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

Post by gryan »

Re: My current hypothesis on origin of the phrase "James the Just"

The phrase "James the Just" refers the NT "James" whose name appears most prominantly, but also confusingly in Acts 15, since it is without epithet. The epithet, "the righteous one" echoes the designation for Jesus as such in Acts 3:14, 7:52, and 22:14.

The oldest usage of the phrase "James the Just" (preserved through Eusebius, who misapplied it to "the Lord's brother") was in the Gospel of Hebrews.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gospel_of ... #Reception
In Gospel of Hebrews, the phrase "James the Just" refers to one of the 12 at the Last Supper who was, in the resurrection, called "my brother" by Jesus (in the ordinary Pauline sense of the phrase "my brother"--2 Corinthians 2:13, Philippians 2:25). It does not imply a blood kinship.

A literary echo in support of this understanding of Jesus calling James the Just "my brother" in the ordinary Pauline sense of a spiritual, not a physical brother, is to be found in First Apocalypse of James:

"It is the Lord who spoke with me: "See now the completion of my redemption. I have given you a sign of these things, James, my brother. For not without reason have I called you my brother, although you are not my brother materially. And I am not ignorant concerning you; so that when I give you a sign - know and hear...
The Lord said, "James, do not be concerned for me or for this people. I am he who was within me. Never have I suffered in any way, nor have I been distressed. And this people has done me no harm. But this (people) existed as a type of the archons, and it deserved to be destroyed through them. But [...] the archons, [...] who has [...] but since it [...] angry with [...] The just [...] is his servant. Therefore your name is "James the Just".
http://www.earlychristianwritings.com/t ... es1st.html

IMHO, neither the writer of Luke-Acts (who, in Acts 1:14, speaks of brothers of Jesus in the literal sense of being other sons of Mary, but never names any of them), nor any NT writer exegeted Paul's "pillar" James (Gal 2:9 Cf. 1 Cor 15:7 and Acts 15) as being one and the same as "Lord's brother" named James (Gal 1:19, Cf 1 Cor 9:5, Mark 6:3 and 15:40, and Acts 1:14). Likewise, within Gospel of Hebrews, First Apocalypse of James and Gospel of Thomas, I find no internal evidence that "James the Just" was a blood relative of Jesus. All internal evidence is to the contrary. Thus, IMHO, the designation "James the Just" originally referred to the "James" who is named (confusingly) without epithet in Acts 15 (Cf. the pillar James of Gal 2:9, and the seer James of 1 Cor. 15:7, as well as, obscurely, "the James" of Mark 16:1/Lk 24:10).

Conversely, the epithet, "the Just", functioned originally to distinguish the James of Acts 15 from Jesus' brother "according to the flesh" who was known not only by the epithet "the Lord's brother" (according to Gal 1:19--where Paul warily discerns him to be the only ἕτερον, "different" apostle, he had seen on that visit. Cf Gal 2:12--"some from James"); the "brother of the Lord" named "James" was also distinguished by the epithet "the less" according to Mk 15:40, Cf Mark 6:3, and Mark 3:35).
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GakuseiDon
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Re: "James the Just": What is the origin of the phrase?

Post by GakuseiDon »

gryan wrote: Sat Aug 28, 2021 12:37 amAn echo in support of this understanding of Jesus calling James "my brother" in the ordinary Pauline sense of a spiritual, not a physical brother, is to be found in First Apocalypse of James:

"It is the Lord who spoke with me: "See now the completion of my redemption. I have given you a sign of these things, James, my brother. For not without reason have I called you my brother, although you are not my brother materially. And I am not ignorant concerning you; so that when I give you a sign - know and hear." http://www.earlychristianwritings.com/t ... es1st.html
The First Apocalypse of James appears to have been a Second or Third Century Gnostic text, so it isn't surprising to see the idea of Jesus having an actual brother played down.

Part of the problem of establishing James' relationship to Jesus is that views on the nature of Jesus changed over time. Some, like the Ebionites, thought Jesus was the natural son of Joseph and Mary so having a fleshly brother like James fitted in. Then there were others who thought Mary remained a virgin, so then James became a son of Joseph's from a previous marriage. Those who saw Jesus as being flesh in appearance only would have removed James as a relative from the picture entirely.

