Joachim in the Great Stemma


In 1986, Yolanta Zaluska shifted the focus of study of the Great Stemma to its most salient theological feature: its exegetical focus on Joachim, the "father" of Mary who is nowhere mentioned in the Gospels. But she barely explored the potential of this doctrine as a means to date the Great Stemma.

Modern studies about this non-canonical belief during the early church period remain relatively sparse. Indeed, the documentary evidence which might be called on, in manuscripts and art of the patristic period, is not particularly ample.

There do not seem to be any artistic depictions of Mary's supposed father and mother, Joachim and his wife Anne, from the first four Christian centuries.

Virginia Nixon's book on Anne states that no study of the Anne cult in its early Christian settings has yet been undertaken: paintings depicting Anne's life are only recorded from the 6th century onwards. The same observation is likely to apply to any veneration of Joachim, whose cult is not documented in the eastern church before the 10th and in the western church before the 16th century.[*]Nixon, Virginia, Mary's Mother. (University Park, Penn State Press, 2004) 12. See also a fresco depicting Anne in Santa Maria Antiqua, Rome, dated to 757-767 and reproduced in Wellen, G.A., Theotokos: Eine ikonographische Abhandlung �ber das Gottesmutterbild in fr�hchristlichen Zeit. (Utrecht: Het Spektrum, 1961) 221. Wellen also mentions a stone carving at Arles depicting Anne, but gives no date for it. For the historical development of a feast of Joachim, see Amann, 162.

The broadest examination of the cult of Joachim was conducted more than 100 years ago by Emile Amann as part of his 1910 study of the Joachimite camp's principal, and perhaps only, source, the Protevangelium of James. This is a Greek text, composed in about 200 CE, which employs dialogue and lurid detail to dramatize events before the birth of Jesus (see Peter Kirby's page for English translations online).[*]I follow this form of title used by the main recent student of the work, Rita Beyers of Antwerp. Other scholarly works speak of the Protoevangelium (with an added O), or use a Greek form, Protevangelion, or the Infancy Gospel of James. I take no stance on the issues that guide these naming choices.

Partly drawing on observations by Constantin Tischendorf in his 1851 work, De evangeliorum apocryphorum origine et usu, and ranging through the patristic literature, Amann assembled an array of evidence about the early Christian and medieval reception of the Joachim and Anne legend. Unfortunately he overlooked the Great Stemma and the Liber Genealogus as perhaps the most significant Late Antique documents to be constructed around the Joachimite solution to the contradiction between Matthew's and Luke's gospels.[*]Amann: Le Protévangile de Jacques et ses remaniements latins. Paris: Letouzey, 1910. Tischendorf in: Verhandelingen / uitg. door het Haagsche Genootschap tot Verdediging van de christelijke Godsdienst, 12, Den Haag, 1851.

In the discussion that follows, we shall assume that those patristic writers who allude to or quote from the Protevangelium and its spin-off versions must necessarily have known of the personage mentioned in its very first line: Joachim.

Only one patristic writer of the earliest period seems to support something resembling the Joachimite explanation of the contradiction of Christ's ancestry, and this only indirectly. Justin Martyr, in chapter 100 of the Dialogue with Trypho, written after 155 CE, writes of Christ:

We know him to be ... the son of the patriarchs, since he assumed flesh by the Virgin of their family ... He said then that he was the son of man, either because of his birth by the Virgin, who was, as I said, of the family of David and Jacob, and Isaac, and Abraham ... (Dods and Reith translation)

In her wide-ranging summary of patristic interpretation of the Gospel genealogies, Genealogia Christi: die Stammbäume Jesu in der Auslegung der christlichen Schriftsteller der ersten fünf Jahrhunderte, Gabriele Broszio argues that this contains two implicit statements. Firstly, Justin is saying that one of the two genealogies is that of Mary, not of Joseph. Secondly, he must be linking this ancestry to the Gospel of Luke, because he quotes the names of his exemplary patriarchs in the order youngest to oldest. Luke's genealogy also follows the order "A, son of B, son of C...", whereas the Matthew text runs in reverse order: "... C begat B, who begat A."

