Epistle of James

Epistle of James

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The Epistle of James, usually referred to simply as James, is a book in the New Testament
New Testament
The New Testament is the second major division of the Christian biblical canon, the first such division being the much longer Old Testament....

. The author identifies himself as "James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ", with "the earliest extant manuscripts of James usually dated to mid-to-late third century."

There are four views concerning the Epistle of James, that:
  1. the letter was written by James before Paul's letters,
  2. the letter was written by James after Paul's letters,
  3. the letter is pseudonym
    Pseudonym
    A pseudonym is a name that a person assumes for a particular purpose and that differs from his or her original orthonym...

    ous,
  4. the letter comprises material originally from James but reworked by a later editor.

Composition


The epistle may not be a true piece of correspondence between specific parties, but rather an example of wisdom literature
Wisdom literature
Wisdom literature is the genre of literature common in the Ancient Near East. This genre is characterized by sayings of wisdom intended to teach about divinity and about virtue...

 formulated as a letter for circulation. The work is considered New Testament wisdom literature because, "like Proverbs
Book of Proverbs
The Book of Proverbs , commonly referred to simply as Proverbs, is a book of the Hebrew Bible.The original Hebrew title of the book of Proverbs is "Míshlê Shlomoh" . When translated into Greek and Latin, the title took on different forms. In the Greek Septuagint the title became "paroimai paroimiae"...

 and Sirach
Sirach
The Book of the All-Virtuous Wisdom of Jesus ben Sira , commonly called the Wisdom of Sirach or simply Sirach, and also known as Ecclesiasticus or Siracides , is a work from the early 2nd century B.C. written by the Jewish scribe Jesus ben Sirach of Jerusalem...

, it consists largely of moral exhortations and precepts of a traditional and eclectic nature." Similarly, the Catholic Encyclopedia
Catholic Encyclopedia
The Catholic Encyclopedia, also referred to as the Old Catholic Encyclopedia and the Original Catholic Encyclopedia, is an English-language encyclopedia published in the United States. The first volume appeared in March 1907 and the last three volumes appeared in 1912, followed by a master index...

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."

Authorship


The writer calls himself simply “James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ.” (Jas 1:1) Jesus had two apostles named James (Mt 10:2, 3), but it is unlikely that either of these wrote the letter. One apostle, James the son of Zebedee, was martyred about 44 CE. This would be very early for him to have been the writer. (Ac 12:1, 2) The other apostle James, the son of Alphaeus, is not prominent in the Scriptural record, and very little is known about him. The outspoken nature of the letter of James would seem to weigh against the writer’s being James the son of Alphaeus, for he would likely have identified himself as one of the 12 apostles, in order to back up his strong words with apostolic authority.

Rather, evidence points to James the brother of Jesus Christ, to whom the resurrected Christ evidently had made a special appearance, and who was prominent among the disciples. (Mt 13:55; Ac 21:15-25; 1Co 15:7; Ga 1:19, 2:9) The writer of the letter of James identifies himself as “a slave of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ,” in much the same way as did Jude, who introduced the letter of Jude by calling himself “a slave of Jesus Christ, but a brother of James.” (Jas 1:1; Jude 1) Furthermore, the salutation of James’ letter includes the term “Greetings!” in the same way as did the letter concerning circumcision that was sent to the congregations. In this latter instance it was apparently Jesus’ brother James who spoke prominently in the assembly of “the apostles and the older men” at Jerusalem.—Ac 15:13, 22, 23.

The author identifies himself in the opening verse as "James, a servant of God
God
God is the English name given to a singular being in theistic and deistic religions who is either the sole deity in monotheism, or a single deity in polytheism....

 and of the Lord Jesus
Jesus
Jesus of Nazareth , commonly referred to as Jesus Christ or simply as Jesus or Christ, is the central figure of Christianity...

 Christ". From the middle of the 3rd century, patristic authors cited the Epistle as written by James the Just
James the Just
James , first Bishop of Jerusalem, who died in 62 AD, was an important figure in Early Christianity...