We really need to understand the writer's view of Jesus to see how James could fit into the picture. Paul saw Jesus as being flesh, which is consistent with the idea that he might have had actual brothers. That's one part of the picture when looking at Paul's references to James.
gryan
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Re: "James the Just": What is the origin of the phrase?

Post by gryan »

GakuseiDon wrote: Sat Aug 28, 2021 2:10 am
gryan wrote: Sat Aug 28, 2021 12:37 amAn echo in support of this understanding of Jesus calling James "my brother" in the ordinary Pauline sense of a spiritual, not a physical brother, is to be found in First Apocalypse of James:

"It is the Lord who spoke with me: "See now the completion of my redemption. I have given you a sign of these things, James, my brother. For not without reason have I called you my brother, although you are not my brother materially. And I am not ignorant concerning you; so that when I give you a sign - know and hear." http://www.earlychristianwritings.com/t ... es1st.html
The First Apocalypse of James appears to have been a Second or Third Century Gnostic text, so it isn't surprising to see the idea of Jesus having an actual brother played down.

Part of the problem of establishing James' relationship to Jesus is that views on the nature of Jesus changed over time. Some, like the Ebionites, thought Jesus was the natural son of Joseph and Mary so having a fleshly brother like James fitted in. Then there were others who thought Mary remained a virgin, so then James became a son of Joseph's from a previous marriage. Those who saw Jesus as being flesh in appearance only would have removed James as a relative from the picture entirely.

We really need to understand the writer's view of Jesus to see how James could fit into the picture. Paul saw Jesus as being flesh, which is consistent with the idea that he might have had actual brothers. That's one part of the picture when looking at Paul's references to James.
I agree.

However, the designation "gnostic" is a scholarly notion that may blind us against seeing that Apocalypse of James may have exegeted some of Paul's writings correctly.

According to 1 Cor 15, "James" whose name is given, confusingly, without epithet, had an experience of the risen Lord. I think both Apocalypse of James and Gospel of Hebrews are intended to fill in that story. I don't think this is controversial.

I also think Paul saw the James of 1 Cor 15 as one of the 12 (who ought not be confused with "the Lord's brother"). I base this on a close reading of the three mentions of James in Galatians alongside gMark. I know this is controversial. I have to go back to Karl Georg Wieseler (1877) to find any scholarly support for this interpretation of the James of 1 Cor 15 (Cf. the pillar James and the James of Acts 15) and the James of Hebrews as being one of the 12--namely, the son of Alphaeus (and not "the Lord's brother").
https://www.google.com/books/edition/A_ ... &bsq=james

And so when I see Apocalypse of James saying that the James to whom Jesus appeared was not a blood brother of Jesus, I have no problem thinking of that as good exegesis of Paul (against Ebionite, and orthodox misreadings).

Thus, I stand by my current working hypothesis about the origin of the phrase, "James the Just".
viewtopic.php?p=126443#p126443
davidmartin
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Re: "James the Just": What is the origin of the phrase?

Post by davidmartin »

i don't know if this is of any value
Galatians 4 has Paul contrasting the two sons, the son of the slave and free woman
apart from the most obvious readings i recon also 'the son born by the power of the Spirit' alludes to Paul himself. This son is said to be persecuted by the other son and in 5:11 Paul says he is being persecuted. It's not hard to get that impression he's contrasting himself here but then with who?

The other son born the ordinary way could refer to James as a physical brother and therefore of some standing which Paul also states his opponent was. (But there's no reason i feel to assume there couldn't have been another James confusingly referred to as his brother but spiritually who was the apostle)

This reading might confirm that the Lords brother appearing by name in Galatians isn't a later addition but would have been original
This whole situation might make sense if an actual brother popped out as an offshoot teaching something more acceptable and traditional, but this was it's own sect not directly related to the original. Of course the 'Judaisers' claimed later this offshoot was the original (eg Clementines and Paul was the apostate) - evidence that it wasn't is found here in Galatians. That Acts harmonises all this i think means the later orthodox Christianity did blend these two previously opposing groups together. This was attempted in the gospels also but kind of gets a bit confusing, much easier to do in something like Acts
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DCHindley
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Re: "James the Just": What is the origin of the phrase?