Die rudimentäre Aufzählung der Vorfahren orientiert sich offenbar am Stammbaum nach Lukas, erkennbar an der aufsteigenden Abfolge der Namen. Es ist dies der Stammbaum Marias... Im Rahmen seines Nachweises der Überlegenheit des Neuen Bundes über den Alten führt Justin in Dialog 120 einen kurzen Ausschnitt des Stammbaumes nach Matthäus an, erkennbar an der absteigenden Abfolge der Namen.[*]Broszio, 49.

However it is plain that Justin does not discuss any missing link between Mary and her supposed grandfather Joseph. He certainly does not mention the name Joachim. Émile de Strycker, in his 1961 edition of a very early papyrus manuscript of the Protevangelium in the Bodmer Library, fiercely rejects suggestions that the work could even have existed in the time of Justin, arguing that any commonalities are purely coincidental:[*]Strycker, Émile de. La forme la plus ancienne du protévangile de Jacques: recherches sur le papyrus Bodmer 5 avec une éd. critique du texte grec et une trad. ann. Brussels: Societé des Bollandistes, 1961, 414-417.

On ne saurait donc considérer ni comme prouvé ni comme sérieusement probable que Justin ait connu le Protévangile de Jacques.

Other authors of the 2nd and 3rd centuries allude to the contradiction between the genealogies of Luke and Matthew and offer alternative solutions. See the overview page for more details.

The earliest Christian writers who seem to be aware of the Protevangelium, and thus would have had knowledge of the personage of Joachim, are Clement of Alexandria (died about 215), Origen (died about 253/4) and, doubtfully, Gregory Thaumaturgus (flourished about 250). Writing in Greek, all allude to other aspects of this non-canonical work, in particular its explanation of how it was possible for Jesus to have brothers despite his mother being a virgin (the Protevangelium's answer: because Joseph had been previously married, and although these were men of Mary's age or older, they were technically Jesus's half-brothers).[*]Cited by Amann 38-9, 81-2, 109-10: Clement, Stromata 7 (PG 9, col 529); Origen, Comment in Matth., X, 17 (PG 13, col. 876-7), translation (by John Patrick): But some say, basing it on a tradition in the Gospel according to Peter, as it is entitled, or "The Book of James," that the brethren of Jesus were sons of Joseph by a former wife, whom he married before Mary. Strycker admits Clement and Origen as valid witnesses, La forme, 412-413.

Even more solidly, we find full recountings of some of the Protevangelium's scenes in a Greek work that Amann attributes to Peter of Alexandria (died 311) and in the Panarion of Epiphanius of Salamis.[*]Cited by Amann 38-9, 81-2, 109-10: Peter of Alexandria (PG 18, col 504) and Epiphanius in Haeres. 78 (PG 42, col 700-5).

In the western, Latin-speaking church, we find the Protevangelium's passage about the actions of the doubting midwife present at the birth cited by Zeno of Verona in detail in about 370 CE (translation).[*]Cited by Amann 138-40: Zeno (PL 11, col 415: Obstetricis incredulae periclitantis enixam, in testimonium reperta ejusdem esse virginitatis, incenditur manus; qua tacto infante, statim edax illa flamma sopitur; sicque illa medica feliciter curiosa, dein admirata mulierem virginem, admirata infantem Deum, ingenti gaudio exsultans, quae curatum venerat, curata recessit.) and Prudentius, Cathemerinon 11 and 12 (PL 59, col 896-899).

It is quoted at length in a 4th-century Latin song, or hymn, which is reproduced on a separate page of this website. This text was discovered in the 1950s in a papyrus codex that had probably been excavated by robbers in Upper Egypt. The text summarizes the various episodes of the Protevangelium legend. Joachim is not mentioned, but Anna is named:[*]Roca-Puig, Ramon, Himme a la Verge Maria. 'Psalmus Responsorius' Papir del segle IV, 2. ed., Barcelona, 1965. Also mentioned in: Gijsel, Jan. "Het Protevangelium Iacobi in het Latijn." Antiquité Classique 50 (1981). 351-352. See Speyer, Wolfgang, "Der bisher �lteste lateinische Psalmus abecedarius. Zur editio princeps von R. Roca-Puig," in Jahrbuch f�r Antike und Christentum, 10 (1967), 211-216. Gijsel also cites: Peretto, L. M., "'Psalmus responsorius', un immo alla vergine Maria di un papiro del IV seclo," in Marianum, 29 (1967). 255-265 (not consulted by me). The Barcelona codex as a whole is discussed in Markschies, Christoph. Kaiserzeitliche christliche Theologie und ihre Institutionen: Prolegomena zu einer Geschichte der antiken christlichen Theologie. Mohr Siebeck, 2009, 152-154.