, a relation of Jesus
Desposyni
The term Desposyni refers to alleged blood relatives of Jesus. The term was coined by Sextus Julius Africanus, a writer of the early 3rd century. Some scholars argue that Jesus' relatives held positions of special honor in the Early Christian Church...

 and first Bishop of Jerusalem. Not numbered among the Twelve Apostles, unless he is identified as James the Less
James the Less
James the Less is a figure of early Christianity. He is also called "the minor", "the little", "the lesser", or "the younger", according to translation. He is often confused with James the Great and may or may not be James the Just.- Sources :...

, James was nonetheless a very important figure: Paul described him as "the brother of the Lord" in Galatians 1:19 and as one of the three "pillars of the Church" in 2:9. He is traditionally considered the first of the Seventy Disciples
Seventy Disciples
The seventy disciples or seventy-two disciples were early followers of Jesus mentioned in the Gospel of Luke . According to Luke, the only gospel in which they appear, Jesus appointed them and sent them out in pairs on a specific mission which is detailed in the text...

. John Calvin
John Calvin
John Calvin was an influential French theologian and pastor during the Protestant Reformation. He was a principal figure in the development of the system of Christian theology later called Calvinism. Originally trained as a humanist lawyer, he broke from the Roman Catholic Church around 1530...

 and others suggested that the author was the Apostle James, son of Alphaeus
James, son of Alphaeus
Saint James, son of Alphaeus was one of the Twelve Apostles of Jesus Christ. He is often identified with James the Less and commonly known by that name in church tradition....

, who was often identified with James the Just. If written by James the Just, the place and time of the writing of the epistle would be Jerusalem
Jerusalem in Christianity
For Christians, Jerusalem's place in the ministry of Jesus and the Apostolic Age gives it great importance, in addition to its place in the Old Testament, the Hebrew Bible.-Jerusalem in the New Testament and early Christianity:...

, where James resided before his martyrdom in 62AD.

Authorship has also occasionally been attributed to the apostle James the Great, brother of John the Evangelist
John the Evangelist
Saint John the Evangelist is the conventional name for the author of the Gospel of John...

 and son of Zebedee The letter does mention persecutions in the present tense (2:6), and this is consistent with the persecution in Jerusalem
Persecution of Christians in the New Testament
The persecution of Christians in the New Testament is an important part of the Early Christian narrative which depicts the early Church as being persecuted for their heterodox beliefs by an alleged "Jewish establishment" in what was then Roman occupied Iudaea province.The New Testament, especially...

 during which James the Great was martyred (Acts 12:1). If written by James the Great, the location would have also been Jerusalem, sometime before 45AD.

The Protestant reformer Martin Luther
Martin Luther
Martin Luther was a German priest, professor of theology and iconic figure of the Protestant Reformation. He strongly disputed the claim that freedom from God's punishment for sin could be purchased with money. He confronted indulgence salesman Johann Tetzel with his Ninety-Five Theses in 1517...

 denied it was the work of an apostle and termed it an "epistle of straw" as compared to some other books in the New Testament, not least 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, after the death of James the Just. Among the reasons for this are:
  • the author introduces himself merely as "a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ", without invoking any special family relationship to Jesus.
  • the cultured Greek language of the Epistle, it is contended, could not have been written by a Jerusalemite Jew. This argument has lost much force as recent insight into Greek influence on Judea
    Hellenistic Judaism
    Hellenistic Judaism was a movement which existed in the Jewish diaspora that sought to establish a Hebraic-Jewish religious tradition within the culture and language of Hellenism...

     at the time has come to light. It is plausible that the letter in Greek to the Jewish diaspora
    Jewish diaspora
    The Jewish diaspora is the English term used to describe the Galut גלות , or 'exile', of the Jews from the region of the Kingdom of Judah and Roman Iudaea and later emigration from wider Eretz Israel....

     could have been composed with a secretary
    Amanuensis
    Amanuensis is a Latin word adopted in various languages, including English, for certain persons performing a function by hand, either writing down the words of another or performing manual labour...

    , as Jerome argued. Some scholars argue for a primitive version of the letter composed by James and then later polished by another writer.
  • the epistle was only gradually accepted into the (non-Jewish) canon of the New Testament.
  • Some see parallels between James and 1 Peter, 1 Clement, and the Shepherd of Hermas and take this to reflect the socio-economic situation Christians were dealing with in the late 1st or early 2nd century. It thus could have been written anywhere in the Empire where Christians spoke Greek. There are some scholars who argued for Syria.

