James 1.1 and 2.1.

Discussion about the New Testament, apocrypha, gnostics, church fathers, Christian origins, historical Jesus or otherwise, etc.
John2
Posts: 2530
Joined: Fri May 16, 2014 4:42 pm

Re: James 1.1 and 2.1.

Post by John2 » Wed Feb 27, 2019 11:27 am

I see the Ebionite faction as a Jewish Christian reaction to the fall of the Temple, since they (unlike Nazarenes) rejected sacrifice. I see the situation as being like modern Judaism, with Orthodox Judaism still accepting the sacrificial laws and Reform Judaism rejecting them. The earlier Nazarenes were "Orthodox" Jewish Christians and the later Ebionites were "Reform" Jewish Christians. But Jesus' teachings were more in line with the Nazarenes, since he says in Mt. 5:19-20 and 23-24:
So then, whoever breaks one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do likewise will be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever practices and teaches them will be called great in the kingdom of heaven. For I tell you that unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.
Therefore if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar. First go and be reconciled to your brother; then come and offer your gift.


And I think Mt. 5:19 is in keeping with what Hippolytus says about Jewish Christians in RH 7.22 above.
… whoever practices and teaches them will be called great in the kingdom of heaven
They live conformably to the customs of the Jews, alleging that they are justified. according to the law, and saying that Jesus was justified by fulfilling the law. And therefore it was, (according to the Ebionaeans,) that (the Saviour) was named (the) Christ of God … And … that they themselves also, when in like manner they fulfil (the law), are able to become Christs.
And James seems more in line with the Nazarenes as well, to judge from 2:10 and Acts 21:23-26:
Whoever keeps the whole law but stumbles at just one point is guilty of breaking all of it.
Therefore do what we advise you. There are four men with us who have taken a vow. Take these men, purify yourself along with them, and pay their expenses so they can have their heads shaved. Then everyone will know that there is no truth to these rumors about you, but that you also live in obedience to the law ... So the next day Paul took the men and purified himself along with them. Then he entered the temple to give notice of the date their purification would be complete and the offering would be made for each of them.
Last edited by John2 on Wed Feb 27, 2019 5:43 pm, edited 2 times in total.
May the four winds blow you safely home.

Bernard Muller
Posts: 3166
Joined: Tue Oct 15, 2013 6:02 pm
Contact:

Re: James 1.1 and 2.1.

Post by Bernard Muller » Wed Feb 27, 2019 12:28 pm

to John2,
I agree the beliefs of the first Ebionites were most likely about the same that the ones of James & the Church of Jerusalem. But that does not prevent James thought Jesus was not THE Christ and resurrected. No Son of man, no Lord (being Jesus), no Son of David, no pre-existence, no sacrifice for atonement of sins, no Son of God for both the (first) Ebionites and James & his church.
The same for Paul at the beginning of his ministry 1st & 2nd Journey, except for the resurrection & THE Christ & THE Lord. The rest came later progressively in Paul's preaching (during the third journey) and after his break with the Church of Antioch, Peter and James' men (that is James himself). Anyway, that's what I concluded from my studies.

Cordially, Bernard
Last edited by Bernard Muller on Wed Feb 27, 2019 1:13 pm, edited 1 time in total.
I believe freedom of expression should not be curtailed

Bernard Muller
Posts: 3166
Joined: Tue Oct 15, 2013 6:02 pm
Contact:

Re: James 1.1 and 2.1.

Post by Bernard Muller » Wed Feb 27, 2019 1:05 pm

to John2,
Who were "the apostles that came before" Paul if not James, Cephas and John? What were they apostles of if not Jesus (like Paul was)? And what were they teaching Jews about if not Jesus?
Yes, and others, from the church of Jerusalem & and the one of Antioch. Also from the Greek speaking members of the Church of Jerusalem (when still not led by Peter & James) before & after the Greek dispersion.
But what Jesus? For James & Church of Jerusalem apostles (those not necessarily eyewitnesses), with no mention of Resurrection & Christ. For Jewish Christians, with the Resurrection (or rather Jesus saved in heaven) and with Christ (returning soon as the King).
And to judge from this context, I would say that Paul could have met Cephas and James in Jerusalem and been "unknown by face" to the churches (plural) that were in Judea.
I agree.
And who do you suppose that the people in these churches heard that Paul was "preaching the faith he once tried to destroy" from if not Cephas and James?
They could have heard that from others. Actually, it is probable that some who were persecuted and had to flee Jerusalem & relocate (during the Greek dispersion) in other cities of Judea knew first hand about Paul's actions then, even if they did not see him.

