Lange Commentary on the Holy Scriptures
EPISTLE GENERAL OF JAMES
J. P. LANGE, D. D.
PROFESSOR OF THEOLOGY IN THE UNIVERSITY OF BONN
J. J. VAN OOSTERZEE, D. D.
PROFESSOR OF THEOLOGY IN THE UNIVERSITY OF UTRECHT
TRANSLATED FROM THE SECOND REVISED GERMAN EDITION, WITH ADDITIONS ORIGINAL AND SELECTED
J. ISIDOR MOMBERT, D. D.
RECTOR OF ST. JAMES’S CHURCH, LANCASTER, PA
VOL. IX. OF THE NEW TESTAMENT: CONTAINING THE EPISTLES GENERAL OF JAMES, PAPER, JOHN AND JUDE
IN the preparation of this Commentary on the Catholic Epistles no pains have been spared to make it useful to Anglo-American readers. More than three years of labour have been bestowed upon it; and the translation of several Epistles, originally made from the earlier German editions, has been carefully revised by the latest. The addenda are numerous, and have entailed a vast amount of work. They will speak for themselves. It is hoped that the readings of the Codex Siniaticus, uniformly embodied in this Commentary, the constant reference to the best English and other divines, ancient and modern, and the extracts from their comments on this section of the New Testament, will place the reader in possession of every element necessary to the understanding of these Epistles.
I have endeavoured faithfully to comply with the general principles regulating the translation; and if the reproduction of the style of four different writers presented peculiar difficulties, it is gratifying to me that none of the Catholic Epistles in Lange’s Commentary have ever before been translated into English. The diversity of style, to which I have just referred, will be especially apparent in the Introduction and the Critical and Exegetical portions of the Epistles of St. James, from the pen of Dr. Lange. He has an extraordinary genius for word-coining, and some of his combinations are so graphic, telling and original, that I have deemed it proper to reproduce them in English for the reason that these somewhat grotesque and strange-looking words have often the effect of stimulating the mental activity of the reader. The context is generally their commentary; where this was not the case in the original, due recourse has been had to periphrastic explanations.
On many questions I differ from the authors, and the addenda are mostly made to remove onesidedness of statement. In numerous instances, however, I hesitated to express my dissent, because I did not think it fair to carry on a controversy with them in the pages of their own works. I am only responsible for the matter in brackets, [ ], marked M.
May the Divine blessing rest upon my humble endeavours to aid in the elucidation of this important and interesting section of the Inspired Volume!
To the reader I would say: “Errores pauci fuerint si forte libello,—errores paucos tollat amica manus!”
J. ISIDOR MOMBERT
PREFACE TO THE SECOND EDITION OF JAMES
MY respected friend and coöperator, Dr. van Oosterzee, has charged me to represent him also in this Preface to the second edition. The first thing to be said imports the assurance that each has carefully, revised, and here and there rectified or improved his respective part, without subjecting the original shape of the work to unnecessary changes.
Since the publication of the first edition Dr. van Oosterzee has been called and translated to Utrecht in the capacity of Professor ordinarius of Theology; he himself has thus occasioned the first and very gratifying change on the title-page. Another call, namely, the removal of our friend, the Rev. Chantepie de la Saussaye, from Leyden to Rotterdam, had, alas, the consequence that the note on page 5 of the first edition [not inserted in the translation for this very reason—M.] could not be fulfilled, according to which he had undertaken the preparing of the Johannean Epistles, but found himself for an indefinite period prevented to carry his task into effect. But, by the help of God, said section of this Commentary passed from one competent hand to another. Our whole work, moreover, has lately made considerable progress; the publishers, as well as the authors, may look back upon the road already traversed, with cheerful gratitude, and forward to the goal with increasing hope.
With reference to exegesis there have appeared since the publication of the first edition in 1862, four theological novelties in our field of labour, which deserve to be noticed: The second edition of the Commentary on James, from the pen of Dr. Huther, appeared in 1863; last year the third edition of the respective section of de Wette’s Handbook, prepared by Dr. Brückner; in the same year also a new commentary, of considerable extent, on this Epistle, from the pen of the lately deceased venerable Professor Bouman of Utrecht, published after his death by his sons under the title of “Hermanni Bouman, Theol. Dr. et in Acad. Rhenotraject. Prof. Ord. Commentarius perpetuus in Jacobi Epistolam post. mortem auctoris editus. Trajecti ad Rhenum apud Kemink et Filium, 1865.” To these Commentaries must be added the publication of the Codex Sinaiticus:
The second edition of Huther’s Commentary on the Epistle of James, having been concluded as early as October, 1862, has not led to reciprocal discussions between it and our exegetical work. Interesting is Huther’s discussion with his reviewer, Professor Frank of Erlangen, introduced into the preface owing to the circumstance that his reviewer misconstrued the statement that Paul also teaches a consideration of works in the final judgment. Dr. Brückner has referred to our work both in the Introduction and in his exposition. The circumstance, that we could not move that highly-esteemed theologian to pronounce in favour of the radical modifications of the exegesis of this Epistle, in consequence of the definite historical construction which we have put on it, does not disturb us or fill us with doubt; it must also be borne in mind that he had to deal with the revision of a book which, as the preparation of a mandatary work, imposed upon him the most rigid self-constraint. In opposition to our statement that the author designed to fortify the Jewish Christians against the already roused revolutionary spirit of the Jews, without incautiously drawing the impending revolution in over-distinct colours, Brückner simply contends that then the “political fanaticism” ought at least to have been touched in the Epistle. In reply we have to observe, that it is characteristic of the apostolical wisdom of the author to oppose political fanaticism only in its religious motives and roots. These motives and roots, however, appear plain enough by replies to the following questions: 1. Which was the greatest common cause of all the twelve tribes of the Jews in part believing, in part still receptive of belief, during the sixth decade after the birth of Christ? 2. Which could be the manifold common temptations which through patience and steadfastness they were to change into all joy? Or, to be still briefer, which was at that time the common great trial of faith of the twelve tribes? And wherein had, consequently, the common proof to consist? 3. Why does the Apostle, after the general warning against representing the general temptation as a temptation from God, i.e., as a provocation, pass at once to the condemnation of wrath? 4. And what, in particular, is the import of the warning in chapter 3:13 sqq., which even progresses to the naming of ἀκαταστασία as the result of ζῆλος and ἐριθεία? Similar questions arise from each separate section of our Epistle in opposition to the non-historical construction of our Epistle as being merely a collection of edifying exhortations to good moral conduct, but where it is anything but edifying that the author straightway assumes that the poor were disregarded at worship and otherwise neglected in all the twelve tribes of the dispersion, and that the rich Christians were guilty of conduct that he felt justified or rather constrained to utter a woe on them. We reiterate the expression of our conviction, that the non-appreciation of the historical motives and prophetico-symbolical phraseology of the Epistle leaves its great one fundamental thought well-nigh unopened, and this is proved by the extraordinary misconstructions which have been put upon it.
Bouman, the venerable veteran of Dutch theology, who left his Commentary in manuscript, like a testament, to the care of his sons, has first of all gladdened us by the decisiveness and scientific force with which he represents in the Introduction the view that the author of our Epistle could have been none other than the Apostle Jacobus Alphaei. May this example be a sign that theological science begins to turn away from the all-confounding and self-confused prejudice, that a non-apostolical James had risen to the highest apostolical repute in the apostolical Church, because he was a brother of the Lord according to the flesh, who at a late period became converted to the faith. We discover also a welcome agreement of the author with this Commentary in the assumption that the Epistle, though primarily addressed to Jewish Christians, had also the secondary design of converting the receptive Jews to the faith; and that this circumstance accounts also for the prophetical colouring of the Epistle. His attaching particular importance to the parallelism between the Apostle as the head of the Church at Jerusalem and the High priest with reference to the Jewish dispersion, appears to us as not unfounded; but the hypothesis that the Epistle dates from the earliest time of the propagation of Christianity, does not induce us to change the view expressed by us in this respect in this Commentary, or to fortify it by the production of new arguments. The exposition itself resembles variously the Scholiaform, and moves in the track of the customary general and abstract construction of the Epistle, takes, however, in a learned and independent manner, cognizance of modern exegetes, and manifests also with reference to the Codex Sinaiticus, a free critical judgment.
The readings of the Sinaiticus, wherever they appeared to be important, have mostly been added to the critical notes.
May the joint preparation of this Epistle continue to be blessed in promoting the vital appreciation of the glorious totality of the Scripture as the Word of God, which appreciation must be consummated in the belief that all the writings of Paul and of James are in perfect agreement with one another, and with the whole Scripture.
PREFACE TO THE FIRST EDITION OF JAMES
THIS Commentary on the Epistle of James is the joint work of my respected friend, Dr. van Oosterzee and myself. The Introduction, the translation and the Critical and Exegetical notes, are my work; the Doctrinal and Homiletical sections have been supplied by Dr. van Oosterzee. I heartily thank my friend and collaborator for the cheerful and valuable help he has thus far bestowed upon this Commentary.
With respect to the sections undertaken by me, there were especially two reasons which made the work one of peculiar interest to me. In the first place, I was anxious to improve this opportunity to testify against the old Ebionito-apocryphal fiction of non-apostolic brothers of the Lord, who were, at the same time, held in high Apostolic repute. In the second place I desired to express my conviction that the Epistle of James (like the First Epistle of Peter and the Epistle to the Hebrews) cannot be sufficiently appreciated unless the history of the world, at the time when it was written, be constantly referred to, viz., the beginnings of that great Jewish revolution against the Romans, which, with its national sympathies, was, to the Jews in general, a great temptation to become hardened, and to the Jewish Christians an equal temptation to apostasy. This historical reference, hitherto neglected, in my opinion, can only prove advantageous to the exposition of this Epistle. In this sense I have been working; may the fundamental thought of my work be attested by blessed results.
I only add that I did not expect that my honoured collaborator would forthwith apply in the Doctrinal and Homiletical sections the aforesaid points of view, which have still to fight for recognition among theologians. On the contrary I thought it most desirable that the universal side of the Epistle should be fully developed in the Doctrinal and Homiletical sections without special reference to its historical points; and, indeed, the independence of my friend, led me to expect an execution of his work carried out in this sense. The Commentary, as a whole, has doubtless gained in allsidedness by this recognition of the universal by the side of the historical point of view.
EPISTLE GENERAL OF JAMES
THE EPISTLE OF JAMES BEING THE FIRST AMONG THE SO-CALLED CATHOLIC EPISTLES, IT IS NECESSARY TO FOUND THE PARTICULAR INTRODUCTION TO THE EPISTLE OF JAMES ON A MORE GENERAL INTRODUCTION TO THE CATHOLIC EPISTLES
I. THE CATHOLIC EPISTLES IN GENERAL
1. THE TERM “CATHOLIC EPISTLES” AND THEIR STATUS (GERM. Bestand)
The term “Catholic Epistles” embraces the seven Apostolic Epistles, which, besides the Pauline Epistles and the Epistle to the Hebrews added to them, are found in the Canon of the New Testament; namely the Epistle of James, the two Epistles of Peter, the three Epistles of John and the Epistle of Jude.
According to the primary and original meaning of ἐπιστολὴ καθολική, it denotes an encyclical writing, which as such was primarily addressed not to individual Churches or persons, but to a larger ecclesiastical sphere, to a number of Churches. In this sense Clement of Alexandria (Stromat. iv.) calls the Epistle of the Apostles and of the Church at Jerusalem addressed to Christian congregations according to Acts 15:22–29 an ἐπιστολὴ καθολική. So Origen (contra Celsum i. 63) calls the Epistle of Barnabas, the contents of which characterize it an encyclical writing, καθολική. Eusebius (Hist. Eccl. v. 18) reports that Apollonius reproached Themison, the Montanist, with having written in imitation of the Apostle (probably John) an ἐπιστολὴ καθολική. This shows that the universal character of the First Epistle of John was designated by the term ‘Catholic’ as early as the time of Apollonius, that is: in the beginning of the third century. Even Origen applies this designation in this sense to the First Epistle of John (in the Commentary of John), to the First Epistle of Peter (according to Euseb. vi. 25), and to the Epistle of Jude, but in passages which are found only in a Latin translation (Comment. in epist. ad Roman.). In the time of Eusebius, the term ‘Catholic’ was already applied to the whole group of Epistles, which we call Catholic. “James,” he says “is said to have written the first of the Catholic Epistles;” and then adverts to “the seven Epistles called Catholic.” (Hist. Eccl. 2:23). The meaning “Epistles more general as to their contents and object,” which Guerike considers to be primary, could only be secondary, because it generally resulted from the nature of the encyclical writing; for the very first Catholic Epistle (Acts 15) was not general as to its object and contents. There was but one step from changing the originally somewhat general character of these circular letters which assigned to them a more enlarged sphere of the Church, into one altogether general. Thus the Apostolical Epistle (Acts 15) was already destined to apply to the whole Gentile-Christian Church, while the Epistle of James and probably that to the Hebrews were designed for the whole Jewish-Christian Church. In this sense, Oecumenius (Prolegom. in Epist. Jacob.) declared that they had been called ‘Catholic,’ inasmuch as they had not been addressed to a particular people or city, like the Epistles of Paul. but to believers in general (as a whole, καθόλου), whether to Jewish Christians of the dispersion or even to all Christians, as members of the same faith.
In the Western Church the term epistolæ canonicæ instead of catholicæ obtained great currency from the time of Junilius and Cassiodorus (see Credner, Introd. p. 570). That this could not have been the original sense follows decisively from the fact that Eusebius (Hist. Eccl. 2:23) applies the term ‘Catholic’ also to the Epistles of Dionysius of Corinth to the Churches at Lacedæmon, Athens, etc. But Eusebius probably combined also here with the idea of the encyclical character the idea of the universal, for he remarked concerning said Dionysius and his Epistle, “that he was most useful to all (ἅπασιν absolutely) in the Catholic Epistles which he addressed to the Churches.” Yet Eusebius gave already occasion that the idea of general reception or canonicity was combined with the idea of partial or entire universality by saying of the First Epistle of Peter: “The First Epistle of Peter is universally acknowledged, but the Acts of Peter, the Gospel according to Peter, the Preaching and the Revelation of Peter are not among the Catholic writings.” [Hist. Eccl. 3:3—M.].—It is evident that neither the idea of universality nor that of canonicity could be applied absolutely to the Catholic Epistles as contrasted with those of Paul. If they were called universal, the reference was to their more general tenor, if they were called canonical, the reference was at once to their more general contents and to their direct general authority, without any intention of seeking thereby to weaken the less direct universality and canonicity of the Pauline Epistles.