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I don't think that "James the Just" (Jacob the Righteous One) was invented as a nick name until the 2nd century CE (the 101-200 range). This was Hegesippus' invention. To me, H. clearly created his account of James' death from several sources, not all of which I am convinced were stories about "James the brother of Jesus."

My theory, tracing the story not to Ant 20:200 but to a hypothetical account of the trial of James son of Sosas, the Idumean General who was active during the war years of 66-70, before the war ruler Simon bar Gioras, here:
viewtopic.php?p=12830#p12830

While this could be called pure speculation, that should be no objection here on this board recently. The theory is supported by two Psalms (well, one, as the two occasions are duplicates), that exclusively use the Hebrew word "Oblias" (the term that H. claimed was James the Just's nick-name) together with the real Hebrew word for "bulwark" (the meaning that H. erroneously gives to the word), that just happens to be about someone heading toward the fortified city (Jerusalem) from Idumea. This is all based on the story of the Idumean intervention in Jerusalem during the war, which involves the former HP Ananus and his 2nd in command Jesus, who both gave speeches on the wall of the city to scold the Idumeans for their intervention as they sat outside the city walls, which had been closed to them. When the revolutionary party found a way to let them in, they killed Ananus & Jesus and threw their dead bodies "down" (the city wall) where they would not let anyone bury them.

This is explained here:
viewtopic.php?p=57087#p57087

Why did Hegesippus "embellish" things this way? Well, it makes for a good story ...

viewtopic.php?p=86566#p86566

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

Post by DCHindley »

davidmartin wrote: Sun Aug 29, 2021 1:45 am i don't know if this is of any value

Galatians 4 has Paul contrasting the two sons, the son of the slave and free woman.

apart from the most obvious readings i recon also 'the son born by the power of the Spirit' alludes to Paul himself. This son is said to be persecuted by the other son and in 5:11 Paul says he is being persecuted. It's not hard to get that impression he's contrasting himself here but then with who?

The other son born the ordinary way could refer to James as a physical brother and therefore of some standing which Paul also states his opponent was. (But there's no reason i feel to assume there couldn't have been another James confusingly referred to as his brother but spiritually who was the apostle)

This reading might confirm that the Lords brother appearing by name in Galatians isn't a later addition but would have been original.
The problem with these intuitive models for understanding the literary structure of the passages is that we can project into them all of our own private beliefs about what "must" have been going on in the heads of dead ancients. That critics can often find a way to "discover" their own presuppositions was a major theme of Schweitzer. See his summary of the positions of just about all of the key scholars he covers in Paul and His Interpreters (1912). If this is what you and others are doing here on this board, then you are in good company.

The copy of this public domain book above has been updated to correct spelling errors introduced when the original was OCR scanned (mainly German titles of cited tertiary literature) and formatted into a consistent style with footnotes relegated to the end, by me. BTW, I claim copyright to this revised edition.

Back in the 1990s, I developed a way to trace ideas by theme. If in reading letters of Paul I came upon one of the frequent changes of subject, I would look down the narrative to where the subject naturally resumes, and bracket off whatever intervened. This is similar to marking off digressions in Josephus's works. I came to the conclusion that the overall theme of all the letters (including Pastorals) was the simple faith of Abram that God would bless him with descendants who would inherit a bountiful land. This faith "justified" Abraham before God even before he had himself circumcised, and long before the Law was given through Moses. Paul (or the original authors) had applied this principal to gentile friends who had wanted to participate in this utopian era. They did not have to be circumcised, or follow the law, to be justified before God. This (or these) author(s) knew nothing of Jesus Christ.

So my opinion developed that the letters of the Pauline corpus, we have them now, had been supplemented by Christ related ideas, and a number of comments and glosses were written into the margin. These two sets of ideas were a bit like oil and water, they just don't mix well. In many places, they are diametrically opposed to the ideas Paul (or whoever) had expressed about the faith of gentiles.

