"James the Just": What is the origin of the phrase?

Discussion about the New Testament, apocrypha, gnostics, church fathers, Christian origins, historical Jesus or otherwise, etc.
Post Reply
gryan
Posts: 407
Joined: Fri Jun 01, 2018 4:11 am

"James the Just": What is the origin of the phrase?

Post by gryan »

Re: Seeking the earliest usages of the phrase "James the Just"

Hegesippus
"James, the Lord's brother, succeeds to the government of the Church, in conjunction with the apostles. He has been universally called the Just, from the days of the Lord down to the present time. For many bore the name of James; but this one was holy from his mother's womb...

So they went up and threw down the just man, and said to one another: "Let us stone James the Just." And they began to stone him...

And after James the Just had suffered martyrdom, as had the Lord also and on the same account, again Symeon the son of Clopas, descended from the Lord's uncle, is made bishop, his election being promoted by all as being a kinsman of the Lord."
http://www.earlychristianwritings.com/t ... ippus.html

Saying 12, Gospel of Thomas
The disciples say to Jesus, "We know that Thou wilt leave us: who will <then> be the great<est> over us?" Jesus says to them: "Wherever you go, you will turn to James the Just, for whose sake heaven as well as earth was produced."
http://www.earlychristianwritings.com/t ... mas12.html

-------------------

Hegesippus and Gospel of Thomas provide the two earliest usages of the phrase "James the Just" that I am aware of.

And then there is this early reference to James the Lord's brother which is followed obscurely by a reference to "the just":

From "Refutation of All Heresies" (Hippolytus)
"These are the heads of very numerous discourses which (the Naassene) asserts James the brother of the Lord handed down to Mariamne. In order, then, that these impious (heretics) may no longer belie Mariamne or James, or the Saviour Himself, let us come to the mystic rites...

And concerning this (nature) they hand down an explicit passage, occurring in the Gospel inscribed according to Thomas, expressing themselves thus: He who seeks me, will find me in children from seven years old; for there concealed, I shall in the fourteenth age be made manifest. This, however, is not (the teaching) of Christ, but of Hippocrates, who uses these words: A child of seven years is half of a father. And so it is that these (heretics), placing the originative nature of the universe in causative seed, (and) having ascertained the (aphorism) of Hippocrates, that a child of seven years old is half of a father, say that in fourteen years, according to Thomas, he is manifested.

...And this, (the Naassene) says, is what is declared in Scripture, The just will fall seven times, and rise again. Proverbs 24:16; Luke 17:4 For these falls, he says, are the changes of the stars, moved by Him who puts all things in motion."
https://www.newadvent.org/fathers/050105.htm

------------

Are there more early usages I should consider as I try to reconstruct the origin of the phrase "James the Just"?
gryan
Posts: 407
Joined: Fri Jun 01, 2018 4:11 am

Re: "James the Just": What is the origin of the phrase?

Post by gryan »

gryan wrote: Mon Jul 19, 2021 3:04 am Re: Seeking the earliest usages of the phrase "James the Just"

Hegesippus
"James, the Lord's brother, succeeds to the government of the Church, in conjunction with the apostles. He has been universally called the Just, from the days of the Lord down to the present time. For many bore the name of James; but this one was holy from his mother's womb...

So they went up and threw down the just man, and said to one another: "Let us stone James the Just." And they began to stone him...

And after James the Just had suffered martyrdom, as had the Lord also and on the same account, again Symeon the son of Clopas, descended from the Lord's uncle, is made bishop, his election being promoted by all as being a kinsman of the Lord."
http://www.earlychristianwritings.com/t ... ippus.html

Saying 12, Gospel of Thomas
The disciples say to Jesus, "We know that Thou wilt leave us: who will <then> be the great<est> over us?" Jesus says to them: "Wherever you go, you will turn to James the Just, for whose sake heaven as well as earth was produced."
http://www.earlychristianwritings.com/t ... mas12.html

-------------------

Hegesippus and Gospel of Thomas provide the two earliest usages of the phrase "James the Just" that I am aware of.

And then there is this early reference to James the Lord's brother which is followed obscurely by a reference to "the just":

From "Refutation of All Heresies" (Hippolytus)
"These are the heads of very numerous discourses which (the Naassene) asserts James the brother of the Lord handed down to Mariamne. In order, then, that these impious (heretics) may no longer belie Mariamne or James, or the Saviour Himself, let us come to the mystic rites...

And concerning this (nature) they hand down an explicit passage, occurring in the Gospel inscribed according to Thomas, expressing themselves thus: He who seeks me, will find me in children from seven years old; for there concealed, I shall in the fourteenth age be made manifest. This, however, is not (the teaching) of Christ, but of Hippocrates, who uses these words: A child of seven years is half of a father. And so it is that these (heretics), placing the originative nature of the universe in causative seed, (and) having ascertained the (aphorism) of Hippocrates, that a child of seven years old is half of a father, say that in fourteen years, according to Thomas, he is manifested.

