This is the quote from the work entitled Stromata by Saint Clement of Alexandria (d. ca. 215)
It appears that even today many hold that Mary, after the birth of her Son, was found to be in the state of a woman who has given birth, while in fact she was not so. For some say that, after giving birth, she was examined by a midwife, who found her to be a virgin(1). These things are attested to by the Scriptures of the Lord, which also give birth to the truth and remain virginal, in the hiddenness of the mysteries of truth. "She gave birth and did not give birth", Scripture(2) says, since she conceived by herself, not as a result of union with a man.
(1) reference to the Protoevangelium of James
(2) taken from the apocryphal Pseudo-Ezekiel
As I mention in my previous post, the above quote of Clement only mentions pseudoEzekial as the scripture which confirms the tradition. For Clement the reference to the midwife is an already well established oral tradition, it is not dependant on PJ.
Clement says, 'It appears that even today'... Meaning the tradition of the midwife is based on oral tradition (although possibly it was more readily believed in times past ). Knowing the date Clement lived &wrote stromaties between 197-203 a.d.- his statement asserts that the midwife tradition predates PJ. Origen is the first to mention PJ in 235 a.d. It did not have a wide circulation, Clement was unaware of a PJ (he would of had familiarity with pseudo-Peter as he visited Antioch).
Tertullian (a contemporary of Clement) who attributed the sibllings of Christ as biological offspring of Mary in his apologies against docetism, would have had a field day against PJ if he was familiar with it. Tertullian never attributed the perpetual virginity as deriving from a gnostic gospel, just that it was a long held (false) tradition which he wanted to rid as the docetists used this to their advantage.
We can see from the evidence that the midwife tradition and by extension other material in PJ, definately predates PJ.
Infact it is questionable whether Orthodoxy holds that all of Christ's siblings were from Joseph's previous marriage (as PJ asserts). Orthodox sources tends to attribute James as a biological son of Joseph while the other siblings may have been cousins. If PJ was held in such high esteem Jerome wouldnt of needed to bypass it when establishing the relations between Christ and his siblings against Helvidius.
The theory of Jerome expanded on Hegessipus (which certainlly predates PJ) view which is they are cousins. In this the Orthodox also diverge from PJ, accepting Simeon as a cousin not a half-brother, retaining the more ancient opinion.
Edited by Kosta, 06 December 2012 - 09:58 PM.