should we read the Galilean accounts?

    (2) We find the genealogy of Jesus provided by the Gospels confusing. Who was Jesus’ paternal grandfather? (We notice that Matthew says that his grandfather was Jacob, but Luke says it was Heli). Also, we notice that Matthew declares that Jesus was separated from King David by only twenty-eight generations, but Luke’s list shows a forty-three generation separation. What does this contradiction mean?

    (3) The genealogical line linking Jesus and King David seems to pass through Jesus’ father. But since Jesus was the product of a virgin conception, then he does not share in his father’s Davidic ancestry. How is Jesus a descendent of David?

    In a letter from the Vatican dated 19 December 1995, the Pope’s Assessor, Monsignor L. Sandri, responded in the Pope’s name. Monsignor Sandri declined to answer our questions, but informed us that the members of the French Dominican Fathers’ Ecole Biblique in Jerusalem would probably provide satisfactory explanations.

    Through facsimile communications, we forwarded our questions to the Ecole Biblique. In a facsimile transmission dated 11 January 1996, Marcel Sigrist, the institute’s director, also declined to answer our questions, but suggested that answers could be found in the world of Raymond E. Brown, a well-known Catholic theologian currently on the staff of Saint Patrick Seminary in Menlo Park, California.

    Again through facsimile communications, we forwarded our questions to Dr. Brown. In a letter dated 22 January 1996, Dr. Brown referred us to writings of his held by the library of the Ecole Biblique in Jerusalem.

    (The correspondences from Pope John Paul II, Marcel Sigrist, and Raymond Brown are reprinted at this appendix’s conclusion.)

    On 2 February 1996 we visited the Ecole Biblique and examined Dr. Brown’s writings. As Dr. Brown suggested, his writings did address our questions. Here we will summarize the answers we found there.

    I. Post-Resurrectional Appearances: Galilee or Jerusalem?

    In an essay carrying the Nihil Obstat and Imprimatur (official declarations by the Catholic Church that a book is “free of doctrinal or moral error”), Brown admits that the apparent contradiction in records of the post-resurrectional appearances is real. “It is quite obvious,” Brown writes, “that the Gospels do not agree as to where and to whom Jesus appeared after his resurrection.”[1] “Just as the Jerusalem tradition leaves little or no room for subsequent Galilean appearances,” explains Brown, “the Galilean narratives seem to rule out any prior appearances of Jesus to the Twelve in Jerusalem.”[2] Citing immense textual evidence, Brown then declares his disapproval of the simples solution to the contradiction: “We must reject the thesis that the Gospels can be harmonized through a rearrangement whereby Jesus appears several times to the Twelve, first in Jerusalem, then in Galilee.”[3] Rather, concludes the Church spokesman, “Variations in place and time may stem in part from the evangelists themselves who are trying to fit the account of an appearance into a consecutive narrative.”[4] Brown makes clear that the post-resurrection appearance accounts are creative, substantially non-historical attempts to reconstruct events never witnessed by their respective authors.

    II. Genealogical Contradictions

    In the same essay, Brown observes that “the lists of Jesus’ ancestors that they [the Gospels] give are very different, and neither one is plausible.”[5] Brown takes the surprising position that “because the early Christians confessed Jesus as Messiah, for which ‘Son of David’ was an alternative title, they historicized their faith by creating for him Davidic genealogies and by claiming that Joseph was a Davidide.”[6] In another essay, also carrying the Church’s Nihil Obstat and Imprimatur, Brown expands upon this proposition:

    Increasingly, the purported descent from David is explained as a theologoumenon, i.e., as the historicizing of what was originally a theological statement. If I many give a simplified explanation, the process of historicizing Davidic sonship is though to have gone somewhat in the following way: the Christian community believed that Jesus had fulfilled Israel’s hopes; prominent among those hopes was the expectation of a Messiah, and so the traditional title “Messiah” was given to Jesus; but in Jewish thought the Messiah was pictures as having Davidic descent; consequently Jesus was described as “son of David”; and eventually a Davidic genealogy was fashioned for him.[7]

    Brown explains that Matthew probably created fictional genealogical links back to Abraham and David also “to appeal to the mixed constituency of his [Matthew’s] community of Jewish and Gentile Christians.”[8] As evidence that Jesus was really not a descendent of David at all, Brown points out that:

    There is not the slightest indication in the accounts of the ministry of Jesus that his family was of ancestral nobility or royalty. If Jesus were a dauphin, there would have been none of the wonderment about his pretensions. He appears in the Gospels as a man of unimpressive background from an unimportant village.[9]

    Brown goes even further, calling into question the reliability of large sections of the New Testament. He encourages his readers to face the possibility that portions of Matthew and Luke “may represent non-historical dramatizations:”[10]

