See also:book of the New Testament . The superscription (Jas. i . 1) ascribes it to that pre-eminent " pillar " (Gal. ii . 9) of the
See also:church who later came to be regarded in certain quarters as the "
See also:bishop of bishops " (Epist. of
See also:James to
See also:Clement, ap . Clem .
See also:Horn . Superscription) . As such he appears in a position to address an encyclical to " the twelve tribes of the dispersion "; for the context (i . 18, v . 7 seq.) and
See also:literary relation (cf. r Pet. i . 1, 3, 23—25) prove this to be a figure for the entire new
See also:people of
See also:God, without the distinction of carnal
See also:birth, as Paul had described " the
See also:Israel of God " (Gal. vi . 16), spiritually begotten, like Isaac, by the word received in faith (Gal. iii .
28 seq., iv . 28; Rom. ix . 6—9, iv . 16—18) . Thisidea of the spiritually begotten Israel becomes current after 1 Pet., as appears in
See also:John i . 11—13, iii . 3—8;
See also:Barn. iv . 6, xiii . 13; 2 Clem. ii . 2, &c . The
See also:interpretation which takes the expression " the twelve tribes " literally, and conceives the
See also:brother of the
See also:Lord as sending an
See also:epistle written in the Greek language throughout the Christian
See also:world, but as addressing Jewish Christians only (so e.g . Sieffert, s.v .
See also:im N.T." in Hauck, Realencykl. ed . 1900, vol. viii.), assumes not only such divisive interference as Paul might justly resent (cf . Gal. ii . 1—1o), but involves a
See also:strange idea of conditions . Were worldliness,
See also:tongue religion, moral indifference, the distinctive marks of the Jewish
See also:element ? Surely the rebukes of James apply to conditions of the whole Church and not sporadic Jewish-Christian conventicles in the Greek-speaking world, if any such existed . It is at least an open question whether the superscription (connected with that of
See also:Jude) be not a later conjecture prefixed by some compiler of the catholic epistles, but of the
See also:late date implied in our interpretation of ver . I there should be small dispute . Whatever the currency in classical circles of the epistle as a literary
See also:form, it is irrational to put first in the development of Christian literature a general epistle, couched in fluent, even rhetorical, Greek, and afterwards the Pauline letters, which both as to origin and subsequent circulation were a product of urgent conditions . The
See also:order consonant with
See also:history is (I) Paul's "letters" to"the churches of" a province (Gal. i . 2; 2
See also:Cor. i . 1); (2) the address to " the elect of the dispersion " in a
See also:group of the Pauline provinces (1 Pet. i .
I); (3) the address to "the twelve tribes of the dispersion " everywhere (Jas. i . 1; cf . Rev. vii . 2—4) . James, like 1 John, is a
See also:homily, even more lacking than I John in every epistolary feature, not even supplied with the customary epistolary farewell . The superscription, if original, compels us to treat the whole writing as not only late but pseudonymous . If prefixed by conjecture, to secure recognition and authority for the book, even this was at first a failure . The earliest trace of any recognition of it is in
See also:Origen (A.D . 230) who refers to it as " said to be from' James " (poi', 'IaKw(3ou 'EtrurroXrl), seeming thus to regard ver . I as superscription rather than
See also:part of the text .
See also:Eusebius (A.D . 325) classifies it among the disputed books, declaring that it is regarded as
See also:spurious, and that not many of the ancients have mentioned it .
See also:Jerome (A.D . 39o), though personally he accepted it, admits that it was " said to have been published by another in the name of James." The Syrian
See also:canon of the Peshitta was the first to admit it .
See also:criticism naturally made the superscription its starting-point, endeavouring first to explain the contents of the writing on this theory of authorship, but generally reaching the conclusion that the two do not agree . Conservatives as a
See also:rule avoid the implication of a
See also:direct polemic against Paul in ii . 14–26, which would
See also:lay open the author to the bitter accusations launched against the interlopers of 2 Cor. x.—xiii., by dating before the Judaistic controversy . Othercritics regard the very language alone as fatal to such a theory of date, authorship and circle addressed . The contents, ignoring the conflict of
See also:Jew and Gentile, complaining of worldiness and tongue-religion (cf . I John iii . 17 seq. with James ii . 14–16) suggest a much later date than the
See also:death of James (A.D . 62–66) . They also require a different character in the author, if not also a different circle of readers from those addressed in i .
