Question about The Virgin:

I was taught, at least I think I remember, that, in the midst of forgeries, one of the forgeries that was rejected for the Bible was, “The Gospel of Mary”, meaning of Magdela (though, as I understand it, this wasn’t found until the 19th Century anyway). Anyway, the nun teaching this went so far as to say, “Eventually there was also a Gospel according to the Mother of Jesus. Oh really? So, a Jewish hick woman would have been able to read & write,” or, something to this effect.

Alright, the thing is, Catholic tradition holds that she was dedicated to the temple (which is why she decided to not really ~have~ a husband). Would she have been educated in literacy & such there?

There are two “Gospel of Mary’s.”

The first, an ancient Gnostic work, survives only in fragments. It was ascribed to Mary Magdalene (not the BVM), and she is describing a vision in which she explains the progress of Gnostics through the seven planatary spheres. There is no indication this writing was even CONSIDERED for inclusion in the Canon (much less rejected).

The other is the “Gospel of the Birth of Mary,” part of pius Christian lore (and the source for the stories of Mary’s dedication to temple service). It was actually composed in the Middle Ages (though some editions attributed it to St. Jerome who was said to have translated it from a Hebrew source, but this is unlikely). At any rate, it is thought to embody much older stories and legends - possibly dating from Apostolic times.

If Mary WAS dedicated to service in the temple, she would not have been educated there. Her service would have consisted of “women’s work” like cooking, cleaning, and sewing for the priestly class.

It is doubtful that Mary was literate. It amuses me that a famous painting of Mary depicts her with a book on a bookstand, with the suggestion that she is teaching a 5-year old Christ. That’s right - a book - a bound codex! Books in bound codex form didn’t appear until much, much later. Oh well, artistic license, I suppose.

But, of course, it is also doubtful Peter was literate. Ancient people had ways around those problems (they called them “scribes”).

Actually, the Protoevangelium of James refers to Mary’s dedication. It dates from the second century.

Writings Which the Catholic Church Decided to be the “Canon” of Scripture of the New Testament

The title of this web site is somewhat misleading. The Church did not “decide” what what was to be in the NT canon, she PROVED what was inspired and what was not. Nevertheless, it gives a long list of books that were rejected and accepted.


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