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date: 17 September 2019

Abstract and Keywords

References to Mary of Nazareth are plentiful in Christian apocryphal texts. The canonical gospels say little about her life before the birth of Jesus, and less still about what happened to her after Jesus’ death. Christian imagination filled in these gaps in Mary’s biography while also introducing some key aspects of doctrine. The chapter covers in detail the two key Marian apocryphal texts: the Protevangelium of James and the Dormition of the Virgin. Included also are numerous texts that expand and reflect upon her birth and early life, upon her role as the mother of Jesus, and upon her depiction as a mediator between God and humanity. Attention is paid also to the composite Mary found in gnostic texts, and to efforts at combining apocryphal texts of Mary into comprehensive biographies. The chapter aims to be descriptive about the texts that are available for study while also reflective of their importance for the history of Marian devotion.

Keywords: Mary, Dormition, Virgin Birth, Gnosticism, infancy gospels, women, apocalypse, mediator, hell, devotion

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