I . The prevalent conditions seem to be those of the Greek church of the
See also:period, characterized by worldiness of
See also:life, profession without practice, and a contentious garrulity of teaching (I John iii . 3—I0, 18 ; I Tim. i . 6 seq., vi . 3–Io; 2 Tim. iii . 1–5, iv . 3 se The author meets these with the weapons commanded for the purpose in 1 Tim. vi . 3, but quite in the spirit of one of the " wise men " of the
See also:Hebrew wisdom literature . His
See also:gospel is completely denationalized, humanitarian ; but, while equally universalistic, is quite unsympathetic towards the
See also:doctrine and the mysticism of Paul . He has nothing whatever to say of the incarnation, life, example, suffering or resurrection of Jesus, and does not
See also:interest himself in the doctrines of Christ's
See also:person, which were hotly debated up to this
See also:time . The
See also:absence of all mention of Christ (with the single exception of ii . 1, where there is reason to think the words i i G v 'Ii7oo" Xpuoro"u interpolated) has even led to the theory, ably but unconvincingly maintained by
See also:Spitta, that the writing is a mere recast of a Jewish moralistic writing like the Two Ways .
The thoughts are loosely strung together: yet the following seems to be the general framework on which the New Testament preacher has collected his material . 1 . The problem of evil (i . 1–19a) . Outward trials are for our development through aid of divinely given " wisdom " (2-11) . Inward (moral) trials are not to be imputed to God, the author of all
See also:good, whose purpose is the moral good of his creation (1z–19a; cf. r John i . 5) . 2 . The righteousness God intends is defined in the eternal moral
See also:law . It is a product of deeds, not words (i . 19b–27) . 3 .
The " royal law " of love is violated by discrimination against the poor (ii . 1–13) ; and by professions of faith barren of good
See also:works (14-•26) . 4 . The true spirit of wisdom appears not in aspiring to teach, but in goodness and meekness of life (ch. iii.) . Strife and self-exaltation are fruits of a different spirit, to be resisted and overcome by humble prayer for more
See also:grace (iv . I–Io) . 5 . God's
See also:judgment is at
See also:hand . The thought condemns censoriousness (iv . 11 et seq.), presumptuous treatment of life (13—17), and the tyranny of the
See also:rich (v . 1–6) . It encourages the believer to patient endurance to the end without murmuring or imprecations (7–12) .
It impels the church to
See also:diligence in its
See also:work of worship, care and prayer (13–18), and in the reclamation of the erring (19–20) . The use made by James of earlier material is as important for determining the
See also:terminus a quo of its own date as the use of it by later writers for the terminus ad quem . Acquaintance with the evangelic tradition is apparent . It is conceived, however, more in the Matthaean sense of " commandments to be observed " (Matt.
See also:xxviii . 20) than the Pauline, Markan and Johannine of the drama of the incarnation and redemption . There is no traceable literary contact with the synoptic gospels . Acquaintance, however, with some of the Pauline epistles " must be regarded as incontestably established " (0 .
See also:Cone, Ency . Bibl. ii . 2323) . Besides scattered reminiscences of Romans, I
See also:Corinthians and
See also:Galatians, enumerated in the article referred to, the section devoted to a refutation of the doctrine of "
See also:justification by faith apart from works " undeniably presupposes the Pauline terminology . Had the author been consciously opposing the
See also:great apostle to the Gentiles he would probably have treated the subject less superficially .
What he really opposes is the same ultra-Pauline moral laxity which Paul himself had found occasion to rebuke among would-be adherents inCorinth (I Cor . Vi . 12 ; viii . 1-3, 11, 12 ; X . 23 seq., 32 seq.) and which appears still more marked in the pastoral epistles and I John . In rebuking it James unconsciously retracts the misapplied Pauline principle itself . To suppose that the technical terminology of Paul, including even his classic example of the faith of Abraham, could be employed here independently of Rom. ii . 21–23, iii . 28, iv . 1; Gal. ii . 16, iii . 6, is to pass a judgment which in every other
See also:field of literary criticism would be at once repudiated .
To imagine it current in pre-Pauline Judaism is to misconceive the spirit of thesynagogue . To make James the coiner and Paul the borrower not only throws back James to a date incompatible with the other phenomena, but implies a literary polemic tactlessly waged by Paul against the
See also:head of the Jerusalem church . Acquaintance with
See also:Hebrews is only slightly less probable, for James ii . 25 adds an explication of the case of Rahab also, cited in Heb. xi . 31 along with Abraham as an example of justification by faith only, to his correction of the Pauline scriptural
See also:argument . The question whether James is dependent on 1
See also:Peter or conversely is still actively disputed . As regards the superscription I Nothing adduced by Lightfoot (
See also:Comm. on Gal . Exc . " The faith of Abraham ") justifies the unsupported and improbable assertion that the
See also:quotation James ii . 21 seq . " was probably in
See also:common use among the Jews to prove that orthodoxy of doctrine sufficed for salvation " (Mayor, s.v . " James, Epistle of " in Hasting's
See also:Diet .
Bible, p . 546)_ the relation has been defined above . Dependence on
See also:Revelation (A.D . 95) is probable (cf. i . 12 and ii . 5 with Rev. ii . 9, 10 and v . 9 with Rev. iii . 20), but the contacts with Clement of Rome (A.D . 95–120) indicate the
See also:reverse relation . James iv . 6 and v .
