There are historical records of the lives of Jesus Christ and His Mother Mary that have been accepted and used by the Eastern Christian Church from Apostolic times and by the Western Church until the last few centuries. They were not included in the Holy Scriptures since it could not be established beyond doubt that they were written by one of the Twelve Apostles, for that was the criterion for the inclusion of books in the Bible.
The first Christians did not at all consider the books which now make up the New Testament to be specially inspired in contrast to the books that were not included. Many books, such as those of Saint Ignatius of Antioch, a disciple of the Apostle John, were read in the churches as being of equal authority. Anything written by a saint today is considered by Eastern Christians to be virtually, though not officially, of the same value as the books of the Bible. But when a fundamental collection of authoritative Christian writings was to be made, it was decided that only those written by the Twelve should be included. However, the spiritual authority of other books was in no way lessened by this decision.
It is true, however, that the four Gospels of the New Testament are looked upon as having a unique value. This is because these four books are not mere history, but symbolic presentations of the passage from humanity to divinity, from son of man to Son of God. In the main the Gospels are historically true,1 but the choice and arrangement of incidents and teachings have an esoteric purpose, and the deeper meaning is to be sought beneath the surface appearance of things. The other gospels not included in the New Testament are simple history without this higher symbolic dimension. Yet they do, as we shall see, contain a great deal of esoteric material.
Are they accurate?
Can we be sure these books are really historically accurate? Not any more than we can be sure of anything that comes to us from the past. However it would not matter if they were fiction from beginning to end, for since they were accepted and circulated by the Christians from the very beginning we can know that their contents were in perfect accord with the original principles of the Christian Church. For example, Saint Anna fears to take a headband from her maidservant lest it have a curse woven into it. Even if this did not take place, the acceptance of the incident by the early Church shows that Christians believed that there were such things as curse objects. We also see that the original Christians believed in sacred plants, communication with angels, divination, and other such things that today are considered completely unchristian—which demonstrates that it is contemporary Christianity itself that is unchristian rather than those concepts.
Here is what is included in this book:
• Chapter One–The Protoevangelium Of Saint James
• Chapter Two–The Gospel of the Infancy of Jesus and Mary
• Chapter Three–The Gospel of the Nativity of Mary
• Chapter Four–The History of Anna, The Mother of the Blessed Virgin Mary
• Chapter Five–The Gospel of Thomas
• Chapter Six–The Infancy of the Savior
• Chapter Seven, part 1–The Ladakh Manuscript
• Chapter Seven, part 2–The Ladakh Manuscript
• Chapter Eight, part 1–The Gospel Of Nicodemus
• Chapter Eight, part 2 –The Gospel Of Nicodemus
• Chapter Nine–The Death of Pilate, Who Condemned Jesus
• Chapter Ten–The Narrative of Joseph
• Chapter Eleven–The Book of John Concerning the Falling Asleep of Mary
• Chapter Twelve–Miscellaneous Sources
• Chapter Thirteen–Afterword
1) Some adjustments were made in the historical facts in order to emphasize the esoteric symbolism or to eliminate minor points of local history or custom that would have confused or distracted the non-Jewish readers. [Go back]