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The other apostle James, son of Alphaeus is a more viable candidate for authorship, though he is not prominent in the Scriptural record, and relatively little is known about him. He appears only four times in the New Testament , each time in a list of the twelve apostles. Hippolytus , for example, writing in the early third century, asserted in his work On the 12 Apostles [10] :. The similarity of his alleged martyrdom to the stoning of James the Just , has led some scholars, such as Robert Eisenman [11] and James Tabor [12] , to assume that these "two Jameses" were one and the same.

This identification of James of Alphaeus with James the Just as well as James the Less has long been asserted, as evidenced by their conflation in Jacobus de Voragine's medieval hagiography The Golden Legend. From the middle of the 3rd century, patristic authors cited the Epistle as written by James, the brother of Jesus and a leader of the Jerusalem church. Pseudonymous authorship 3 above implies that the person named "James" is respected and doubtless well known. Moreover, this James, brother of Jesus, is honored by the epistle written and distributed after the lifetime of James, the brother of Jesus.

Notebook: The Epistle of James

John Calvin and others suggested that the author was the Apostle James, son of Alphaeus , who is referred to as James the Less. The Protestant reformer Martin Luther denied it was the work of an apostle and termed it an "epistle of straw" [20] as compared to some other books in the New Testament, partly because of the conflict he thought it raised with Paul on the doctrine of justification see below.

Many scholars consider the epistle to be written in the late 1st or early 2nd centuries: [21].

  • The Text of the Epistle of St. James online.
  • Sao lamoureuse tranquille (French Edition).
  • Biblical Studies (NT)/The Epistle of James: Faith and Action.

It contains no reference to the events in Jesus' life, but it bears striking testimony to Jesus' words. Jesus' sayings are embedded in James' exhortations in a form that is clearly not dependent on the written Gospels. If written by James the brother of Jesus, it would have been written sometime before AD 69 or AD 62 , when he was martyred. Jerusalem would also be the place of writing. The earliest extant manuscripts of James usually date to the mid-to-late 3rd century. James is considered New Testament wisdom literature : "like Proverbs and Sirach , it consists largely of moral exhortations and precepts of a traditional and eclectic nature.

The content of James is directly parallel, in many instances, to sayings of Jesus found in the gospels of Luke and Matthew, i. Compare, e. Let your word be 'Yes, Yes' or 'No, No'; anything more than this comes from the evil one" Matthew , 37 and " According to James Tabor , the epistle of James contains "no fewer than thirty direct references, echoes, and allusions to the teachings of Jesus found in the Q source.

Where are we?

Some view the epistle as having no overarching outline: "James may have simply grouped together small 'thematic essays' without having more linear, Greco-Roman structures in mind. The Catholic Encyclopedia says, "the subjects treated of in the Epistle are many and various; moreover, St. James not infrequently, whilst elucidating a certain point, passes abruptly to another, and presently resumes once more his former argument. Others view the letter as having only broad topical or thematic structure.

They generally organize James under three Ralph Martin [27] to seven Luke Johnson [28] general key themes or segments. A third group believes that James was more purposeful in structuring his letter, linking each paragraph theologically and thematically:. James, like the gospel writers, can be seen as a purposeful theologian, carefully weaving his smaller units together into larger fabrics of thought and using his overall structure to prioritize his key themes.

The third view of the structuring of James is a historical approach that is supported by scholars who are not content with leaving the book as "New Testament wisdom literature, like a small book of proverbs" or "like a loose collection of random pearls dropped in no particular order onto a piece of string. A fourth group uses modern discourse analysis or Greco-Roman rhetorical structures to describe the structure of James. Understanding the circumstances of James' writing helps scholars better understand James' organization of the letter. They view the epistle as having a legitimate purpose for its composition, a response to the suffering of its recipients.

A journal article [33] explores a violent historical background behind the epistle and offers the suggestion that it was indeed written by James, the brother of Jesus, and it was written before AD 62, the year he was killed. It continued into the 60s, four years before James was killed. War broke out with Rome and would lead to the destruction of Jerusalem and the scattering of the people. The epistle is renowned for exhortations on fighting poverty and caring for the poor in practical ways —27; ; ; , standing up for the oppressed ; and not being "like the world" in the way one responds to evil in the world ; ; ; Worldly wisdom is rejected and people are exhorted to embrace heavenly wisdom, which includes peacemaking and pursuing righteousness and justice This approach sees the epistle as a real letter [35] with a real immediate purpose: to encourage Christian Jews not to revert to violence in their response to injustice and poverty but to stay focused on doing good, staying holy and to embrace the wisdom of heaven, not that of the world.