20 = 1 Clem. xlix . 5 and
See also:xxx . 2; but as both passages are also found in i Peter (iv . 8, v . 5), the latter maybe the common source . Clement's further development of the cases of Abraham and Rahab, however, adding as it does to the demonstration of James from Scripture of their justification " by works and not by faith only," that the particular good work which " wrought with the faith " of Abraham and Rahab to their justification was " hospitality " (i Clem. x.–xii.) seems plainly to presuppose James . Priority is more difficult to establish in the case of
See also:Hermas (A.D . 12o-14o), where the contacts are undisputed (cf . James iv . 7, 12 with Mand. xii . 5, 6; Sim. ix . 23).1 The date (A.D .
95-120) implied by the literary contacts of James of course precludes authorship by the Lord's brother, though this does not necessarily prove the superscription later still . The question whether the writing as a whole is pseudonymous, or only the superscription a mistaken conjecture by the
See also:scribe of Jude 1 is of secondary importance . A date about foo–120 for the substance of the writing is accepted by the majority of modern scholars and throws real
See also:light upon the author's endeavour .
See also:Pfleiderer in pointing .out the similarities of James and the Shepherd of Hermas declares it to be " certain that both writings presuppose like
See also:historical circumstances, and, from a similar point of view, direct their admonitions to their contemporaries, among whom a lax worldly-mindedness and unfruitful theological wrangling threatened to destroy the religious life." 2
See also:Holtzmann has characterized this as " the right visual
See also:angle " for the judgment of the book . Questions as to the
See also:obligation of Mosaism and the relations of Jew and Gentile have utterly disappeared below the
See also:horizon . Neither the
See also:attachment to the religious forms of Judaism, which we are informed was characteristic of James, nor that
See also:personal relation to the Lord which gave him his supreme distinction are indicated by so much as a single word . Instead of being written in Aramaic, as it would almost necessarily be if antecedent to the Pauline epistles, or even in the Semitic
See also:style characteristic of the older and more Palestinian elements of the New Testament we have a Greek even more fluent than Paul's and metaphors and allusions (i . 17, iii . 1–12) of a type more like Greek rhetoric than anything else in the New Testament . Were we to
See also:judge by the contacts with Hebrews, Clement of Rome and Hermas and the similarity of situation evidenced in the last-named, Rome would seem the most natural place of origin . The history of the epistle's reception into the canon is not opposed to this; for, once it was attributed to James,
See also:Syria would be more likely to take it up, while the West, more sceptical, if not better informed as to its origin, held back; just as happened in the case of Hebrews . It is the author's conception of the nature of the gospel which mainly gives us pause in following this
See also:pretty general disposition of modern scholarship .
With all the phenomena of vocabulary and style which seem to justify such conceptions as vonSoden's that c. iii. and iv . 11-v . 6 represent excerpts respectively from the
See also:essay of an Alexandrian scribe, and a triple fragment of Jewish apocalypse, the analysis above given will be found the exponent of a real logical sequence . We might almost admit a resemblance in form to the general literary type which Spitta adduces . The
See also:term " wisdom " in particular is used in the
See also:special and technical sense of the " wise men " of Hebrew literature (Matt.
See also:xxiii . 34), the sense of " the wisdom of the just " of Luke i . 17 . True, the mystical sense given to the term in one of the
See also:sources of Luke, by Paul and some of the Church fathers, is not
See also:present . While the gospel is pre-eminently the divine
See also:gift of " wisdom," " wisdom " is not personified, but conceived primarily as a
See also:system of humanitarian ethics, i . 21–25, and only secondarily as a spiritual effluence, imparting the regenerate disposition, the " mind that was in Christ Jesus," iii . 13–18 . And yet for James as well as for Paul Christ is " the wisdom of 1 On the contacts in general see Moffat, Hist .
N T.' p . 578, on relation to Clem . R. see
See also:Bacon, " Doctrine of Faith in Hebrews, James and Clement of Rome," in Jour. of Bib . Lit., 1900, pp . 12-21 . : Das Urchristenthum, 868, quoted by Cone, loc. cit.God." The difference in conception of the term is similar to that between Ecclesiasticus and the Wisdom of Solomon . Our author, like Paul, expects the hearers of the word to be " a kind of first-fruits to God of his creation." (i . 18 cf. i Pet. i . 23), and bids them depend upon the gift of grace (i.5, iv . 5 seq.), but for the evils of the world he has no remedy but the patient endurance of the Christian philosopher (i . 2–18) . For the faithlessness (bo,taXia i .
