Recently we wrote a few articles on the history of marriage i.e., when girls were married off. You can click on them articles, here and here. This article examines how old Joseph the Carpenter was, when he married Mary mother of Jesus.
1. What is the definition of Apocrypha?
If you ask any Christian what the word ‘Apocrypha’ means, they would say something along the lines, “it means it is not authentic or spurious.” In other words it is fake. This is a recent meaning. Originally ‘Apocrypha’ meant “secret” or “hidden”, this was the ancient meaning.
“Apocrypha is a plural word (singular: apocryphan) that originally denoted hidden or secret writings, to be read only by initiates into a given Christian group.” 
“The term apocryphan signifies “that which is hidden” or “concealed”– some intimate secret shared only by the chosen few.” 
Catherine M. Murphy
apocryphan- secret or hidden book, such as the Apocryphan of James (a.k.a. secret Book of James). 
“We owe the term apocryphal, since apocryphan in its original connotation means ‘a secret book’.” 
“…the word apocrypha as it is a word that is greatly misunderstood. It comes from Greek and is formed from the combination of apo (away) and krytein (hide or conceal). Thus, it signifies that which is ‘hidden away’ or ‘concealed’. Apocryphan is the singular form and apocrypha the plural. These words are used to describe the nature of a certain body of ancient religious writings. The word apocrypha, like many other words has undergone a major change in meaning throughout the centuries. With regard to these ancient books, the word apocrypha ORIGINALLY MEANT A TEXT TOO SACRED AND SECRET TO BE IN EVERYONES HANDS. It needed to be hidden away and reserved for the spirituality mature. It was a term of dignity and respect. To those who revered the apocryphal books, they were ‘hidden’ because they contained teachings that were too sacred to be revealed except to the initiated.” 
Interesting though is how Protestant Christians are quick to reject Apocrypha books. But when we ask them, “Why do you accept the book of Hebrews?” They have no answer. Most scholars agree that they do not know who wrote the book, yet Christians still accept the book as scripture.
Mary was 12 years old when betrothed to Joseph
‘History of Joseph the Carpenter’ confirms that Mary was 12 years old when betrothed to Joseph. Chapter 3 and 4 states:
3. Now when righteous Joseph became a widower, my mother Mary, blessed, holy, and pure, was already twelve years old. For her parents offered her in the temple when she was three years of age, and she remained in the temple of the Lord nine years. 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.
4. Therefore they immediately sent out, and assembled twelve old men of the tribe of Judah. And they wrote down the names of the twelve tribes of Israel. And the lot fell upon the pious old man, righteous Joseph. Then the priests answered, and said to my blessed mother: Go with Joseph, and be with him till the time of your marriage. Righteous Joseph therefore received my mother, and led her away to his own house. And Mary found James the Less in his father’s house, broken-hearted and sad on account of the loss of his mother, and she brought him up. Hence Mary was called the mother of James. Luke 24:10 Thereafter Joseph left her at home, and went away to the shop where he wrought at his trade of a carpenter. And after the holy virgin had spent two years in his house her age was exactly fourteen years, including the time at which he received her. 
Infancy Gospel of James also states she was 12 years old when betrothed to Joseph. See the link here.
2. Marriage in Ancient Jewish times
One must remember in ancient Israelite times once a girl was betrothed, sexual intimacy was allowed. There was no law against that, nor does the Bible say anything against it. So, for Mary to be betrothed, it did not mean that Joseph and Mary could not get intimate. Click on the following article I have written on ancient Jewish marriages.
3. Experts agree that Joseph was a very old man
De Robigne Mortimer Bennett says:
“The following ‘Facts about virgin Mary’ are taken from one of the Apocryphal gospels- the ‘History of Joseph the Carpenter,’ a book that was popular and believed to be genuine in the so-called Evangelical of the Church. It is reproduced here from the ‘Revelations of Antichrist:’ Joseph was a widower with four sons and two daughters, all married but James and Judas. Joseph was a Priest as well as a Carpenter, but lived mostly by the latter trade. Mary had been brought up in the temple till she was twelve years old, when the priests sought to intrust her to the care of some pious old man who wanted a wife. So they assembled twelve old men, who raffled for Mary. The ex-priest and carpenter won and was betrothed to her at once, the marriage to be postponed until she reached a suitable age. But he took her to his house and kept her two years, when she became a mother by the Holy Ghost.