Besides this definition of the term ‘Catholic Epistles,’ another has arisen in modern times, Hug in his Introduction to the Writings of the New Testament ii. p. 429 observes as follows: “After the Gospels and the Acts had been referred to one division and the writings of St. Paul to another, there were still remaining the writings of different authors which might again be collected under one head and had to be distinguished by a name of their own. They might most aptly be called καθολικὸν σύνταγμα of the Apostles and the writings contained in it κοιναί and καθολικαί, these two words being frequently used as synonymes by Greek writers.” In proof of this statement, Hug brings forward the declaration of Clement of Alexandria concerning the Apostolical Epistle, Acts 15:23, namely, the Catholic Epistle in which all the Apostles took part. But τῶν ἀποστόλων πάντων has not the meaning which Hug discovers in it. He then cites the judgment of Eusebius that the “First Epistle of Peter is universally acknowledged, but the Acts of Peter, the Gospel according to Peter, the Preaching and Revelation of Peter are not among the Catholic writings.” This, according to Hug, denotes the class to which the Apostolical writings in general were then referred. But the citation from Eusebius established rather the contrast between writings acknowled and writings not acknowledged. The circumstance, finally, that the Epistle of Barnabas is called Catholic, he tries to account for by the assertion that Barnabas also was sometimes called an Apostle. But the true explanation must be sought in its contents, for in the time of Origen, the Epistle of Barnabas was neither acknowledged as Apostolical nor as Canonical. In the sense of Hug, it has also been attempted to draw a parallel between the origin of the Canon of the Old Testament and that of the Canon of the New. For it is maintained that as in the formation of the Canon of the Old Testament, after the Thorah and the Prophets had been collected under their respective heads, the remaining sacred writings, in general, were collected under the head of Hagiographa, so, in the formation of the Canon of the New Testament, after the Gospels and the Pauline Epistles (εὐαγγέλιον and ἀπόστολος) had been collected, the remaining sacred writings of the New Testament were collected under the head “Catholic Epistles,” i.e., writings of the New Testament in general (καθόλου).—Apart from possible objections to that view of the Old Testament, it is self-evident that in that case the reference ought to have been to Catholic writings and not to Catholic Epistles, and that then both the Revelation and the Epistle to the Hebrews ought to have been included in the last-named class.
Credner gives the following natural account of the old arrangement of the Canon of the New Testament: “First historical notices of Jesus (the Gospels); then such notices of the Apostles; then general (catholic) Epistles of the Apostles; then Epistles to separate congregations and to individuals (the Epistles of Paul). This primary arrangement originated in a clear perception of what was collected and why it was collected.”
But the ideal principle of division has evidently been modified by historical relations. A division purely made with reference to subject-matter, would require the Epistle to the Ephesians and that to the Hebrews to be included among the Catholic Epistles, the second and third Epistles of John to be excluded from them. The latter, however, were considered as supplemental to the first Epistle of John, and the former retained by the great mass of the Pauline Epistles, as it were, by attraction.
2. THE IMPORT OF THE CATHOLIC EPISTLES IN THE CANON OF THE NEW TESTAMENT
The Catholic Epistles, comprehending only a small part of the New Testament Canon, are of the utmost importance on account of the completeness and fulness of that part. As the four Gospels are designed mutually to complement each other, so here the types of the doctrine of James, Peter and John, complement the type of the doctrine of Paul. By this complementing they preserve the Christian consciousness from a one-sided culture of the Pauline expression; by the variety and fulness of their modes of treatment and expression, they guarantee the fulness of Christian cognition and the full vitality and motion of the churchly spirit. Paul has been called the Apostle of faith; John the Apostle of love, Peter the Apostle of hope. This is a very imperfect mode of distinction, because, to name only one reason, it is exclusively Pauline; it denotes, nevertheless, the riches of the Apostolical complements furnished by the Catholic Epistles. These Epistles, moreover, are highly important as mirroring the condition of the Church during the latter period of the Apostolic age. In this respect they constitute an indispensable connecting-link between the Acts and the Pauline Epistles (excepting the Pastoral Epistles to which they are intimately related) on the one hand, and the Apocalypse and the Apostolical Fathers on the other.—While in the Book of Acts and the Pauline Epistles, we have the exhibition of the external diversity of the Churches which were springing up every where, as yet predominating over the certainly existing internal unity, the encyclical character of most of these Epistles (as also of that to the Hebrews) gives already greater prominence to the consciousness of a full, and moreover, of an external unity of the Church. This holds also good of the Epistle of James, for he addresses Christendom of Jewish origin not as an Ebionite Jewish-Christian but as an Apostle. These Epistles moreover acquaint us with the further developments of Church-life in the Apostolic age; with the springing up of the Ebionite and Gnostic weeds among the wheat of pure doctrine, and on the other hand, with the development of the more distinct, the dogmatically more conscious Apostolic and church-testimony. Ebionitism is perfectly drawn in symbolical characters not sufficiently appreciated—in the Epistle of James (James 2:2, etc.), in the first Epistle of John (James 2:22, etc.), and probably also in the third of John (3 John 1: 9); Gnostic libertinism, on the other hand, is condemned in the Epistle of Jude, in the second of Peter (James 2), and in 1 John 4:1, etc. With respect to ecclesiastical constitution, our Epistles confirm the identity of the Presbyterate and the Episcopate; but the dignity of the presbyter-bishop becomes more distinct in the position taken by Jude, James, John (2 John 1) and Peter. That is, we have to deal with Apostolical men who, as leading presbyters, had even then entered upon close relations with specific ecclesiastical circles; this applies at least to James and John. We also obtain hints of the form of worship (Jude 12; 2 Pet. 2:13), and of a certain method and gradation in the presentation of Christian doctrine (1 John 2:12, etc.).
With respect to the relation of the different New Testament types of doctrine, so richly represented in the Catholic Epistles, we take for granted that in this field a conflict of doctrine is impossible but that differences of doctrine, various types, i.e., individual views, conceptions and modes of statement are necessary. All the Apostles are agreed in that they see in Christianity the New Testament, that is: 1, the fulfilment and therein the harmonious contrast of the Old Testament, the completed religion of revelation; 2, the fulfilment and contrast of all incomplete religions in general, the perfect religion absolutely; 3, consequently they see in the New Testament the primeval, even the everlasting Testament, the everlasting religion which, while it must branch out into the two æons of struggling development and of glorious consummation,, can nevermore be followed by another religion. In these respects James is not by a hair’s breadth less evangelical (German: neutestamentlich) than Paul and John.
The New Testament, according to all the New Testament types of doctrine, is the fulfilment, the real form, therefore, of the religion which the Old Testament had traced in the symbolical shadow.
Christianity is the fulfilment of the law of the Old Testament, hence the royal law of love, the law of liberty, of spiritual life, of unity; such is the teaching of James.
Christianity is the fulfilment of the theocracy of the Old Testament, hence the real kingdom of God, the real royal priesthood, which, first a kingdom of suffering, finds its consummation in a kingdom of glory; such is the teaching of Peter.
Christianity is the fulfilment of the old Covenant, of the sacraments of the Old Testament, hence the real circumcision and regeneration, hence the real passover, the real redemption and the real new human life as the principle of a real new world of the resurrection, the New Covenant of faith and the new covenant-jubilee of the communion of faith; such is the teaching of Paul.
Christianity is the fulfilment of the worship of the Old Testament, hence the real eternal Divine worship of the completed word, of the completed Sabbath, of completed sacrifice and of the completed festive-church (Germ: Fest-Gemeinde.); such is—closely following Paul—the teaching of the Epistle to the Hebrews.
Christianity is the fulfilment of all the symbolism of the Old Testament, and of all the symbolism of primitive monotheism (Germ.-Urmonotheismus) in general, on which the Old Testament is founded, hence the real new world in the development of its glorification (Germ. Verklärung) by the Personal Word in the threefold lustre of real light, real love and real life; such is the teaching of John.
The Epistles of Peter (on the character of Peter see my Apostol. Age, I., p. 354, and the Article “Petrus,” in Herzog’s Real-Encyclopædia,) are connected with the speeches of Peter in Acts, and the Petrine Gospel of Mark. They form a connecting link between the doctrine of James and that of Paul.
The fundamental idea of the FIRST EPISTLE OF PETER is 1 Peter 1:3, 4, the regeneration of Christians out of suffering unto an incorruptible inheritance (Land of inheritance and kingdom of inheritance). The division is as follows:
Introduction: The new hope of the spiritual Israel flowing from the resurrection of Christ from the dead, 1 Peter 1:1–3. The theme already specified, 1 Peter 1:4.
I. Believers destined for this blessedness of the inheritance, 1 Peter 1:5–9.
II. The Old Testament pointing to this inheritance, 1 Peter 1:10–12.
III. The pilgrimage of the spiritual Israel to this goal. Their sanctification. Their redemption. Their brotherly love on the ground of their common heavenly descent by means of regeneration, 1 Peter 1:13–25.
IV. The New Covenant. The preparation of the New Testament. Christ the living stone, antitype of Sinai. Christians, the new theocracy 1 Peter 2:1–10.
V. The wilderness-pilgrims (1 Peter 2:11) and their behaviour towards pagans; a. according to the relations of the pagans, 1 Peter 2:12–17; b. according to the relations of the Christians. The behaviour of enslaved men (males); that of wives, especially in mixed marriages, 1 Peter 2:18–3:2.
VI. The behaviour of Christians among themselves, 1 Peter 3:3–8.
VII. Their behaviour towards persecutors, 1 Peter 3:9–22.
VIII. Readiness and blessedness of suffering, 1 Peter 4.
IX. The proper relation of the leaders of the flock of God and those who are led, especially as the proper preparation against the adversary, 1 Peter 5:1–9. Conclusion, Benediction and Salutation, 1 Peter 5:10–14.
But compare the First Epistle of Peter in this commentary. As to its literature, we have still to mention Schott’s commentary, which has recently appeared. Erlangen 1861.
With respect to the SECOND EPISTLE OF PETER, we refer to our work, “The Apostolical Age” (Das Apostolische Zeitalter, Vol. I., p. 156). We continue to maintain the hypothesis there advanced, that the Epistle of Jude according to its contents was at a later period inserted in the original Epistle of Peter.1 The fundamental idea of the Second Epistle of Peter is this: Christians are promised to become partakers of the Divine nature by the knowledge of Christ’s glory and virtue; hence they are charged to make their godliness [εὐσέβεια—M.] sure by perseverance, 2 Peter 1:3, 4. Conformably thereto is the Introduction, which serves the purpose of wishing and recommending them to grow in the knowledge of God and in Christ, 2 Peter 1:1–3. Why this is necessary is shown by the argument.—The above mentioned theme, 2 Peter 1:3, 4.
DEVELOPMENT: I. They are to grow therein practically by the development of their Christian life, 2 Peter 1:5–9.
II. Their growth in knowledge is necessary, because otherwise they would fall through stumbling, 2 Peter 1:10–12.
III. Such a stumbling might be occasioned to them by his impending departure (his martyr-death) and lead to their doubting the promise of Christ’s advent, 2 Peter 1:13–19. (But prophecy is established as the word of the true prophets of God contrasted with the false prophets who shall arise, 2 Peter 1:20–3:2).
IV. The coming of those who deny the advent of Christ, 2 Peter 3:3, 4.
V. Refutation of their denial, 2 Peter 3:5–13, Conclusion, with a reference to misinterpreted sayings of Paul. concerning the advent of Christ, 2 Peter 3:14–18.
THE EPISTLE OF JUDE (on the character of Jude, see my Life of Jesus, II. 149, 699; Apostolical Age, I., p. 364.—Compare the Epistle of Jude in this work) may be regarded as the forerunner of the apocalyptic descriptions of Gnostic Antinomianism (2 Pet. 2; Rev. 2:6; 55:14, 15). The type of its doctrine and the symbolical mode of its expression connect it with the Epistle of James. Its more definite analogies in the Old Testament as revelations of the judgment are the books of Obadiah, Nahum, Habakkuk and Zephaniah. On the Apostolicity of its Author compare our special introduction to James.
The fundamental idea of the Epistle of Jude: contending for the true faith against the false belief or unbelief of the (Gnostic) Anomists, Jude 1:3. The introduction pursuant to this theme: a word addressed to those who continue preserved in Christ Jude 1:1, 2. The theme, Jude 1:3. Division of the short Epistle.
I. The real character of the Anomists: turning the grace of God into wantonness, Jude 1:4.
II. The ancient types of these Anomists and of their judgment; a, the people of Israel in the wilderness; b, the rebel-angels; c, the Sodomites, Jude 1:5–7.
III. More definite characteristics. Fanaticism unfolding on the one hand into voluptuousness, on the other, into contempt of authority, Jude 1:8–10. The development of their ruin, Jude 1:11. Their pseudo-Christian and anti-Christian character, Jude 1:12, 13.
IV. Their coming foretold as to the fundamental trait of their character, viz., murmuring against revelation; a, by Enoch, the most ancient prophet (according to Jewish tradition, to which the book of Enoch also must be supposed to have been indebted); b, by the Apostles of Christ, Jude 1:14–20.
V. Exhortation to proper behaviour towards them; a, defensive, Jude 1:20, 21; b, polemical, Jude 1:22, 23. Conclusion, Benediction for the preservation of the readers and doxology, Jude 1:24, 25.
THE EPISTLES OF JOHN join with the Epistle to the Hebrews, as the last type of the developments of Pauline doctrine. They form in conjunction with his Gospel and Apocalypse the last and most completed type of New Testament doctrine. On the unity of this grand trilogy, compare my History of the Apostolic Age, II., p. 571.
The much misunderstood unity of the three Epistles of John, flows from the relation of the second and third Epistles to the theme and division of the first. For the theme of the first Epistle is not, as is commonly supposed, communion with God through Christ, but the mutual communion of Christians based upon that communion. The true communion of the Church based upon walking in the light, 1 John 1:7. The Introduction leads to this. The end of all Apostolical preaching is to bring about Apostolic communion as a medium of communion with the Father and the Son. For historically the communion with God is made to depend on communion with the Apostles; but then the communion of Christians among themselves as a communion of perfect joy (the κοινωνία=ἐκκλησία) is made to depend on communion with the Lord. Hence:
I. The communion of God and Christ on which the communion of Christians is made to depend: a, permanent reconciliation; b, confession of sins; c, faith in the Advocate; d, the keeping of His commandments; e, that is, of His word; f, i.e. of the commandment of brotherly love; g, formation of this behaviour in fathers, young men and children; h, the rooting of this behaviour in the love of God, as contrasted with the love of the world, 1 John 1:7–2:17.
II. The communion of Christians as contrasted with the Ebionito-Antichristian denial of Christ and hatred of the brethren, evidenced by the abandonment of communion, 1 John 2:18–3:24. The Antichristians; a, seceded; b, denial that Jesus is the Christ, the Son; c, exhortation to perseverance in faith; d, the protection of the anointing (with the Holy Ghost); e, the dignity of adoption [Kindschaft=state of being the children of God—M.]; f, the demonstration of adoption: righteousness, brotherly love.
III. Maintenance of purity of communion as contrasted with Gnostic spirits who deny Christ having come in the flesh, 1 John 4:1–6.
IV. The vitalizing of the communion of Christians among each other, 1 John 4:7–5:12; a. The source of brotherly love: God is Love; b Maintenance of this love by brotherly love, by the Holy Ghost, by the confession of Christ; c, the perfecting of this love in joyfulness before God; in rejoicing in the brethren as God-born; d, Test of true brotherly love by the love of God as evidenced by faith in the Son of God. Conclusion. Exhortation to faith; to prayer; to intercession for erring brethren; to confidence; to watchfulness against deifying the world, 1 John 5:12–21.
Now since the FIRST EPISTLE OF JOHN manifestly sets forth the law of the life of Christian communion, his two lesser Epistles are dearly corollaries of the first, the second (to the κυρίᾳ) warning against a lax loosing of the limits of communion, and the third (to Gaius) contending on the other hand against a fanatical narrowing of its large-hearted and wide-reaching sphere.
