Is James a negative or positive figure?

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Giuseppe
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Is James a negative or positive figure?

Post by Giuseppe » Thu Oct 15, 2015 3:40 am

In Galatians as it's now, is James a negative or positive figure for his original writer?

Two possible answers.

1) if Gal 1:19 was found in the original text, then James is a negative figure in the eyes of the original writer (because, assuming he was the Pillar of Gal 2, too, he is the leader of circumcision party that is hostile a priori against Paul).

2) else (if Gal 1:19 was not in the original) James is a positive figure. In that case his introduction in Gal 1:19 was made by a Catholic interpolator to make an anti-marcionite point: ''Paul'' observes the 'fact' that Jesus had a biological brother. The interpolator therefore was inspired by Hegesippus, the first Catholic author to mention a biological brother of Jesus, called 'The Just' against Marcion calling the Demiurg as 'The Just'.

But under the hypothesis 2, I find a problem:
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 from the Gentiles because he was afraid of those who belonged to the circumcision group.
(Gal 2:12)
Detering opts for the original marcionite version:
For before Peter came, he used to eat with the Gentiles. But when he arrived, he began to draw back and separate himself from the Gentiles because he was afraid of those who belonged to the circumcision group.
(Gal 2:12)
The Catholic interpolator didn't like denigrate in first place Peter, therefore he did prefer replace him with ''some from James'', a minor figure in a Catholic universe.

But I think, against Detering, that for the catholic Hegesippus James wasn't just a ''minor figure''.
I think that for early proto-catholics, James was their anti-marcionite icon (finding his basic raison d'etre in his being used against Marcion in Gal 1:19). Catholics did cast James in a cousin of Jesus only later, after the II CE (after the heretics did coopt the figure of James, too).

But in this case, how do you explain the view of James in Gal 2:12 as a positive Catholic figure in the eyes of a Catholic ''Paul''?

At moment I should still meditate about, but I think that an original Catholic exegesis of Gal 2:12 (in his actual state now) may be this:
James has the role of Observer and Watcher with simple anti-heresy function. He is not a Judaizer but only the James of Acts (later converted in a brother of the Lord by Hegesippus and by Gal 1:19). That James decides that the Gentiles should be only respectful of the 7 noahide laws and only these: therefore no Torah for the gentiles. Therefore the ''some came from James'' are not real ultra-Judaizers and therefore not enemies of Paul. They weren't pressing on Peter in no way. But Peter was the guy that, because his excessive Judaizing zeal and/or likely his strong fear of the ''false believers (that) had infiltrated our ranks to spy on the freedom we have in Christ Jesus'' (Gal 2:4), betrayed Paul with his defection from the gentile table. The sin of Peter was to fear the 'some came from James' by exchanging them mistakenly for true Judaizers when they weren't really these people, but were only normal observers send by James the Just. In this way the Catholic could accept that error of Peter without for that having to assume an a priori hostility between James/''some from James'' and Paul.
Nihil enim in speciem fallacius est quam prava religio. -Liv. xxxix. 16.

Diogenes the Cynic
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Re: Is James a negative or positive figure?

Post by Diogenes the Cynic » Mon Oct 19, 2015 11:17 pm

I would argue that Paul himself never indicates that he sees James a positive figure. Luke does. Paul does not. Paul seems consistently contemptuous of the pillars to me. He says they are nothing to him, that he learned nothing to them, he wishes they would cut their own dicks off, etc. Even his appellation of the word "pillars" is sarcastic.

Giuseppe
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Re: Is James a negative or positive figure?

Post by Giuseppe » Mon Oct 19, 2015 11:59 pm

But in that case you are assuming that Paul is the genuine author of all the references to James, Pillars, etc, that is to hypothesis 1 of my previous post.
No problem with that opinion.

Instead I have problems in assuming that Galatians was a fabricated epistle. In that case, did the catholic editor thought that James was a negative figure, too? I have problems with this view, because the proto-Catholic Hegesippus clearly idealized the ''James the Just'' (the label being an anti-marcionite adjective), considered by him as biological ''brother of the Lord''.
Nihil enim in speciem fallacius est quam prava religio. -Liv. xxxix. 16.

Giuseppe
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Re: Is James a negative or positive figure?

Post by Giuseppe » Tue Oct 20, 2015 12:16 am

My view now is that, under the hypothesis 2 (Galatians fabricated), the Catholics introduced James as 'brother of Lord' in Gal 1:19 and in all the other points where James is mentioned in Gal 2, because his goal was to distinguish the Just from the 'false brothers' of Gal 2:3-4. The catholics did regard in high value James against Marcion (and Hegesippus is evidence of this) but at the same time they did know very well that the ''brothers'' in the Synoptics, named by name just in Nazaret episode, were ''Nazarenes'' (=''Observers'' of the Law in themselves and in others) and therefore good candidates to be precisely the 'false brothers' spies of Gal 2:4.

Therefore I think now that the Catholic editor did like to maintain an ambiguous position about James:
- a positive figure when used (à la Hegesippus) in Gal 1:19 against Marcion
- a potential negative figure when used in Gal 2 as Judaizing icon despisable (by Paul and by readers) insofar is seen as such.


The same role that the brothers and sisters of Jesus have in Mark: negative when they want to imprison the mad Jesus. Positive to make an anti-marcionite point.
Nihil enim in speciem fallacius est quam prava religio. -Liv. xxxix. 16.

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