James 1.1 and 2.1.

Discussion about the New Testament, apocrypha, gnostics, church fathers, Christian origins, historical Jesus or otherwise, etc.
robert j
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Re: James 1.1 and 2.1.

Post by robert j » Thu Feb 28, 2019 3:18 pm

robert j wrote:
Thu Feb 28, 2019 11:16 am

In Paul’s letters and in James the terms works, the law, and works of the law are used in a somewhat inconsistent and confusing manner.
In Galatians, Paul was arguing vehemently against the influence of some who were encouraging his Gentile followers to become circumcised. In these two passages, he is warning those who might be considering the knife, warning them of the full burden of the Mosaic rituals that would accompany that choice (from his perspective) ---

And I testify again to every man who receives circumcision, that he is under obligation to keep the whole Law. (Galatians 5:3)

For as many as are of works of the Law are under a curse, for it has been written: "Cursed is everyone who does not continue all things having been written in the book of the Law, to do them." (Galatians 3:10)

But in the following passages, Paul is addressing his Gentile Galatians and assuming faith in Jesus Christ ---

In freedom (ἐλευθερίᾳ) Christ has set us free … (Galatians 5:1)

For the entire Law is fulfilled in this one word: "You shall love your neighbor as yourself." (Galatians 5:14)

I wonder if the following passage in James was intended to clarify what might be seen as a much too narrow statement of the requirements in the verse above from Paul. Moral issues are addressed here, not Mosaic rituals ---

If, however, you are fulfilling the royal law according to the Scripture, “Love your neighbor as yourself,” you are doing well. But if you show partiality, you are committing sin and are convicted by the law as transgressors. For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles in one point, he has become guilty of all. For He who said, “Do not commit adultery,” also said, “Do not murder.” Now if you do not commit adultery, but do commit murder, you have become a transgressor of the law. So speak and so act as those who are to be judged by the law of freedom (ἐλευθερίας). (James 2:8-12)

Paul also provided a wider scope of moral and behavioral requirements for his Gentile believers in Galatians 5:19-21.
Last edited by robert j on Thu Feb 28, 2019 8:13 pm, edited 1 time in total.

John2
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Re: James 1.1 and 2.1.

Post by John2 » Thu Feb 28, 2019 5:29 pm

robert j,

I like your last post and need to give it some more reflection. For now though, regarding this statement:
In Galatians, Paul was arguing vehemently against some who were encouraging his followers to become circumcised.
And who was doing this encouraging?

Gal. 2:12-13:
For before certain men came from James, he used to eat with the Gentiles. But when they arrived, he began to draw back and separate himself, for fear of those in the circumcision group. The other Jews joined in his hypocrisy, so that by their hypocrisy even Barnabas was led astray.


So Cephas, Barnabas and the other Jews were "led astray" by "certain men" who "came from James" whom Paul calls "the circumcision group," which I take to be a disparaging remark that means they are the ones (or among those) who were encouraging followers to become circumcised. And even if they were renegades and weren't acting on behalf of James in that respect, it still stands that all the Jews, including Cephas, who was a pillar, went along with them rather than Paul regarding table fellowship with Gentiles.

And if Paul (from his own perspective) was really in line with James and the other "super apostles" (which I take to be another disparaging remark) regarding Torah observance, then what is he so upset with them about? .

2 Cor. 11:5, 12-15 and 22-23:
I consider myself in no way inferior to those super-apostles.
But I will keep on doing what I am doing, in order to undercut those who want an opportunity to be regarded as our equals in the things of which they boast. For such men are false apostles, deceitful workers, masquerading as apostles of Christ. And no wonder, for Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light. It is not surprising, then, if his servants masquerade as servants of righteousness. Their end will correspond to their works.
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.
If his "works" were in line with their "works," then why does he call them "false apostles, deceitful workers, masquerading as apostles of Christ" and say "their end will correspond to their works (ἔργα)"?
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robert j
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Re: James 1.1 and 2.1.

Post by robert j » Thu Feb 28, 2019 5:54 pm

John2, I’ve already participated in this discussion well beyond my original intention. I will have to leave your questions without offering my opinion (at least for now).

John2
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Re: James 1.1 and 2.1.

Post by John2 » Thu Feb 28, 2019 6:51 pm

I think Paul could possibly be the Liar in the Dead Sea Scrolls. He at least seems similar to him, and I think it fits with the other elements that make me think (some of) the DSS could have been written by Jewish Christians (perhaps of the more "radical" type like those who rioted in Jerusalem in Acts 21), such as the New Covenant (which, as Lim notes, is known to have been used only by Christians and in the DSS) in a place called Damascus, the Way (the name for Christianity in Acts) and "seeing" God's "yeshua" (Jesus' name in Hebrew) in the Last Days.

In this context there is someone called "the Liar" who is said to have "flouted the Law in the midst of their whole congregation" (1QpHab col. 5) and removed "the bound with which the forefathers had marked out their inheritance" (CD col. 1).

He also "led many astray that he might build his city of vanity with blood and raise a congregation on deceit, causing many thereby to perform a service of vanity for the sake of its glory, and to be pregnant with [works] of deceit, that their labour might be for nothing and that they might be punished with fire who vilified and outraged the elect of God." (1QpHab col. 10).

I think all of these elements fit Paul.