...And this, (the Naassene) says, is what is declared in Scripture, The just will fall seven times, and rise again. Proverbs 24:16; Luke 17:4 For these falls, he says, are the changes of the stars, moved by Him who puts all things in motion."
https://www.newadvent.org/fathers/050105.htm

------------

Are there more early usages I should consider as I try to reconstruct the origin of the phrase "James the Just"?
Eusebius records that Clement of Alexandria related
"This James, whom the people of old called the Just because of his outstanding virtue, was the first, as the record tells us, to be elected to the episcopal throne of the Jerusalem church."
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/James,_brother_of_Jesus

And on p 34 of the book James the Just and His Mission By Bruce Chilton, Jacob Neusner · 2001,
"Another tradition transmitted by Clement made James the Just, Cephas, and John the recipients of secret knowledge."

I suppose that this might be their source, but I'm not sure:

EUSEBIUS: ECCLESIASTCAL HISTORY, BOOK. VII. ii. 1.
To James the Just, and John and Peter, the Lord after His resurrection imparted knowledge (thn gnwsin.) These imparted it to the rest of the apostles, and the rest of the apostles to the Seventy, of whom Barnabas was one.

Also of interest:
"Now Clement, writing in the sixth book of the Hypotyposes, makes this statement. For he says that Peter and James and John, after the Saviour's ascension, though pre-eminently honoured by the Lord, did not contend for glory, but made James the Just, bishop of Jerusalem."
EUSEBIUS: ECCLESIASTICAL HISTORY, BOOK VI. ii. X.
http://www.earlychristianwritings.com/t ... ments.html

Is there more?
User avatar
GakuseiDon
Posts: 1226
Joined: Sat Oct 12, 2013 5:10 pm

Re: "James the Just": What is the origin of the phrase?

Post by GakuseiDon »

gryan wrote: Mon Jul 19, 2021 3:44 amAnd on p 34 of the book James the Just and His Mission By Bruce Chilton, Jacob Neusner · 2001,
"Another tradition transmitted by Clement made James the Just, Cephas, and John the recipients of secret knowledge."

I suppose that this might be their source, but I'm not sure:
Perhaps Eusebius derived it from Clement of Alexandria, Stromata Book 6:
http://www.earlychristianwritings.com/t ... book6.html

For we now dare aver (for here is the faith that is characterized by knowledge ) that such an one knows all things, and comprehends all things in the exercise of sure apprehension, respecting matters difficult for us, and really pertaining to the true gnosis such as were James, Peter, John, Paul, and the rest of the apostles. For prophecy is full of knowledge (gnosis), inasmuch as it was given by the Lord, and again explained by the Lord to the apostles.

Origen also writes about James the Just, though that is a Third Century CE source so later than the ones you've listed.
gryan
Posts: 407
Joined: Fri Jun 01, 2018 4:11 am

Re: "James the Just": What is the origin of the phrase?

Post by gryan »

GakuseiDon wrote: Mon Jul 19, 2021 4:04 am
gryan wrote: Mon Jul 19, 2021 3:44 amAnd on p 34 of the book James the Just and His Mission By Bruce Chilton, Jacob Neusner · 2001,
"Another tradition transmitted by Clement made James the Just, Cephas, and John the recipients of secret knowledge."

I suppose that this might be their source, but I'm not sure:
Perhaps Eusebius derived it from Clement of Alexandria, Stromata Book 6:
http://www.earlychristianwritings.com/t ... book6.html

For we now dare aver (for here is the faith that is characterized by knowledge ) that such an one knows all things, and comprehends all things in the exercise of sure apprehension, respecting matters difficult for us, and really pertaining to the true gnosis such as were James, Peter, John, Paul, and the rest of the apostles. For prophecy is full of knowledge (gnosis), inasmuch as it was given by the Lord, and again explained by the Lord to the apostles.

Excellent! Thanks!
gryan
Posts: 407
Joined: Fri Jun 01, 2018 4:11 am

Re: "James the Just": What is the origin of the phrase?

Post by gryan »

Re: Origen of Alexandria's usage of the phrase "James the Just"

Against Celsus 1.47.

