Protoevangelium of James

The Virgin Birth According to the Proto-Gospel of James

Chapter 17

(1) Then, there was an order from the Emperor Augustus to register how many people were in Bethlehem of Judea. (2) And Joseph said, "I will register my sons. But this child? What will I do about him? How will I register him? (3) And my wife? Oh, I am ashamed. Should I register her as my daughter? The children of Israel know that she is not my daughter. (4) This day, I will do as the Lord wants."

(5) And he saddled his donkey and sat her on it and his son led and Samuel followed. (6) And they arrived at the third mile and Joseph turned and saw that she was sad. (7) And he said to himself, "Perhaps the child within her is troubling her." (8) And again Joseph turned around and saw her laughing and said to her, "Mary, what is with you? First your face appears happy and then sad?"

(9) And she said, "Joseph, it is because I see two people with my eyes, one crying and being afflicted, one rejoicing and being extremely happy."

(10) When they came to the middle of the journey, Mary said to him, "Joseph, take me off the donkey; the child is pushing from within me to let him come out."

(11) So he took her off the donkey and said to her, "Where will I take you and shelter you in your awkwardness? This area is a desert."

Chapter 18

(1) And he found a cave and led her there and stationed his sons to watch her, (2) while he went to a find a Hebrew midwife in the land of Bethlehem.

(3) Then, Joseph wandered, but he did not wander. (4) And I looked up to the peak of the sky and saw it standing still and I looked up into the air. With utter astonishment I saw it, even the birds of the sky were not moving. (5) And I looked at the ground and saw a bowl lying there and workers reclining. And their hands were in the bowl. (6) And chewing, they were not chewing. And picking food up, they were not picking it up. And putting food in their mouths, they were not putting it in their mouths. (7) Rather, all their faces were looking up.

(8) And I saw sheep being driven, but the sheep were standing still. (9) And the shepherd lifted up his hand to strike them, but his hand remained above them. (10) And I saw the rushing current of the river and I saw goats and their mouths resting in the water, but they were not drinking. (11) And suddenly everything was replaced by the ordinary course of events.

Chapter 19

(1) And I saw a woman coming down from the mountain and she said to me, "Man, where are you going?"

(2) And I said, "I am seeking a Hebrew midwife."

(3) Replying, she said to me, "Are you from Israel?"

(4) And I said to her, "Yes."

(5) Then, she said, "And who is giving birth in the cave?"

(6) And I said, "The one who has pledged to be married to me."

(7) And she said to me, "She is not your wife?"

(8) And I said to her, "She is Mary, the one who was raised in the temple. I won her by lot to be my wife. (9) She is not yet my wife, but has a fetus from the Holy Spirit."

(10) And the midwife said, "Really?"

(11) And Joseph said to her, "Come and see."

(12) So the midwife went with him. (13) And they stood near the cave and a dark cloud was hovering over the cave. (14) And the midwife said, "My soul glorifies this day, for today my eyes have seen a miracle: salvation has come to Israel."

(15) And immediately, the cloud withdrew from the cave and a great light appeared in the cave so that their eyes could not bear it. (16) And a little while later the same light withdrew until an infant appeared. And he came and took the breast of his mother, Mary.

(17) And the midwife cried out and said, "How great this day is for me, for I have seen this new miracle."

(18) And the midwife departed from the cave and met Salome and said to her, "Salome, Salome, I have to describe this new miracle for you. A virgin has given birth, although her body does not allow it."

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