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And Joseph was afraid, and took her into his keeping.According to this “Gnostic gospel”, Mary was two years younger than Helen Mar Kimball at the time of her sealing and Joseph, her betrothed, was an “old man”.Then when the priests saw that the virgin, holy and God-fearing, was growing up, they spoke to each other, saying: Let us search out a man, righteous and pious, to whom Mary may be entrusted until the time of her marriage; lest, if she remain in the temple, it happen to her as is wont to happen to women, and lest on that account we sin, and God be angry with us.Therefore they immediately sent out, and assembled twelve old men of the tribe of Judah.Now it came to pass, when she was fourteen years old, . Ever since this temple was built by Solomon, there have been in it virgins, the daughters of kings and the daughters of prophets, and of high priests and priests; and they were great, and worthy of admiration. In this text, Mary’s age is referred to as the “proper age” and it is noted that she must follow “the course of their mothers before them”.But when they came to the proper age they were given in marriage, and followed the course of their mothers before them, and were pleasing to God. The Gospel of the Nativity of Mary, a recast of the Pseudo-Matthew, also speaks of Mary’s “advancing age”. She came, therefore, to her fourteenth year, and not only could they devise against her no evil, nor anything worthy of blame, but all good men who knew her judged her life and conversation worthy of admiration.This account claims Mary was consecrated to the Lord and served in the Temple.
The situation was similar on the other side of the Atlantic; Bullough reports the case in 1689 of a nine-year-old bride in Virginia.
At the start of the nineteenth century in England, it was legal to have sex with a 10 year-old girl.
For hundreds and thousands of years, teen marriage was not shocking.
The Gospel of James (also referred to as the Infancy Gospel of James or the Protoevangelium of James), recounts the story of Mary’s upbringing.
While this text is considered “apologetic” material and it’s authorship likely occurred no earlier than the 2nd century, this apocryphal text reveals insights into Jewish culture and the “acceptable” age for marriage.