Thursday, July 06, 2006

Infancy Gospel of James

Infancy Gospel of James. This is all from Margaret Barker.

The Infancy Gospel of James is not easy to date, but Justin in the mid-second century knew that the birth had taken place in a cave, Clement of Alexandria, at the end of the second century, knew that Mary was a virgin after giving birth, and Origen knew that Joseph had been a widower with other children[9] - all details unique to account. A papyrus of the Infancy Gospel of James, dated to the end of the third century, is the oldest known complete gospel text[10]. The Infancy Gospel of James tells how Mary was given to the temple when she was three years old, like the infant Samuel (1 Sam.1.24). The priest received her and sat her on the third step of the altar, and she danced at his feet in the temple. She was fed by an angel, and grew up in the temple until, at the age of twelve and the onset of puberty, she had to leave. A husband was found for her, Joseph, who was a widower with sons. When a new veil was needed for the temple, seven young women were chosen to spin the wool and to weave. Mary was one of them, and while she was spinning, the angel told her that she would give birth to the Son of God Most High. Mary spinning the red wool as the angel speaks to her became the ikon of the Annunciation. The little girl in the temple, dancing before the high priest, is exactly how Wisdom was described in Proverbs 8: playing and dancing before the Creator. Like Wisdom, Mary is depicted in ikons as seated in the holy of holies, being fed by an angel. She left the holy place to give birth to her child, like the woman clothed with the sun appearing through the opened veil of the holy of holies. Whilst she was weaving the new veil, the symbol of incarnation, she was pregnant with her child, and in ikons, she is shown holding her spindle, the ancient symbol of the Great Lady. The Queen of Heaven and her Son were Mary and her Son, and just as Jesus was proclaimed the Lord, the God of Israel, so Mary was depicted as the Great Lady, his Mother.

In the Great High Priest she says the Angel was presumably a Priest. So Mary was chosen to create a new veil for the temple. In the Gospels the flesh of Jesus and the Veil were linked.

No comments: