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p. 79



   ONE year before the annunciation of our Lord, the emperor of the Romans sent to the land of Palestine Cyrinus4 the governor, to write p. 80 down every one for the poll-tax, for the Jews were subject to the empire of the Romans; and every man was written down in his city. And Joseph the carpenter also went up that he might be written down in his city; and by reason of his exceeding great watchfulness for the blessed (Mary), he took her with him upon an ass. When they had gone about three miles, Joseph looked at her and saw that her hand was laid upon her belly, and that her face was contracted with pain; and he thought that she was troubled by the beast, and asked her about her trouble and pain. She said to him, 'Hasten and prepare a place for me to alight, for the pains of childbirth have taken hold upon me.' When he had lifted her down from the animal, he went to fetch a midwife, and found a Hebrew woman whose name was Salome1. The heretics say that she was called Hadyôk, but they err from the truth. When Joseph came to the cave, he found it full of brilliant light, and the child wrapped in swaddling clothes and rags, and laid in a crib. And there were shepherds there keeping watch over their flocks, and behold the angel of God came to them, and the glory of the Lord shone upon them; and they feared with an exceeding great fear. The angel said to them, 'Fear not, for behold, I announce to you a great joy which shall be to all the world; for there is born to you this day a Redeemer, who is the Lord Jesus, in the city of David: and this shall be p. 81 the sign unto you; ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, and laid in a crib.' And suddenly with the angel there appeared many hosts of heaven, praising God and saying, 'Glory to God in the heights, and on earth peace and tranquillity and good hope to men.' And the shepherds went and entered the cave, and they saw as the angel had said to them. The names of the shepherds were these: Asher, Zebulon, Justus, Nicodemus, Joseph, Barshabba, and Jose; seven in number.



p. 79

3 Chap. xl in the Oxford MS.

4 Luke ii. 1-2. The name is written in the MSS. of 'the Bee' Κυρι̑νος {Greek: Kurinos} = Quirinus.

p. 80

1 The extract from the History of the Virgin runs as follows: 'When they drew near to Bethlehem, Mary said to Joseph, "The day of giving birth has come, and the birth-pains will not allow me to reach the city; let us enter this cave, for my womb . . . . . ." When she had gone into the cave, Joseph ran to call a woman to be with her. And lo, while he was running, there met him an old Samaritan woman, who was travelling from Jerusalem to go to Bethlehem. Joseph said to her, "Come, O blessed matron, and go into this cave, where there is a woman giving birth to a child." When the old woman came, Joseph was mixing for her . . . . . ., and they had nothing in the cave. When they went in they saw,' etc. Some words seem to have been omitted in the MS. in the third line. See Cowper, Apoc. Gospels, p. 51; the notes in Thilo, Codex Apoc., p. 377; and Wright, Contrib. to the Apoc. Lit. of the New Test., pp. 2 and 3. In the Gospel of Pseudo-Matthew two midwives are mentioned, Zelomi and Salome; Tischendorf, Evangelia Apoc., p. 75.