    Indeed, close analysis of the infancy narratives makes it unlikely that either account is completely historical. Matthew’s account contains a number of extraordinary or miraculous public events that, were they factual, should have left some traces in Jewish records or elsewhere in the New Testament (the king and all Jerusalem upset over the birth of the Messiah in Bethlehem; a star which moved from Jerusalem south to Bethlehem and came to rest over a house; the massacre of all the male children in Bethlehem). Luke’s reference to a general census of the Empire under Augustus which affected Palestine before the death of Herod the Great is almost certainly wrong, as is his understanding of the Jewish customs of the presentation of the child and the purification of the mother in 2:22-24. Some of these events, which are quite implausible as history, have now been understood as rewritings of Old Testament scenes or themes.[11]

    Brown’s most extreme statement in this regard, appearing in the same essay, suggests that the Pope himself might reject the historicity of the resurrection altogether:

    It was this interaction [of the eschatological and the historical] that Pope Paul pointed to in the same address when he spoke of the resurrection as “the unique and sensational event on which the whole of human history turns.” This is not the same, however, as saying that the resurrection itself was a historical event, even though editorial writers quoted the Pope’s speech to that effect.[12]

    It is crucial to remember (a) that these words appear in an essay carrying the Church’s approbation; (b) that they were written by a scholar whose works were endorsed by the Ecole Biblique; and (c) that Ecole Biblique is the institution that we were referred to by Vatican authorities.

    III. The Virginal Conception

    Brown cautions that “we should not underestimate the adverse pedagogical impact on the understanding of divine sonship if the virginal conception is denied.”[13] On the other hand, admits Brown, “The virginal conception under its creedal title of ‘virgin birth’ is not primarily a biological statement.”[14] He stresses that Christian writings about virginal conception intend to reveal spiritual insights rather that physical facts. Because record of the virginal conception appears only in tow Gospels, and there only in the infancy narratives (which Brown suspects are largely fictional), the Catholic theologian tactfully concludes that “biblical evidence leaves the question of the historicity of the virginal conception unresolved.”[15]

    Brown mentions the possibility that “early Christians” might have imported a mythology about virginal conception from “pagan or [other] world religions,”[16] but never intended that that mythology be taken literally. “Virginal conception was a well-known religious symbol for divine origins,” explains Brown, citing such stories in Buddhist, Hindu, Zoroastrian, Greco-Roman and ancient Egyptian theologies.[17] He proposes that early Christians “used an imagery of virginal conception whose symbolic origins were forgotten as it was disseminated among various Christian communities and recorded by evangelists.”[18]

    Alternatively, Brown also considers the possibility that Christianity’s founders intended to create the impression that an actual virginal conception took place. Early Christians needed just such a myth, Brown notes, since Mary was widely known to have delivered Jesus too early: “Unfortunately, the historical alternative to the virginal conception has not been a conception in wedlock; it has been illegitimacy.”[19] Brown writes that:

    Some sophisticated Christians could live with the alternative of illegitimacy; they would see this as the ultimate stage in Jesus’ emptying himself and taking on the form of a servant, and would insist, quite rightly, that an irregular begetting involves no sin by Jesus himself. But illegitimacy would destroy the images of sanctity and purity with which Matthew and Luke surround Jesus’ origins and would negate the theology that Jesus came from the pious Anawim of Israel. For many less sophisticated believers, illegitimacy would be an offense that would challenge the plausibility of the Christian mystery.[20]

    In summary, Brown leans towards a less miraculous explanation of Jesus’ early birth.

    EXPANDED APPENDIX FROM PERMISSION TO RECEIVE BY: LAWRENCE KELEMEN

    SCANNED COPIES OF ACTUAL LETTERS SOURCED
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    For More From The Same Author Click here ——> Lawrence Kelemen
    ________________________________

    [1] Raymond E. Brown, The Virginal Conception and Bodily Resurrection of Jesus, New York: Paulist Press, 1973, p. 99.

    [2] Ibid., p. 105.

    [3] Ibid., p. 106.

    [4] Ibid.

    [5] Ibid., p. 54

    [6] Ibid., p. 55.

    [7] Raymond E. Brown, The Birth of the Messiah: A commentary on the Infancy Narratives in Matthew and Luke, Garden City, New York: 1977, p. 505.

    [8] Ibid., p. 68

    [9] Ibid., p. 88

    [10] Ibid., p. 34

    [11] Ibid., p. 36

    [12] Ibid., p. 126

    [13] Ibid., p. 529

    [14] Ibid.

    [15] Ibid., p. 527

    [16] Ibid., p. 522

    [17] Ibid.

    [18] The Virginal Conception and Bodily Resurrection of Jesus, p. 61.

    [19] The Birth of the Messiah, p. 530.

    [20] Ibid.

    Leonardo

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