Cordially, Bernard
I believe freedom of expression should not be curtailed

John2
Posts: 2530
Joined: Fri May 16, 2014 4:42 pm

Re: James 1.1 and 2.1.

Post by John2 » Wed Feb 27, 2019 2:02 pm

Bernard Muller wrote:
Wed Feb 27, 2019 12:28 pm
to John2,
I agree the beliefs of the first Ebionites were most likely about the same that the ones of James & the Church of Jerusalem. But that does not prevent James thought Jesus was not THE Christ and resurrected. No Son of man, no Lord (being Jesus), no Son of David, no pre-existence, no sacrifice for atonement of sins, no Son of God for both the (first) Ebionites and James & his church.
The same for Paul at the beginning of his ministry 1st & 2nd Journey, except for the resurrection & THE Christ & THE Lord. The rest came later progressively in Paul's preaching (during the third journey) and after his break with the Church of Antioch, Peter and James' men (that is James himself). Anyway, that's what I concluded from my studies.

Cordially, Bernard
Well, no, I am saying that James (and Jesus) seem more in line with the Nazarene (or Nazoraean, which I hate trying to spell) faction of Jewish Christianity, the one that Epiphanius says went back to pre-70 CE and accepted the sacrificial laws. And given how much the letter of James is in sync with what Jesus says in Matthew (which was the primary gospel used by all Jewish Christians) and Jesus' overall "practice and teach" the Torah philosophy there, I have no problem making the judgment call that James was on board with the idea (in Matthew) that Jesus was "THE Christ" and resurrected and the "son of man" (and I disagree with you about "Lord," since I still view James 1:1 and 2:1 as not being interpolations). But that's not the core message of Jewish Christianity (or Jesus' teachings) in any event. As Jesus says in Mt. 5:19:
So then, whoever breaks one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do likewise will be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever practices and teaches them will be called great in the kingdom of heaven.
And this is exactly what the letter of James does. This is the way to "be called great in the kingdom of heaven" in Jewish Christianity. This is what makes people (including Jesus!) "Christs" (as per Hippolytus).

But we know from Paul that Jewish Christians believed in these other things too, because he says so in 1 Cor. 15:3-11:
For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, 4that He was buried, that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, and that He appeared to Cephas and then to the Twelve ... Then He appeared to James, then to all the apostles ... Whether, then, it was I or they, this is what we preach, and this is what you believed.
Last edited by John2 on Wed Feb 27, 2019 3:05 pm, edited 1 time in total.
May the four winds blow you safely home.

Bernard Muller
Posts: 3166
Joined: Tue Oct 15, 2013 6:02 pm
Contact:

Re: James 1.1 and 2.1.

Post by Bernard Muller » Wed Feb 27, 2019 2:31 pm

to John2,
What does what you've cited from Irenaeus have to do with Eusebius or his dating of the Ebionites?
Just to show the Ebionites existed before 180 CE, at least. Contrary to what Giuseppe thinks.
I don't follow you. Even the NT (Acts 11:26) says that "The disciples were first called Christians at Antioch."
These "disciples" were Jewish Christians. The Ebionite sect was not existing then. They appeared after 70 CE likely as successor of the church of Jerusalem.
The differences between Jewish Christians and Ebionites. For the former, beliefs of a resurrected Jesus in heaven and due to return soon as King. For the later, none of that.
For these people did not give themselves the name of Christ or Jesus’ own name, but that of “Nazoraeans.” But at that time all Christians alike were called Nazoraeans. They also came to be called “Jessaeans” for a short while, before the disciples began to be called Christians at Antioch.
Epiphanius, writing in the 4th century, and his contemporary Jewish Christians, might be not reliable because separated by centuries to the 1st century, or at least, were not exact.
But let's suppose it is valid information. But "Christans" became after the Jewish Christians were called Christians in Antioch (and before that Nazoreans and Jesseans). So all Christians alike were called Christians afterward. Sure. But that does not mean the Church of Jerusalem and the later Ebionites were Christians or even called "Christians".
So I don't think it matters what you call anyone who believes that Jesus was "Christ" because anyone who does is a de facto "Christian."
Certainly, for "THE Christ".
But that's a later term in any event, since he says that the earliest "Christians" were called "disciples of Jesus" and "Nazarenes," and these were the people that the Ebionite faction emerged from.
For the earliest Christian "disciples of Jesus" in Antioch before 70 CE called "Christians": certainly. And the Ebionite sect is more likely to emerge from the latest church of Jerusalem because of the similarities of beliefs about Jesus.