Jewish Nature


The Interpreter's Bible calls James "... a Christian revision of a Jewish work." TIB XII p. 21 James’ epistle is so Jewish that Adam Clarke cites Talmudic sources for nearly every verse. The Interpreters’ Bible posits a preexistent Jewish "Book of Jacob" adapted to a Christian audience; rather than point out Jewish antecedents, it highlights the less numerous Christian accretions.
"In the last decade of the nineteenth century … a French scholar" [L. Massebieau] "and a German scholar," [Friedrich Spitta] "working wholly independently, published almost simultaneously conclusions that were identical. Both maintained that the epistle was originally a purely Jewish writing which has been converted into a Christian work by an editor who merely added ‘and of the Lord Jesus Christ’ in 1:1 and ‘our Lord Jesus Christ’ in 2:1. Both writers stressed in support of their theory the extraordinarily difficult grammatical problem offered by the Greek genitives in 2:1 … a problem solved at once by the theory of the interpolation. And they argued further that if this interpolation is accepted, a corresponding interpolation in 1:1 may be inferred; especially since 1:1, as it now reads, contains language unique in the New Testament… Then, since these two occurrences of ‘Jesus Christ’ are the only explicit Christian terms in the letter, the remainder, they argued, not only represented a use of Jewish tradition, but was Jewish tradition and nothing else.

"… a generation later Arnold Meyer … [n]oting that in Greek, Aramaic, and Hebrew, ‘James’ and ‘Jacob’ are the same word,… saw that if the Christian ‘interpolation’ in 1:1 was recognized as such, the original opening words could be read "Jacob, a servant of God, to the twelve tribes in the dispersion: Greeting.’… And for a letter from Jacob to the ‘twelve tribes’ a well-known biblical precedent was provided by Gen." [Genesis] "49, where Jacob addresses the ‘ancestor’ of each tribe in turn…. Meyer undertook to demonstrate that similar references to the twelve tribes can be detected in James
"But even if Meyer is correct in his contention that a ‘Letter of Jacob’ forms the basis of James, it by no means follows that he is equally correct in contending that the former can be recovered by eliminating minimal Christian additions in 1:1; 2:1; 5:12; and 5:14. He seems vastly to have underestimated the contributions of the Christian editor. This appears most vividly in the long section 2:14-26 on the relative value of faith and works. … Not only is the general trend of the argument in 2:14-26 one impossible in Judaism, but the details of its wording show that the argument is directed against a non-Jewish opponent – an opponent who can be identified definitely as Paul… Only one conclusion appears to be possible: 2:14-26 was written not by a Jew, but by a Christian.
"Nor is 2:14-26 the only Christian passage in James.
"If this is correct, we have the solution of a difficulty in Meyer's theory for which he has no satisfying answer."



James, as is also the case with "certain other epistles, toward the close of some Pauline letters... and in Heb." [Hebrews] "13" [has] "sequences of sayings-groups and isolated sayings arranged with little apparent logical order… this form was very familiar in the contemporary Hellenistic world, where similar somewhat miscellaneous collections of general moral instructions were widely employed in teaching ethics. If these instructions were phrased throughout in the third person such a collection was called a ‘gnomologium.’ But if the second person (singular or plural) was employed, so that the teachings were addressed – either actually or as a literary device – to an individual or to a group, then the collection was termed a ‘paraenesis.’ And in James we have a perfect example of a paraenesis…



"While James is a paraenesis, as a whole and in all its parts, in many sections another highly specialized contemporary literary form is also evident – the form known as the ‘diatribe.’… for the present purposes it may be described adequately enough as copying the style of a speaker engaged in a lively oral debate with an opponent. Among ancient writers on ethics who use the diatribe form Epictetus is particularly notable; among Jewish authors the thoroughly Hellenized Philo often employs it. In the New Testament, Rom." [Romans] "3:1-8 illustrates the form admirably.



"The fact that the Epistle of James is written throughout as a paraenesis, with frequent employment of the diatribe, shows that its author must be sought among those whose literary associates were with the Greek rather than with the Hebrew world. For the antecedents of true prose paraenesis among non-Greek-speaking Jews are so scanty as to be virtually nonexistent.