THE EPISTLE TO THE HEBREWS, being so variously connected with the Catholic Epistles and more particularly with the Epistle of James, we also add a brief notice on its construction. Its fundamental idea is: Christ, the fulfiller of the revelation of the Old Testament as the Son of God, is as such the eternal Mediator of the real atonement-religion [Germ. Versöhnungs kultus, the real worship of the religion of atonement—M.], and therefore the eternal and heavenly Centre thereof, Hebrews 1:2, 3.
I. As such He is superior to the mediators of the Old Testament economy; a, to angels, even as God-Man, Hebrews 1:4–2:18; b, to Moses, the servant of the house, as the Son preparing the house, Hebrews 3:1–19; c, to Joshua, the mediator of Sabbath-rest in Canaan, James 4:1–13; d, to Aaron, the Highpriest, as a Priest forever, who has offered obedience, Hebrews 4:14–5:14; e, to Mosaism in its entireness, to which the readers of the Epistle cannot return without falling away, Hebrews 6; f, to Abraham even, as the real Priest of God, typified by Melchizedek, Hebrews 7:1–11.
II. As the priesthood of Christ is superior to the status of the Old Covenant, so is also the New Covenant with its services superior to the Old Covenant, a, The superiority of the new law and covenant, Hebrews 7:12–22; b, the superiority of the new priesthood, Hebrews 7:23–28; c, the superiority of the new sanctuary and its services, Hebrews 8:1–10:39. (1, The new tabernacle, 2, the New Testament, 3, the new entrance of the new High-priest into the holiest of holies. The new covenant-blood and sacrifice. 4. Warning against the new or the New Testament apostasy).
III. Hence the New Testament faith is also the sublime completion and fulfilment of the old faith, Hebrews 11:1–40. Warning against apostasy from this faith, Hebrews 12:1–17.
IV. Hence also the new congregation on the spiritual Mount Zion, is superior to the old congregation at Mount Sinai, Hebrews 12:18–24. Warning against disobedience. Exhortation to thank-offering; to the manifestation of this living service in brotherly love, Hebrews 12:25–13:7. Conclusion. The application, Hebrews 13:9. Caution against false teachers. Exhortation to bearing the reproach of Christ, to the life of prayer, to churchly disposition [i.e., with reference to Hebrews 13:17—M.]. Appropriate benediction and salutation, Hebrews 13:10–24.
3. LITERATURE ON THE CATHOLIC EPISTLES.
See the GENERAL COMMENTARIES. Those on the New Testament HEUBNER, (Vol. IV., has since been published), HEIDEGGER, Enchiridion, p. 617. DANZ, Universal Dictionary, p. 513; Supplement, p. 60. WINER, Manual of Theol. Literature, 1, p. 270; Supplement, p. 42. LILIENTHAL, Bibl. Archivarius, p. 734. REUSS, Introduction, p. 132. WIESINGER, The Epistle of James (Olshausen’s Commentary, Vol. VI., part 1,, p. 45).
On the CATHOLIC EPISTLES IN GENERAL OR IN PART: CLEMENT OF ALEX., DIDYMUS, Ven. BEDE, GRYNÆUS, ARETIUS, JUSTINIANUS, HORNEJUS, HERDER, Epistles of two brothers of Jesus in our Canon, Lemgo, 1775.
ON SEPARATE EPISTLES: SCHRÖDER, SEEMILLER, SEMLER, ROOS, MORUS, HOTTINGER, ZACHARLÆ, Paraphrase Exposition. Göttingen, 1776. BENGEL, Explanatory Paraphrase of the Catholic Epistles and the Revelation of John, Tübingen, 1781. Commentary by G. SCHLEGEL, 1783.—CARPZOV, Epist. Cathol., Halle, 1790. J. L. W. SCHERER, the Catholic Epistles Vol. I., James, Marburg, 1799. AUGUSTI, the Catholic Epistles, Lemgo, 1801–1808. POTT, Epist. Cathol., 2 vols., 1786–1810. GÖPFERT, the so-called Catholic Epistles, Lemgo, 1801–1808, GRASHOF, the Epistles of the Holy Apostles James, Peter, John and Jude, translated and explained, Essen, 1830. JACHMANN, Commentary on James, Leipzig, 1838. SCHARLING, Jacobi et Judœ Epistolœ, etc., Copenhagen, 1841.
TREATISES ON THE CATHOLIC EPISTLES:—STÄUDLIN, Comment de fontibus Epistol. Cathol. Göttingen, 1790. STORR, de Cathol. Epist. occasione et consilo, Tübingen, 1789. J. D. SCHULZE, on the Sources of the Epistles of Peter, etc. The literary character and value of Peter, Jude and James., Weissenfels, 1802. F. LÜCKE ἐπιστολαὶ καθολικαί and Epistolœ Canonicœ in Theol. Studien und Kritiken, 1836, p. 643–650. MEYER’S Commentary (Parts–XII, XIV, XV. Commentary by HUTHER); DE WETTE, Exeget. Handbuch, I Vol. 3; III. Vol. 1.
[Besides the General Commentaries of MATTHEW HENRY, SCOTT, GILL, CLARKE, WHITBY, D’OYLY AND MANT, BARNES and the Greek Testaments of BLOOMFIELD, ALFORD and WORDS-WORTH, there are also the following: APOSTOLICAL EPISTLES: CAJETANUS, Folio, Venet., 1531, TITELMAN, F., Elucidatio in omnes epistolas apostol., 8vo., Ante., 1532.—GUALTHERUS, R Homilœ in omnes epist. apostol., Folio., Tiguri, 1599.—HEMMINGIUS, N. Comment in Omnes Epist. Apostol, Foiio, Lips., 1572.—ESTIUS, GUILELMUS, In omnes Epist., item in Cathol. Comment. Moguntiæ, 1841–45. DICKSON, D., Expos. analyt. omnium Apostol. Epistol., Glasg., 1645.—PYLE, THOMAS, A paraphrase, with notes upon the Acts, and all the Epistles, 2 vols. 8., London, 1737.—MACKNIGHT, JAMES, A new literal translation from the orig. Greek of all the Apostolical Epistles, etc., London, 1816.
ON THE CATHOLIC EPISTLES: THEOPHYLACT, OECUMENIUS, AQUINAS, HUS, FABER, CALVIN, COCCEIUS, CRIT. SACR., CORNELIUS ALAPIDE, RICLOT, DOM LOUIS, Paraphrase des Epîtres Canoniques, 12vo., Metz 1727. (Much commended by CALMET). COLLET, SAMUEL, Pract Paraphr. on the seven Catholic Epistles, etc., Lond., 1834. BENSON. G., The seven Catholic Epistles. SUMNER, ABP Pract, Expos. of the general Epistles of James, Peter, John, and Jude 8 vo., Lond. 1840.—M.].
II. THE EPISTLE OF JAMES
1. THE AUTHOR
James, who describes himself as Author of this Epistle, must be either the Apostle James the Less (Mark 15:40), or the son of Alphæus, Jacobus Alphæi (Matth 10:3; Mark 3:18; Luke 6:15; Acts 1:13), or also “the Lord’s brother” (Gal. 1:19; James 2:9), who is altogether identical with Jacobus Alphæi (Acts 1:13; 12:17; 15:13; 21:18).
This definite hypothesis does not follow solely from the Introduction: of this Epistle, in which he calls himself “a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ.” But it does follow from it, that James claimed to possess a prominent position in the Church, and felt conscious of being known to the whole Jewish-Christian Church as James, the servant of God and of Jesus Christ in an exclusive sense, which rendered it impossible to confound him with any other James.But that the tradition of the Church ascribed to him (with a preponderance of testimony) Apostolical authority follows from the reception of his Epistle into the Canon, although it was enumerated among the Antilegomena; indeed it is matter of inquiry, whether during the third century it was not by confounding data and opinions first included for awhile among the Antilegomena.
It is settled, however, that James the Elder, the son of Zebedee, cannot have been the author of this Epistle, because he suffered martyrdom as early as A. D. 44 (Acts 12:1, 2), while the internal allusions and statements of this Epistle belong to a much later period. The subscription in the Peschito and that in an old Latin translation ascribe without any reason the authorship to him, and Luther took him for the pretended author.
The question of the authorship of our Epistle would thus be settled, had not an old error diffused the opinion current in ancient tradition and modern theology, that it is necessary to distinguish the Apostle Jacobus Alphæi from the Lord’s brothers. It is the old Ebionite apocryphal legend of the Lord’s brothers.
Adhering to the simple statements of the New Testament all doubt concerning the identity of James with “the Lord’s brother” must vanish; although we do not at once see why James the son of Alphæus should be called the Lord’s brother.
For James, the son of Alphæus, passes at once from the lists of the Apostles, given in the Gospels (Matth. 10:2; Mark 3:16; Luke 6:14), into the list of the Apostles given in Acts (James 1:13). Here he appears as yet as James the son of Alphæus, by the side of his prominent name-sake, the son of Zebedee, who is therefore called simply James. But immediately after the death of this prominent James (Acts 12:2) there is mentioned another James, who bears that name without all further qualification (Acts 12:17); and the assumption is highly improbable that James, the son of alphæus, should in so short a time, have vanished from the stage past all tracing, without being thought worthy of having even his death noticed by Luke, the historian, and that there should suddenly have sprung up some non-apostolical James, who actually occupied a prominent position among the Apostles. We are thus forced to maintain that if after the death of James the son of Zebedee, who was simply called James, there arose forthwith another James who went simply by that name, that James must have been the son of alphæus. And thus he is mentioned all through Acts, ever the same and ever in the same position of a mediator of the new Christian faith and the historical national consciousness of his people (James 15:13; 21:18). But while the last meeting of Paul the Apostle, and this James of the Acts, who is called James without any further addition to his name, occurred about 59–60, A. D., it is to be noticed, that Paul made mention of James, as the Lord’s brother (Gal. 1:19; 2:9) several years before that time (about A. D. 56–57); so also the appellation “the Lord’s brother,” simply, or “James” simply (1 Cor. 9:5; James 15:7 about A. D. 58). Here, again we have to call attention to the circumstance that Paul. in the first chapter of Galatians, conjoins the same James, whom in the second chapter he describes as one of the pillars among the Apostles, with the rest of the Apostles, as the Lord’s brother.
In the first place, then, we must hold fast the hypothesis that James the son of Alphæus, and the Lord’s brother, are identical. The question now comes up, what is the relation of this supposition to the most ancient tradition of the Church? The oldest tradition is represented by Hegesippus and Clement of Alexandria. Hegesippus, according to Eusebius, 4:23, reports as follows: “James, the brother of the Lord received the government of the Church conjointly with the Apostles, who from the time of the Lord until our own was surnamed the Just by all; for many were called James, but this one was consecrated from his mother’s womb.” Then follows an account of his holiness, the character of a pious Nazarite and a faithful Christian martyr. He undertook the government of the Church with the Apostles, that is, he was not the exclusive bishop, but the coöperation (in the office) was reserved to the Apostles as such. As bishop in the Apostolical sense, according to which every overseer of the Church was subject to the joint Apostolate of the Church, he was distinguished from the Apostles although he was at the same time an Apostle,2 just as Peter was distinguished as spokesman from the other Apostles, although he belonged to their number, Acts 5:29 (ὁ Πέτρος καὶ οἱ ἀπόστολοι). If we here press the letter in the sense of a distinction of the son of Alphæus from the brother of the Lord, Hegesippus in another passage (Euseb, III., 22) on the descent of James declares himself in favour of the identity. He says that Simeon the son of Cleophas succeeded James the Just as bishop, this one again being a descendant of the same uncle of the Lord (θείου αὐτοῦ referred to the next following ὁ κύριος), and that all gave him this preference, as being the second relative of the Lord (ἀνεψιός).3 Cleophas, or what amounts to the same thing, alphæus (cf. Bretchneider’s Lexicon) was consequently our Lord’s uncle, James and Simeon (the same as Simon) his sons, James and Simon brothers, both the sons of alphæus, both cousins of the Lord, but the former, as appears from what has gone before, revered by the surname “the brother of the Lord.” Still more important is the testimony of Clement of Alexandria(Euseb. II., 1): “The Lord imparted the gift of knowledge (the gnosis) to James the Just, to John and Peter after His resurrection. These delivered it to the rest of the Apostles.” He then adds expressly, “there were, however, two Jameses; one called the Just, who was thrown from a battlement of the temple and beaten to death with a fuller’s club, and another, who was beheaded.” To this must be added the testimony of Origen in his Commentary on Matthew, James 17: But the testimony of the Gospel according to the Hebrews that Christ, after His resurrection, had appeared to James the Just, the brother of the Lord must be taken in conjunction with the testimony of Paul (1 Cor. 15:7), that “Christ was seen of James, then of all the Apostles. The same appearing therefore is called once an appearing to James the Apostle, and again an appearing to the brother of the Lord.
The list of the brothers of Jesus, given in the Gospels, specifies James, Simon and Judas (Matth. 13:55). The list in Acts also specifies James, Simon and Judas, but it distinguishes the James there introduced as the son of Alphæus, from James the son of Zebedee, the Peter there introduced, as Zelotes or the Canaanite from Simon Peter, and the Jude there introduced, as Lebbæus or Thaddæus from Judas Iscariot.1, 4 In the Apostolical Epistles we find after the death of the elder James, the name of a James who is an Apostle and also a brother of the Lord (Gal. 2; Gal. 1)5, who is also a brother of Jude, and to whom we are indebted for an Apostolical Epistle.
The most ancient tradition (that of Hegesippus) informs us therefore that James the brother of the Lord, was the brother of Simon, and that both were the sons of Cleophas=Alphæus. But from Clement we actually learn that there existed no other James of any importance than James the Elder and James the Just, who was one of the most distinguished Apostles (so distinguished that Clement, indeed, erroneously confounds him with James the Elder). Lastly concerning Jude, Hegesippus reports likewise a Jude who was called the brother of our Lord, according to the flesh (Euseb. III., 19, 20). Eusebius after his uncritical manner, or as an erring exegete, turns the phrase “he was called a brother of the Lord” into, “he was a brother of the Lord.” For in like manner he makes Simeon the son of Cleophas, whose death is reported by Hegesippus (Euseb. III., 32), the grandson of Cleophas, because he understood the phrase “Maria Cleophas” to denote “Mary the daughter of Cleophas.”
