Canadian Theses on James

Neil Fernyhough, “Constructing the world of wealth in the Epistle of James.” M.Th. thesis. Vancouver School of Theology, 2001. Abstract available HERE. Full text PDF available HERE.

Alicia Batten, “Unworldly friendship: the Epistle of Straw reconsidered.” Ph.D. diss. University of St. Michael’s College, 2000. Abstract available HERE. Full text PDF available HERE.

Article Online: “Recent Scholarship on the Structure of James”

Mark E. Taylor, “Recent Scholarship on the Structure of James.” Currents in Biblical Research 3 (2004): 86-115.

The abstract of the article is as follows:

The letter of James, although often neglected in the history of New Testament scholarship, has received renewed interest in the last three decades. Much of the discussion has focused on the letter’s structure, and the result has been a significant departure from the old paraenetic, ‘unstructured’ view of James set forth by Martin Dibelius in favor of a view that sees much more unity and ordering within the composition. Since an assessment of structure virtually determines interpretation, one is not surprised to discover within recent scholarship a thorough re-evaluation of the letter. This shift in perspective raises important questions. Why has scholarship generally set aside Dibelius’s long-standing approach? What new structures have been offered? How crucial is a definitive ‘structure’ to our understanding of the content of the letter? While the overall question of the structure of James is far from settled, some areas of consensus have emerged, and the stage is set for further dialogue.

A full text electronic version of this article is available online at the SAGE Publications website HERE.

Epiphanius, Panarion, Heresies 78.14.1

Epiphanius characterizes James as a high priest. On one occasion, he describes James’ prayer for rain in a way that evokes James 5:17-18, and James’ description of Elijah’s prayer for drought and for rain.

Οὗτος ὁ Ἰάκωβος καὶ πέταλον ἐπὶ τῆς κεφαλῆς ἐφόρεσε· καὶ ποτὲ ἀβροχίας γενομένης ἐπῆρε τὰς χεῖρας εἰς οὐρανὸν καὶ προσηύξατο, καὶ εὐθὺς ὁ οὐρανὸς ἔδωκεν ὑετόν.

See his Panarion, Heresies 78.14.1.

See Theodor Zahn (p. 265), who notes that the passage is reminiscent of Jas 5:17 ff., and compares the incident briefly to Nakdimon’s prayer for rain in b.Taanith 19b-20a:

Mitten in der in allem Wesentlichen nach Heg. Wiedererzählten Geschichte des Jk findet sich auch die Erzählung von einem Gebet des Jk um lange ersehnten Regen, das Erhörung gefunden habe. 2) Die kurze Geschichte trägt Lokalfarbe. Sie paßt vorzüglich zu der Schilderung des beständig für sein ganzes Volk betenden Jakobus bei Heg. (oben S. 230). Daß sie ein jüngerer, etwa aus Jk 5,17f. erwachsener Mythus sein sollte, ist weniger wahrscheinlich, als daß sie zu den alten Traditionen von Jerusalem gehört, deren heg.

2) Haer. 78,14 καὶ ποτὲ ἀβροχίας γενομένης ἐπῆρε τὰς χεῖρας εἰς οὐρανὸν καὶ προσηύξατο, καὶ εὐθὺς ὁ οὐρανὸς ἔδωκεν ὑετόν. Der letzte Satz erinnert stark an Jk 5,18; auch ist zu bedenken, daß Jk 5,16 von δέησις δικαίου die Rede ist, und daß Jk ὁ δίκαιος hieß. — Im Talmud Thaanith 20 wird Ähnliches von Nakdimon = Nikodemus (Jo 3, 1) erzählt.

Theodor Zahn, “Brüder und Vettern Jesu.” Forschungen zur Geschichte des neutestamentlichen Kanons und der altkirchlichen Literatur 4 (1900): 225–364.

See also Pratscher, Herrenbruder, 1994.

Die große Frömmigkeit des Jakobus zeigt sich auch bei seinem Tod: er habe das ihm zugefügte Unrecht nicht als Beleidigung empfunden, sondern noch in der letzten Stunde deines Lebens für seine Peiniger gebetet (); seine Frömmigkeit ist so groß, daß es bei einer Dürre auf sein Gebet hin sofort zu regnen began (Pan LXXVIII 14,1). Es wird sich kaum entscheiden lassen, ob dieses letzte Motiv alter Tradition entstammt [n33] oder aus Jak 5,17f. herausgesponnen ist. Selbst wenn ersteres der Fall sein sollte, so identifiziert sich Epiphanius auf jeden Fall mit dieser Aussage und sagt dennoch nichts, was vom großkirchlichen Standpunkt aus nicht über Jakobus gesagt werden könnte.

Note that n33 refers to Zahn, Theodor: “Brüder und Vettern Jesu,” pg 265 in particular.

Attention should be paid to the tradition surrounding Honi the Circle Drawer & his prayers for rain (described by Josephus [Ant. §14, 2.1.22] and in Rabbinic Literature). See in particular Adolph Büchler, “Ḥoni the Ḥasid and his prayer for rain” Types of Jewish-Palestinian Piety from 70 B.C.E. to 70 C.E.: The Ancient Pious Men (New York: KTAV, 1968), 196-264.