It contains the following famous passage concerning salvation and justification :. Can that faith save him? Even the demons believe—and shudder! That passage has been cited in Christian theological debates, especially regarding the doctrine of justification. Gaius Marius Victorinus 4th century associated James's teaching on works with the heretical Symmachian sect, followers of Symmachus the Ebionite , and openly questioned whether James' teachings were heretical.

This passage has also been contrasted with the teachings of Paul the Apostle on justification. Some scholars even believe that the passage is a response to Paul. Roman Catholicism and Eastern Orthodoxy have historically argued that the passage disproves the doctrine of justification by faith alone or sola fide , [40] [41] The early and many modern Protestants resolve the apparent conflict between James and Paul regarding faith and works in alternate ways from the Catholics and Orthodox: [42]. Paul was dealing with one kind of error while James was dealing with a different error.

The errorists Paul was dealing with were people who said that works of the law were needed to be added to faith in order to help earn God's favor. Paul countered this error by pointing out that salvation was by faith alone apart from deeds of the law Galatians ; Romans Paul also taught that saving faith is not dead but alive, showing thanks to God in deeds of love Galatians [' A closer examination, however, reveals that James and Paul are in agreement, for Paul says that "not the hearers of the law are just in the sight of God, but the doers of the law will be justified" Rom Paul applies this, not just to the Jews who were raised on the law of Moses, but to those Gentiles who "by nature do the things contained in the law" Rom The point, both for James and Paul, is that where true faith exists, it will be revealed in corresponding actions.

Putting this together with the rest of the quote, we see that, for James, faith produces action, and action, in turn, strengthens faith. There are indications that discrimination was a problem in the early church, for Paul also addressed this issue in 1 Corinthians. For James, bigotry and faith are incompatible. But no one can tame the tongue. Where there is faith, there is also patience and perseverance. And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven. An active prayer life gives evidence of an inner faith. This drought was in punishment for the idolatry which had been promoted in the land by King Ahab and his wife Jezebel.

James played a major part in the proceedings of which historic church council?


What was the central issue of the Jerusalem Council in about 50 AD? Which of the following does James say is incompatible with faith? Next lesson: [1]. Home Page: [2]. Biblical Studies NT. Category : Biblical studies. Namespaces Resource Discuss. Views Read Edit View history. Paul appears to emphasize in his Letters to the Romans and Galatians that justification is by faith alone. However St. Paul states directly in Romans "But because of your stubbornness and unrepentant heart you are storing up wrath for yourself in the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God, who will render to each person according to his works.

In fact, if one has faith in Jesus, it is only natural that he will want to perform good works and live the way of Jesus. It is Paul himself in Galatians who speaks of good works and reminds us "For what a man sows, that he will also reap" Galatians Also, the Book of Revelation is quite explicit about the importance of works , , Because the name James, the equivalent of the Hebrew name Jacob, was popular at the time of Jesus, one of the great historical questions has been whether there were two, three, or even more disciples of the Lord by the name of James.

Which James was the author of this Letter?

  • Tradition as to canonicity.
  • Author and genuineness.
  • BibleGateway.
  • Sorcerers Knot;

John identifies Mary as the sister of the mother of Jesus and the wife of Clopas John And then there is Jude the brother of James Jude Are these different expressions of the same person or actually different people? The term brother or sister in Hebrew or Aramaic during that time could mean either biological sibling, cousin or kinsman, or a brother or sister in spirit.

Furthermore, the relationship of the terms Cleopas Luke , Clopas John , and Alphaeus is indefinite.

Jerome, the Father of Biblical Scholars, believed that there were two James: 1 there was the Apostle James the son of Alphaeus and the "brother of the Lord" Galatians , who was the author of this Letter; he was also known as James the Less, the Bishop of Jerusalem, and the brother of Jude Thaddeus Jude ; and 2 James the son of Zebedee and brother of John, who was martyred under Herod Antipas Acts The Douay-Rheims Bible was the standard English Bible for Catholics for over years, and still remains in use today.

Jerome's Latin Vulgate Bible. Kennedy took the oath of office on January 20, to become the 35th President of the United States.

The Epistle of James

All Rights Reserved. No part of the New American Bible may be reproduced in any form without permission in writing from the copyright owner. So will the rich person fade away in the midst of his pursuits. Do not the rich oppress you by might?