"On the other hand, the content of James, as contrasted with its literary form, belongs unequivocally to the Hebraic-Christian, and not to the Hellenistic world…. James, as we have it, is unambiguously the work of a Christian author, whose training was Hellenistic but whose religious background was firmly Hebraic." TIB XII 1955



The Complete Jewish Bible
Complete Jewish Bible
The Complete Jewish Bible is an English translation of the Bible by Dr. David H. Stern. It consists of both Stern's revised translation of the Old Testament plus his original "Jewish New Testament" translation in one book. The Old Testament translation is a paraphrase of the 1917 Jewish...

 calls the book Jacob, noting the Jewish tone and references, and that James is not a Jewish name. It is sometimes claimed that the name was changed with publication of the King James translation; however, the name is "James" in the 14th century Wycliffe's Bible.

Content


The United Bible Societies
United Bible Societies
The United Bible Societies is a worldwide association of Bible societies. In 1946 delegates from 13 countries formed the UBS, as an effort to coordinate the activities of the bible societies. The first headquarters were London and in Geneva...

' Greek New Testament divides the letter into the following sections:
  • Salutation (1:1)
  • Faith and Wisdom (1:2-8)
  • Poverty and Riches (1:9-11)
  • Trial and Temptation (1:12-18)
  • Hearing and Doing the Word (1:19-27)
  • Warning against Partiality (2:1-13)
  • Faith and Works (2:14-26)
  • The Tongue (3:1-12)
  • The Wisdom from Above (3:13-18)
  • Friendship with the World (4:1-10)
  • Judging a Brother (4:11-12)
  • Warning against Boasting (4:13-17)
  • Warning to the Rich (5:1-6)
  • Patience and Prayer (5:7-20)


  • Framed within an overall theme of patient perseverance during trials and temptations, the text condemns various sins and calls on Christians to be patient while awaiting the Second Coming
    Second Coming
    In Christian doctrine, the Second Coming of Christ, the Second Advent, or the Parousia, is the anticipated return of Jesus Christ from Heaven, where he sits at the Right Hand of God, to Earth. This prophecy is found in the canonical gospels and in most Christian and Islamic eschatologies...

    .
    The epistle was addressed to "the twelve tribes scattered abroad" (James 1:1), which is generally taken to mean a Jewish Christian audience.

    The object of the writer was to enforce the practical duties of the Christian
    Christianity
    Christianity is a monotheistic religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus as presented in canonical gospels and other New Testament writings...

     life. The vices against which he warns them are: formalism, which made the service of God consist in washings and outward ceremonies, whereas he reminds them (1:27) that it consists rather in active love and purity; fanaticism, which, under the cloak of religious zeal
    Zealotry
    Zealotry was originally a political movement in 1st century Second Temple Judaism which sought to incite the people of Iudaea Province to rebel against the Roman Empire and expel it from the Holy land by force of arms, most notably during the Great Jewish Revolt...

    , was tearing Jerusalem
    Jerusalem in Christianity
    For Christians, Jerusalem's place in the ministry of Jesus and the Apostolic Age gives it great importance, in addition to its place in the Old Testament, the Hebrew Bible.-Jerusalem in the New Testament and early Christianity:...

     in pieces (1:20); fatalism, which threw its sins on God (1:13); meanness, which crouched before the rich (2:2); falsehoods, which had made words and oaths play-things (3:2-12); partisanship (3:14); evil speaking (4:11); boasting (4:16); oppression (5:4). The great lesson which he teaches them as Christians is patience, patience in trial (1:2), patience in good works (1:22-25), patience under provocation (3:17), patience under oppression (5:7), patience under persecution (5:10); and the ground of their patience is that the coming of the Lord
    Second Coming
    In Christian doctrine, the Second Coming of Christ, the Second Advent, or the Parousia, is the anticipated return of Jesus Christ from Heaven, where he sits at the Right Hand of God, to Earth. This prophecy is found in the canonical gospels and in most Christian and Islamic eschatologies...

     drawing nigh, which is to right all wrong (5:8).

