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A modern dictionary of Catholic terms, both common and obscure. Find accurate definitions of words and phrases.

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PROTOEVANGELIUM

The modern title of the apocryphal Gospel of the Infancy. Also known as the Book of James (the Less). Most likely of Docetist origin, it testifies to the early devotion to Mary, dating from the second century. It is the oldest known apocryphal gospel Protoevangelium (First Gospel) is also applied to the promise of a Redeemer after the Fall. Speaking to the serpent, God said, "I will make you enemies of each other; you and the women; your offspring and her offspring. It will crush your head and you will strike its heel" (Genesis 3:15). Traditionally the woman and her offspring have been understood to mean Mary and her Son.

All items in this dictionary are from Fr. John Hardon's Modern Catholic Dictionary, © Eternal Life. Used with permission.

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