6–8; cf .Didache and Hermas), worldliness (ii . 1–13) and hollow profession (ii . 14–26) of the church life of his time, with its " theological wrangling " (iii . 1-12), his remedy is again the God-given, peaceable spirit of the Christian philosopher (iii . 13–18), which is the antithesis of the spirit of self-seeking and censoriousness (iv . 1-12), and which appreciates the pettiness of earthly life with its sordid gains and its unjust distribution of
See also:wealth (iv . 13–v . 6) . This attitude of the Christian stoic will maintain the individual in his. patient waiting for the expected " coming of the Lord " (v . 7–11); while the church sustains its official functions of healing and prayer, and reclamation of the erring (v . 13-20).3 For this conception of the gospel and of the officially organized church, our nearest
See also:analogy is in
See also:Matthew, or rather in the blocks of precepts of the Lord which after subtraction of the Markan narrative framework are found to underlie our first gospel .
It may be mere coincidence that the material in Matthew as well as in the Didache seems to be arranged in five divisions, beginning with a
See also:commendation of the right way, and ending with warnings of the judgment, while the logical analysis of James yields something similar; but of the
See also:affinity of spirit there can be no doubt . The type of ethical thought exemplified in James has been called Ebionite (Hilgenfeld) . It is clearly manifest in the humanitarianism of Luke also . But with the possible exception of the prohibition of oaths there is nothing which ought to suggest the epithet . The strong sense of social wrongs, the impatience with tongue-religion, the utter ignoring of ceremonialism, the reflection on the value and significance of " life," are distinctive simply of the " wisdom " writers . Like these our author holds himself so far aloof from current debate of ceremonial or doctrine as to
See also:escape our
See also:standards of measurement regarding place and time . Certain general considerations, however, are fairly decisive . The prolonged effort, mainly of
See also:ship, to vindicate the superscription, even on the
See also:condition of assuming priority to the Pauline epistles, grows only increasingly hopeless with increasing knowledge of conditions, linguistic and other, in that early period . The moralistic conception of the gospel as a " law of liberty," the very phrase recalling the expression of Barn. ii., " the new law of Christ, which is without the yoke of constraint," the conception of the church as primarily an ethical society, its functions already officially distributed, suggest the period of the Didache,
See also:Barnabas and Clement of Rome . Independently of the literary contacts we should judge the period to be about A.D . 100–120 . The connexions with the Pauline epistles are conclusive for a date later than the death of James; those with Clement and Hermas are perhaps sufficient to date it as
See also:prior to the former, and suggest Rome as the place of origin .
The connexions with wisdom-literature favour somewhat the Hellenistic culture of Syria, as represented for example at
See also:Antioch . The most important commentaries on the epistle are those of Matt . Schneckenburger (1832), K . G . W . Theile (1833), J .
See also:Kern r?838), G . H . Ewald (1870), C . F . D . Erdmann (1881), H. v .
Soden 1898), J . B . Mayor (1892) and W .Patrick (1906) . The pre-Pauline date is championed by B .
See also:Weiss (Introd.), W .
See also:Beyschlag (
See also:Meyer's Commentary), Th . Zahn (Introd.), J . B . Mayor and W . Patrick . J .
V . Bartlet (Ap .Age, pp . 217–250) pleads for it, and the view is still common among English interpreters . F . K . Zimmer (Z. w . Th., 1893) showed the priority of Paul, with many others . A . Hilgenfeld (Einl.) 9 The logical relation of v . 12 to the context is problematical . Perhaps it may be accounted for by the order of the compend of Christian ethics the writer was following .
Cf . Matt. v . 34–37 in relation to Matt. v . 12 (cf. ver. to) and vi . 19 sqq. ver . 2, and iv . 13 seq.) . The non-charismatic conception of healing, no longer the " gift " of some layman in the community (1 Cor. xii . 9 seq.) but a
See also:function of " the elders " (1 Tim. iv . 14), is another indication of comparatively late date . and A . C .
See also:McGiffert (Ap . Age) place it in the period of
See also:Domitian ; Baur (Ch . History),
See also:Schwegler (Nachap . Zeitalt.),
See also:Zeller, Volkmar (Z. w . Th.),
See also:Hausrath (Ap . Age), H . J . Holtzmann (Einl.), Jiilicher (Einl.), Usteri (St. u . Kr., 1889), W .
See also:Bruckner (Chron.), H. v . Soden (Hand-comm.) and A .
See also:Harnack (Chron.) under
See also:Hadrian .
A convenient synopsis of results will be found in J . Moffat, Historical New Test.2 (PP- 576-581), and in the articles s.v . " James " in Encycl . Bibl. and the Bible Dictionaries . (B . W .
DAVID JAMES (1839-1893)
GEORGE PAYNE RAINSFOP JAMES
There are no comments yet for this article.
Do not copy, download, transfer, or otherwise replicate the site content in whole or in part.
Links to articles and home page are encouraged.