See Josephus’ account below:

Now there was one, whose name was Onias, a righteous man be was, and beloved of God, who, in a certain drought, had prayed to God to put an end to the intense heat, and whose prayers God had heard, and had sent them rain. This man had hid himself, because he saw that this sedition would last a great while. However, they brought him to the Jewish camp, and desired, that as by his prayers he had once put an end to the drought, so he would in like manner make imprecations on Aristobulus and those of his faction. ᾽Ονίαν δέ τινα ὄνομα δίκαιον ὄντα καὶ θεοφιλῆ ὃς ἀνομβρίας ποτὲ οὔσης ηὔξατο τῷ θεῷ λῦσαι τὸν αὐχμὸν καὶ γενόμενος ἐπήκοος ὁ θεὸς ὗσεν κρύψαντα ἑαυτὸν διὰ τὸ τὴν στάσιν ὁρᾶν ἰσχυρὰν ἐπιμένουσαν ἀναχθέντα εἰς τὸ στρατόπεδον τῶν ᾽Ιουδαίων ἠξίουν ὡς ἔπαυσε τὴν ἀνομβρίαν εὐξάμενος ἵν᾽ οὕτως ἀρὰς θῇ κατὰ ᾽Αριστοβούλου καὶ τῶν συστασιαστῶν αὐτοῦ

Book Reviews

The Society of Biblical Literature regularly provides book reviews, collected into the Review of Biblical Literature, and made freely available online. Below is a list of books reviewed on topics related to both the epistle & the historical James:

  • Klein, Martin. “Ein vollkommenes Werk “: Vollkommenheit, Gesetz und Gericht als theologische Themen des Jakobusbriefes. Stuttgart: Kohlhammer, 1995. Review by Todd C. Penner. HERE
  • Hartin, Patrick J. James of Jerusalem: Heir to Jesus of Nazareth. The Liturgical Press, 2004. Reviews by L. T. Johnson, P. H. Davids & Darian Lockett HERE
  • Hartin, Patrick J. A Spirituality of Perfection: Faith in Action in the Letter of James. The Liturgical Press, 1999. Review by Christopher Bowman. HERE Reviews by Christopher Bowman & Matthias Konradt. HERE
  • Johnson, Luke Timothy. Brother of Jesus, Friend of God: Studies in the Letter of James. Eerdmans, 2004. Reviews by Markus Öhler, William Wilson, Steve Patton & Kari Syreeni. HERE
  • Wall, Robert W. Community of the Wise: The Letter of James. Valley Forge, PA: Trinity Press International, 1997. Review by Patrick J. Hartin. HERE
  • Schmitz, Franz-Jürgen, Ed. Das Verhältnis der Koptischen zur Griechischen Überlieferung des Neuen Testaments: Dokumentation und Auswertung der Gesamtmaterialien Beider Traditionen zum Jacobsbrief und den Beiden Petrusbriefen. Berlin: de Gruyter, 2003. Review by Thomas J. Kraus. HERE
  • Popkes, Wiard. Der Brief des Jakobus. Leipzig: Evangelische Verlagsanstalt, 2001. Review by Matthias Konradt. HERE
  • Wachtel, Klaus. Der Byzantinische Text der Katholischen Briefe: Eine Untersuchung zur Entstehung der Koine des Neuen Testaments. Berlin: Walter de Gruyter, 1995. Review by W. Larry Richards. HERE
  • Perkins, Pheme. First and Second Peter, James, and Jude. Louisville: John Knox Press, 1995. Review by Andrew Chester. HERE
  • Edgar, David Hutchinson. Has God Not Chosen the Poor?: The Social Setting of the Epistle of James. Sheffield: Sheffield Academic Press, 2001. Reviews by Matt A. Jackson-Mccabe & Matthias Konradt. HERE
  • Sleeper, C. Freeman. James. Nashville: Abingdon, 1998. Review by Matt A Jackson-Mccabe. HERE
  • Hartin, Patrick J. James. Collegeville, MN: Liturgical Press, 2003. Review by Tobias Nicklas. HERE
    Brosend Ii, William F. James and Jude. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2004. Review by Tommy Wasserman. HERE
  • Painter, John. Just James: The Brother of Jesus in History and Tradition. Columbia, SC: University of South Carolina Press, 1997. Review by Robert Eisenman. HERE
  • Jackson-Mccabe, Matt A. Logos and Law in the Letter of James: The Law of Nature, the Law of Moses and the Law of Freedom. Reviews by Joel B Green & Matthias Konradt. HERE
  • Thomas, John Christopher. The Devil, Disease, and Deliverance: Origins of Illness in New Testament Thought. Sheffield: Sheffield Academic Press, 1998. Review by Graham Twelftree. HERE
  • Penner, Todd C. The Epistle of James and Eschatology: Re-reading an Ancient Christian Letter. Sheffield: Sheffield Academic Press, 1996. Review by Peter H. Davids. HERE
  • Osburn, Carroll D. The Text of the Apostolos in Epiphanius of Salamis. Atlanta/Leiden: Society of Biblical Literature/Brill, 2004. Reviews by Tommy Wasserman & Peter Williams. HERE