Cordially, Bernard
I believe freedom of expression should not be curtailed

John2
Posts: 2530
Joined: Fri May 16, 2014 4:42 pm

Re: James 1.1 and 2.1.

Post by John2 » Wed Feb 27, 2019 2:39 pm

Just like Jesus was the "first fruits" of the resurrection, so was he (in Jewish Christianity) the first "Christ." In other words, he was "Christ" (and consequently resurrected) because he had observed the Torah perfectly. And anyone else who does that will also become "Christ" and be resurrected (and "be called great in the kingdom of heaven").

As Paul puts it in 1 Cor. 15:20-23:
But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. For since death came through a man, the resurrection of the dead comes also through a man. For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive. But each in his own turn: Christ the firstfruits; then at His coming, those who belong to Him.
The only difference is that for Paul this happens without Torah observance (contrary to Jewish Christianity and Jesus in the gospels).
May the four winds blow you safely home.

John2
Posts: 2530
Joined: Fri May 16, 2014 4:42 pm

Re: James 1.1 and 2.1.

Post by John2 » Wed Feb 27, 2019 2:42 pm

Bernard Muller wrote:
Wed Feb 27, 2019 2:31 pm
to John2,
What does what you've cited from Irenaeus have to do with Eusebius or his dating of the Ebionites?
Just to show the Ebionites existed before 180 CE, at least. Contrary to what Giuseppe thinks.
I don't follow you. Even the NT (Acts 11:26) says that "The disciples were first called Christians at Antioch."
These "disciples" were Jewish Christians. The Ebionite sect was not existing then. They appeared after 70 CE likely as successor of the church of Jerusalem.
The differences between Jewish Christians and Ebionites. For the former, beliefs of a resurrected Jesus in heaven and due to return soon as King. For the later, none of that.
For these people did not give themselves the name of Christ or Jesus’ own name, but that of “Nazoraeans.” But at that time all Christians alike were called Nazoraeans. They also came to be called “Jessaeans” for a short while, before the disciples began to be called Christians at Antioch.
Epiphanius, writing in the 4th century, and his contemporary Jewish Christians, might be not reliable because separated by centuries to the 1st century, or at least, were not exact.
But let's suppose it is valid information. But "Christans" became after the Jewish Christians were called Christians in Antioch (and before that Nazoreans and Jesseans). So all Christians alike were called Christians afterward. Sure. But that does not mean the Church of Jerusalem and the later Ebionites were Christians or even called "Christians".
So I don't think it matters what you call anyone who believes that Jesus was "Christ" because anyone who does is a de facto "Christian."
Certainly, for "THE Christ".
But that's a later term in any event, since he says that the earliest "Christians" were called "disciples of Jesus" and "Nazarenes," and these were the people that the Ebionite faction emerged from.
For the earliest Christian "disciples of Jesus" in Antioch before 70 CE called "Christians": certainly. And the Ebionite sect is more likely to emerge from the latest church of Jerusalem because of the similarities of beliefs about Jesus.

Cordially, Bernard
I'm still not following you. Sorry.
May the four winds blow you safely home.

robert j
Posts: 642
Joined: Tue Jan 28, 2014 5:01 pm

Re: James 1.1 and 2.1.

Post by robert j » Wed Feb 27, 2019 3:50 pm

John2 wrote:
Wed Feb 27, 2019 9:58 am
robert j wrote:
Tue Feb 26, 2019 1:09 pm

I think the letter James is clearly responding to Paul, but is not “anti-Pauline”. But rather, the letter attempts to put Paul in perspective, to correct misunderstandings of Paul’s teachings --- as did Paul himself.
I agree, "anti-Pauline" might be too strong ... So let's call it "anti-Pauline teaching regarding the issue of works and faith."
Let’s not. I think you are reaching for straws, but I’m not interested in arguing over semantics.