    Justification


    The letter contains the following famous passage concerning salvation
    Salvation
    Within religion salvation is the phenomenon of being saved from the undesirable condition of bondage or suffering experienced by the psyche or soul that has arisen as a result of unskillful or immoral actions generically referred to as sins. Salvation may also be called "deliverance" or...

     and justification
    Justification (theology)
    Rising out of the Protestant Reformation, Justification is the chief article of faith describing God's act of declaring or making a sinner righteous through Christ's atoning sacrifice....

     (RSV
    Revised Standard Version
    The Revised Standard Version is an English translation of the Bible published in the mid-20th century. It traces its history to William Tyndale's New Testament translation of 1525. The RSV is an authorized revision of the American Standard Version of 1901...

    ):
    What does it profit, my brethren, if a man says he has faith but has not works? Can his faith save him? If a brother or sister is ill-clad and in lack of daily food, and one of you says to them, "Go in peace, be warmed and filled," without giving them the things needed for the body, what does it profit? So faith by itself, if it has no works, is dead. But some one will say, "You have faith and I have works." Show me your faith apart from your works, and I by my works will show you my faith.

    You believe that God is one; you do well. Even the demons believe -- and shudder. Do you want to be shown, you shallow man, that faith apart from works is barren? Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he offered his son Isaac upon the altar? You see that faith was active along with his works, and faith was completed by works, and the scripture was fulfilled which says, "Abraham believed God, and it was reckoned to him as righteousness"; and he was called the friend of God. You see that a man is justified by works and not by faith alone. And in the same way was not also Rahab the harlot justified by works when she received the messengers and sent them out another way? For as the body apart from the spirit is dead, so faith apart from works is dead.


    This passage has been cited in Christian theological debates, especially regarding the doctrine of justification. Gaius Marius Victorinus
    Gaius Marius Victorinus
    Gaius Marius Victorinus was a Roman grammarian, rhetorician and Neoplatonic philosopher. Victorinus was African by birth and experienced the height of his career during the reign of Constantius II...

     (4th century) associated James's teaching on works with the heretical Symmachian sect, followers of Symmachus the Ebionite
    Symmachus the Ebionite
    Symmachus was the author of one of the Greek versions of the Old Testament. It was included by Origen in his Hexapla and Tetrapla, which compared various versions of the Old Testament side by side with the Septuagint...

    , and openly questioned whether James's teachings were heretical. This passage has also been contrasted with the teachings of Paul
    Paul of Tarsus
    Paul the Apostle , also known as Saul of Tarsus, is described in the Christian New Testament as one of the most influential early Christian missionaries, with the writings ascribed to him by the church forming a considerable portion of the New Testament...

     on justification. One issue in the debate is the meaning of the Greek word δικαιόω (dikaiόο), rendered in English "to justify."

    Roman Catholicism and Eastern Orthodoxy argue that this passage disproves the doctrine of justification by faith alone (or sola fide
    Sola fide
    Sola fide , also historically known as the doctrine of justification by faith alone, is a Christian theological doctrine that distinguishes most Protestant denominations from Catholicism, Eastern Christianity, and some in the Restoration Movement.The doctrine of sola fide or "by faith alone"...

    ), whereas the early and many modern Protestants continue to believe that Catholic and Orthodox interpretations "go astray through the ambiguous meaning of a term [dikaiόο]" and resolve James' and Paul's apparent conflict regarding faith and works in alternate ways from the Catholics and Orthodox. The debate over justification remains unsettled. (See also Biblical law in Christianity
    Biblical law in Christianity
    Christian views of the Old Covenant have been central to Christian theology and practice since the circumcision controversy in Early Christianity. There are differing views about the applicability of the Old Covenant among Christian denominations...

     and New Perspective on Paul
    New Perspective on Paul
    The "New Perspective on Paul" is a significant shift in the way some scholars, especially Protestant scholars, interpret the writings of the Apostle Paul.-Description:Since the Protestant Reformation The "New Perspective on Paul" is a significant shift in the way some scholars, especially...

    .)

    Anointing of the Sick



    James's epistle is also the chief Biblical text for the Anointing of the Sick
    Anointing of the Sick
    Anointing of the Sick, known also by other names, is distinguished from other forms of religious anointing or "unction" in that it is intended, as its name indicates, for the benefit of a sick person...