The Christology of the commentary is "high:" Jesus is no mere human messiah but a divine redeemer. I speculate that this kind of Christology could not have developed until after the extreme social conflict that accompanied the Judean war. They were probably actual gentile followers of Jesus, a human messianic hopeful of the 30s CE, who felt they had to disassociate themselves from Judaism and redefine their conception of Jesus. Later, someone made the effort to incorporate these comments and glosses into the original letters, adding a number of words to redirect the subjects or objects to better correspond to Christ theology..

In Galatians 4, I had worked out the relationship between original thoughts/arguments and the digressions as follows:
viewtopic.php?p=5269#p5269

Now I had not consciously proceeded in my efforts to separate the original letter's arguments in order to prove anything (it doesn't matter to me whether Paul believed this or that), but rather I was trying to make sense of the pastiche of contradictory ideas all sewn together as they are. This kind of overlay of ideas was observed in all the Pauline letters. I have no idea whether they were done on batches, or stages, or a little of both. Because of this, and the fact that treatises (the letters to churches) and personal letters (the pastorals) are actually separate genres in ancient literature, I have to reserve judgement regarding whether the presence of varying forms of Christ speculation really tells us that some are, as whole works, "genuine" and others "spurious."

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

Post by gryan »

davidmartin wrote: Sun Aug 29, 2021 1:45 am i don't know if this is of any value
Galatians 4 has Paul contrasting the two sons, the son of the slave and free woman
apart from the most obvious readings i recon also 'the son born by the power of the Spirit' alludes to Paul himself. This son is said to be persecuted by the other son and in 5:11 Paul says he is being persecuted. It's not hard to get that impression he's contrasting himself here but then with who?
Gal 4" "two sons"

21Tell me, you who want to be under the law, do you not understand what the law says? 22For it is written that Abraham had two sons, one by the slave woman and the other by the free woman. 23His son by the slave woman was born according to the flesh, but his son by the free woman was born through the promise.

24These things serve as illustrations, for the women represent two covenants. One covenant is from Mount Sinai and bears children into slavery: This is Hagar. 25Now Hagar stands for Mount Sinai in Arabia and corresponds to the present-day Jerusalem, because she is in slavery with her children. 26But the Jerusalem above is free, and she is our mother. 27For it is written:

“Rejoice, O barren woman,

who bears no children;

break forth and cry aloud,

you who have never travailed;

because more are the children of the desolate woman

than of her who has a husband.”

28Now you are brothers in the pattern of Isaac: children of promise. 29At that time, however, the son born by the flesh persecuted the son born by the Spirit. It is the same now.

30But what does the Scripture say? “Expel the slave woman and her son, for the slave woman’s son will never share in the inheritance with the free woman’s son.” 31Therefore, brothers, we are not children of the slave woman, but of the free woman.

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

Re: "you are brothers in the pattern of Isaac"

In my reading of the grammar here, Paul is describing, not addressing, his audience as "brothers": "Now you are brothers in the pattern of Isaac: children of promise."

The "pattern of Isaac" implies: 1)promise made by men/angels/the Lord, perhaps, 2) miraculous birth, perhaps and 3)sacrifice/redemption by a divinely sent sacrificial lamb. The story of Jesus was told in the pattern of Isaac. For Paul this meant especially, sacrificial death and resurrection. To be called "brothers in the pattern of Isaac" implies participation by co-crucifixion: "crucifixion of the flesh with its passions and desires." The nature of Paul's "revelation" was expressed in this way: "the life I live now in the flesh, I live by faithfulness, that of the God and Christ who loved me and gave himself for me." His call to the Gentile Galatians to "become as I" was a call to participation, "now, in the flesh"--not "according to the flesh."

Paul was the a brother "in the pattern of Isaac" vs James who was the Lord's brother "according to the flesh". Jesus was "born of a woman, born under the law",and so was his brother, James--same woman, same law. The pattern of "the slave woman and her son", as Paul saw it, was all about practicing works of the law and in particular, circumcision.

The way gMark puts distance between Jesus and his "mother and bothers" seems to me to be an echo of Paul's call to "cast out the slave woman and her son."