When Joseph discovered the condition Mary was in he became sorely troubled, and could not eat or drink for a whole day. He thought of hushing up the scandal by putting her away secretly. (It is not said whether he suspected his son James, who was most tenderly attached to his prospective step-mother. When she first came she found him broken-hearted at the recent loss of his own mother, but the advent of a lovely maiden, who, though some years his junior, assumed the relations of a mother to him, soon assuaged his grief; and she, caring for him as a loving step-mother knows how, became known as ‘the mother of James,’ even before she became a wife to his father. The absence of Joseph, who had to be away at work at his trade, to say nothing of his age, which was then ninety-two, no doubt tended to strengthen the ties between the son and the female guardian.) Joseph was not long left to remain in trouble about the condition of Mary. In the Midst of his distress he fell asleep at noonday, and had a dream, in which Gabriel appeared to him and explained the mystery of the Immaculate Conception. That was enough; happiness was restored. The angelic friend had tied up the storm. The far-off magi made haste to welcome the new-born king of the Jews. But the wicked Herod was wroth with them for not telling where the infant was, so he might go and worship him also. Jesus grew up and worked with his reputed father Joseph at the Carpenter trade, and lived in sweet accord with his two half-brothers, until the death of their father Joseph, who lived to the ripe age of 111 years. These statements should undoubtedly be taken with many grains of allowance.” 
De Robigne Mortimer Bennett says that the book ‘History of Joseph the Carpenter,’ was believed and genuine by Early Evangelical Church. Not just that, he also mentions when Joseph married Mary, she was 12 years old and he was 90 years old. At the end of his statement on ‘History of Joseph the Carpenter,’ he states, “These statements should undoubtedly be taken with many grains of allowance.” Here, he himself agrees that the statements where it mentions that Joseph was 90-year-old when he married 12 Mary is true, and should be accepted.
Bernard L. Fontana also mentions that Mary was 12 years old and Joseph 90 years old when married:
“Thanks to the apocrypha writings, which inspired many artists over the ages, the popular belief became widespread that Joseph had first married when he was forty years old and fathered six children by his wife before she died when he was eighty-nine years old. The youngest of his child was said to be James the Less, ‘Christ’s brother.’ This tradition holds that Joseph was ninety years old when he went to Jerusalem to join other candidates seeking the hand of the twelve- to fourteen year old Mary in Marriage.” 
4. Early Church Fathers Believed Joseph was 80 to 90 years old when he married 12-year-old Mary
The very advanced age of Joseph, marrying Mary, was true and accepted by most early Church Fathers. Reverend Jeremiah Jones writes about 2 to 3 pages long that Infancy Protevangelion of James was accepted by Early Church Fathers as truthful account of Mary and Joseph’s marriage. If one reads the Infancy Gospel of James (Protevangelion of James), in Chapter 8 it says that Mary was married to Joseph when she was 12 years old.
“…His eldest son was James, surnamed Oblias—that he begat him when he was about forty years old: after him he had another son named Jose, then Simeon and Judas, and then his two daughters Mary and Salome: after his wife’s death he continued many years a widower, and about fourscore years old married Mary. Besides Epiphanius, several other of the Greek fathers have given into this same opinion, viz. Hilary, Chrysostome, Cyrill, Euthyymius, Theophylact, Cecumenius, and generally, as bishop Peaterson says: ‘all Latin fathers till Ambrose, and the Greeks afterward; from which it is very evident that the account of Joseph’s age and family, which is in the Gospel of the Birth Mary, and the Protevangelion of James, met with very general credit among ancient Christians.” 