This identity, which is everywhere transparent, follows also from the most striking particular evidences. Mary, the mother of James the Less or of James the son of Alphæus, is also the mother of Joses (Matth. 27:56; Mark 15:40; 15:47, James 16:1). This proves that four brothers of the Lord bore the same names as the four sons of alphæus, viz.: James, Simon, Jude and Joses. On tie numerous complications of both lines, see this commentary on Matth. 13:53–58.6
The opposite view, that the brothers of the Lord constitute a line of the same name to be distinguished from said Apostles is a development which through different stages must be traced back to the Jewish-Christian consciousness; treated with respect to the real point of observation, we may designate it as a view of Ebionite-apocryphal origin. Its first stage is the New Testament emphasis on the sons of alphæus as being the brothers of the Lord. The Jewish-Christians gave peculiar prominence to the respective Apostles of the Jews, especially to James, particularly as contrasted with the authority of Paul. Paul admits this emphasis as to its historic value and recognizes as a climax of authority in which we have first the Apostles in general, then the Apostolical brothers of the Lord and then Peter, the Apostle (1 Cor. 9:5). But his language in Gal. 2 shows how far he is from according to this historical authority any thing like Apostolical priority. The continuance and growth of this Jewish-Christian emphasizing follows especially from the report of Hegesippus. But he still insists upon the identity of the brothers of the Lord with the sons of alphæus, he still designates their brotherhood as an original cousinship, he still holds fast to the coördination of the Apostles.—All this was changed with the full development of Ebionitism. The first Ebionite fanatics, who brought about a decided schism, denounced the aged bishop Symon, doubtless because he opposed their heresy, as a descendant of David, consequently as a relative of Jesus, doubtless after immoderate veneration had changed into immoderate hatred (Euseb. III. 32). But the later Ebionites (according to the Clementines) highly exalted James as the Lord’s brother even above Peter. Now since Peter was unmistakably the most distinguished member of the whole Apostolical College, the distinction of the brothers of the Lord from the like-named Apostles became inevitable. In the case of the common Ebionites was superadded the natural interest that this facilitated the view which made Jesus the actual son of Joseph, and Mary the mother of a number of children.—This spurious, apocryphal tradition imposed upon and misled the uncritical Eusebius, who was wont to huddle every thing together, who was consequently either greatly at variance with himself or uncertain in himself. As by misunderstanding Papias, in the interest of Theology against the Apocalypse (see Apostol. Age I., p. 215) he conjured up the phantom, of a presbyter John, and made Judas Lebbæus Thadæus one of the seventy disciples (1:12, 13), so he made also James, the brother of the Lord one of the seventy, that is: distinguished from James the Apostle (1:12), although in every instance he takes refuge behind tradition.
This laid the foundation of the vacillations of the later fathers concerning the brother of the Lord, among whom Gregory of Nyssa and Chrysostom favoured the distinction, Epiphanius and Augustine the identity, while Jerome is undecided (see Article Jacobus in Herzog, p. 408). Since all these fathers depend on Eusebius, their opinion, as opposed to the original tradition in this matter, is devoid of all independent weight. In modern and most modern times the majority of theologians beginning with Luther (that the author of the Epistle “was some good, pious man”) have decided for the distinction; but they are opposed by a great number of eminent theologians (see Winer, Art. Jacobus; Wiesinger, The Epistle of James, Introd. p. 4 and others).
The only question, however, relates to the merit of the arguments advanced in support of the two opposing views. But first of all must be settled the question how it was possible that the sons of Alphæus and of a Mary different from the mother of Jesus, could be or become the brothers of the Lord. According to Hegesippus (Euseb. III. 11) Alphæus or Clopas the father of Symeon the second bishop of Jerusalem, was the brother of Joseph and consequently Symeon the cousin of Jesus, by origin. But Mary the wife of this Alphæus is commonly and erroneously considered to have been the sister of Mary, the mother of Jesus. For Wieseler (in Studien und Kritiken 1840, Vol. III., p. 648) has shown that John 19:25 ought to be rendered: “But there stood by the cross of Jesus His mother, and the sister of His mother (Salome; after the manner of John only to indicate personal relations without specifying names), Mary the wife of Clopas and Mary Magdalene.” Hence the sons of Alphæus were at the most cousins of the Lord in the legal sense through their father Alphæus and Joseph the foster-father of Jesus, while the sons of Zebedee were at all events His cousins in a stricter sense, as the sons of Salome, the sister of Mary the mother of Jesus. Hence the reference to a wider sense of the term brother as denoting a relative or cousin (ἀνεψιός) is altogether insufficient to account for the constant appellation of James as the brother of the Lord. “But in this place arises the most simple hythosesis, supported by the custom of the Jews everywhere (see John 19:26, 27). Cleophas was dead, Joseph the foster-father of Jesus was his brother, (Hegesippus in Euseb. xi. 3); he now became also the foster-father of the sons of his brother Cleophas and thenceforth the family of Joseph and the family of Alphæus-Cleophas, the other Mary, therefore, and her sons James and Joses, Simon and Jude, with several daughters formed one household (Matth. 13:55; Mark 6:3). Now after the decease of Joseph also, the oldest brothers of Jesus, who most probably were older than Jesus especially James, gradually became the heads of this household and this circumstance would account for the disposition of these brothers even at a later period, to assume some kind of guardianship over Jesus (Mark 3:31; John 7:3.—See my article Jacobus in Herzog’s Lexicon).”—The sons of Alphæus were then according to Jewish law the brothers of Jesus.7 Schneckenburger on the false hypothesis of Mary Cleophas having been the sister of the mother of Jesus conceived that upon the early decease of Joseph, Mary the mother of Jesus went to live with her sister the wife of Alphæus.—
We now purpose giving (with reference to the Article Jacobus in Herzog’s Real-Encyclo-pœdia already quoted repeatedly) a brief account of the reasons and counter-reasons of the distinction between James the son of Alphæus and James the brother of the Lord.
Reasons: 1. James the son of Alphæus, being only the cousin of Jesus, could not be called the brother of the Lord. This difficulty is set aside by the above discussion of the subject.
2. The most ancient tradition of the Church does not make mention of James, the brother of the Lord, as of an Apostle. We have seen that the most ancient tradition affirms the opposite.
3. In the title of the Epistle of James the author simply calls himself the servant of Christ. But Paul also describes himself by the same title in the Epistle to the Philippians, John in the two lesser Epistles calls himself presbyter, and James had reasons of humility, wisdom and faith for calling himself the servant of Christ especially as he might well notice the abuse to which the appellation “brother of the Lord” had given rise.
4. John 7:5, we read that “the brethren of Jesus did not believe in Him,” at a time when James the son of Alphæus had been received already among the Apostles. But John doubtless refers to the same unbelief or want of resigned obedience of faith8 according to which his mother also did not believe in him, Mark 3:31, or Peter, Matth. 16:23 and Thomas, John 20:25.
5. The passage Acts 1:13, 14, besides enumerating the Apostles, mentions the brothers of Jesus. The primary reference may be to Joses and his sisters; but just as Mary, who certainly belonged to the women, is introduced besides the women by the special designation of Mary the mother of Jesus, so also the Apostolical brothers of Jesus, besides having been included in the list of the Apostles, may be introduced by the special designation of the brothers of Jesus.
6. 1 Cor. 9:5, introduces the brothers of the Lord alongside of the Apostles. To be sure; but Peter also is mentioned in particular according to the climax: a, Apostles in general, b, the brothers of the Lord as distinguished Apostles in the estimate of the Jewish-Christian opponents of Paul. c, Peter as the most distinguished Apostle.
Counter-reasons. 1. It is hardly conceivable that Luke (Acts 12:2) should suffer James the son of Alphæus to vanish from the stage without all further mention and to let some other James, until then not an Apostle, forthwith (Acts 12:17) enter the circle of the Apostles and enjoy peculiar distinction, without offering any explanation of the fact.
2. It is purely inconceivable, considering the importance attached by the Apostles to a duly authenticated call to the Apostleship (Acts 1:21, etc.), that they should have agreed to acknowledge as a man of Apostolical vocation, James a recently converted non apostle, although he was a brother of the Lord; and especially that Paul. who was obliged so emphatically to defend his apostolicity against Judaizing Christians, should have accorded so prominent a position among the Apostles (Gal. 2) to a non-apostle.
3. If any thing, it is still more inconceivable that the names of three real Apostles should have been extinguished without all trace by the names of three non-apostles who had acquired Apostolical authority, viz.: James, Simon, Jude.
4. Equally inconceivable is this threefold dualism of three names of equal dignity, equal descent and relationship, and of equal fraternity, that is.
a. James, Simon and Jude were Apostles. Another James, another Simon and another Jude acquired Apostolical distinction in their stead.
b. James the Apostle was the son of an Alphæus, the non-apostle James and his brothers were also the sons of an Alphæus.
c. In like manner James the Apostle and Joses were brothers, being the sons of Maria Alphæi. The non-apostles James, Simon, Jude and Joses being the sons of Alphæus probably would be also the sons of the same Mary.
5. In the passage 1 Cor. 15:7, a distinction is drawn between the appearing of Christ to James and His appearing to all the apostles indicating that he had been mentioned before as a single Apostle.
6. The passage Gal. 1:19: “But another of the Apostles saw I not save James the Lord’s brother,” can only by finesse be construed to mean that James was not counted among the Apostles, as has been done by Hess and Neander, but each in a way of his own. To this must be added:
7. Moreover the coördinate authority of the same James with Peter and John Gal, 2. to which Paul offers not the least objection although he had taken the watchword “to know nobody after the flesh.” We have still to superadd:
8. The above-mentioned most ancient church-tradition with its decisive testimony.
9. The demonstrability of the obscure Ebionite-apocryphal origin of the legend of the Lord’s brothers taken in conjunction with the insecurity of Eusebius and the false security of the fathers who sustain their opinion by his.
10. The agreement of the characteristic traits of the brothers of the Lord according to the Gospels with the characteristic traits of the like-named Apostles with reference to the caution of James (Mark 3: Acts 15:21: 18; the Epistle of James), to the fiery vivacity of Judas Lebbæus Thaddæus (John 7:3; John 14:22; the Epistle of Jude), which may also have been the characteristic trait of Simon Zelotes at an earlier period of his life; cf my Life of Jesus, p. 148; Apost. Age 1, p. 364. We have elsewhere repeatedly affirmed the identity of James and the brothers of the Lord with great decisiveness (Life of Jesus; Apost. Age, Article Jacobus in Herzog’s Encyclopœdia, in this Commentary on Matthew); but here it was impossible to avoid repeating a short resume of the process and it is necessary to use every effort towards the removal of the groundless and unreasonable Apocryphon of false learning from the field of theology.
After what has been said we may briefly sketch the life-portrait of James. It follows from the foregoing statement that James also must have been among the brothers of Jesus, who after His first appearance at Cana in Galilee accompanied Him to Capernaum. The Evangelist designates these companions of Jesus to have consisted of His mother, His brothers and His disciples. We have seen that there was good reason for the continuance of the two categories, His brothers and His disciples, at a later period, because the two lines did not fully cover each other, that is, because Joses and the sisters never belonged to the circle of the Apostles. But while we assume that the sons of Alphæus at that time were not yet disciples, their inclination to believe seems to follow from their having joined the company of Jesus.9 Soon after, after the first festive journey, Jesus appeared at Nazareth (Luke 4:22; Matth. 13:55), and on that occasion His brothers are mentioned as follows, James, Joses, Simon, Judas. Matthew according to his arrangement has assigned the respective event to a later period, probably because he connects it with a subsequent appearance of Jesus at Nazareth. Even then only the sisters, probably married, appear to reside at Nazareth (Math. 13:56; Mark 6:3). Again at a somewhat later period took place the first sending of the twelve disciple-Apostles and among them we find the name of James the son of Alphæus and the names of his brothers Lebbæus Thaddæus or Judas and Simon Zelotes or the Cananite. But the surname the son of Alphæus distinguishes our James from James the son of Zebedee. The separation of the Apostles had occurred some time before the visit of Jesus to the feast of Purim in the second year of His official life. At that feast Jesus had incurred the hatred and persecution of the Jewish hierarchy by the performance of a cure on the Sabbath day; hence He soon after was put to great straits in Galilee and His mother and brothers (Mark 3:21–35), conceived it their duty to restrain Him from His bold attitude towards His enemies and to save Him from their hand by stratagem. There is as little difficulty in supposing James the son of Alphæus to have participated in this rashness as there is difficulty in admitting the rashness of the sons of Zebedee (Luke 9:54), of Peter (Matth. 16:22), and in the unbelief of Thomas. Indeed we may go even so far as to suppose that James was the chief prompter in this matter, which exhibits a sinful caution, whose purified and spiritualized counterpart we meet again in his later conduct (cf. Acts 15, and James 21). For the same reason we may suppose that in the second exhibition of rashness in the opposite direction, on the part of the brothers of Jesus, which took place in the autumn of the same year before the feast of Tabernacles (John 7:3, 4), it was not James who was prominent but his brothers, especially Judas, who although silenced did at a later period revert once more to the idea of inciting Jesus to manifest Himself to the world (James 14:22), although it is to be noticed that Jesus had again greatly raised the courage of the disciples on the mountain of transfiguration and at the foot of the same. The degree to which the family of Alphæus emulated the sons of Zebedee (Matth. 20:20), in their sympathy with our Lord in His end at Jerusalem, is apparent from the fact that Mary the mother of James the Less and Joses was among the women that were spectators of the crucifixion. Yes, it was she only, who on the evening of the burial of Jesus in company with Mary Magdalene, sat over against His tomb (Matth. 27:61); in the same manner, she and Mary Magdalene were among the first of those women who on Easter-morning hastened forth to the tomb of Jesus (Matth. 28:1). Meanwhile James quietly matured into one of the much distinguished Apostles. After the martyrdom of the elder James, who seems already to have stood in a nearer relation to the government of the Church at Jerusalem, because Herod Agrippa laid hands on him first, James the Less, according to a tacit presupposition, seems to step into his place; for Peter charges those, to whom he showed himself after his deliverance from prison, to tell James and the brethren. At the Apostolic Convention at Jerusalem (Acts 15) James is one of the most distinguished speakers; and here we perceive clearly that he deemed it his task to be the mediator of the religious liberty of the Gentile Christians and the national customs of the Jewish Christians. He stands on precisely the same platform of faith as that of Peter and Paul; what he proposes in order to pacify the Jewish Christians is not a religious but an ethical dogma; a measure of missionary wisdom, which accordingly meets the approbation of all the Apostles. That he did not Judaize, and indeed as an Apostle he could not judaize, is evident from the decided ground he took against judaizing demands, which was also fully accorded to him by Paul (Gal. 2). On the other hand, in his cautious consideration for the Jews, whom in their national totatility he would gladly have saved for the Christian faith, he went to the utmost limit, as is evident from the counsel which he and his immediate associates gave to Paul on his last visit to Jerusalem (Acts 21). Paul was to give proof to the Jews that he did not despise the customs of the fathers by accomplishing the vow of a Nazarite in the temple at Jerusalem. We cannot consider this counsel in the light of an inspiration; it miscarried and actually produced the very opposite effect that had been contemplated. But Paul, who also before this entertained a high esteem for James (Gal. 1:2), saw nothing to object to it, although he could offer the most decided resistance to every judaizing tendency, even when Peter was guilty of it. But this cautious position of James, this keeping sacred the national custom of his people enables us to understand how the judaizers might make such manifold abuse of his name (as is apparent from Gal. 2:4, 12, and similar indications). James, then, is above all things an Apostle, a witness of Christ, everyways the equal of the other Apostles; Christianity is to him the fulfilment of the Old Testament, a new, absolute, eternal principle of religion and in this respect he, Paul and John occupy the same platform. But, in the next place, he is also the Apostle of the Jews ‘par excellence;’ that is, he conceives of Christianity in its close connection with the Old Testament, as the new perfect law of spiritual life and of liberty, because on the other hand he apprehends Judaism as passing into Christianity [Germ. werdendes Christenthum] and feels conscious of a special call for his people. As to the form of James’s ideas, it is to be noticed that he addresses Jewish Christians (for it is settled already that our Epistle can belong to only one James) to whom the mediating dialectical form would be a heterogeneous element. The purity of his Greek style indeed has been to some an enigmatical phenomenon. But it characterizes also the Apostle of holy carefulness.