Anna, quae sterilis dicebatur ... [*]Roca-Puig, 105. = Anna who was called a barren woman.

The first explicit mention of Joachim in theological discourse appears in a tract written between 386 and 390 by Faustus of Milevum, a Manichean bishop, who states:

Moreover, the Virgin herself appears to have belonged not to the tribe of Judah, to which the Jewish kings belonged, and which all agree was David's tribe, but to the priestly tribe of Levi. This appears from the fact that the Virgin's father Joachim was a priest; and his name does not occur in the genealogy (Augustine, Contra Faustum Manichaeum 23:4, quoting Faustus verbatim, Stothert translation).

This contains a variant element that significantly differs from that in the Protevangelium, where Joachim is only described as a farmer of sheep, descended from David and wealthy (Protevangelium 1, 4, 10). [*]Christian art of the second millennium nevertheless often depicts Joachim as a priest.

Augustine, responding in about 400, insists both gospel genealogies offer ancestries of Joseph, one biological and one by adoption (Contra Faustum 3.3) and declares he is "not bound to admit [the Joachimite] account of Mary's birth, which is not canonical."[*]Ac per hoc illud, quod de generatione Mariae ..., quod patrem habuerit ex tribu Levi sacerdotum quendam nomine Ioachim, canonicum non est, non me constringit (Contra Faustum, 23:9).

Augustine devotes a full paragraph to the Joachim topic, raising the difficulty that it would be strange for any priest of the tribe of Levi to claim his descent from David, who had belonged to the tribe of Judah. The priesthood was only open to Levites. Augustine then suggests that this unlikely situation might perhaps arise if Joachim's mother had belonged to the tribe of Judah, but he fails to speculate further on the point and turns to another topic. [*]Some 28 years later (see below), Augustine explicitly adopted the levirate-marriage doctrine, which had probably reached the west in Rufinus's translation in about 402 of Eusebius's Ecclesiastical History.

Whether this variation in the Joachim legend can be taken to imply that there is a second source for the name Joachim that is independent of the Protevangelium is a moot point. From the context, it seems more likely that the Faustus the Manichean or one of his syncretist predecessors has somehow merged two legends into one. With delicate reserve, Amann leaves it to his Protestant predecessor Tischendorf to speculate— without actual evidence— that there just might have been a living tradition among 2nd century Christians that Jesus's maternal grandfather had been named Joachim:

Je n'hésite pas, dit-il, à regarder ces noms comme authentiques. On pouvait les connaître en effet au milieu du IIe siècle; quelle nécessité y avait-il d'en forger de nouveaux? La tradition sur ce point semble bien avoir été ferme de très bonne heure, puisque Fauste le manichéen, tout en faisant du père de la Vierge un prêtre de la tribu de Lévi, conservait néanmoins le nom traditionnel... Quant au métier de pasteur que le Protévangile donne à Joachim, il est plus douteux. La tradition sur ce point n'était pas ferme, puisque Fauste le manichéen pouvait faire de Joachim un prêtre. Il ne faut pas perdre de vue que la vie de pasteur se prêtait mieux que d'autres aux narrations imaginées par l'auteur.[*]Amann, Protévangile, 50-1.

Almost contemporary with this dialogue by Augustine is the appearance of the name Joachim in the Liber Genealogus, to be found in section 38 of my own edition and at line 609 of Mommsen's combined edition:

Ioachim genuit Mariam (Liber Genealogus, in the Donatist recension of 427, Donatist recension of 438, catholic recension of 455-463).

Neither the Liber nor the Great Stemma, which I would argue slightly precedes it, offers any information on Joachim's profession: whether priest or sheep farmer was a matter the early readers would have had their own counsel about.