Jeremiah Jones continues:
“I might, add here, that the learned annalist cardinal Baronius, in his surprising apologies for the Virgin Mary, (…) cites many of the fathers as giving credit to its accounts, and particularly as to that of her being brought at three years of age to the temple, and devoted to its service, (Evang. Mar. c. 4. 6. Protevang. Jacob. C. 7.) and that she continued there eleven years. He says it is testified by Euodius, Gregory Nyssene, Damascene, Germanus bishop of Constantinople, Andreas Cretensis, George Bishop of Nicomedia, and others. See Apparat. Ad Annal. No. 48. And Casaubon’s reflections upon this Exercit. 1. Contr. Baron. Ad eund. Numer.” 
Charles Burlingame Waite, was a United States lawyer and a jurist, he also cites Epiphanies that Joseph was 80 years old when he married Mary,
“Joseph was very old when he married Mary, and had been many years a widower; that he was the brother of Clophas, the son of James, surnamed Panther; that he had his first wife of the tribe of Judah, and by her six children, to wit, four sons and two daughters. His eldest son was James, surnamed Oblias, (this probably taken from Eusebius, Ecc, Hist. 2. 23), that he begat him when he was about forty years old; after him he had another son named Jose, then Simeon and Judas, and then his two daughters Mary and Salome: after his wife’s death, he continued many years a widower, and about fourscore years old, married Mary.”- Epiph. Haeres. 78, see. 8. 
As we have read, most early church fathers believed Mary was married off when she was 12 years old and Joseph the carpenter was a very old man. Here is the list of fathers who believed that Joseph was fourscore years old when he married 12-year-old Mary:
1. Epiphanius (310 – 403AD)
2. Hilary (Hilarius) of Poitiers (300 – 368AD)
3. John Chrysostom (Born between 344 and 349 – Died 407 AD)
4. Cyril of Alexandria (376 – 444 AD)
5. Saint Euthymius the Great (377 – 473 AD)
6. Theophylact of Ohrid (also known as Theophylact of Bulgaria) (1055 – 1107 AD)
8. Eusebius (263 – 339 AD)
5. Did Mary stay a Virgin whole her life?
Christians might say that she stayed virgin whole her life and it is insignificant if Joseph was an old man or not. But that is not correct, if we read Gospel of Matthew, Chapter 1 verse 25 it clearly says that Joseph had sexual intimacy with Mary after Jesus was born.
But he did not have sexual relations with her until her son was born. And Joseph named him Jesus. – Matthew 1:25
The above verse shows that they were not intimate until Jesus was born. Before someone accuses me of twisting this verse, let’s see what their own Christian experts have to say on the passage. Commentaries on the New Testament Matthew by Charles H. Talbert
“Did Mary have sexual relations with Joseph after Jesus’s birth? Among the earliest witnesses, Tertulian (Mar. 4.19) and Irenaeus (Haer. 3.16, 21, 22) say yes.” 
“…Matthew stated that Joseph had no sexual relations with Mary ‘until she gave birth to a son.’This tells us that after Jesus birth, Joseph and Mary had a normal sexual relationship like any other couple. The point needs to be made that there was nothing unholy about Mary and Joseph having sex. How could there be? Marriage was designed by God, with sex as one of its blessings. It must be remembered that Joseph and Mary were engaged to be married. Like any engaged couple, they may have discussed, among other matters, having children. Such a discussion would not have been unholy. Sex within the bounds of marriage has the endorsement of God. The notion of marriage without sex is the opposite of what scriptures teach: ‘Marriage should be honoured by all, and the marriage bed kept pure, for God will judge the adulterer and all the sexually immoral’ (Hebrews 13:4). The Apostle Paul was very outspoken about the place of sex in marriage and the mutual obligation of both husband and wife to fulfil the sexual desires of their partner…” 
American New Testament scholar Ben Witherinton III:
“Matthew 1:25 has caused no end of theological debate over the centuries. Joseph is said to ‘take’ his wife, ‘but he was not knowing her until she gave birth to a son.’ This seems to reinforce what was said in Matthew 1:18 and implies that Joseph abstained from sexual intercourse with Mary until Jesus was born. The verb here ‘he was not knowing’ (eginosken) is in the imperfect and stresses a specific period of time after which he was ‘knowing’ her in the biblical sense of sexual intercourse. As Matthew 17:9 and its similar construction show, a negative statement followed by ‘until which time’ always implies that the negated action will take place after the allotted time (indicated by the participle) is up. The end of the time is indicated by the aorist verb ‘gave birth’ (eteken). Therefore, it is most likely that this verse rules out the idea of Mary’s perpetual Virginity being part of Matthew’s theology.” 