Baumgarten (Acts 4:127) has treated at large of the grandness of the ecclesiastical position of James. The following sentence however requires to be examined. “James refuses to acknowledge any other liberty than that formed within the measure of the law and in this sense he calls the law, the law of liberty.”—In that sense the law has always been a law of liberty; but here the reference is rather to a liberty, developing and manifesting itself as a new law of life, and which preserves holy Jewish custom in Jewish-Christianity but patriarchal custom with (along-side of) Jewish-Christianity. “James represents the Christian dogma in the form of the Jewish Ethos [ἕθος=custom—M.]. He has removed the Old Testament law, as such, from the sphere of religion into the sphere of national custom. And this was the very task assigned to him, because he had to put forth the best effort of love with a view to gain the Jewish nation to Christianity. This effort is recorded by historical tradition.” (See Herzog’s Real-Lexicon, Art. Jacobus). Three reports are in perfect agreement on the characteristics of James and also with the sketch of his character found in Holy Writ. The Gospel according to the Hebrews narrates of him, that James after the death of Jesus took the vow, that from the time he had shared the last meal with Jesus he would not eat any thing until he saw Him risen from the dead; that the risen Saviour soon afterwards appeared to him and told him, “Go eat thy bread, for the Son of Man is risen from the dead.” This report sounds rather apocryphal; but its subject-matter, although not its very words, are confirmed by the statements of Hegesippus, that James was a Nazarite, and by the fact that he also recommended Paul to fulfil the vow of a Nazarite (Acts 21). This Nazarite vow on the part of James surely does not denote a wavering faith, as Neander thinks, but rather an over-bold form of his assurance of faith. In a general way, however, the account in the Gospel of the Hebrews concerning a special appearing of Christ to James agrees with the statement of Paul 1 Cor. 15:7. The second particular, for which we are indebted to Josephus (Antiq. XX. 9, 1) consists of a general notice of the martyrdom of James. He reports “that the high-priest Ananus, a Sadducee, in the interval between the departure of Festus from Palestine, A. D. 62 [Josephus speaks of his death—M.], and the arrival of Albinus, the new Procurator, caused the brother of Jesus, who was called Christ, whose name was James and some others,10 whom he had accused as breakers of the law, to be stoned to the great dislike of the more moderate citizens, who therefore informed against him before Albinus.” Eusebius (II. 23), superadds the words of Josephus that all the calamities of the destruction of Jerusalem did happen to the Jews to avenge James the Just who was brother of Him that is called Christ and whom the Jews had slain, notwithstanding his preëminent justice. To this we must add in the third place the detailed account of Hegesippus in Eusebius (II. 23). “With the Apostles James, the brother of the Lord, succeeds to the charge of the Church—that James who has been called the Just and from the time of our Lord to our own day, for there were many of the name of James. He was holy from his mother’s womb (a Nazarite, one consecrated), he drank not wine or strong drink, nor did he eat animal food; a razor came not upon his head; he did not anoint himself with oil; he did not use the bath. He alone might go into the holy place (εἰς τὰ ἅγια).”—This expression is falsely interpreted as designating the holiest of holies. The expression may admit of such an interpretation, but the Jewish law forbids it. The acknowledged Nazarite might probably go with the priests into the temple proper (Acts 21:26).—“For he wore no woollen clothes but linen. And alone he used to go into the temple and there he was commonly found upon his knees, praying for forgiveness for the people, so that his knees grew hard-skinned like a camel’s, from his constantly bending them in prayer and entreating forgiveness for the people.” On account therefore of his exceeding righteousness he was called “Just” and “Oblias” (according to Stroth עֹפֶל עָם), which means in Greek “the bulwark (pillar) of the people” and “righteousness,” as the prophets declare of him (in the opinion of the Jewish people). Some of the seven sects of the Hebrews inquired of him, “What is the door (doctrine) of Jesus?” And he said that this man was the Saviour, wherefore some believed that Jesus is the Christ. Now the fore-mentioned sects did not believe in the Resurrection, nor in the coming of one (Christ, Messiah) who shall recompense every man according to his works; but all who became believers believed through James. When many therefore of the rulers believed etc. At last, reports Hegesippus, there arose a general conflict of opinions among the people and at the Passover they placed him on the gable of the Temple and bade him solemnly declare in the audience of all the people what he believed concerning Jesus, because he was the Just and would speak in conformity with his convictions. From that lofty place he then cried with a loud voice: “Why ask ye me about Jesus, the Son of Man? He sits in heaven on the right hand of great power and will come in the clouds of heaven.” And many were convinced and gave glory on the testimony of James, crying, Hosannah to the Son of David. But the Scribes and Pharisees cried “Oh! oh! even the Just is gone astray,” rushed up and threw him down. Below they then stoned him (symbolically, therefore, the whole act was of course a zealotical stoning and so Josephus, from his centre of observation, correctly reports the event) and slew him with a fuller’s club.”—This narrative affords also a full illustration of the forementioned statement of Josephus superadded by Eusebius that the wisest among the Jews agree with him in regarding the destruction of Jerusalem as the punishment of this crime. Josephus and the Jews who were of his mind seem to have had an obscure foreboding that James was the last preacher of repentance sent to the Jewish people as a nation, and that the murder of this witness of the truth was the decisive stubbornness of the people as a people, upon which the judgment had inevitably to follow. Neander and Schaff have discovered without reason much legendary matter and an Ebionite mode of thinking in the report of Hegesippus. Hegesippus was certainly a Jewish Christian but not an Ebionite. It must not be overlooked that his opinion of James momentarily commingles in his report with his opinion of the Jewish people. But this narrative is strongly authenticated in all its main features. That James was a Nazarite is supported by Acts 21:23 etc., and by the citation from the Gospel according to the Hebrews. The zeal of James in interceding for the Jewish people is reflected in every thing we know of him. Josephus also testifies to the veneration James enjoyed among the Jewish people. But most important, in the last place, is the account of that public crisis which was to determine the decision of the Jewish nation for or against faith in Christ; and the antecedents of similar analogous crises, particularly in Acts 5:13; 6:7; 22:22, as well as its internal truthfulness, give decided support to this the main feature of the account of Hegesippus. The Nazarite character of James would also explain the reason why, to judge from later indications, the Essenes in particular became converts to Christianity and were more especially attached to the person of James not only as Jewish Christians but also in the direction of the Gnostic Ebionitism. The veneration with which Jewish Christians were wont to regard “the brother of the Lord,” which had already before that period become extremely one-sided, would be heightened in their case and the Clementines in particular supply evidence that this veneration had actually been thus heightened, for they exalt James above Peter and all the Apostles and make him the supreme Bishop of all Christendom. James has here been made the symbol of judaistico-chiliastic claims to the government of Church and the world. According to Epiphan hæres. XXX. § 16 there were among the glorifications of James actually ἀναβαθμοὶ ̓, Ιακώβου, descriptions of his pretended ascension. Epiphanius also notwithstanding his antagonism to the Ebionites, holds similar exaggerations (Hœres. XXIX. 4 and LXXVIII. 13). Probably it is only owing to Epiphanius misunderstanding Hegesippus that he states, “that James was like the highpriest permitted to enter once a year the holiest of holies because he was a Nazarite and wore the highpriest’s mitre (τὸ πέταλον). This myth is not on a level with the account of Polycrates respecting John (Euseb. V. 24). Polycrates doubtless accorded the highpriest’s mitre to John in a symbolico-ideal sense; which is hardly so in the case of Epiphanius. (See Herzog, Art. Jacobus). An ambiguous notice in Eusebius (VII. 19) states that the Church at Jerusalem in token of their veneration of James had preserved as a holy relic, his official seat.
Owing to the mythical difference between James the Just and James the Apostle the myth took further occasion to decorate particularly the end of the latter, considered separately. Nicephorus, II. 40, reports him to have first appeared as a messenger of faith in South-Western Palestine, then in Egypt; and that he was crucified at Ostracina in Lower Egypt. (For particulars see Natalis Alex. Sœc. I. p. 59.) On the Church legends of the supposed two Jameses cf. Stichart, Ecclesiastical legend of the holy Apostles, Leipzig, 1861, p. 79 etc. The chronology of Eusebius fixes the death of the real and one James in the year A. D. 63. Eusebius judiciously connects his death with Paul’s appeal to Rome (II. 23). Until then the hatred of the Jews had been directed mainly against Paul whom they tried to kill by all means. But by his appeal to Rome he escaped further persecution on their part. But since James had consorted with him at Jerusalem, it was natural that the hatred of many Jews should now be turned against him, the most distinguished representative of Christianity among them. But from this it does not follow that Eusebius intended to say that James was killed as early as the time when the appeal took place; nor does it follow from Eusebius III. 11 that the death of James took place immediately before the destruction of Jerusalem. The notice of Josephus that James was killed after the departure of Festus and before the arrival of Albinus leads to about the time given in the chronology of Eusebius, for Festus was called away in A. D. 62.
“Among the Apostles James is, par excellence, the representative of Christian wisdom, gentleness, mediation and union; as apostolical presbyter-bishop of Jerusalem he is the representative of Jewish nationality and custom in its Christian transformation and transfiguration. As the son of Alphæus he presents a contrast to the fiery, impetuous Judas Lebbæus Thaddæus, and exhibits the character of a sage and a sufferer matured, according to his charisma, in caution by constant spiritual discipline. Thus he was the last and most engaging expression of the Gospel to the Jewish people; and after the stoning of this messenger of faith, the city and people were sealed unto judgment, which was acknowledged not only by Eusebius, but even resented by Josephus. Jerusalem rejected Christianity especially because it hated in it the union with Gentile Christians.” (From the article “Jacobus”). On the literature of treatises on the supposed two Jameses see Winer’s Real Wörterbuch, Art. Jacobus, p. 525. Also Wiesinger’s Commentary p. 21 and the Introduction of Theile.
[EXCURSES ON THE BROTHERS OF THE LORD].
[The family relations of Joseph and Mary demand more than a passing or one-sided notice. This interesting, but very difficult and complicated subject involves the question: Was Jesus the only child in the Holy Family, or were there other children, and if so, who were they?
The New Testament answers the first part of the question in the negative, and says concerning the second that Jesus had brothers and sisters. They are mentioned with or without their name’s twelve times in the Gospels (Matth. 12:46, 47; 13:55, 56 (ἀδελφοί and ἀδελφαί); Mark 3:31, 32; 6:3 (sisters also); Luke 8:19, 20; John 7:3, 5, 10, once in Acts (1:14), once in 1 Cor. (9:5) and once in Gal. (1:19), where James of Jerusalem is called the Lord’s brother.
St. Matthew (13:55) gives the names of the four brothers, viz. James, Joses or Joseph, Simon and Judas.—St. Mark (6:3) calls them James, Joses or Josetus, Simon and Juda. Neither the names nor the number of sisters are mentioned, but they cannot have been less than two.
It is to be noticed that in all the passages referred to they are also called His brothers and sisters, i.e., the brothers and sisters of Jesus, never His cousins (ἀνεψιοί) or kinsmen (συγγενεῖς), and that these brothers and sisters are always mentioned in connection with Mary.
These are the simple facts of the case, and in any other case, the terms used would have been received in their natural sense, the brothers and sisters would have been regarded as brothers and sisters, nothing more or less. But dogmatical prejudices and ascetic extravagances concerning the sanctity of celibacy began at a very early period to apply a non-natural interpretation to the terms brothers and sisters with reference to our Lord. At least three leading theories have been advanced towards the solution of this question.
I. The theory which makes the brothers and sisters of Jesus the children of Joseph by a former marriage, or the adopted children of Joseph.
II. The theory which makes them the children of Mary, the sister of Mary the mother of Jesus, or the cousins-german of Jesus. As a variation of this theory, there is another which makes them His cousins both on the side of Joseph and Mary.
III. The theory according to which they were the children of Joseph and Mary, or the actual brothers and sisters of Jesus.
A condensed survey of these theories will enable us to form an idea of the difficulties connected with our subject.—
I. The hypothesis that the brothers and sisters of Jesus were the children of Joseph by a former marriage or his adopted children is founded on traditional notices drawn from the apocryphal gospels, which represent Joseph as a man of 80 years when he married Mary, the father of four sons and two daughters by his former wife Escha. The names of the children are variously given. This is the earliest tradition concerning the parentage of the brothers and sisters of the Lord, but need not detain us long, because even Jerome, the strenuous advocate of the cousin-theory, denounced it as “deliramenta apocryphorum,” as “apocryphal nonsense.” But notwithstanding this strong censure of Jerome, and ample margin being left to the reputed age of Joseph at the time of his marriage, it contains nothing intrinsically improbable. It is indeed, and we think justly, pronounced by Stier and Greswell a mere fiction devised to save the ἀειπαρθενία of Mary, and advocated on grounds of expediency by modern authors, but although the children of Joseph might and would be called the brothers and sisters of Jesus, the hypothesis is open to very grave objections, because it makes them the seniors of our Lord, which conflicts with their constant attendance on Mary and our Lord’s being the legal heir to the throne of David, a prerogative that could only have been enjoyed by the first-born, not by the last-born; for the people clearly knew nothing of His supernatural origin and here we have to deal altogether with popular impressions.
A modification of this hypothesis is Lange’s adoption-theory. He supposes Joseph to have had a brother Clopas or Alphæus, who married a certain Mary, not the sister of Mary the mother of Jesus. He died early and Joseph adopted his children who thus became the legal brothers and sisters of our Lord. Their mother also became an inmate of Joseph’s family. It is hard to realize such a state of things, if we consider that Joseph was a poor carpenter, and that Mary the supposed mother of those children should have relinquished her maternal rights over them. The hypothesis, although very ingenious, is purely speculative, countenanced neither by exegesis nor tradition, and evidently the result of dogmatic and critical perplexity.
Lichtenstein makes Joseph and Clopas, two brothers, marry two sisters both named Mary. At the death of Clopas, Joseph took Mary, the widow of Clopas, into his family, and thus the children were doubly related to our Lord, legally on their father’s side and naturally on their mother’s side—and might therefore after their adoption be styled the brothers and sisters of the Lord.
The Levirate hypothesis, according to which Joseph on the death of his brother Clopas, married his widow, and that the brothers and sisters of Jesus were the fruit of this marriage, belongs under this head, but needs neither discussion nor refutation.
II. We come now to the cousin-theory, which makes the brothers and sisters of our Lord the children of Clopas and Mary, the sister of Mary the mother of our Lord, and alleges that these children by a lax use of the words brother and sister were regarded to sustain the fraternal relation to our Lord.
