Gender & Purity in the Protevangelium
of James

Wissenschaftliche Untersuchungen Zum Neuen Testament 2. No. 358

Book Title

By Lily C. Vuong
February 2014
Mohr Siebeck
Distributed by Coronet Books
ISBN: 9783161523373
285 Pages
$157.50 Paper original


The Protevangelium of James is arguably the earliest surviving source that exhibits profound interest in Mary, the mother of Jesus. Although frequently cited for later Christian reflections about Mary, gender, and virginity and its influence on popular Christian art, music, and literature, it is not well known outside academic circles and is rarely studied for its own sake.

Lily C. Vuong offers a sustained analysis of the text’s narrative and literary features in order to explore the portrayal and characterization of Mary through a focus on the theme of purity. By tracing the various ways purity is described and presented in the text, the author contributes to discussions on early Jewish and Christian ideas about purity, representations of women in the ancient world, the early history of Mariology, and the place of non-canonical writings in the history of biblical interpretation.