1 Cor. 3:10:
According to the grace of God given to me, like a skilled master builder I laid a foundation ...
Gal. 2:2:
I spoke privately to those recognized as leaders, for fear that I was running or had already run in vain.
2 Cor. 11:23:
Are they servants of Christ? ... I am more. I have worked much harder ...
1 Cor. 4:6:
I urge you, then, be imitators of me.
Php. 3:16:
Brothers, join in imitating me, and keep your eyes on those who walk according to the example you have in us.
2 Cor. 11:13-15:
For such men are false apostles, deceitful workers, masquerading as apostles of Christ. And no wonder, for Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light. It is not surprising, then, if his servants masquerade as servants of righteousness.
Acts 21:27-28 and 30-31:
When the seven days were almost over, some Jews from the province of Asia saw Paul at the temple. They stirred up the whole crowd and seized him, crying out, “Men of Israel, help us! This is the man who teaches all men everywhere against our people and against our law and against this place. Furthermore, he has brought Greeks into the temple and defiled this holy place.”
The whole city was stirred up, and the people rushed together. They seized Paul and dragged him out of the temple, and at once the gates were shut. While they were trying to kill him, the commander of the Roman regiment received a report that all Jerusalem was in turmoil.
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John2
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Re: James 1.1 and 2.1.

Post by John2 » Thu Feb 28, 2019 7:05 pm

Paul also seems very sensitive, and in the context of talking about Jewish Christians, to being thought of as a liar.

2 Cor. 11:31:
The God and Father of the Lord Jesus, who is to be praised forever, knows that I am not lying.
Gal. 1:19-29:
But I saw none of the other apostles except James, the Lord’s brother. I assure you before God that what I am writing to you is no lie.
Rom. 9:1:
I speak the truth in Christ, I am not lying, my conscience confirms it through the Holy Spirit.
Is all this just a coincidence?
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Bernard Muller
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Re: James 1.1 and 2.1.

Post by Bernard Muller » Thu Feb 28, 2019 7:56 pm

2 Corinthians and Galatians were addressed to Gentile Christians, not Jewish Christians.
Romans was addressed to both Gentile and Jewish Christians.
Furthermore Paul admitted he was making pious lies:
"For if the truth of God has increased through my lie to His glory, why am I also still judged as a sinner?" (Ro 3:7 KJV)

Cordially, Bernard
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John2
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Re: James 1.1 and 2.1.

Post by John2 » Thu Feb 28, 2019 8:11 pm

Bernard Muller wrote:
Thu Feb 28, 2019 7:56 pm
2 Corinthians and Galatians were addressed to Gentile Christians, not Jewish Christians.
Romans was addressed to both Gentile and Jewish Christians.
Furthermore Paul admitted he was making pious lies:
"For if the truth of God has increased through my lie to His glory, why am I also still judged as a sinner?" (Ro 3:7 KJV)

Cordially, Bernard
What does it matter who the letters are addressed to? Is he not talking about (or to in the case of Romans) Jewish Christians in the citations I gave? And is a pious lie not a lie?
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Ben C. Smith
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Re: James 1.1 and 2.1.

Post by Ben C. Smith » Thu Feb 28, 2019 8:13 pm

Bernard Muller wrote:
Thu Feb 28, 2019 7:56 pm
2 Corinthians and Galatians were addressed to Gentile Christians, not Jewish Christians.
Romans was addressed to both Gentile and Jewish Christians.
Furthermore Paul admitted he was making pious lies:
"For if the truth of God has increased through my lie to His glory, why am I also still judged as a sinner?" (Ro 3:7 KJV)

Cordially, Bernard
Paul is not admitting to pious lies; the speaker in verse 7 is a liar in the same sense that "every man" is a liar in verse 4.

Furthermore, I recommend reading Stanley K. Stowers on this entire passage: A Rereading of Romans. (The term "rereading" in the title is hyperbole, since the reading is basically from the New Perspective.)
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Bernard Muller
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Re: James 1.1 and 2.1.

Post by Bernard Muller » Thu Feb 28, 2019 9:15 pm

to Ben,
Paul is not admitting to pious lies; the speaker in verse 7 is a liar in the same sense that "every man" is a liar in verse 4.
Furthermore, I recommend reading Stanley K. Stowers on this entire passage: A Rereading of Romans. (The term "rereading" in the title is hyperbole, since the reading is basically from the New Perspective.)
I do not think verse 4 changes anything to my interpretation:
Ro 3:4 NKJV "Certainly not! Indeed, let God be true but every man a liar. As it is written:
“That You may be justified in Your words,
And may overcome when You are judged.”"

Paul is included in "every man".
Furthermore, there are three instances (Ro 9:1, Gal 1:20, 2 Co 11:31) when Paul felt he had to declare to his audience he is not a liar. In my life experience, such declarations indicate that one had been accused of lying before.

Cordially, Bernard
Last edited by Bernard Muller on Thu Feb 28, 2019 9:25 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Ben C. Smith
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Re: James 1.1 and 2.1.

Post by Ben C. Smith » Thu Feb 28, 2019 9:22 pm

Bernard Muller wrote:
Thu Feb 28, 2019 9:15 pm
to Ben,
Paul is not admitting to pious lies; the speaker in verse 7 is a liar in the same sense that "every man" is a liar in verse 4.
Furthermore, I recommend reading Stanley K. Stowers on this entire passage: A Rereading of Romans. (The term "rereading" in the title is hyperbole, since the reading is basically from the New Perspective.)
I do not think verse 4 changes anything to my interpretation:
Ro 3:4 NKJV "Certainly not! Indeed, let God be true but every man a liar. As it is written:
“That You may be justified in Your words,
And may overcome when You are judged.”"

Paul is included in "every man".
This is different than saying that Paul is admitting to pious lies, which is a pretty farfetched interpretation of a single line in a larger argument about other things to begin with. As if Paul gave away his whole game here for some silly reason....
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