“Some Christian traditions see Mary as a ‘perpetual virgin’ who never had sex with Joseph. I find this impossible to reconcile with the straightforward teaching of Matthew 1:25; 12:46; 13:55.” 
The NIV Application Commentary by Matthew J. Wilkins also agrees that the verse in Matthew 1:25 is talking about sexual intercourse taking place after Jesus’s birth.
“…(1:25). The delicate way of Matthew phrases this expression (lit., ‘he was not knowing her’) was a common way of referring to abstaining from sexual intercourse in both Hebrew and Greek. Sexual abstinence maintained Joseph and Mary’s ritual purification the pregnancy as well as ensured that Jesus was virgin-born. But this is not a hint of continued celibacy after Jesus birth. The word ‘until’ most naturally means that Mary and Joseph had normal marital sexual relations after Jesus birth, from which other children were born (see 12:46, 13:55).” 
6. Holy Spirit Impregnated Mary when she was 12 – 14 years old?
One would seem shocked by the title of this section. But this is true, if one reads certain passages in the Bible, one would realise that sexuality was involved in Mary’s pregnancy. Let’s have a read of the verses:
For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. John 3:16
The word ‘beget’, begotten’ means:
The concise Oxford dictionary of current English (1911)
“beget v.t. (-tt-, -got, -gotten). Procreate (usu. Of father, sometimes of father and mother, cf bear);…” 
Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary
“…begotten: (1) : OFFSPRING (2) : the entire progeny of a male animal b: lineage…” 
Chambers’s twentieth century dictionary of the English language (1903):
“Beget, be-get, v.t. to produce or cause : to generate : to produce as an effect, to cause :– pr.p beget’ting; pa.t. begat’, begot : pa.p begot , begot’ten. –n. Beget’ter, one who begets: a father : the agent that occasions or originates anything…” 
What are we supposed to me make of statements like this? That God begets a Son? This is exactly the same as human by human or animal by animal relationship. We as Muslims object to the word ‘begotten’ because begetting is an animal act, belonging to the lower animal functions of sex. How can Christians attribute such a lowly capacity to God? The words are crystal clear; anybody reading the above mentioned verse would straight away believe/think that Yahweh had sexual intimacy with Mary and this is the case. The language of the next verse clearly shows sexual intimacy.
And the angel answered and said unto her, The Holy Spirit shall COME UPON YOU, and the power of the Highest shall OVERSHADOW YOU: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of you shall be called the Son of God. – Luke 1:35
In Luke 1:35 when the words ‘COME UPON YOU’ is used this sounds exactly like husband come upon his wife.
