Does the Church have an official stance on the protoevengelium of James


I was wondering if the Church has an official stance on the protoevengelium of James. Is it quoted in the Catechism. I could not find it earlier but may have overlooked it. Thanks for any help.


I think the official stance is that it’s not part of Scripture. :slight_smile:

I flipped through the index of citations for the CCC and didn’t see it listed, so I don’t believe it is quoted in the Catechism.


Although the Church feels that it was written by someone other than the claimed author (which was common back in that time - pre-Christ as well as post-Christ), the ProtoEvangelium reflects commonly held Christian traditions. For instance, it’s where we get the tradition that Mary’s parents were named Joachim and Ann. It’s also where we get the tradition that Mary was a consecrated virgin to the Temple in Jerusalem.

One of the problems, if I remember correctly, is that the High Priest named in the book is incorrect. I can’t recall any further details than that.


Thanks, that is what I thought. If it there is no official stance, then where does that leave those that might believe at least parts of it as actual history although not the inspired Word of God?


In the same place as those that acknowledge truth in any other historical document that is not divinely inspired. :slight_smile: In particular, however, this text is treated like other texts from the ECFs.


A piece can be historical and contain truths even if it is not part of Scripture. Think of Jude 1:9 (in which Jude quotes the apocryphal book called the Assumption of Moses) and Jude 1:14-15 (in which he quotes the book of Enoch). Things in the Protoevangelium, like the names of Mary’s parents, are attested via Tradition, similar to how Jude revealed the truths in those other books.


Thanks. I guess my question is more if there are any parts of the Protoevangelium that are not considered accurate by the Church.


If I recall correctly, the high priest mentioned in the ProtoEvangelium is wrong (or maybe from a completely different date).


Here is something taken from

According to Ephiphanius it was maintained even in the fourth century by some enthusiasts that St. Anne conceived without the action of man. This error was revived in the West in the fifteenth century. (Anna concepit per osculum Joachimi.) In 1677 the Holy See condemned the error of Imperiali who taught that St. Anne in the conception and birth of Mary remained virgin (Benedict XIV, De Festis, II, 9).

I hope that helps! May God bless you!


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