    . James wrote:
    "Are any among you sick? They should call for the elders of the church and have them pray over them, anointing them with oil in the name of the Lord. And their prayer offered in faith will heal the sick, and the Lord will make them well. And anyone who has committed sins will be forgiven." (5:14,15).


    G. A. Wells suggested this passage was evidence of late authorship of the epistle, on the grounds that the healing of the sick being done through an official body of presbyters ('the elders') indicated a considerable development of ecclesiastical organisation, "whereas in Paul's day to heal and work miracles pertained to to believers indiscriminately (I Corinthians, XII:9)."

    Canonicity


    The Epistle was first explicitly referred to and quoted by Origen of Alexandria (Commentary on John, 19.61), and possibly a bit earlier by Irenaeus of Lyons as well as Clement of Alexandria
    Clement of Alexandria
    Titus Flavius Clemens , known as Clement of Alexandria , was a Christian theologian and the head of the noted Catechetical School of Alexandria. Clement is best remembered as the teacher of Origen...

     in a lost work according to Eusebius, although it was not mentioned by Tertullian
    Tertullian
    Quintus Septimius Florens Tertullianus, anglicised as Tertullian , was a prolific early Christian author from Carthage in the Roman province of Africa. He is the first Christian author to produce an extensive corpus of Latin Christian literature. He also was a notable early Christian apologist and...

    , who was writing at the end of the second century. It is also absent from the Muratorian fragment
    Muratorian fragment
    The Muratorian fragment is a copy of perhaps the oldest known list of the books of the New Testament. The fragment, consisting of 85 lines, is a 7th-century Latin manuscript bound in an eighth or 7th century codex that came from the library of Columban's monastery at Bobbio; it contains internal...

    , the earliest known list of New Testament books.

    The Epistle of James was included among the 27 New Testament books first listed by Athanasius of Alexandria
    Athanasius of Alexandria
    Athanasius of Alexandria [b. ca. – d. 2 May 373] is also given the titles St. Athanasius the Great, St. Athanasius I of Alexandria, St Athanasius the Confessor and St Athanasius the Apostolic. He was the 20th bishop of Alexandria. His long episcopate lasted 45 years Athanasius of Alexandria [b....

     in his 39th Festal Epistle (AD 367) and was confirmed as a canonical epistle of the New Testament by a series of councils in the 4th century. Today, virtually all denominations of Christianity consider this book to be a canonical epistle of the New Testament. See Biblical canon
    Biblical canon
    A biblical canon, or canon of scripture, is a list of books considered to be authoritative as scripture by a particular religious community. The term itself was first coined by Christians, but the idea is found in Jewish sources. The internal wording of the text can also be specified, for example...

    .

    In the first centuries of the Church the authenticity of the Epistle was doubted by some, and among others by Theodore
    Theodore of Mopsuestia
    Theodore the Interpreter was bishop of Mopsuestia from 392 to 428 AD. He is also known as Theodore of Antioch, from the place of his birth and presbyterate...

    , Bishop of Mopsuestia in Cilicia; it is therefore deuterocanonical. Because of the silence of several of the western churches regarding it, Eusebius classes it among the Antilegomena
    Antilegomena
    Antilegomena, a direct transliteration from the Greek , refers to written texts whose authenticity or value is disputed.Eusebius in his Church History written c. 325 used the term for those Christian scriptures that were "disputed" or literally those works which were "spoken against" in Early...

     or contested writings (Historia ecclesiae
    Church History (Eusebius)
    The Church History of Eusebius, the bishop of Caesarea was a 4th-century pioneer work giving a chronological account of the development of Early Christianity from the 1st century to the 4th century. It was written in Koine Greek, and survives also in Latin, Syriac and Armenian manuscripts...

    , 3.25; 2.23). St. Jerome
    Jerome
    Saint Jerome was a Roman Christian priest, confessor, theologian and historian, and who became a Doctor of the Church. He was the son of Eusebius, of the city of Stridon, which was on the border of Dalmatia and Pannonia...

     gives a similar appraisal but adds that with time it had been universally admitted. Gaius Marius Victorinus
    Gaius Marius Victorinus
    Gaius Marius Victorinus was a Roman grammarian, rhetorician and Neoplatonic philosopher. Victorinus was African by birth and experienced the height of his career during the reign of Constantius II...