Also in the 5th century, we find dialogue quoted from the Protevangelium almost word for word in a mildly Arian work, the Opus imperfectum in Matthaeum. This is the surest indication of all that a Latin translation of the full Protevangelium must have been in circulation by this time.[*]Amann 144-146. Rita Beyers ("Latin translation of the Protevangelium of James in Ms. Paris, Sainte-Genevi�ve, 2787," McNamara, M. [ed], Apocrypha hiberniae; 1: Evangelia infantiae. Turnhout: Brepols, 2001, 887-889) sums up the current position of scholarship on the extant Latin manuscripts, and commends two recent studies which argue that the Protevangelium was translated twice into Latin: Gijsel, Jan. "Het Protevangelium Iacobi in het Latijn." Antiquité classique 50 (1981), 351-366; Kaestli, Jean-Daniel. "Le Protévangile de Jacques en latin. Etat de la question et perspectives nouvelles." Revue d'histoire des textes 26 (1996), 41-102.

The 5th century marks a time when the Joachimite doctrine seemed to enter an eclipse in the western, Latin-speaking church.

An alternative explanation for the contradiction between the Gospel genealogies had been available for well over a century, and had been discussed by Eusebius of Caesarea at the start of the 4th century. This alternative hypothesis, which begins to gain traction in the 5th century, contends that the Matthew genealogy sets out Joseph's biological ancestry whereas the Luke genealogy sets out Joseph's legal ancestry.

As expounded by the 3rd-century, Greek-speaking scholar Julius Africanus in his Letter to Aristides, this hypothesis is a complex explanation in which widows are married off to the brothers of their late husbands in accordance with the Jewish custom of levirate marriage, resulting in Joseph having a biological ancestry that is different from his legal line of descent.

While the dispassionate observer might find such a convoluted genealogy highly unlikely, advocates could argue that it offered an outcome that harmonizes better with the Gospel texts than the Joachim legend, since the levirate-marriage hypothesis dispenses with the counter-intuitive assumption in the Joachimite camp that the "Joseph" who is being referred to by Luke is Mary's grandfather, not her husband.

This new approach, which eliminates the need for Joachim as a stop-gap, won praise from Augustine and the two other principal 5th-century intellectual leaders of western Christianity, Jerome and Ambrose. It was to become dominant in the Latin church for several centuries, with later approval from Bede and from Rabanus Maurus.[*]Supporters include the mature Augustine, Retractationum libri duo (CPL 0250) I.26, II.7 (quomodo potuerit duos patres habere ioseph, dixi quidem quod ex alio natus ab alio fuerit adoptatus; sed genus quoque adoptionis dicere debui. sic enim sonat quod dixi, tamquam eum uiuus adoptauerit alius pater. lex autem filios etiam mortuis adoptabat, iubens ut fratris sine filiis mortui duceret frater uxorem et fratri defuncto semen ex eadem suscitaret. quae profecto de duobus unius hominis patribus expeditior ibi redditur ratio. uterini autem fratres fuerunt in quibus hoc contigit, ut unius defuncti qui uocabatur heli duceret alter uxorem, id est iacob, a quo matheus narrat genitum esse ioseph.), II.12 (in secundo libro uolens exponere, quomodo duos patres potuerit habere ioseph, cuius coniux dicta est uirgo maria, illud quod perhibetur fratrem duxisse defuncti fratris uxorem, ut ei semen secundum legem suscitaret, ideo dixi esse infirmum, quoniam qui nasceretur nomen defuncti lex eum iubebat accipere), II.16 (cum agerem de duobus patribus ioseph, ab altero dixi genitum ab altero adoptatum. sed dicendum fuit: alteri adoptatum; defuncto enim, quod magis credendum est, secundum legem fuerat adoptatus, quoniam qui eum genuit eius matrem, fratris defuncti coniugem, duxerat. item ubi dixi: lucas uero ad ipsum dauid per nathan ascendit, per quem prophetam deus peccatum illius expiauit, per cuius nominis prophetam dicere debui, ne putaretur idem fuisse homo, cum alter fuerit, quamuis et ipse hoc uocaretur.); Jerome, Commentariorum in Matheum libri IV, I,1-17 (Iacob autem genuit Ioseph); and Ambrose, Expositio evangelii secundum Lucam III,15. Broszio, 95-97 quotes a series of other references to the levirate explanation in both Greek and Latin writers. These include: Eusebius (uncommitted) in Historia ecclesiastica, I,7 and Quaestiones et responsiones ad Stephanum, IV; Eucherius (uncommitted), Instructionum ad Salonium libri II, I,3; Pseudo-Eustathius, Commentarius in Hexaemeron; Gregory of Nazianzus, Carmina dogmatica; Hilarius, In Matthaeum I,1; Pseudo-Ambrose, De concordia Matthaei et Lucae in genealogia Christi. Zaluska, Stemmata, n 31-2 quotes later approval of the doctrine by Bede, In Lucae evangelium expositio (PL 92, 361), and Rabanus Maurus, Commentarius in Matthaeum, (PL 107, 755-756). Amann states that Jerome's exegesis was also accepted as authoritative by Sedulius Scotus, Walafrid and Strabon.