This theory rests upon the following assumptions, 1. That alphæus and Clopas are identical; 2. that Mary the mother of James, Joseph, Simon and Jude was his wife and the sister of Mary the mother of Jesus; 3. that the lax use of the term “brother” is a fact. These assumptions are open to weighty objections.
a. The identity of Alphæus and Clopas rests on the slender foundation that James the Less, one of the twelve is called the Song of Solomon of Alphæus (Ἰάκωβος ὁ τοῦ Ἀλφαίου Matth. 10:3; Mark 2:14; 3:18; Luke 6:15; Acts 1:13) and that one of the spectators of the crucifixion, called Mary (Clopa=Μαρί ἡ τοῦ Κλωπᾶ) was the mother of James the Less, because a Mary, the mother of two sons James and Joses is mentioned in Mark 15:40; and that the Hebrew תַלְפַּי and the Greek, ̓Αλφαῖος are supposed to be different forms of the same name. This is probable but not certain. Matthew or Levi, moreover was also a son of alphæus and if the ellipsis in ̓Ιούδας Ἰκώβου (Luke 6:15; Acts 1:13) is to be filled up, as is commonly done, by inserting ἀδελφός, the Apostle Jude also was a son of Alphæus. Furthermore, if this Mary was also the mother of Simeon, another Apostle, we have the extraordinary fact that four Apostles, claimed by the advocates of this theory as the brothers of Christ, did not believe in Him, for John expressly informs us that His brethren did not believe in Him. (John 7:3 sqq.).
b. The assumption that Mary the mother of Jesus, and Mary the mother of James and Joses were sisters is founded on a solitary passage in John, which admits however of a very different and far more probable solution. It is John 19:25, which as punctuated and read by the advocates of the cousin-theory, enumerates the three Marys as spectators of the crucifixion. “Now there stood by the cross of Jesus His mother, and His mother’s sister Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene,” but the more correct reading is “Now there stood by the cross of Jesus His mother and His mother’s sister (Salome, the mother of John the Evangelist), Mary the wife of Clopas and Mary Magdalene.”—We know from Matthew that Salome, the mother of Zebedee’s children was present at the crucifixion, and this indirect reference to his mother, accords with the usual delicacy of John.
Instances of two sisters having the same name are indeed occasionally met with, but they are far from common; considered as a question of probability, it must be decided in the negative, and this decision will be corroborated by the other arbitrary and illogical elements of this hypothesis.
Let us look at it from another point of view. The Evangelists enumerate James, Joseph (for that is the true reading in Matthew) Simon and Jude as the four brothers of our Lord. The advocates of the cousin-theory allege that they were his cousins, but were called his brothers. We read also of another Mary the mother of James and Joses, who is nowhere called the mother of Simon and Jude. Now because she had one son, or if you will, two sons, whose names were identical with those of the brothers of the Lord, it is inferred that she was the mother of the brothers and sisters of the Lord. But the most authentic codices and the most reliable critics pronounce Joseph to be the correct reading in Matthew, and this develops the extraordinary logic that because here is a mother of two sons one of whom has the same name as that of a son of a mother of four sons, THEREFORE she is the mother of the four. The acumen of Aristotle, surely, is not needed, to detect this fallacy.—Add to this that the brothers of Jesus appear uniformly in the company of Mary, the mother of Jesus, that the Hebrew אָח, the representative of the Greek ἀδελφός, is used only twice in a lax sense, and then only in the case of nephews, that the words ἀνεψιός, consobrinus, or cousin (Col. 4:10 applied to Mark the cousin of Barnabas), υἱὸς τῆς ἀδελφῆς, sister’s son (Acts 23:26), and συγγενής, kinsman or relative form part of the New Testament vocabulary, that neverthless the Evangelists use the word ἀδελφοί and not any of the new terms, that the brothers did not believe in Christ before His resurrection, that therefore they could not have been Apostles, and that after His resurrection, even as believers they are expressly distinguished from the Apostles, and the inference is all but irresistible that this whole theory, from beginning to end, is involved in chaotic confusion and endless contradiction.
Much stress is laid by the advocates of this theory on the celebrated passage Gal. 1:19: “But other of the Apostles saw I none, save James, the Lord’s brother.” Read and construed as the verse stands in E. V. it is argued that Paul here declares to have seen at Jerusalem James, a brother of the Lord, who was an Apostle, that this must have been James of Alphæus or James the Less, because James the son of Zebedee was dead at that time, that here is a clear case of the word brother being used in the sense of cousin, and that consequently the Lord’s brethren are His cousins, the children of alphæus and Mary. The passage bears however the very opposite interpretation and some of the best Greek scholars have shown, and we think conclusively, that we ought to render “I saw none other of the Apostles (besides Peter to whom he had referred in the preceding verse) but I saw James, the Lord’s brother.” In other words Paul distinguishes James the Lord’s brother from the twelve. Still it is only fair to add that although James was not an Apostle, yet both on account of his exemplary piety and wisdom and on account of his relation to our Lord, and as first bishop of Jerusalem, he enjoyed apostolic dignity and authority. “That such was the case is evident from various passages in Acts, in the Epistle to the Galatians, from Josephus, Hegesippus and the tradition of the Eastern Church.”
III. The only remaining theory is that the brothers of Jesus were His actual brothers, that is: the children of Joseph and Mary. This view is the most natural, but beset by dogmatical difficulties. We will first state the arguments in its favour and then consider the dogmatical difficulties.
1. The language used by the Evangelists is such as to intimate that Joseph and Mary were man and wife.
2. The term ‘first-born’ although of technical value and importing certain privileges, may fairly be construed as implying the existence of children born subsequently, especially if it is considered that the Evangelists record events as historians after those events had become history, and that if they had intended to say that Jesus was Mary’s only-born, it was as easy for them to select that term, which forms part of the N. T. vocabulary as the ambiguous ‘first-born,’ which although susceptible of a non-natural interpretation, imports generally the existence of later-born children.
3. The Evangelists mention brothers and sisters of Jesus.
4. These brothers could not have been Apostles, for they continued to disbelieve in Jesus during His life-time.
5. The hypothesis that the brothers and sisters of Jesus were the children of Joseph and Mary simplifies the domestic relations of the holy family.
6. The objection which is sometimes brought against this hypothesis that Jesus would not have commended his mother to John, if she had other sons to take care of her (John 19:26). “But why,” asks Andrews if James and Judas were Apostles and His cousins, sons of her sister and long inmates of her family, and it was a question of kinship, did He not commend her to their care? The force of the objection remains then unbroken on the cousin-theory. The true reasons why our Lord confided His mother to John and not to His brothers, seem to have been the following:
a. The brothers did not believe in Him, and consequently could not sympathize with Mary in her great sorrow.
b. Between John, the most intimate friend of Jesus, who understood and appreciated Him better than all the disciples, and Mary there was the strongest bond of sympathy in their love of Jesus, and John was therefore most likely to uphold and comfort her with filial tenderness in her sad trials.
John, moreover, was the cousin of Jesus, being the son of Salome, the sister of Mary, and the brothers of Jesus were probably married, as the notice of Paul in 1 Cor. 9:5, seems to imply.
The last two points we do not urge as reasons, but merely state as matters of interest.
These plain facts, drawn solely from Scripture, conflict however with the old and widespread view of the perpetual virginity of Mary and the feeling that it was lowering the dignity of the Saviour and that of Mary to admit the probability or even possibility of further descendants. To preclude the possibility of such an hypothesis was doubtless the ruling motive of those who gave currency to the apocryphal fiction that Joseph was eighty years old when he married Mary.
The cousin-theory which may be traced back to Papias, although made current in the Church by Jerome, clearly originated in the desire to establish the superiority of the unmarried to the married state. Gnostic principles began early to prevail in the Church and to induce the desire to separate Christ as widely as possible from other men. To obliterate, if possible, any and everything He might be supposed to have in common with other men, was believed to add to His exaltation. This exaltation would naturally pass from Him to Mary, and with the development of Mariology and Mariolatry become an article of faith. Due allowance must also be made for the feeling “that the selection of a woman and that of a virgin to be the mother of the Lord, carries with it as a necessary implication that no others could sustain the same relations with her.” (J. A. Alexander). It is of course very difficult to account for the extent of this feeling, but there can be no doubt that it is not altogether free from an undervaluation of the honour and dignity conferred by our Lord on our common humanity by His Incarnation. The inspired writers of the New Testament seem to emulate each other in portraying the true humanity of Christ and in showing how He ennobled, glorified, and with reverence be it uttered, deified that nature which at the first came pure and holy from His creative Mind. It is surely an ineffably touching and consoling thought that the holy Jesus passed through every relation of human childhood and from having been a pattern of humility, modesty and forbearance to His brothers and sisters, from having borne with their impatience and want of sympathy, to evidence Himself in this respect also as our true Highpriest that He might be touched with a feeling of our infirmity.” And then as to Mary, her memory will not be less dear and sacred to us, as the mother of the brothers and sisters of Jesus, than as the ever-virgin. Marriage is a divine institution and has been made doubly divine by the human mother of our Lord.—
The question has from the earliest times been variously answered; the view that Jesus had actual brothers and sisters is as old as any of the other theories and we believe, with Neander, Winer, Meyer, Stier, Alford and Farrar that it accords best with the evangelical record, and barring dogmatical prejudice or feeling, is at once the simplest, most natural and logical solution of this otherwise hopelessly confused question, which fortunately is an open one in our Church and most of the Reformed bodies.
Those who desire to study this question are referred to ANDREWS, Life of Christ pp. 104–116. ALFORD Greek Testament, Introduction to Epistle St. James, DR. SCHAFF’S excellent Essay: “Das Verhältniss des Jakobus, Bruders des Herrn, zu Jakobus Alphœi, Berlin 1843, his annotation to Lange’s Matthew pp. 256–266, and to my Article in the Princeton Review for January 1865: “Are James the Son of Alphæus and James the Brother of the Lord identical?”—M.].
2. GENUINENESS OF THE EPISTLE
A. Notices which presuppose the early existence and reception of the Epistles in Clemens Romanus Ep. 1. James 10; in Pastor Hermas, Similit. viii. 6; in Irenæus, adv. Hœeres, iv. 16. Abraham amicus Dei (Jacob. 2:23). Tertullian adv. Judœos Cap. ii. Abraham amicus Dei. See on it Guerike, Isagogik, p. 441, and Huther p. 24.
B. Testimonies. The ancient Syriac Peschito contains this Epistle. Clemens Alex. knew it according to Euseb. Hist. Eccl. VI. 14. He also alludes to James 2:8 in Stromat VI.—Origen mentions the Epistle of James in Tom. 19 on John and occasionally calls it divina Jacobi Apostoli Epistola. Homil. 13 in Gen. etc.—Dionysius of Alexandria appeals to it in several places and Didymus of Alexandria wrote a commentary on it.—Cyril of Jerusalem and Jerome, Cat. 3 considered it to be genuine (Guerike p. 442).
C. Ancient doubts of its genuineness.—These were the natural outgrowth of the apocryphal Jewish Christian account of distinguishing James the son of alphæus from James the brother of the Lord. It is certainly not surprising (Kern supposes it is) that the testimony of Hegesippus is wanting for the Epistle in Euseb. 2:23, where he is only cited as the chronicler of the life and martyrdom of James. But Eusebius takes occasion to mention the Epistle itself in order to add the observation that it was accounted spurious, as many of the ancients had neither mentioned it nor the Epistle of Jude; but that they were publicly read in most of the Churches. The reason adduced is clearly of little weight against the genuineness of the Epistle. Origen may at first have intended to give a faint intimation of existing doubt; but this is rather doubtful (see Guerike 443, note 4). Eusebius placing the Epistle among the Antilegomena simply proves that in his time its genuineness was not universally acknowledged; he himself appears to have essentially shared those doubts, owing to his indecision in his historical view of the person in question. The doubts stated by Jerome are now only regarded as historical references; the alleged contradiction of Theodore of Mopsuestia cannot be authenticated, but even if it could, it would only be the statement of a critical view belonging to a later period.
D. Doubts at the time of the Reformation. Luther, in the preface to the Epistle of James A. D. 1522 says: “This Epistle of James, although rejected by the ancients (which is false) I praise and esteem good withal, because it setteth forth not any doctrine of man and drives hard the law of God (which is incorrect). But to give my opinion, yet without the prejudice of any one, I count it to be no Apostle’s writing, and this is my reason. First, because contrary to St. Paul’s writings and all other Scripture it puts righteousness in works (a misunderstanding; and if it were so, how could he praise it and esteem it good withal?). “Lastly he thought that the Author was some good, pious man.” Yes, “some good pious man” who understood better how to warn Jewish-Christians of the insurrection of the Jews than Luther knew to warn the Evangelicals of the insurrection of the peasants.—His opinion is couched in stronger terms in the preface to the Edition of the N. T. of 1524: “On that account the Epistle of James, compared with them (the Epistles of Paul and the remaining Epistles of the N. T.) is a veritable straw-Epistle. For it lacks all evangelical character.” It is striking enough that Luther held also to the opinion that the early-deceased James, the son of Zebedee was the author of this Epistle. Similar opinions rejecting the Epistle found in the Table talk (Tisch-Reden) proves that Luther retained this view to a later period although the respective passages were omitted in later editions of the New Testament. (See Huther p. 25). The opinion of Luther was followed by the Magdeburg Centuriators, Hunnius, Althammer and others; among the Reformed by Wetstein. It is known that Luther’s view could not do justice to the book of Revelation and other books of. Holy Writ; it was the enthusiastic prominence he gave to the doctrine of justification (the work to which he had been especially called), connected with his misapprehension of the general tendency of the Epistle and with the new born deep consciousness of evangelical liberty of thought as contrasted with exegetical tradition, that made him pronounce so embarrassed an opinion of our Epistle. In the Dorpat Magazine for Theology and the Church Vol. I. pt. 1. 1859, p. 152, von Oettingen reviewing Huther’s Commentary on the Epistle of James says concerning the forementioned opinion of Luther: “This opinion of Luther not only has been recently adopted by the Tübingen school utiliter for its tendencies but it has also been repeated by the Gnesio-Lutherans, as is proved by the following hasty statement of Ströbel (in a review of Wiesinger’s Commentary in Guerike and Rudelbach’s Magazine for Lutheran Theology, 1857, II. p. 356. “No matter in what sense we take the Epistle of James, it is always in conflict with the remaining parts of Holy Writ.” Very justly von Oettingen expresses his censure of that opinion in the name of the Biblia Stroebeliana (see in Huther p. 28). In the Roman Catholic Church doubts were uttered by Erasmus and Cajetanus.
E. Modern doubts. Forerunners: Faber, Bolten, Bertholdt: James wrote in Aramean, the Greek translation the work of another hand.
De Wette, Introduction to the New Testament. It is difficult to see why James should have written an Epistle to all the Jewish Christians in the world. Its contents are ambiguous. It lacks personality. The missed contradiction of Paul is undignified. James 2:25 seems to refer to Hebrews 11:31 and consequently to betray a later author. How could James write such good Greek? For counter-statements see, Guerike, Contributions, p. 160 etc.
Schleiermacher:—Introduction to the New Testament, edited by Walde. He finds the opinion of Luther confirmed, the style in part ornate, in part clumsy and as to the contents of the Epistle, he finds much bombast.—
Kern:—The character and origin of the Epistle of James, Tübingen Magazine 1835, II. Why Hegesippus did not mention the Epistle ?
