The Gospel of Pseudo-Matthew and the Nativity of Mary

My book The Gospel of Pseudo-Matthew and the Nativity of Mary was published in 2019 by Cascade Books, as part of the Early Christian Apocrypha Series. The Gospel of Pseudo-Matthew is one of the most important witnesses in Western Europe to apocryphal stories about the lives of Mary, Joseph, Jesus, and Mary’s parents, Anna and Joachim. This apocryphon was also used as the basis for another, the Nativity of Mary, which gained equal popularity. As bestsellers of medieval Christianity, these Latin apocrypha are major witnesses to the explosion of extra-biblical literature in the Western Middle Ages. Despite their apocryphal status, the Gospel of Pseudo-Matthew and Nativity of Mary proved influential throughout the Middle Ages and into the early modern period, as their popularity and influences may be traced in Christian literature, visual arts, liturgy, and theological perspectives still revered by Roman Catholic theologians. These apocrypha also remain significant works for considering the history of monasticism and the cult of the Virgin Mary. This book draws upon a range of manuscript sources to present comprehensive English translations of the Gospel of Pseudo-Matthew and Nativity of Mary with full introductions and commentaries, as well as translations of related works with accompanying commentaries.

While other translations of these two apocrypha exist, most are based on the nineteenth-century text printed by Constantin von Tischendorf, which did not account for all of the versions or the earliest manuscripts. This new translation is based on the definitive critical editions by Jan Gijsel and Rita Beyers (in the Corpus Christianorum Series Apocryphorum). The volume also includes translations of related works like later medieval additions to Pseudo-Matthew, with accompanying commentaries.

You can find a preview of part of my translation in this post with the prefaces for both apocrypha.

I’ve published some results of my work as entries in the e-Clavis for the The North American Society for the Study of Christian Apocryphal Literature (NASSCAL): Gospel of Pseudo-Matthew and Nativity of Mary. Both entries contain summaries, information about manuscripts with links to digitized versions, and bibliographies of scholarship.

I’m also developing a catalogue of medieval images based on Pseudo-Matthew, especially representations found in digitized manuscripts available online.

My ongoing research includes using digital humanities tools to study the circulation and transmission of this apocryphon in the Middle Ages. The first phase of this research includes tracing the four different text types (A, P, Q, R) in the earliest manuscripts of each recension. Preliminary data may be found (in multiple formats) at this Github repository, available under a Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-SA 4.0) License.

Below are some other posts (which you can also find categorized under this tag) that have come out of my work on this text and its transmission during the medieval period.