-------------
There are two Jerusalems: above vs below. The risen Lord is "above." "Some from James [the Lord's brother]" are obviously from "below." By contrast, the "pillars", "James and Cephas and John" (all from the 12 IMHO)--when they gave Paul the right hand of fellowship and saw his gift--were "above." And so there were two Jameses corresponding to the two Jerusalems. Cephas/Peter seems to have gone in the direction of James the Lord's brother after Paul's visit with the pillars in Jerusalem. Maybe that is why, in his third visit with pillar James, in Acts, it is James alone that he meet with, and not Peter. James (the "James the Just" of gHebrews, and First Apocalypse of James imho) in Acts seems to be trying to mediate between Paul and the more law observant, Jewish, Christ believers (perhaps including, anonymously, James the Lord's brother and Peter.).

-------

The pesudo Cemetine literature that views James and Peter as heros (while seemly demonizing Paul, without actually naming him), makes more sense if Paul had actually singled out James, the Lord's brother as the symbolic head of the opposition, as he did according to my reading of Galatians.
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Re: "James the Just": What is the origin of the phrase?

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gryan wrote: Sun Aug 29, 2021 2:48 pm The pesudo Cemetine literature that views James and Peter as heros (while seemly demonizing Paul, without actually naming him), makes more sense if Paul had actually singled out James, the Lord's brother as the symbolic head of the opposition, as he did according to my reading of Galatians.
Yes this is really the line of enquiry i've been following
Supposing these two types of Christians continued in competition for a generation or two before uniting
But there has to be a third type as well to explain the gospels. It's hard to explain how John could flow from either a Jamesian or Pauline background, i regard the third group as the earliest with James and Paul emanating from it. The gospel sources mostly come from the third group, Paul provides his epistles, his followers the pastorals and James's group Revelation + hugely influencing Matthew and certain theology
What surprises me is that no scholar seems to identify these groups and trace their influences through
gryan
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Re: "James the Just": What is the origin of the phrase?

Post by gryan »

davidmartin wrote: Mon Aug 30, 2021 5:39 am It's hard to explain how John could flow from either a Jamesian or Pauline background, i regard the third group as the earliest with James and Paul emanating from it.
I think something like your view was argued by Ferdinand Christian Baur: "Paulinism was originally a heresy, and a schism from the Jewish Christianity of James and Peter and the rest"
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ferdinand_Christian_Baur

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

Drawing out the logic my two Jameses reading, the dialectic I'm seeing is a bit different.

I think gJohn came out of veneration of pillar James. Pillar James is the "the other disciple, the one who Jesus loved." Pillar James is the one mentioned in 1 Cor 15:7. It is pillar James that the Apocalypse of James is speaking of.

Pillar James is the middle ground between Paul and James the Lord's brother, with Cephas/Peter leaning toward the Lord's brother for the sake of his mission to the circumcised.

In the dialectical history of published ideas:

Thesis) Paul (his writings are the oldest we have)

Antithesis) James the Lord's brother/the lesser James (Known of through Galatians/Mark/Matt. We have none of his writings, but some are written in to praise his virtues)

Synthesis) James the pillar (In his honor many books were written: The Epistle of James is pro-Paul, but on the surface it gives voice to an antithesis view. Also, we have letters of John and the Gospel of John. Also, Acts)

Over time, the trend in NT writings from earlier (Gal/Mark) to later (Matt/Luke-Acts) is to transcend opposition and include Jesus' mother and brothers.
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Re: "James the Just": What is the origin of the phrase?

Post by davidmartin »

Gryan
I think something like your view was argued by Ferdinand Christian Baur: "Paulinism was originally a heresy, and a schism from the Jewish Christianity of James and Peter and the rest"
I like this type of thinking by Baur indeed, but I think Paul's pneumatic spirituality came directly out of the original churches. The type of Jewish Christianity represented by James wasn't original, i don't think that makes much sense. So Paul is close and somewhere in between the two. What informs me on this point is human nature really. There's always someone wanting to be the leaders. Paul clearly views himself as such, no doubt James's party also. If one accepts there's another James of the gospel and the brother James was never a follower then this bunch comprising those that were original disciples can be added to the list. So you get the 3 basic groups exerting their influence until orthodoxy emerges a century later and tries to set things down in order which is a long process
Paul's group can't explain the gospels but it does provide much theology
The brother James's group explains quite a bit of Matthew and Revelation and some doctrines like hell
The gospel James's group explains gospel of John, the sayings source like Thomas and Mark in general and the Odes
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