John2 wrote:
Wed Feb 27, 2019 9:58 am

... James appears to hold out hope for "reforming" Paul (and anyone else) at the end of his letter in 5:19-20:
My brothers, if one of you should wander from the truth and someone should bring him back, consider this: Whoever turns a sinner from the error of his way will save his soul from death and cover over a multitude of sins. [James 5:19-20]
Are you suggesting that this statement in the letter James was aimed at Paul? Like how? Are you suggesting this was about Paul's salvation from the claim in his back-story that he harassed the assemblies in Judea? If so, it doesn't fit. Paul didn't "wander" from the truth and need to be brought back because he had not previously accepted "the truth" of the faith. And Paul was not brought back by "someone", but he claimed that he was given grace by a revelation from God Himself.

Certainly Paul didn't need clarification on this point of forgiveness by the author of James. Paul, wrote in a very similar manner to that passage in James ---

Brothers, even if a man should be caught in some trespass, you the spiritual ones restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness, considering yourself, lest you also be tempted. Bear one another's burdens and thus you will fulfill the law of Christ. (Galatians 6:1-2)


John2
Posts: 2530
Joined: Fri May 16, 2014 4:42 pm

Re: James 1.1 and 2.1.

Post by John2 » Wed Feb 27, 2019 4:33 pm

robert j wrote:
Wed Feb 27, 2019 3:50 pm
John2 wrote:
Wed Feb 27, 2019 9:58 am
robert j wrote:
Tue Feb 26, 2019 1:09 pm

I think the letter James is clearly responding to Paul, but is not “anti-Pauline”. But rather, the letter attempts to put Paul in perspective, to correct misunderstandings of Paul’s teachings --- as did Paul himself.
I agree, "anti-Pauline" might be too strong ... So let's call it "anti-Pauline teaching regarding the issue of works and faith."
Let’s not. I think you are reaching for straws, but I’m not interested in arguing over semantics.

John2 wrote:
Wed Feb 27, 2019 9:58 am

... James appears to hold out hope for "reforming" Paul (and anyone else) at the end of his letter in 5:19-20:
My brothers, if one of you should wander from the truth and someone should bring him back, consider this: Whoever turns a sinner from the error of his way will save his soul from death and cover over a multitude of sins. [James 5:19-20]
Are you suggesting that this statement in the letter James was aimed at Paul? Like how? Are you suggesting this was about Paul's redemption from the claim in his back-story that he harassed the assemblies in Judea? If so, it doesn't fit. Paul didn't "wander" from the truth and need to be brought back because he hadn't previously accepted "the truth" of the faith. And Paul was not brought back by "someone", but was redeemed by a revelation from God Himself.

Certainly Paul didn't need clarification on this point of forgiveness. Paul, wrote in a very similar manner to that passage in James ---

Brothers, even if a man should be caught in some trespass, you the spiritual ones restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness, considering yourself, lest you also be tempted. Bear one another's burdens and thus you will fulfill the law of Christ. (Galatians 6:1-2)

James uses some pretty strong language against Paul though (or at least against people who shared his view on faith without works).

"Do you want to be shown, you foolish person, that faith apart from works is useless?"; "As the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without deeds is dead"; "if you harbor in your hearts bitter jealousy and selfish ambition, do not boast in it or deny the truth. Such wisdom does not come from above, but is earthly, unspiritual, demonic. For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there will be disorder and every evil practice."

Compare that with 2 Cor. 11:5-6 and 11:16-22:
I consider myself in no way inferior to those “super-apostles.” Although I am not a polished speaker, I am certainly not lacking in knowledge. We have made this clear to you in every way possible.
Let no one take me for a fool. But if you do, then receive me as a fool, so that I too may boast a little. In this confident boasting of mine, I am not speaking as the Lord would, but as a fool. Since many are boasting according to the flesh, I too will boast ...

Speaking as a fool, however, I can match what anyone else dares to boast about. Are they Hebrews? So am I. Are they Israelites? So am I. Are they descendants of Abraham? So am I. Are they servants of Christ? I am speaking like I am out of my mind, but I am so much more.

And Gal. 1:11-12:
For I certify to you, brothers, that the gospel I preached is not devised by man. I did not receive it from any man, nor was I taught it; rather, I received it by revelation from Jesus Christ.
Yikes! That's why I think the ending of James pertains to Paul (along with anyone else), since James devotes a lot of space in his short letter to "responding" to Paul, so he at least seems like a plausible candidate for a brother who had "wandered from the truth."
May the four winds blow you safely home.

robert j
Posts: 642
Joined: Tue Jan 28, 2014 5:01 pm

Re: James 1.1 and 2.1.

Post by robert j » Wed Feb 27, 2019 6:46 pm

John2,

I’ll leave you to your opinions here.

Post Reply