    , in his commentary on the Epistle to the Galatians, openly questioned whether the teachings of James were heretical.

    Its late recognition in the Church, especially in the West, may be explained by the fact that it was written for or by Jewish Christians
    Jewish Christians
    Jewish Christians is a term which appears in historical texts contrasting Christians of Jewish origin with Gentile Christians, both in discussion of the New Testament church and the second and following centuries....

    , and therefore not widely circulated among the Gentile Churches
    Pauline Christianity
    Pauline Christianity is a term used to refer to the Christianity associated with the beliefs and doctrines espoused by Paul of Tarsus through his writings. Most of orthodox Christianity relies heavily on these teachings and considers them to be amplifications and explanations of the teachings of...

    . There is some indication that a few groups distrusted the book because of its doctrine. In Reformation
    Reformation
    - Movements :* Protestant Reformation, an attempt by Martin Luther to reform the Roman Catholic Church that resulted in a schism, and grew into a wider movement...

     times a few theologians, most notably Martin Luther
    Martin Luther
    Martin Luther was a German priest, professor of theology and iconic figure of the Protestant Reformation. He strongly disputed the claim that freedom from God's punishment for sin could be purchased with money. He confronted indulgence salesman Johann Tetzel with his Ninety-Five Theses in 1517...

    , argued that this epistle should not be part of the canonical New Testament.

    See also

    • Textual variants in the Epistle of James
    • Pauline Christianity
      Pauline Christianity
      Pauline Christianity is a term used to refer to the Christianity associated with the beliefs and doctrines espoused by Paul of Tarsus through his writings. Most of orthodox Christianity relies heavily on these teachings and considers them to be amplifications and explanations of the teachings of...

    • Abrogation of Old Covenant laws
      Abrogation of Old Covenant laws
      While many Christian theology systems reflect the view that at least some Mosaic laws have been set aside under the New Covenant, there are some theology systems that view the entire Mosaic or Old Covenant as abrogated in that all of the Mosaic laws are set aside for the Law of Christ...

    • Antilegomena
      Antilegomena
      Antilegomena, a direct transliteration from the Greek , refers to written texts whose authenticity or value is disputed.Eusebius in his Church History written c. 325 used the term for those Christian scriptures that were "disputed" or literally those works which were "spoken against" in Early...


    Further reading


    External links


    Online translation of the Epistle of James:
    • Catholic Encyclopedia: Epistle of St. James: "Luther strongly repudiated the Epistle as "a letter of straw", and "unworthy of the apostolic Spirit", and this solely for dogmatic reasons, and owing to his preconceived notions, for the epistle refutes his heretical doctrine that Faith alone is necessary for salvation. ... For the question of apparent opposition between St. James and St. Paul with regard to "faith and works" see EPISTLE TO THE ROMANS."
    • Jewish Encyclopedia: JAMES, GENERAL EPISTLE OF: "It has been assumed by most New Testament exegetes that these observations refer to Paul's doctrine concerning justification by faith, a doctrine which also is based upon Gen. xv. 6 (see Rom. iv. 3; Gal. iii. 6), but which is contradicted by James."
    • 1911 Encyclopædia Britannica: James, Epistle of
    • Marius Victorinus and the Teachings of James
    • Early Christian Writings: The Epistle of James
    • Justification in James 2 - a Catholic interpretation by James Akin
    • NAB Introduction to James
    • Sermons on James - texts of sermons on James by famous Protestant preachers John Piper (theologian)
      John Piper (theologian)
      John Stephen Piper is a Christian preacher and author, currently serving as Pastor for Preaching and Vision of Bethlehem Baptist Church in Minneapolis, Minnesota...

      , John F. MacArthur
      John F. MacArthur
      John Fullerton MacArthur, Jr. is a United States evangelical writer and minister noted for his internationally known and broadcast radio program titled Grace to You...

      , J. Ligon Duncan and Charles Spurgeon
      Charles Spurgeon
      Charles Haddon Spurgeon was a large British Particular Baptist preacher who remains highly influential among Christians of different denominations, among whom he is still known as the "Prince of Preachers"...

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