"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.
John2
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Re: "James the Just": What is the origin of the phrase?

Post by John2 »

With that clarity of distinction between James, son of Alphaeus and Jesus' brothers, and bearing in mind that 1) the author of Luke-Acts never identifies Jesus' brothers of Acts 1:14 by their names, and that 2) according to Acts 12:2 James the brother of John has been martyred, which "James" is the author of Acts referring to in the following passage?

The one who is not called son of Alphaeus, because that James appears to me to always be identified that way (though correct me if I am wrong), and the one who is not the brother of John the son of Zebedee, because that James was dead by Acts 15.

So because Acts says Jesus had brothers and Luke/Acts used writings (Mark and in my view also Matthew) that call one of them James, and because the James in Gal. 1:19 and Gal. 2 is in a position of leadership and is called "the Lord's brother" and not the son of Alphaeus, and because the James in Gal.1:19 and Gal. 2 was pro-Jewish Torah observance and called the shots, I'm inclined to think that the James in Acts 15 (who is pro-Jewish Torah observance and called the shots) is Jesus' brother James.
gryan
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Re: "James the Just": What is the origin of the phrase?

Post by gryan »

John2 wrote: Sat Jul 24, 2021 1:39 pm
With that clarity of distinction between James, son of Alphaeus and Jesus' brothers, and bearing in mind that 1) the author of Luke-Acts never identifies Jesus' brothers of Acts 1:14 by their names, and that 2) according to Acts 12:2 James the brother of John has been martyred, which "James" is the author of Acts referring to in the following passage?

The one who is not called son of Alphaeus, because that James appears to me to always be identified that way (though correct me if I am wrong), and the one who is not the brother of John the son of Zebedee, because that James was dead by Acts 15.

So because Acts says Jesus had brothers and Luke/Acts used writings (Mark and in my view also Matthew) that call one of them James, and because the James in Gal. 1:19 and Gal. 2 is in a position of leadership and is called "the Lord's brother" and not the son of Alphaeus, and because the James in Gal.1:19 and Gal. 2 was pro-Jewish Torah observance and called the shots, I'm inclined to think that the James in Acts 15 (who is pro-Jewish Torah observance and called the shots) is Jesus' brother James.
Yes, I get where you are coming from now.

My whole project began with a simple goal: to understand the flesh phrases of Galatians as part of NT Galatians as a coherent whole. I had almost zero interest in James the Lord's brother or differentiating the Jameses of the NT until I saw a possible link between a flesh phrase--"I did not immediately consult with flesh and blood-- and the reference to James the Lord's brother. Just as Paul did not visit the apostles before him immediately, but did so after three years, so also he did "consult with flesh and blood" immediately, but did so when he saw James, the Lord's flesh and blood brother.

Slowly I began to see how a two Jameses hypothesis made better sense of the three mentions of James in Galatians. If James the pillar was the son of Alphaeus, and "some from James" came from the Lord's brother, then the reader does not need to try to figure out why James changed from welcoming Paul into fellowship to inspiring Paul's opponents--"some from James".

Then I saw that there is actually nothing in the whole NT to disconfirm a two Jameses hypothesis in Galatians, and a lot that supports it. Certainly, a two Jameses hypothesis for Galatians fits with Luke-Acts: The James of Gal 2:9 and the James of Acts 15 are quite plausibly the same person.

Nevertheless, as your views can attest, Acts is ambiguous enough to accomodate a belief that "James" was the Lord's brother. I think that this is because the author of Acts was trying to be tactful, and not mention "James the Lord's brother" who had conflict with Paul, but instead to present "James" (of the Twelve) saying and doing things that would mediate between Paul and James the Lord's brother. Unfortunately, James the son of Alphaeus, in his role as the mediator between Paul and the Lord's brother has been forgotten.

The key to the rediscovery of the son of Alphaeus as mediator between Paul and James the Lord's brother is to put priority on Galatians in relation to Mark, and to see James the Lord's brother as James the Less--the lesser of the two James in the measure that really counts, being the servant of all. James the mediator of Gal 2:9 was the greater James, the true "James the Just" of Gospel of the Hebrews and gThomas, functioning as servant of all, as Paul saw it.

I doubt I've convinced you to change your mind (that's not my goal), but I hope I've convinced you I'm considering the relevant primary sources and am using sensible methods.
John2
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Re: "James the Just": What is the origin of the phrase?

Post by John2 »

gryan wrote: Sat Jul 24, 2021 4:43 pm If James the pillar was the son of Alphaeus, and "some from James" came from the Lord's brother, then the reader does not need to try to figure out why James changed from welcoming Paul into fellowship to inspiring Paul's opponents--"some from James".

I don't see any change going on here (except on Paul's part). In Gal. 2:9 Paul says that James agreed that he "should go to the Gentiles and they to the circumcised," but he overstepped this boundary and preached that Torah observance was no longer necessary for Jews (as per Acts 21:21-24). And since this had influenced Peter and other Jews to eat with Gentiles in Antioch, those sent there by James made them stop doing that. And this upset Paul because he believed that Jewish Torah observance was no longer necessary. But the deal he made with James in Gal. 2:9 was "that we should go to the Gentiles and they to the circumcised," and those sent from James appear to have had no issue with that.
gryan
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Re: "James the Just": What is the origin of the phrase?

