My question for the forum involves the Protoevangelium of James.
This is a document that claims to have been written by James the Just (the Lord’s brother) around the time of Herod’s death around 4 BC. As such, it claims to have predated all New Testament scripture.
It was also the basis of several other “Infancy of Jesus” stories which used some of it’s story features and built on them, some of them including the heretical legend of Jesus turning clay birds to real birds and killing a children friend in anger after being bumped into. Such Gnostic heresies proliferated at the time and unfortunately infused much falsehoods even among the faithful sorta like our modern maxim of repeat the lie often enough and soon it becomes the perceived truth - something we see in the news everyday.
But here’s the rub, all agree that the Protoevangelium of James was written between 140-170 AD (not in 4 BC) and by some anonymous author who was most certainly not James the Just. So the** author lied about the date it was written and his own identity** - this is agreed to by everyone, both detractors and adherents of the work.
To confirm the story as a work of fiction, it was rejected in 492 by the official Gelasian decretal as being false (heresy) and was to be “avoided” by the faithful.
So here’s my question. How can you believe anything at all written in a story which is so clearly heretical fiction?
This story is the basis for a number of Marian beliefs, even dogmas, today. It’s even the sole source for knowing Mary’s parents names. Yet it’s complete fiction. There’s no indication anywhere that Mary, her relatives or even John (who watched over her 'til her death) had any input into this.
Don’t you find that troubling? When I have a discussion with a Catholic who uses the Protoevangelium of James as a source for credibility of his argument, I’m thinking you might as well claim Grimm’s fairy tales, cause it has about as much credibility.
As far as someone like me is concerned, when the date and authorship of a document have been proven not only to be false, but to have been an attempt at deception, then the entire work is perceived as a deception.
What do think? Do you place credibility in the Protoevangelium of James and why? I won’t argue with you about it. I’ve stated my view clearly. I’m just curious about your view.
Thanks for your input.