The Bible and Beyond Podcast Episode
The Protevangelium of James: Where the Deep Veneration of Mary (Mother of Jesus) Came From
An Interview with Dr. Lily Vuong
About this episode: Dr. Lily Vuong – from a family of Vietnam refugees – found the ‘outsider’ point of view in the Protevangelium of James resonated with her own experience. It’s an apocryphal text, but instead of thinking of it as a ‘failed scripture,’ Vuong encourages us to appreciate the beauty and meaning of the book on its own merit. The story recounts Mary’s preparation to become the mother of Jesus. Historical facts are less important than the value and meaning of purity.
Dr. Lily Vuong’s new book, titled The Protevangelium of James, includes a new translation and commentary. She is also the author of another book, and a number of articles as well as the co-editor of several volumes on the topic. Dr. Vuong completed her PhD from McMaster University in Canada, where she studied early Judaism and Early Christianity. She is a professor at Central Washington University and will be a fellow at the Center for Advanced Studies – “Beyond Canon” – at the University at Regensburg, Germany next year. Her primary academic interest is in what she calls the “non-normative ancient books.”
Shirley, thank you for posting the interview with Dr. Lily Vuong about her new book, titled The Protevangelium of James. I just shared the link with a friend because we were talking about Jesus’ siblings last night! So timely and interesting!
Dear Shirley and Lily,
Thanks so much for this lucid and fascinating view of the early text about Mary’s background and purity. I was very interested that the writing is attributed to James, the stepbrother of Jesus. I have often wondered where there was corroborating evidence about Jesus’ brothers and sisters who are not revealed very fully in the canonical bible. I enjoyed finding out the name of Mary’s mother Anna and a bit of her own background. I loved hearing about Mary living in the temple and even in the Holy of Holies as this was new information to me. Would this temple have been the one in Jerusalem or is there evidence that it was the synagogue in Nazareth? I was curious about where this early text claimed Mary grew up.
Thanks for making these scholarly studies so accessible.
Hi Robin –
Thank you for your comments and for listening to the podcast. I appreciate your thoughts on the text.
With regard to your question –the text specifically states that its the temple of the Lord. The references to the high priests, altar, holy of holies, etc. also reinforces that it is the Jerusalem temple.