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Christianity / Apocryphal gospels /
Infancy Gospel of Pseudo-Matthew
Also called: Gospel of Pseudo-Matthew; Infancy Gospel of Matthew
Original title: The Book About the Origin of the Blessed Mary and the Childhood of the Savior

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In Christianity, apocryphal gospel that actually is a compilation of old text fragments or excerpts, collected in the 8th or 9th century.
This script is prefaced by letters between the early Church father Jerome and the Bishops Comatius and Heliodorus. The attribution to St. Jerome is considered unlikely.

The authorship is indicated with 'pseudo' because early theologians came to refuse the idea that it was written by the disciple Matthew himself.

This script is one of several texts that tell the background of Jesus before the age of 12, which is generally little described in Luke and Matthew. To a large extent, this text is a reproduction of the Infancy Gospel of James. To this is added the story about the flight of the Holy Family into Egypt, before being followed by the text from Infancy Gospel of Thomas.
While the stories about the flight to Egypt have unknown origin, they have become extremely important to the mythology of the Coptic church and the ritual year.
The first part of the gospel tells the story about Joachim and Anna, Mary's parents. It tells about the barrenness of Anna, the eventual birth of Mary, how Mary entered the service as a temple virgin, the choosing of Joseph as her husband, her pregnancy, the test of both Mary and Joseph to prove their innocence in the pregnancy.
The impact of this text to Christian mythology was strong in Medieval Europe. The Arabic Infancy Gospel, which includes many supernatural embellishments, is largely based upon this gospel.
This gospel has contributed to the common ideas of there being an ox and an ass in the stable where Jesus was born; in Luke there is no information about animals in the stable.

By Tore Kjeilen