The levirate-marriage hypothesis is the salient feature of the School Stemma, which Zaluska has described (see the recensions page):

Dans notre groupe de Ripoll-Parc-Floreffe-Foigny-Burgos, Joachim et Anne sont bannis, la généalogie selon Luc est rétablie d'après la Vulgate et la Lettre à Aristide, précisément, est largement utilisée en conclusion.[*]Zaluska, Stemmata.

At the same time as the levirate-marriage explanation is gaining ground, we find the western church beginning to push back against the novella-like text that sets out the Joachimite hypothesis, the Protevangelium. Amann suggests that it may have been circulating in the Latin west in the 4th century in a fairly informal fashion, largely ignored by serious theologians and ecclesiastical authorities, or regarded by them as no more than an innocent diversion for those of the pious who were curious to understand the virgin conception and nativity in simple terms.

A l'�poque de saint Augustin et de saint J�r�me, les narrations du Prot�vangile circulaient depuis un certain temps dans les milieux chr�tiens. Consid�r�es d'abord comme fort innocentes, elles n'avaient attir� l'attention ni des docteurs, ni de l'autorit� eccl�siastique.[*]Amann, Protévangile, 104.

In this hypothesis, it would not have been until the realization that such non-canonical scriptures and legends were bolstering the appeal of Priscillianists or other "heretics" that church authorities became more engaged in trying to suppress such alternatives to scripture, Amann suggests.

A letter from Pope Innocent I in 405 urges Exupery, bishop of Toulouse in France, to publicly condemn non-canonical works falsely attributed to Matthew, James and others.[*]Amann, Protévangile, 104.

Pourtant on commen�ait � se rendre compte que l'ensemble des l�gendes apocryphes, aussi bien celles qui avaient rapport � l'histoire de l'enfance du Sauveur, que celles relatives aux ap�tres, avait cours particuli�rement chez les sectes h�r�tiques, manich�ennes ou priscillianistes...

C'est ce qui r�sulte nettement de la lettre du pape Innocent Ier � l'�v�que de Toulouse Exup�re en l'an 405. R�pondant aux questions que lui avait pos�es ce pr�lat, le pape lui rappelle la liste des livres canoniques, puis il ajoute �Quant aux autres livres qui portent le nom de Matthias ou de Jacques le Mineur ... et tous autres livres de ce genre, sache bien qu'il faut non seulement les r�pudier, mais les condamner.� [*]Amann, Protévangile, 104.

Jerome too is an eloquent foe of such non-canonical works:

[il] a repoussé avec mépris ce qu'il appelle les deliramenta apocryphorum.[*]Amann, Protévangile, 45, quoting Jerome, Adv. Helvidium 8 (PL 23, col 192).

Nevertheless the Protevangelium must have remained in wide circulation among Latin-speaking Christians well into the 5th century, as evidenced by the catholic recension datable to 455-463 of the Donatist Liber Genealogus.

In Amann's view, such holdovers reflected a general willingness in the 5th and 6th centuries to tolerate statements of purported fact in dissident works provided that the underlying heretical doctrines were excised from such documents. He quotes Turibius, bishop of Astorga in Spain in about 450, writing to Hydatius of Chaves in this vein.

