The Infancy Gospel Of James

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The Infancy Gospel of James, otherwise known as the Protoevangelium Gospel of James, begins by introducing part of Mary’s lineage. It informs the reader of Joachim and Anna, Mary’s parents. Joachim is known to be a very rich and generous man with his money, but is prevented from offering gifts to Israel because he has yet to produce offspring for Israel. Joachim decides that he will go into the desert and fast and pray in the effort to receive a message from God about offspring. He is recorded as saying that he “shall not go down either for food or for drink until the Lord my God visits me.” In the fourth chapter, the angel of the Lord who informs her that she will conceive a child who will be known throughout the world visits Anna. Near that time, the angel of the Lord who delivers the same good news also visits Joachim. Mary is born to them nine months later. The text goes into great depths to describe Mary’s birth, saying, “Anna asked the midwife, ‘What is it?’ The midwife replied, ‘A girl.’ Anna said ‘My soul is exalted today.’ And she laid the child down.” As Mary walks for the first time, Anna decides that she should never walk in the earth again until she had been brought to the temple of the Lord. As a result, Anna creates a sanctuary in her bedroom for Mary and forbids anything unclean to pass through the sanctuary. On her third birthday, Mary is brought to the temple by Anna and Joachim and dedicated to the temple of the Lord. The priests set her on the alter
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