Baur:—“Paulus,” p. 677; “Christianity of the first three centuries, p. 96.”—On the ground of the well-known Ebionite hypothesis and of the assumption that the Epistle teaches a righteousness of good works against Paul. Schwegler in the train of Baur: “The Post-apostolic Age, vol. I. p. 413 etc. Reasons for the alleged spuriousness: 1, The want of individuality; 2, Christian antiquity unacquainted with the Epistle and its later recognition as canonical; 3, the mild form of Ebionitism it sets forth; 4, the internal church-relations assumed in it; 5, its acquaintance with the Pauline Epistles, the Epistle to the Hebrews and the Gospel according to the Hebrews.—Quite new, but also quite untenable is here especially the discovery of Ebionitism. The very name of James, the address to the twelve tribes, the word synagogue for Church are adduced in proof of the Ebionitism of the Epistle; the rich πλούσιοι—are to denote the Gentile Christians. But in that case, James 2:2 would make the congregations addressed by the author non-Ebionite, Notwithstanding the strong language used against the rich (=Gentile Christians) the Epistle is alleged to be ironical, and said to aim at effecting a compromise between Jewish and Gentile Christians. For further counter-remarks see Huther p. 301 and Reuss § 146, Note. Huther p. 31 treats also Ritschl’s view of the Epistle of James (which has however been modified in the 2d edition) and mentions Rauch’s attack on the integrity of the passage James 5:10–12, which has been repelled by Hagenbach and Schneckenburger (see Guerike p. 448).
Credner considers the Epistle genuine as the production of the brother of the Lord and denies the authorship of James the Apostle. But this point is decided by the right apprehension of the Author’s person (§ 1). Moreover it is to be noticed that Schott has revived the view of Bolten etc., that the Epistle is a free translation of the Aramean original; an assumption, devoid of all foundation.
The circumstance of the Epistle not being generally known to the ancient Church at an early date may be accounted for by the following considerations:
1, It was addressed to Jewish Christians (hence it occurs already in the Peschito, because in Syria in particular there were many Jewish Christians; this circumstance is rendered prominent by Ritschl);
2, The Epistle, in its tendency, presented only few dogmatical points, whereas the ancient Church reverted especially to dogmatical points;
3, The absence of the apostolic designation in the title and similar matter. See Guerike p. 444. The chief reason lay probably in the circumstance that the consciousness of the concrete relation of the Epistle, which made it appear in its whole weight, became gradually less prominent.
[ Alford: “On the whole, on any intelligible principles of canonical reception of early writings, we cannot refuse this Epistle a place in the Canon. That that place was given it from the first in some part of the Church; that in spite of many adverse circumstances, it gradually won that place in other parts; that when thoroughly considered, it is so consistent with and worthy of his character and standing whose name it bears; that it is marked off by so strong a line of distinction from the writings and Epistles which have not attained a place in the Canon; all these are considerations which, though they do not in this, any more than in other cases, amount to demonstration, yet furnish when combined a proof hardly to be resisted, that the place where we now find it in the N. T. Canon is that which it ought to have, and which God in His Providence has guided His Church to assign to it.”—M.].
3. OCCASION, DESTINATION AND OBJECT OF THE EPISTLE, ITS THEOLOGICAL AND STYLISTICAL CHARACTER
We should be obliged to treat twice of the contents of tins Epistle, were we to omit to consider first the question stated at the head of this section. For in order to gain a thorough appreciation of the full import and apostolical value of this Epistle our exposition should be duly influenced by the character of James, by his relation to the Jews and to Jewish Christians, by Jewish affairs belonging to its date and by the Christian-prophetical stylistic which demanded an address to his people. To the circumstance, that the Epistle of James, in most instances, has been dissociated from all these vital considerations, is mainly to be ascribed the manifold misunderstanding of the same. The consideration of the contents according to the leading thoughts and the total impression of the Epistle, to be sure, ought to precede the investigation relating to occasion, object etc., but the exposition of its historic genesis will enable us to understand it with reference to the whole of its glorious contents, that is, then also to set forth its contents in detail.
The title v. 1 shows that the Epistle of James was addressed to Jewish Christians in the widest sense of the term, for the whole people was only one diaspora (dispersion) viewed as a huge whole. The same remark applies to the First Epistle of Peter with reference to the Jewish Christians of Asia Minor and also to the Epistle to the Hebrews with reference to the Jewish Christians of Palestine.—The date of the Epistle of James falls most probably (as we conclude from the developed condition of the Jewish Christian Churches) into the latest period of his life, about A. D. 62. The date of the composition of the first Epistle of Peter we fix with Thiersch (63–64) at about A. D. 64 (see my History of the Apost. Age, I. p. 148 and II. p. 574) not with Weiss and Fronmüller A. D. 54 or 55, because at the latter period the prolonged activity of Peter at Babylon and the multiplication of Jewish Christian Churches in Pontius are entirely out of the question. To the same period, to A. D. 62–64, belongs the Epistle to the Hebrews (see my Apostolic Age, I. 75; cf. this Commentary on the Epistle to the Hebrews, where for good reasons the date given is the interval between the death of James in A. D. 61 or 63, and the beginning of the Jewish war in A. D. 67).
Said three Epistles addressed to Jewish Christians originated therefore in a period when the Jewish revolution against the supremacy of the Romans had already begun to germ and ferment in the minds of the Jewish people. The proper foundation of this revolution had already been laid by the crucifixion of Christ, but especially by the rejection of Christianity sealed with the execution of James (see my Apost. Age, Vol. II. p. 427), Thereby the preserving and saving element had been separated from the Jewish nationality, which henceforth, developed into perfect pharisaism, stood arrayed in deadly enmity both against the pagans and the Christians. The pagan instinct, however, returned this antagonism also in its representatives, the Roman governors and thus provocation and persecution increased on the part of the pagans, and fanatical commotions and tumults on that of the Jews. So already Felix, the proconsul, treated the Jews worse than his predecessors and the Jews in their turn resented his maltreatment by several insurrections, especially under the leadership of an Egyptian who took 30,000 men to the Mount of Olives. Similar jarrings and revolts were repeated under Festus. The Jews on the whole, restrained themselves as yet under the proconsulate of Albinus (A. D. 63–65). But the war broke out in A. D. 66 under Gessius Florus. The rupture among the Jews and Gentiles turned into open revolution first at Cæsarea; immediately afterwards at Jerusalem and the flames of the most atrocious religious war spread on all sides, to Scythopolis, Damascus, Askalon, Ptolemais, Hippo and Alexandria; everywhere the Jews were slaughtered by thousands.
It must be assumed, that the same excited, enthusiastic and fanatical disposition flashed from Jerusalem through the entire Jewish diaspora and that the hope of miraculous deliverance and the impulse of revolutionary self-help and revenge conspired every where with their animosity against the Gentiles, who in their turn were filled with equal deadly hatred.
Such was the situation. But now must be taken into account the powerful effect of such national sympathy and antipathy on the Jewish Christians. Nationally they were still Jews and Jewish blood stirred and boiled in their veins. They were in common with the Jews attacked and tempted on the one hand, by the hatred, contempt and oppression of the pagans; and on the other by Jewish-national sympathy, by their yearning for deliverance and by their chiliastic, enthusiastic hopes. The national movements of modern and quite recent times offer appropriate illustrations of the powerful influence of such a national revolutionary current on the individual members of the respective people. That movement was consequently the great seductive alternative that lay before the Jewish Christians of that period. Standing aloof from the revolutionary movement, they were cursed and persecuted as apostates by their national brethren. We know from history how much the Christians had to suffer in this respect during the later insurrection of the Jews under Bar Cochba in the time of Hadrian. Bare sympathy on the other hand with the chimerical enthusiasm of the Jews, was entering the road to apostasy (for they exchanged the faith in Christ for the hope of a pseudo-messianic deliverance), falling into unbelief of the justice of God in the judgment that was coming on their people and severing the bond of church-fellowship with the Gentile-Christians, while they were restoring religious fellowship with Christ-murdering fanaticism.
Hence the Spirit of Christ on all sides warned them and confirmed their faith in this their situation; and the above-mentioned three Epistles are the documents of this guardian Spirit, and in this light alone can they be rightly understood. They are therefore the most appropriate sequel to the prophetical warnings, cautions and exhortations of the eschatological speech of Christ in Matth. 24:16 etc.
Even if the revolutionary spirit had been less developed during the last days of James, his prophetical forebodings would sufficiently account for his hortatory Epistle (v. James 5:1); as in a similar manner a prophetical presentiment of the Church anticipated a dearth (Acts 11:27); and foretold the imprisonment of Paul (Acts 21:10).
James had the immediate and wide-reaching vocation to confirm the Jewish Christians without incautiously delineating the impending revolution in colours too positive. Hence he issued a circular letter to the twelve tribes in the dispersion.
This address has been variously interpreted: it is maintained that the Epistle addresses converted and unconverted Jews (Grotius, Wolf, Credner etc.), Jewish Christians and Gentile Christians as divided parties (Kern), as a closed society (de Wette and others), Jewish Christians (Neander, Guerike, Wiesinger etc.). See Wiesinger’s Introduction. (The views, which assign to the Epistle a wholly particular destination, e.g. Noesselt: to the Christians at Antioch, see in Hertwig’s Tables p. 51). Huther (p. 12) lays stress on the consideration that the Author saw only in Jewish Christians true Jews and that there did not then exist so sharp a separation of Judaism and Christianity.
We rather think it necessary to lay stress on the circumstance that James, according to the relations he bore to his people, and as long as that people had not set the seal to their obstinacy in the last symptoms of their apostasy (viz.: the execution of their bishops and their chiliastic revolution against the pagan authorities which involved their renunciation of Christian salvation), not only saw in the Jews catechumens of Christianity by birth, but he also saw in the Jewish Christians the true Jews. Addressing therefore the twelve tribes he did not address the Jews in a dogmatical sense as associates of the old religious communion, but he did address the Jews as his theocratico-national brethren, the noblest part of whom had already become his brethren in the faith and all of whom were called to become his brethren in the faith. His primary object of course was to warn the Jewish Christians against taking part in the fanatical revolutionary spirit of the Jews, but surely his secondary purpose was to warn the Jews against being carried away by the hostility and oppression of the tyranny into revolt and the final falling away from the patience of Christ. We admit therefore the correctness of the following remark of Guerike (p. 435) “Strictly speaking the twelve tribes in the diaspora certainly denote only those living out of Palestine, but in a more general sense the term does not exclude the Jews living in Palestine and the contents of the Epistle show that the term is here used in the latter sense.”
The point, therefore, on which James felt constrained to speak to all his brethren was to advert to the fact that they were exposed to a great and manifold temptation and that they needed great perseverance in the spirit of Christ’s patience. Especially he felt called upon to encourage believers (James 1); solemnly to threaten those who had thus far persevered in unbelief and self-righteousness (James 5:1); variously to instruct, warn and admonish the tempted and manifold-wavering brethren (James 2 etc.]. On the other hand he had to couch his warning against the chiliastico-political fanaticism of his time in terms sufficiently general and cautious in order to avoid the suspicion of being mixed up with the political issues of the question, that is, he had to treat it on purely religious grounds.
The further destination of his pastoral Epistle for all Jewish Christians, relatively including the Jews, accounts also for the careful Greek diction which is characteristic of the Epistle. It also explains the Hebrew-symbolical character of the Epistle whereby it is related to the prophetical style of the O. T. This character surely is wholly misunderstood, if the Epistle is made to yield the result that in the Churches, whom James addresses, the poor on account of their faith were oppressed by the rich, that the rich were flattered in their religious assemblies etc. As in James 1 the twelve tribes represent the people of God in its present state of development of actual and future Christliness,11 as the ἀνὴρ δίψυχος denotes the man who doubtingly wavers between faith and apostasy, so the poor represent the humble and those who believe through humility, but the rich denote the self-righteous and those who are unbelieving through self-righteousness. And again as in James 2 the synagogue describes the assembly of the congregation, and the rich man with a gold ring and a splendid garment denotes the proud, Ebionitising Jewish Christian parading his ring of the Jewish Covenant, while the poor man with a vile garment describes the Gentile Christian, so faith denotes here in the theocratic sense the Jewish theocratic rightness-of-belief (Thiersch, too strong: Jewish orthodoxy), while the work of faith on the other hand signifies the energy and consistency of life exhibited in faith-work, which is the evidence of living faith; the New Testament faith, consistency of life, the work in grandi, which is the evidence of the vitality of the O. T. faith, but especially the N. T. faith as brotherly love towards Gentile Christians (the poor brother, the poor sister). And as in James 3 the becoming teachers of many (πολλοὶ διδάκαλοι γίνεσθε) denotes the doctrinal, propagandistic nature of the Jewish Christians and the Jews (v. Rom. 2:17 etc.), so the fiery spark which grows into a great conflagration describes Jewish fanaticism. In James 4 the wars and disruptions (E. V. fightings) probably denote not only disputes and sectarism, but the adulterers and adulteresses describe not such persons in a literal but in the O. T. religious sense, viz.: apostates or such as are inclined that way. As James 4:13, 14 contains a prophetical allusion to the sad transformation of the gain-seeking Jewish diaspora, so James 5 foretells the great judgment impending on the rich, on self-righteous Judaism. These hints may suffice to show that the character of the Epistle answers to its end and aim. For this very reason its specifically Christian character comes out only in general outlines. The wide-reaching destination of the Epistle would hardly admit of a too definite dogmatical treatment.
That the receivers proper of the Epistle were really Christians is manifest from its fundamental Christian tone: “Servant of the Lord Jesus Christ—brethren, beloved brethren,—he begat us with the word of truth—the good (E. V. worthy) name—the killing of the Just—the nearness of the Lord—” etc. see Huther, p. 12. That on the other hand these Christians were Jewish Christians is evident from “the synagogue” 2:2; the prominence given to monotheism 2:19; the enumeration of Jewish formulæ of oaths 5:12 etc.; and still more from the characteristic features of Jewish improprieties which are denounced; such as pride of faith, fanaticism, conceit and such like (Wiesinger, Schaff, Thiersch, Huther).
As regards the place of writing, the Authorship of James determines also the place where he wrote the Epistle, viz. Jerusalem: “The conjecture of Schwegler that the real place of writing was not Jerusalem but Rome, is nothing but a fiction invented in favour of his hypothesis.” Huther.
[Jerusalem was the centre of attraction to the Jews of the Diaspora; many of the Jewish Christians were doubtless in the habit of attending the feasts and thus centrally located, James had every facility of information as to the religions condition of those Jewish Christians and of oral or written intercourse with them.—The physical notices found in the Epistle support the supposition that the Epistle was written at Jerusalem. The author wrote not far from the sea, James 1:6; 3:4; he lived in a land blessed with oil, wine and figs, 3:12; he was familiar with salt and bitter springs, 3:11, 12; the land was exposed to drought, rain was a matter of great importance to the inhabitants, 3:17, 18; the land was burnt up quickly by a hot wind (James 1:11, καύσων, a name especially known in Palestine); the author names the former and the latter rain, πρώϊμος and ὄψιμος, as they were called in Palestine, James 5:7. See Hug. Einleitung, ed. 4, p. 438 etc. and Alford, Prol. to James 3:2, 3.—M.].
