Responsible Midwifery or Reckless Disbelief? Cover Image
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Responsible Midwifery or Reckless Disbelief?
Responsible Midwifery or Reckless Disbelief?

Revisiting Salome’s Examination of Mary in The Protevangelium Jacobi

Author(s): Mark Mattison
Subject(s): Christian Theology and Religion, History, Cultural history, Middle Ages, Theology and Religion, History of Religion
Published by: Trivent Publishing
Keywords: Mary; Mariology; Salome; midwifery; virgin birth
Summary/Abstract: The most disquieting pericope in The Protevangelium Jacobi is Salome’s violation of Mary to confirm her virginity. This essay considers whether Salome could have originally been depicted as a well-meaning midwife performing a postpartum physical examination. There are obstacles to this reading. Most challenging is Salome’s declaration to a midwife in 19:3: “unless I insert my finger and examine her condition, I won’t believe that a virgin has given birth.” An early editor could have subverted this narrative by incorporating this allusion to John 20:25, transforming Salome from a responsible midwife into a convenient literary foil to a virgin birth.

  • Page Range: 3-22
  • Page Count: 20
  • Publication Year: 2020
  • Language: English