Post by gryan »

John2 wrote: Sat Jul 24, 2021 5:29 pm
gryan wrote: Sat Jul 24, 2021 4:43 pm If James the pillar was the son of Alphaeus, and "some from James" came from the Lord's brother, then the reader does not need to try to figure out why James changed from welcoming Paul into fellowship to inspiring Paul's opponents--"some from James".

I don't see any change going on here (except on Paul's part). In Gal. 2:9 Paul says that James agreed that he "should go to the Gentiles and they to the circumcised," but he overstepped this boundary and preached that Torah observance was no longer necessary for Jews (as per Acts 21:21-24). And since this had influenced Peter and other Jews to eat with Gentiles in Antioch, those sent there by James made them stop doing that. And this upset Paul because he believed that Jewish Torah observance was no longer necessary. But the deal he made with James in Gal. 2:9 was "that we should go to the Gentiles and they to the circumcised," and those sent from James appear to have had no issue with that.
@John2

What is your interpretation of this passage in Acts where, in the end, everyone agrees that it is OK for Peter to eat with uncircumcised Gentiles?

Acts 11:1f
1The apostles and brothers throughout Judea soon heard that the Gentiles also had received the word of God. 2So when Peter went up to Jerusalem, the circumcised believersa took issue with him 3and said, “You visited uncircumcised men and ate with them.”

4But Peter began and explained to them the whole sequence of events: 5“I was in the city of Joppa praying, and in a trance I saw a vision of something like a large sheet being let down from heaven by its four corners, and it came right down to me. 6I looked at it closely and saw four-footed animals of the earth, wild beasts, reptiles, and birds of the air. 7Then I heard a voice saying to me, ‘Get up, Peter, kill and eat.’

8‘No, Lord,’ I said, ‘for nothing impureb or unclean has ever entered my mouth.’

9But the voice spoke from heaven a second time, ‘Do not call anything impure that God has made clean.’

10This happened three times, and everything was drawn back up into heaven.

11Just then three men sent to me from Caesarea stopped at the house where I was staying. 12The Spirit told me to accompany them without hesitation. These six brothers also went with me, and we entered the man’s home. 13He told us how he had seen an angel standing in his house and saying, ‘Send to Joppa for Simon who is called Peter. 14He will convey to you a message by which you and all your household will be saved.’

15As I began to speak, the Holy Spirit fell upon them, just as He had fallen upon us at the beginning. 16Then I remembered the word of the Lord, as He used to say, ‘John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.’c 17So if God gave them the same gift He gave us who believed in the Lord Jesus Christ, who was I to hinder the work of God?”

18When they heard this, their objections were put to rest, and they glorified God, saying, “So then, God has granted even the Gentiles repentance unto life.”
----------------------

As I read Acts, the "James" of Acts 15, who spoke in support of Paul's mission (and did so in one accord with Peter), and who represented the "James" of Gal 2:9 who gave Paul the right hand of fellowship (and did so even in the presence of Titus, and uncircumcised Greek) would have agreed that it was OK for Peter to eat with Gentiles (as long as he abstained from "food sacrificed to idols, from blood, from the meat of strangled animals and from sexual immorality"). I think that in Gal 2:9, the right hand of fellowship would have naturally included table fellowship, and so I am picturing James, Cephas and John eating with Paul, Barnabas, and Titus.
John2
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Re: "James the Just": What is the origin of the phrase?

Post by John2 »

gryan wrote: Sun Jul 25, 2021 1:15 am
@John2

What is your interpretation of this passage in Acts where, in the end, everyone agrees that it is OK for Peter to eat with uncircumcised Gentiles?

Acts 11:1f
1The apostles and brothers throughout Judea soon heard that the Gentiles also had received the word of God. 2So when Peter went up to Jerusalem, the circumcised believersa took issue with him 3and said, “You visited uncircumcised men and ate with them.”

4But Peter began and explained to them the whole sequence of events: 5“I was in the city of Joppa praying, and in a trance I saw a vision of something like a large sheet being let down from heaven by its four corners, and it came right down to me. 6I looked at it closely and saw four-footed animals of the earth, wild beasts, reptiles, and birds of the air. 7Then I heard a voice saying to me, ‘Get up, Peter, kill and eat.’

8‘No, Lord,’ I said, ‘for nothing impureb or unclean has ever entered my mouth.’

9But the voice spoke from heaven a second time, ‘Do not call anything impure that God has made clean.’

10This happened three times, and everything was drawn back up into heaven.

11Just then three men sent to me from Caesarea stopped at the house where I was staying. 12The Spirit told me to accompany them without hesitation. These six brothers also went with me, and we entered the man’s home. 13He told us how he had seen an angel standing in his house and saying, ‘Send to Joppa for Simon who is called Peter. 14He will convey to you a message by which you and all your household will be saved.’

