What does protoevengelium mean?


what does protoevengelium mean? Just the word itself. I looked it up on wiki and got nothing usefull.


From the Catechism:


410 After his fall, man was not abandoned by God. On the contrary, God calls him and in a mysterious way heralds the coming victory over evil and his restoration from his fall.304 This passage in Genesis is called the Protoevangelium (“first gospel”): the first announcement of the Messiah and Redeemer, of a battle between the serpent and the Woman, and of the final victory of a descendant of hers.

411 The Christian tradition sees in this passage an announcement of the “New Adam” who, because he “became obedient unto death, even death on a cross”, makes amends superabundantly for the disobedience, of Adam.305 Furthermore many Fathers and Doctors of the Church have seen the woman announced in the Protoevangelium as Mary, the mother of Christ, the “new Eve”. Mary benefited first of all and uniquely from Christ’s victory over sin: she was preserved from all stain of original sin and by a special grace of God committed no sin of any kind during her whole earthly life.306

412 But why did God not prevent the first man from sinning? St. Leo the Great responds, "Christ’s inexpressible grace gave us blessings better than those the demon’s envy had taken away."307 And St. Thomas Aquinas wrote, "There is nothing to prevent human nature’s being raised up to something greater, even after sin; God permits evil in order to draw forth some greater good. Thus St. Paul says, ‘Where sin increased, grace abounded all the more’; and the Exsultet sings, ‘O happy fault,. . . which gained for us so great a Redeemer!’"308


413 “God did not make death, and he does not delight in the death of the living. . . It was through the devil’s envy that death entered the world” (Wis 1:13; 2:24).

414 Satan or the devil and the other demons are fallen angels who have freely refused to serve God and his plan. Their choice against God is definitive. They try to associate man in their revolt against God.

415 “Although set by God in a state of rectitude man, enticed by the evil one, abused his freedom at the very start of history. He lifted himself up against God, and sought to attain his goal apart from him” (GS 13 § 1).

416 By his sin Adam, as the first man, lost the original holiness and justice he had received from God, not only for himself but for all human beings.

417 Adam and Eve transmitted to their descendants human nature wounded by their own first sin and hence deprived of original holiness and justice; this deprivation is called “original sin”.

418 As a result of original sin, human nature is weakened in its powers, subject to ignorance, suffering and the domination of death, and inclined to sin (this inclination is called “concupiscence”).

419 “We therefore hold, with the Council of Trent, that original sin is transmitted with human nature, “by propagation, not by imitation” and that it is. . . ‘proper to each’” (Paul VI, CPG § 16).

420 The victory that Christ won over sin has given us greater blessings than those which sin had taken from us: “where sin increased, grace abounded all the more” (Rom 5:20).

421 Christians believe that “the world has been established and kept in being by the Creator’s love; has fallen into slavery to sin but has been set free by Christ, crucified and risen to break the power of the evil one. . .” (GS 2 § 2).


ok. it means first gospel.


The story of Jesus’ life, death and resurrection is called the Gospel. The story of Jesus’ infancy, his “first” days, is sometimes called the *Protoevangelium, *as in the Protoevangelium of James, also called the Infancy Gospel of James.


Is it “proto-evangelium” or “protoivangelium” or “proteevangelium?”

The first keeps the syllables separate. The second is the Classical diphthong, while the last is Church Latin.

Anyone know how the original word, “Protoevangelion,” would be pronounced? In Greek I mean? Greek writes accents.


Actually the Protoevangelium of James is about the birth of Mary and has nothing to do with the infancy of Jesus.


As previously mentioned, it means “First Gospel”. Often, this term is used to refer to Genesis 3:15:

“I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her seed; he shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel.”

After the sin of Adam and Eve, this verse is the first mention of the promised savior. Thus, it is the first proclamation of the “Good News” of man’s redemption. Hence the name “First Gospel”.

edit: If you want more info on the Protoevangelium, here’s what Pope John Paul II had to say about it:



Don’t get that mixed up though to mean the “First Gospel”. It is not a Canonical Gospel. It is properly called the “First Gospel of James” which is accepted as a early Christian writing but not Inspired Scripture.


You may want to re-read the Protoevangelium of James. It is about much more than just the birth of Mary. The last few paragraphs are about the birth of Jesus and the visit by the Magi, among other things, or, in other words, about the infancy of Jesus.


The thrust of this document is about Mary, not Jesus. “Infancy” implies a lot more than “birth”. I suspect the document you are really thinking about is the Infancy Gospel of Thomas which talks about Jesus as a boy growing up!


I was wondering not about “The” or “A” protoevengelium. More or less what the word means in itself. I’ve seen it here and there in some of the books I’ve been reading and didn’t know if it was in referance to one thing or if it had a general deffanition.


I guess you ended up with more info than you bargained for, then. :wink: :smiley:


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