For anyone who follows my blog, or my Twitter account, it’s obvious that the Gospel of Pseudo-Matthew has been a major part of my research life over the last year and a half or so. (You can read more about other aspects of my work on Pseudo-Matthew here.) While I’ve been working on a new translation of this apocryphon, I’ve also found a number of questions to pursue, since they haven’t been adequately addressed in scholarship. One of these questions concerns the monastic sources behind the depiction of Mary’s life among a community of virgins in the temple.
I’m happy to report that my article addressing this issue, “The Gospel of Pseudo-Matthew, the Rule of the Master, and the Rule of Benedict,” has been accepted to appear in Revue bénédictine.
Here’s the abstract:
The reliance of the apocryphal Gospel of Pseudo-Matthew on the Rule of Benedict has been long acknowledged. The most significant scene to demonstrate intertextuality between the Rule of Benedict and Pseudo-Matthew is chapter 6, which depicts Mary’s ascetic life in a community of virgins. This scene adds much that is not in the main source, the Greek Protevangelium of James, based on the Benedictine life of work and prayer. Recent work on the sources of the apocryphal gospel, however, gives rise to questions about the sources involved in Pseudo-Matthew, especially opening up the possibility that the author of the apocryphon looked to multiple texts for various expansions. This article suggests that the author also relied on the Rule of the Master. Thus, the case of the Rule of the Master, Rule of Benedict, and Pseudo-Matthew is one of complex intertextuality with implications for how the text relates to monasticism.
Some of this work has also fed into my introduction to and commentary on Pseudo-Matthew, especially as it relates to the sources and literary contexts that fed into the text’s composition. I hope that this article helps to shed light on yet another piece of the complex puzzle of Pseudo-Matthew‘s origins as well as its relationships to various other late antique and medieval texts.