For in the 18th book of his Antiquities of the Jews, Josephus bears witness to John as having been a Baptist, and as promising purification to those who underwent the rite. Now this writer [Josephus], although not believing in Jesus as the Christ, in seeking after the cause of the fall of Jerusalem and the destruction of the temple, whereas he ought to have said that the conspiracy against Jesus was the cause of these calamities befalling the people, since they put to death Christ, who was a prophet, says nevertheless-being, although against his will, not far from the truth-that these disasters happened to the Jews as a punishment for the death of James the Just, who was a brother of Jesus called Christ [adelphon Iesou tou legomenou Christou],–the Jews having put him to death, although he was a man most distinguished for his justice. Paul, a genuine disciple of Jesus, says that he regarded this James as a brother of the Lord, not so much on account of their relationship by blood, or of their being brought up together, as because of his virtue and doctrine. If, then, he says that it was on account of James that the desolation of Jerusalem was made to overtake the Jews, how should it not be more in accordance with reason to say that it happened on account (of the death) of Jesus Christ, of whose divinity so many Churches are witnesses, composed of those who have been convened from a flood of sins, and who have joined themselves to the Creator, and who refer all their actions to His good pleasure. https://preteristarchives.org/origen-of-alexandria/
gryan
Posts: 407
Joined: Fri Jun 01, 2018 4:11 am

Re: "James the Just": What is the origin of the phrase?

Post by gryan »

Re: "James the Just" in "The Gospel of the Ebionites"

The Gospel according to the Hebrews ...records after the resurrection: And when the Lord had given the linen cloth to the servant of the priest, he went to James and appeared to him. For James had sworn that he would not eat bread from that hour in which he had drunk the cup of the Lord until he should see him risen from among them that sleep. And shortly thereafter the Lord said: Bring a table and bread! And immediately it is added: He took the bread, blessed it and brake it and gave it to James the Just and said to him: My brother, eat thy bread, for the Son of man is risen from among them that sleep. (Jerome, De viris illustribus)
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gospel_of_the_Hebrews
Ken Olson
Posts: 516
Joined: Fri May 09, 2014 9:26 am

Re: "James the Just": What is the origin of the phrase?

Post by Ken Olson »

I proposed a theory for why James came to be called "The Just" here:

viewtopic.php?f=3&t=1540&p=35384&

Best,

Ken
User avatar
rakovsky
Posts: 1306
Joined: Mon Nov 23, 2015 8:07 pm
Location: USA
Contact:

Re: "James the Just": What is the origin of the phrase?

Post by rakovsky »

The discussion Ken linked to referred to Hegessippus, who wrote in his BOOK V of his 5 volume work:
James, the Lord's brother, succeeds to the government of the Church, in conjunction with the apostles. He has been universally called the Just, from the days of the Lord down to the present time. For many bore the name of James; but this one was holy from his mother's womb. He drank no wine or other intoxicating liquor, nor did he eat flesh; no razor came upon his head; he did not anoint himself with oil, nor make use of the bath. He alone was permitted to enter the holy place: for he did not wear any woollen garment, but fine linen only. He alone, I say, was wont to go into the temple: and he used to be found kneeling on his knees, begging forgiveness for the people-so that the skin of his knees became horny like that of a camel's, by reason of his constantly bending the knee in adoration to God, and begging forgiveness for the people. Therefore, in consequence of his pre-eminent justice, he was called the Just, and Oblias, which signifies in Greek Defence of the People, and Justice, in accordance with what the prophets declare concerning him.
The thread Ken linked to theorized that this story above had a reference to the idea that James' intercessions were keeping Vespasian's invasions at bay like Eusebius wrote. The passage here calls James Defence of the People.

Judaism has a certain concept of a "righteous/just one" or "Tzaddik." It reminds me of how Christianity has the concept of saints and holy people. For example, Psalm 5 ends on the note, "For thou, Lord, wilt bless the righteous; with favour wilt thou compass him as with a shield." Isaiah 53 talks about God's Servant "justifying" the multitude. So it also reminds me of an ideal status in the view of Judaism.

So I take the story to be referring to James' holiness, his status in the paradigm of Judaism's ideals. James was notable among Christians in the Biblical story for adhering to Torah, or being the more Torah observant faction compared to Paul. So the idea includes the especially religious things James did that Hegessippus mentions, like his ascetic purity habits along with praying as an intercessor the holy place.

If he was called the Just anytime in his life as Hegessippys said, it would mean that his title preceded Vespasian's siege of 70 AD.
User avatar
mlinssen
Posts: 1165
Joined: Tue Aug 06, 2019 11:01 am
Location: The Netherlands
Contact:

Re: "James the Just": What is the origin of the phrase?

Post by mlinssen »

You all do know that Hegesippus never wrote anything as far as we can tell because there is no extant text of anything of his, and all the chatter here about "Hegesippus wrote this and Hegesippus wrote that" are only claims from Eusebius - right?

Hearsay
User avatar
GakuseiDon
Posts: 1226
Joined: Sat Oct 12, 2013 5:10 pm

Re: "James the Just": What is the origin of the phrase?

Post by GakuseiDon »

rakovsky wrote: Mon Jul 19, 2021 10:49 am"... Therefore, in consequence of his pre-eminent justice, he was called the Just, and Oblias, which signifies in Greek Defence of the People, and Justice, in accordance with what the prophets declare concerning him."
Does anyone know what Hegesippus means here? What had the prophets declared regarding James the Just?
Post Reply