Amann suggests that the practice established by early in the 6th century was not to suppress non-canonical works, but to create catholic editions of them, carefully censored to eliminate "false" doctrines. Amann does not mention the catholicizing of the Liber Genealogus, but doubtless that is as good an example as any:

Malgr� ces condamnations plus ou moins solennelles, les livres proscrits continuaient � faire leur chemin, et finissaient par se r�pandre de plus en plus dans les milieux catholiques. On adoptait d'ailleurs � leur endroit une attitude assez diff�rente.

Jadis ils �taient consid�r�s comme des �crits d'origine h�r�tique, on en arrivait � les consid�rer maintenant comme des livres compos�s primitivement par des catholiques, mais falsifi�s dans la suite par les manich�ens. C'est ce que montre d�j� la lettre de Turibius, �v�que d'Astorga (vers 450), � ses coll�gues Idacius et Creponius. Turibius qui rejette en effet toute cette litt�rature apocryphe, croit que de tels livres ont �t� compos�s ou falsifi�s par les manich�ens ...[*]Amann, Protévangile, 105 cites C. Schmidt, "Die alten Petrusakten", in Texte und Untersuchungen, 24 (NF 9) fasc. 1, p 57-58: Quae haeresis [that of the Manicheans] quae eisdem libris utitur et eadem dogmata et his deteriora sectatur, ita exsecrabilis universis per omnes terras ad primam professionis suae confessionem nec discussa damnetur oportet, per cujus auctores vel per maximum principem Manem ac discipulos ejus libros omnes apocryphos vel compositos, vel infectos esse manifestum est, specialiter autem actus illos qui vocantur Andreae ... et his similia ex quibus Manichaei et Priscillianistae vel quaecumque illis est secta germana, omnem haeresim suam confirmare nituntur.

Pour Turibius, les r�cits que donnent ces apocryphes peuvent �tre exacts; ce sont leurs doctrines qui sont dangereuses. Cette opinion, d'abord timidement �nonc�e, va prendre consistance; elle doit �tre devenue courante d�s le d�but du VIe si�cle. Il �tait tout naturel, par cons�quent, de donner de ces textes apocryphes exploit�s par les manich�ens des �ditions catholiques, o� l'on respecterait les faits historiques, d'o� l'on �liminerait tout ce qui sentait l'h�r�sie. [*]Amman, Protévangile, 103-106.

Within Latin-speaking breakaway churches, a certain willingness to read apocrypha also probably remained in this period. The use and re-use of the Liber Genealogus among Donatist Christians in the middle of the 5th century indicates that in North Africa too, the Joachimite explanation of the Gospel contradiction remained strong.

Amann suggests that it was precisely because of the Protevangelium's association with heretical movements that efforts to suppress it in the western church gathered pace, even as eastern Christians accepted it with few doubts. The 405 letter of Innocent I has been quoted above. [*]Amann, Protévangile, 104. The other document Amann quotes, the Gelasian Decree, cannot be relied on. Once dated to the 492-496 papacy of Gelasius I, it is today regarded as a forgery and spurious. But the general direction of Amann's argument, even if the evidence is weak, may well be correct.

From here on, the western church becomes notably silent about Joachim and the Protevangelium. Amman points to a series of 5th and 6th century western authors who seem to steer carefully clear of the Protevangelium in their discussions of the circumstances of the Incarnation. He rejects a supposed reference to the Protevangelium by Hildefonse of Toledo (607-667) as spurious.[*]Amann, Protévangile, 146-7 and 147-8, note 1.

While a cult of Joachim and Anne was probably growing steadily in the 7th century in the East, it is not until the end of the 8th century that we meet with our extant Latin manuscripts of the Protevangelium.[*]Beyers, Saint-Geneviève, 888-889: the two oldest manuscripts, Beyers sigla M2 and JArM, are dated to about 800 and are kept in Montpellier. At the same time we find fresh theological mention of Joachim in Latin: both Amann and Jean �venou quote Alcuin (died 804) as referring to Joachim during his controversy with Elipand of Toledo.[*]Ioachim, cuius filia gloriosa Dei genetrix virgo Maria esse dignoscitur (PL 96, 871), quoted by Évenou in: Long�re, Marie dans les r�cits apocryphes chr�tiens. Amann 148-9 points out a more hostile reference by Alcuin to the Protevangelium in a Homily on the Birth of Mary (PL 101, col 1301).