There are Christians that believe that Yahweh had sexual intimacy with Mary, not just that, but also Mary became a WIFE of God (Na’uzubillah). Here is one of the commentaries on Luke;
God, the Father of our spirits, became the father of our Lord Jesus Christ according to the flesh. Hence, the Father saith concerning him ‘Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee.’ We are informed in the first chapter of Luke, that Mary was chosen by the Father as a choice virgin, through whom he begat Jesus. The angel said unto the Virgin Mary, ‘The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore, also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God.’ After the power of the Highest had overshadowed Mary, and she had by that means conceived, she related the circumstance to her cousin Elizabeth in the following words: ‘He that is Mighty hath done to me great things; and holy is His name.’ It seems from this relation that the Holy Ghost accompanied ‘the highest’ when he overshadowed the Virgin Mary and begat Jesus; and from this circumstance some have supposed that the body of Jesus was begotten of the Holy Ghost without the instrumentality of the immediate presence of the Father. There is no doubt that the Holy Ghost came upon Mary to sanctify her, and make her holy, and prepare her to endure the glorious presence of ‘the Highest,’ that when ‘He’ should overshadow her she might conceive, being filled with the Holy Ghost; hence the angel said, as recorded in Matthew, ‘That which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost;’ that is, the Holy Ghost gave her strength to abide the presence of the father without being consumed; but it was the personage of the father who begat the body of Jesus; and for this reason Jesus is called ‘the Only begotten of the Father;’ that is, the only one in this world whose fleshly body was begotten by the Father. There were millions of sons and daughters whom He begat before the foundation of this world, but they were spirits, and not bodies of flesh and bones; whereas, both the spirit and body of Jesus were begotten by the Father- the spirit having been begotten in heaven many ages before the tabernacle was begotten upon the earth.
The fleshly body of Jesus required a Mother as well as a father. Therefore, the father and Mother of Jesus, according to the flesh, must have been associated together in capacity of Husband and Wife; hence the Virgin Mary must have been, for the time being, the LAWFUL WIFE OF GOD THE FATHER : we use the term LAWFUL wife, because it would be blasphemous in the highest degree to say that He overshadowed her or begat the saviour unlawfully. It would have been unlawful for any man to have interfered with Mary, who was already espoused to Joseph ; for such a heinious crime would have subjected both the guilty parties to death, according to the law of Moses. But God having had the most perfect right to do with His own creation, according to His holy will and PLEASURE He had a lawful right to overshadow the virgin Mary in the capacity of a HUSBAND, and beget a Son, although she was espoused to another; for the law which He gave to govern men and women was not intended to govern Himself, or to prescribe rules for his own conduct. It was also lawful in Him, after having thus dealt with Mary, to give her to Joseph her espoused husband. Whether God the Father gave Mary to Joseph for time only, or for time and eternity, we are not informed. In as much as god was the First HUSBAND to HER, it may be that he only gave her to be the wife of Joseph while in this mortal state, and that He intended after the resurrection to again take her as one of his own wives to raise up immortal spirits in eternity. 
Also, David Jay Jordan a Christian comments on the word “OVERSHADOW”, he writes:
And if you didn’t know it the word ‘overshadowed’ is just another delicate discreet way of saying a man got on top of a woman, casting his shadow over her, and entered her with his penis and ‘made love’ to her. This is just the good old-fashioned missionary way of producing babies. The woman gets ‘overshadowed’…or as King Solomon via the Holy Spirit said… His left hand is under my head, and his right hand doth embrace me. (Song of Solomon 2: 6) Because her lover is over top of her…. and he is overshadowing her …..’and his banner over me was love’ (2: 4).
Do clouds penetrate into the womb ?…. Does gas produce babies ? The answer obviously NO. The Lord created sperm to break thru the egg of a woman to combine with the cell of a woman to reproduce into a new body for a new soul. That’s the Lord’s biology, that’s His embryology. That’s the Lord’s sexuality.
Mathew 1:20 But while he thought on these things, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a dream, saying, Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife: for that which is CONCEIVED IN her is of the Holy Ghost. And the conception happened INSIDE Mary’s womb. Luke 2:21 And when eight days were accomplished for the circumcising of the child, his name was called JESUS, which was so named of the angel before he was CONCEIVED IN THE WOMB.
I didn’t add other points he brought up, I think it is distasteful. Read the rest here.
Brown Ogwuma says something on this as well:
“It seems that, like the adult human male, the Holy Spirit who fathered Jesus is also more sexually attracted to younger females than older ones. And for 90 years old Joseph having other children with Mary, who was so young as to be his grand-daughter, he must have been a busy old man, who apparently was endowed with sexual prowess.” 