15As I began to speak, the Holy Spirit fell upon them, just as He had fallen upon us at the beginning. 16Then I remembered the word of the Lord, as He used to say, ‘John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.’c 17So if God gave them the same gift He gave us who believed in the Lord Jesus Christ, who was I to hinder the work of God?”

18When they heard this, their objections were put to rest, and they glorified God, saying, “So then, God has granted even the Gentiles repentance unto life.”
----------------------

As I read Acts, the "James" of Acts 15, who spoke in support of Paul's mission (and did so in one accord with Peter), and who represented the "James" of Gal 2:9 who gave Paul the right hand of fellowship (and did so even in the presence of Titus, and uncircumcised Greek) would have agreed that it was OK for Peter to eat with Gentiles (as long as he abstained from "food sacrificed to idols, from blood, from the meat of strangled animals and from sexual immorality"). I think that in Gal 2:9, the right hand of fellowship would have naturally included table fellowship, and so I am picturing James, Cephas and John eating with Paul, Barnabas, and Titus.

We (and presumably the author of Acts) already know from Galatians that Peter and other Jews ate with Gentiles prior to the incident in Antioch. It looks to me like the issue of table fellowship with Gentiles was not settled until then (just like the issue of Gentile circumcision and Torah observance was not settled until Acts 15).

Do Peter or other Jewish Christians (excepting Paul) ever eat with Gentiles after Acts 10?
John2
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Re: "James the Just": What is the origin of the phrase?

Post by John2 »

As for the earliest use of "James the Just," I think that is in the gospel of the Hebrews, since according to Jerome it said:

Also the Gospel according to the Hebrews, lately translated by me into Greek and Latin speech, which Origen often uses, tells, after the resurrection of the Saviour: 'Now the Lord, when he had given the linen cloth unto the servant of the priest, went unto James and appeared to him (for James had sworn that he would not eat bread from that hour wherein he had drunk the Lord's cup until he should see him risen again from among them that sleep)', and again after a little, 'Bring ye, saith the Lord, a table and bread', and immediately it is added, 'He took bread and blessed and brake and gave it unto James the Just and said unto him: My brother, eat thy bread, for the Son of Man is risen from among them that sleep'.

And in my view the gospel of the Hebrews was the original Hebrew Matthew mentioned by Papias, and since I date Papias c. 100 CE, that would make this reference to James the Just pre-100 CE, and it would explain Hegessipus' remark that James was "universally called the Just, from the days of the Lord down to the present time" (bearing in mind that he is said to have used the gospel of the Hebrews).
gryan
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Re: "James the Just": What is the origin of the phrase?

Post by gryan »

John2 wrote: Mon Jul 26, 2021 2:40 pm As for the earliest use of "James the Just," I think that is in the gospel of the Hebrews, since according to Jerome it said:

Also the Gospel according to the Hebrews, lately translated by me into Greek and Latin speech, which Origen often uses, tells, after the resurrection of the Saviour: 'Now the Lord, when he had given the linen cloth unto the servant of the priest, went unto James and appeared to him (for James had sworn that he would not eat bread from that hour wherein he had drunk the Lord's cup until he should see him risen again from among them that sleep)', and again after a little, 'Bring ye, saith the Lord, a table and bread', and immediately it is added, 'He took bread and blessed and brake and gave it unto James the Just and said unto him: My brother, eat thy bread, for the Son of Man is risen from among them that sleep'.

And in my view the gospel of the Hebrews was the original Hebrew Matthew mentioned by Papias, and since I date Papias c. 100 CE, that would make this reference to James the Just pre-100 CE, and it would explain Hegessipus' remark that James was "universally called the Just, from the days of the Lord down to the present time" (bearing in mind that he is said to have used the gospel of the Hebrews).
I see. That would make better sense than any of the other Gospels, since in my reading, gMatt is the least dismissive of James as the brother of Jesus, and the most favorable toward law observance.

I've been wondering: Besides "James the Just", are there any other early Christian characters who are known by their first name plus a virtue? I can't think of any off the top of my head.
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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: Mon Jul 26, 2021 6:27 pmI've been wondering: Besides "James the Just", are there any other early Christian characters who are known by their first name plus a virtue? I can't think of any off the top of my head.
Jesus Christ, John the Baptist, Justin Martyr, John the Presbyter, Eugnostos the Blessed (perhaps), John Chrysostom ("Golden Tongue") (though Fourth Century CE so not early). Also pre-Christian Honi the Circle-drawer (First Century BCE Jewish miracle worker)
gryan
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Re: "James the Just": What is the origin of the phrase?

Post by gryan »

Ok, yes, these are good examples.

I'm also wondering about this: What is our the first record of James son of Zebedee being called James the Great?
StephenGoranson
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Re: "James the Just": What is the origin of the phrase?

Post by StephenGoranson »

Those example are not all strictly "virtues."
There's--in later reports--the earlier high priest Simeon/Shimon/Simon the Just/ZDK.
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