The Protevangelium is also excerpted in the Excerpta Latina Barbari, a Latin translation from a fifth-century Greek exemplar.[*]See: Burgess, Richard W. “The Date, Purpose, and Historical Context of the Original Greek and the Latin Translation of the So-Called Excerpta Latina Barbari.” Traditio 68 (2013): 1–56. Garstad, Benjamin, "Barbarian interest in the Excerpta Latina Barbari." Early Medieval Europe 19.1 (2011) argues it was created in the first half of the 8th century somewhere in Merovingian Europe, but Burgess flatly rejects this. See also Kaestli, Jean-Daniel. Le Protévangile de Jacques en latin. État de la question et perspectives nouvelles" Revue d'histoire des textes 26 (1996), 101.

Zaluska thus seems to be overstating the case when she claims that belief in Joachim was effectively suppressed until the 10th century when the Great Stemma comes back into circulation:

A l'époque où circulaient nos manuscrits, cette tradition, à la fois très ancienne et marginale, était depuis longtemps tombée en désuétude. [*]Zaluska, Stemmata 148-9.

But it is clear that there must have at least been a lull in the strident claims for the existence of Joachim, perhaps stretching across the 6th, 7th and 8th centuries, and that the resurgence comes in the 9th century, where we find the notions contained in the Protevangelium evolving in the West. Hemo of Halberstadt (died 853), a pupil of Alcuin, elaborates the legend that Anne married three times (the so-called Trinubium Annae) and had three daughters, all named Mary, but by different fathers.

The fresh expansion of the legend and the growth in popularity of the associated cult is entirely consistent with our tentative dating of the Beta recension of the Great Stemma, which adds the name of Anne alongside that of Joachim, perhaps in the 9th century. It is also no surprise to find the Protevangelium itself copied into the late 10th-century Roda Codex, just five folios after the best exemplar of the Alpha recension of the Great Stemma, at folios 216v-217r. [*]As Kaestli, Le Prot�vangile, points out, this text has been knifed out, scored through with a cross and marked apocriphum by a later owner of the codex. This legend of the Holy Kinship then goes on to acquire a wider documentary and artistic tradition of its own in the 11th century in the West.[*]Amann, 148-9. On the Trinubium, see both Naydenova-Slade, The Earliest Holy Kinship Image, and Klapisch-Zuber, L'Ombre, 101-3.

From all these bare mentions of Joachim or allusions in the West to the Protevangelium we now need to see if we can discern the point in early Christian development where the Great Stemma might most naturally belong. We can establish an approximate terminus post quem for it in the 4th century, which seems to have been the time with the Joachim legend was spreading among Latin-speaking Christians.

This is consistent with the hypothesis I have developed elsewhere that the Great Stemma slightly precedes the Liber Genealogus. This date not only fits well with the linguistic data (the Vetus Latina names) and the 427 sighting of the diagram (by the author of the Liber Genealogus) but also harmonizes with the fact that some Latin-speaking Christians were actively promoting the legend of Joachim at this time.

The later evolution of the legend, on the other hand, is too indistinct to offer us much in the way of a terminus ante quem for the Great Stemma, particularly in light of the fact that we do not even know for sure if the diagram's author was strictly catholic or belonged to a Donatist or other dissident milieu.

If the Great Stemma is catholic, it could hardly have been created in a spirit of open resistance to the influence, linguistic and theological, of Augustine and Jerome, so it is likely to have been completed no later than the 5th century. The last and catholic recension of the Joachimite Liber Genealogus was created in 455-463, at a time when Jerome's influence was still not felt throughout the West. A hundred years later, in the time of Cassiodorus, when the teachings of Jerome and Augustine had acquired far greater authority, it would seem unlikely that any catholic author would stubbornly reproduce the Joachim legend without offering any word of defence against its critics.[*]Were we to suppose that the Great Stemma came from some kind of schismatic group, Donatist or Arian for example, one might perhaps be able to argue for a 6th century terminus ante quem, but one would face the sure objection that heretical works of such late date would never have been easily taken over by orthodox libraries. This proposition seems to me to have just as little force as the possibility, dismissed elsewhere, that the Great Stemma might in fact post-date Isidore of Seville. In any case, the triumph of church authority over the breakaway movements marks an absolute endpoint for such a terminus ante quem in this line of hypothetical reasoning.

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