We can all agree with the evidence presented that Mary’s pregnancy involved sexual intimacy with the Holy Spirit. This was not my view, but rather Christians who are admitting such blasphemous thing, that God had sexual intimacy with Mary for Jesus to be born.
7. Age of Consent in European & American History
Early marriages in American States and European countries prior the 20th century, click on the article here for more info.
8. Questions for Christians
1. Why was Mary pregnant at such young age by the Holy Spirit?
2. Why did Jesus not speak against (or abolish) child marriages?
3. How come Paul says nothing against such marriages?
4. Why did Yahweh not say anything against Mary’s marriage with Joseph?
5. Why did Yahweh bless the marriage of Joseph, who was 80 – 90 years old at least, with 12-year-old Mary?
Conclusion: I believe everything presented supports the fact that Mary married Joseph the carpenter when she was 12 years old and Joseph was at least 80 to 90 years old at the time. I went over and defined the word ‘Apocrypha’ as we have read already, it originally denoted ‘Hidden’ or ‘secret’. Moreover, I gave a reference from the Gospel of Matthew that said after Jesus’s birth, Joseph and Mary had normal sexual life. Lastly, the references quoted from some of the early Church fathers that Mary married Joseph when she was 12 years old, some of them believed even though Mary was married to Joseph, she stayed a Virgin whole her life. Their argument that Mary stayed a virgin, does not hold any weight when the Gospel of Matthew makes it clear that there was sexual intimacy between Mary and Joseph after Jesus (p) was born. Whatever opinion some of the early church fathers held on Mary staying a virgin whole her life, Matthew 1:25 negates their claims.
Disclaimer: Whatever is given in this article is just showing of the mirror to the Liars/deceivers and other missionary haters of Islam, otherwise neither I nor any Muslim can ever think of anything close to it. Christian brethren and sisters do understand that this article is in no way attacking the Christian faith. The article was mainly written in response to the double standards of Christian missionaries. No Muslim can be a Muslim if he/she has any such imagination about Mary, the purest and greatest woman of all.
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 The Meaning of the Dead Sea Scrolls By James VanderKam, Peter Flint chapter 8
 Poetics of the Gnostic Universe: Narrative And Cosmology in the Apocryphon of John By Zlatko Plese page 7
 John the Baptist: Prophet of Purity for a New Age By Catherine M. Murphy page 161
 The Tree of Life and the Holy Grail: Ancient and Modern Spiritual Paths and the mystery of rennes-le-Chatean By Sylvia Francke page 6
 Forgotten Women of God By Diana Webb page xiv
 The Semitic gods and the Bible. Being over three hundred pages from “The gods and religions of ancient and modern times.” Written while unjustly imprisoned (1912) By D. M. Bennet (De Robigne Mortimer Bennett) Page 605
 Bernard L. Fontana A Gift of Angels: The Art of Mission San Xavier Del Bac page 258
 A new and full method of settling the canonical authority of the New Testament. To which is subjoined A Vindication of the Former Part of St. Matthew’s Gospel from Mr. Whiston’s Charge of Dislocations By Reverend Jeremiah Jones, volume 2, page 116
 History of the Christian religion to the year two hundred [Published 1881] By Charles B. Waite page 131
 Commentaries on the New Testament Matthew by Charles H. Talbert page 34
 Answers to Questions Catholics Are Asking By Tony Coffey page 209 – 210
 The Indelible Image: The Theological and Ethical Thought World of the New Testament By Ben Witherington III. Volume 1, page 653
 Straight to the Heart of Matthew: 60 Bite-Sized Insights By Phil Moore page 24 Footnote 9
 The NIV Application Commentary: Matthew Michael J. Wilkins page 82
 The concise Oxford dictionary of current English  page 74
 Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary: [Eleventh Edition] page 525
 Chambers’s twentieth century dictionary of the English language  page 85
 The Seer  by Orson Pratt page 158
 Playing God: Intuitive Reflections and Discourse on Life By Brown Ogwuma page 98