On the date of the Epistle opinions are much divided. Pfeiffer (Studien und Kritiken, 1852, Ch. I., p. 95), Schneckenburger, Theile, Neander, Thiersch, Hofmann, Schaff (and in less decided language also Huther) say that it was written before the Apostolic Council at Jerusalem, but Schmidt, Guerike and Wiesinger maintain that it was written after it. Huther gives the allowing reason: “After that time the Pauline doctrine that man is justified not ἐξ ἔργων but ἐκ πίστεως not only had become generally known but also had so profoundly moved the mind of Christendom, that it is inconceivable that James in view of this circumstance could utter his ἐξ ἔργων etc. in perfect ignorance of it,” This reason may also be reversed thus: If James wrote this Epistle earlier in an anti-Pauline sense, he would not have declared at the Apostolic Council that he was in agreement with Paul. We ought rather to distinguish between the historico-theocratic sense (Monotheism) and the specifically-Christian sense of the word faith. The chief reasons for the later date of the Epistles, namely, shortly before the death of James, are these. The spread of Christianity through the entire Jewish diaspora, and the general recognition of the authority of James by the entire-Jewish Diaspora in relation to the death of James (A. D 62–63) required to be fixed at the latest possible date.—Then we have the important consideration that a general temptation of all Jewish-Christendom to falling away from the faith arose for the first time with the first germinating beginnings of the Jewish revolution or with the more positive opposition of the hatred of the pagans to the fanaticism of the Jews. To this must be added the highly important consonancy in which our Epistle in this respect stands to the first Epistle of Peter and the Epistle to the Hebrews.12
4. THE RELATION OF OUR EPISTLE TO THE PAULINE EPISTLES, THE CATHOLIC EPISTLES, TO THE MOST HOMOGENEOUS EPISTLES VIZ. THE FIRST OF PETER AND THAT TO THE HEBREWS. ITS NEW TESTAMENT PECULIARITY
A. JAMES AND PAUL
The apparent contradiction between the doctrine of James (James 2:24) and the doctrine of Paul (Rom. 3:28: 4:2) concerning justification and the question connected with it as to the relation of faith and works, did already cause Luther to be greatly staggered, and because he considered the contradiction as founded on fact, to induce him to pass the above-mentioned unfavourable opinion on the Epistle of James. In modern times theology has been much engaged with the discussion of the question whether or not James and Paul contradict each other.
The answer of this question has occasioned a group of different questions:
1. In favour of a real contradiction are Luther and his immediate followers, and recently Strœbel, Cyrillos Lucaris (see Neander’s History of the Planting etc., Bohn’s edition, Vol. I., p. 357), de Wette, Kern, Lutz (Bibl. Dogmatik, p. 170), Baur, Schwegler.
2. For a contradiction against the misinterpretation and the abuse of the Pauline doctrine on the ground of an essential agreement between Paul and James, are several ancient expositors, Augustine, Grotius (see his Annotationes ad N. T. II. p. 973), Gebser, p. 214, and others.
3. There is no contradiction either of Paul himself, or of the abuse of his doctrine; this view starts on the supposition that the dogmatical tropus of James, which differs from that of Paul, took shape sooner than the latter—so Schneckenburger, Theile, Neander, Schaff, Thiersch, Hofmann, Huther (p. 35).
4. There is no contradiction, but an antithesis and difference of dogmatical tropus. Although according to its internal relations it is the first and earliest of the N. T., it does not follow that it must also have preceded the doctrine of Paul chronologically, Schmid, Wiesinger and others.
Ad. 1. It has been supposed that the illustration of Abraham James 2:21 was chosen intentionally in opposition to the application of the same illustration in Rom. 4:1 etc.; and the illustration of Rahab, the harlot James 2:25 in opposition to the application of the same illustration in Heb. 11:31. The following circumstances, apart from the otherwise perceptible unity of spirit in the two Epistles, militate against the supposed contradiction.
a. The historically-proven assent of James to the doctrine of Paul, see Acts 15 and Gal. 2.
b. The manifest and demonstrable difference of James and Paul in the definition of the terms πίστις, ἔργα, δικαιοῦσθαι.
c. The actual agreement of doctrine which follows from an unprejudiced conception of the differing points of view and from the exposition of the respective passages. For while with James πίστις does not denote orthodoxism, because this faith may be animated by energy of life or the evidence of works (James 1:25), it does denote the historico-theocratical orthodoxy, which is to evidence its efficient power in consistency of life, indefatigable activity (ἐντέλεχεια) and energy of Christian deportment. And it is this very energy, which St. Paul calls faith, the evidence of which is its working by love.
ἔργα with James are not the dead works of the law (James 2:10) but the living evidence of faith in works (James 2:8). If it is alleged that James had developed a defective idea of faith, it may be alleged with equal force that Paul has developed a defective idea of works. But both would be false. With Paul living faith as the work of works excludes dead works: with James the living work-of-faith as the evidence of faith excludes dead faith. Faith without works is dogma-righteousness, orthodoxism. Works without the foundation of faith are work-righteousness, ergism.
But James as well as Paul acknowledges the δικαιο͂υν ἑκ πίστεως; only he calls it λογίζεσθαι εἰς δικαιοσύνην (see James 2:23) while he understands by δικαιοῦσθαι Paul’s δοκιμάζεσθαι, σφραγίζεσθαι. See Calvin ad loc. Huther, p. 127, and others; my Apost. Age, I., p. 171; the Article Jacobus in Herzog, p. 417.
But his point of view is not the work-righteousnes of the Jews, but the dogma-righteousness of the Jewish-Christians and Jews, a tendency which Paul also has distinguished from the tendency of ergism, as one at once Jewish-Christian and Jewish. See Neander, Plant., Vol. I., p. 358., Brückner on de Wette, p. 199.
Ad. 2. It is not probable, that an abuse of the Pauline doctrine should have spread just among the Jewish-Christians, to whom James wrote. Neander, Plant. Vol. I. p. 359; Brückner, p. 189; Huther, p. 32.
Ad. 3. The supposition that James’ dogma-tropus as related to Paul’s must be taken as being undeveloped as to its forms (Neander, Schaff and others), cannot be proved.
a. Because the circular Epistle of James cannot be regarded as a complete development of his system of Christian dogma.
b. Because the use of gnomical and tropical forms in James alongside of the dialectical forms in Paul does not constitute an inferior degree of completeness, but rather the coördination of a Jewish Christian mode of teaching with the Gentile Christian mode of teaching of Paul. In like manner the historical conception of this view which assigns a very early date to the Epistle of James, has not been proved (see section 3).
The view advanced under this head, as to its most important features, is sufficiently conclusive from the foregoing explanations.
On the other relations of Paul and James, relations of affinity and contrariety, which have been explained as relations of dependence and polemics, of. Brückner on de Wette’s Commentary, p. 188. [The treatise of Bp. Bull, Harmonia Apostolica, discusses this whole question very fully and learnedly, and the eminent author reaches the conclusion that our Epistle is not contradictory, but rather supplementary to the Epistles of St. Paul to the Romans and Galatians. Compare also on the same side Barrow’s Sermon on Justifying Faith, Works, Vol. IV., Serm. 5, p. 123.—M.].
B. THE EPISTLE OF JAMES AND THE CATHOLIC EPISTLES IN GENERAL
Besides its evangelical destination, which this Epistle has in common with most of the Catholic Epistles, it shares with all of them the Jewish-Christian type of doctrine which puts dialectics in the background and gnomical and symbolico-figurative forms in the foreground (see Huther, p. 21). Its gnomical mode of statement establishes its chief affinity to the Epistles of John, its symbolical expression establishes its affinity to the Epistle of Jude, the second of Peter (James 2), and besides, to the Epistle to the Hebrews which is closely connected with the Catholic Epistles.
C. THE EPISTLE OF JAMES, THE FIRST EPISTLE OF PETER AND THE EPISTLE TO THE HEBREWS, A TRILOGY
Above we have already pointed out the sole significance of this trilogy. They have in common the tendency of earnestly preparing the Jewish Christians in the impending outbreak of the Jewish war for the great temptation to apostasy, to which they were exposed by the hostility and oppression of the pagans and the fanaticism and revolutionary spirit of the Jews. They all aim at strengthening the Jewish-Christian people for that great temptation and at warning them of the great apostasy (see above). Here James the Apostle [?] starts with the harmony of the Jewish law itself as necessarily leading to its perfection in the Christian law of liberty, the first Epistle of Peter starts with the fulfilment of the promise of the Old Testament-kingdom in the New Testament-kingdom of inheritance, while the Epistle to the Hebrews starts with the superiority of the cultus of the New Testament to the covenant-cultus of the Old Testament. The warning of James describes the principal danger of his brethren as a double-mindedness gravitating at once towards God and the world and the breaking out in impatience the warning of Peter delineates it as indecision and visionary enthusiasm (James 1:13), while the warning of the Epistle to the Hebrews characterizes it as unbelief, apostasy and rebellion. But the spheres of their operation also are different. The first Epistle of Peter is addressed to the Jewish-Christians in Asia Minor written at Babylon, the Epistle to the Hebrews is probably addressed chiefly to the Jewish-Christians in Palestine written at Rome or in Italy, the Epistle of James is addressed to the Jewish-Christians throughout the world, written at Jerusalem.
D. THE NEW TESTAMENT PECULIARITY OF JAMES
Besides the references of our Epistle to the Old Testament, to the book of Jesus the Son of Sirach and to the Gospels in general (James 1:17 to Matth. 7:11; 1:20 to Matth. 5:22; 1:22 to Matth. 7:21; 1:25 to John 13:17 etc.), its references to the Sermon on the Mount also have been particularly noticed. See Brückner on de Wette, p. 187; Huther, p. 18.—James, to be sure, exhibits the glorification of the Old Testament law into the New Testament law of the Spirit, of the inner life (see Messner) in perfect analogy to the manner of Christ in the Sermon on the Mount. And this then is also his peculiar dogma-tropus. It bears as much the character of the New Testament as does the dogma-tropus of Paul and that of John, but in respect of the development of the doctrine of Christ, it occupies the first place among the dogma-tropes of the New Testament, without ignoring however the specific features of the later dogma-tropes (see my Apost. Age, II. p. 577). And this is the peculiarity of James. The wisdom which had been personified individually in the Logos of Truth, is also to be personified in the life of believers by believing heart-decision and thereby to conduct them through the fearful ruin of apostasy into which the fanatical disciples of the double-hearted earthly wisdom plunge headlong (James 3:15) it is to evidence itself in them as steadfast patience in the joyous expectation of the advent Christ. To this mode of teaching answers the gnomical, New-Testament-Solomonic-calm radiance of his language, the festively sententious form of which exhibits an affinity to the language of John, although unlike the latter it is not the expression of a contemplative intuition, but that of a practical energy.
5. THE CONTENTS OF OUR EPISTLE
The theme of the Epistle is evidently contained in the macarism James 1:12. “Blessed is the man that endureth temptation etc.” Here it is noteworthy that the reference is not to man in general but to man in a sexual sense and that we read immediately afterwards “The wrath of man (ἀνδρός) worketh not the righteousness of God.” We confidently assume that the reference is to a temptation to which Jewish-Christian men were peculiarly exposed; viz.: the thought cherished by the Jewish men that the righteous judgment of God on the pagans would have to be executed by an armed insurrection against them. This fundamental theme is resumed in the final theme, James 5:7: “Be patient (persevering in long-suffering) therefore, brethren, unto the coming of the Lord.”
The Salutation and Introduction, in the first place, correspond to the leading thought. In the Salutation the Apostle introduces himself as a bondman of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, intimating thereby that in virtue of this servile relation he was freed from the bondage under which the Jews were groaning (John 8:36). He addresses the Epistle to the twelve tribes of the dispersion because he wants to include in one category the Jews as yet unbelieving and the believing Jews, the category, that is, of theocratico-historical catechumens of Christianity, inasmuch as the final historical hardening of Israel had not yet taken place. His Salutation is couched in the Greek form χαίρειν, and apart from the example of toleration indicated by the selection of this expression, this word serves also the purpose of introducing his first idea. They should not yield to the gloomy and desponding disposition which was animating the rebellious spirits, but rejoice conformably to their Christian faith (v. 2).
The Introduction states that they should also rejoice in their versicoloured temptation (ποικίλοις probably more than divers, manifold), use them for their proof [δοκίμον—M.] and not to run to ruin by wavering. The means he recommends is prayer, but prayer in faith without doubting; consequently a firm and undivided heart. Along with this the brother, who is crushed by his humble lot (surely with particular reference to his national position), is to glory in his Christian exaltation; but the Jewish-Christian, conscious of his theocratico-national riches, is to glory in his lowness. This can hardly mean his poverty in spirit or his humility before God but his historical lowness, the bondage-form of his Jewish and Christian life of faith. For the time of glory has already gone by, the grass is withered and the flower has fallen. The confident rich man (the Jew in the pride of his theocratic riches) will fade away in his occupation or schemes. James 1:1–11.
The Apostle now expatiates on the theme of the Epistle viz. the exhortation to perseverance in temptation from James 1:13–5:6.
I. The most important admonition, then, the Apostle names first. Let them, not in the enthusiasm of self-delusion pervert their temptation into the cause of God, which was really done by the Jewish fanatics. Here James delineates first the contrast between the false, hypocritically decorated phantom of temptation and temptation in its true, hideous and deadly form; secondly the actual providential rule of God in its most universal character, who had made them, as Christians, the first-fruits of His creatures. James 1:13–18.
II. The second admonition warns them against fanatical zeal itself. The wrath of man [sexually=ἀνδρός—M.] does not accomplish the decree of the righteousness of God. Its development must be traced to the rashness and recklessness of self-complacency. Do they wish to avoid it, let them not think that they are pure and rich but laying aside their uncleanness and overflowing riches of malice let them meekly yield themselves to the efficient operation of the implanted word. As doers of this word they will effectually guard themselves against self-deception. But they must steadily contemplate this word and enter into it, as into the perfect law of liberty. The Jew considers himself to be religious [θρῆσκος=observant of God’s outward service—M.] in that his zeal of wrath gives the reins to his tongue; but their Christian true service [θρησκεία=outward service—M.] should be evidenced in their care of the orphan and widow (especially of the crushed people in its orphanage and widowhood) and their self-preservation from the pollution of the world. James 1:19–27.
III. The third admonition opposes their contempt of the pagans, especially also their contempt of Gentile-Christians. On this account James starts with faith in Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory which admits of no respect of persons. Hence we see in the man with a gold ring on his finger, in a splendid garment, the portrait of the Jewish-Christian or the Jewish convert according to Jewish notions, in the poor man, on the other hand, in a vile garment the portrait of the Gentile-Christian or of the Gentile convert. [Lange understands by the Jewish convert and the Gentile convert those whose conversion is going on, in process of being, but not yet completed.—M.]. They ought to consider both as equals in their synagogue (assembly); yea, they should remember that those poor of this world are rich in faith, while those really rich are the proud Jews, their persecutors and the defamers of their Christian name. They are therefore to observe the royal law “Thou shalt love thy neighbour (co-religionists in a higher sense) as thyself” and to have no respect of persons. The law is a unit Now in supposing that as true Israelites they avoid the adultery of apostasy, while with their unmerciful fanaticism they kill their Christian Gentile brother (cf. 1 John 3:15), they are transgressing the whole law. In this form the law itself becomes a law of liberty; its living totality delivers from the bondage of its single letters. In connection with this thought,—faith contrasted with works—denotes further the theocratic, Jewish-Christian orthodoxy, while the works denote the living, energetic proof of faith. The monotheism of the Jew, says James, is altogether insufficient, for the devils also participate in it. True faith must prove its vitality in the work of love, especially in brotherly love. The examples chosen in illustration are most telling. Abraham, sacrificing Isaac his son is a type of the Jewish-Christian who sacrifices his national claims; Rahab, the harlot is a type of the Gentile Christian, who came by the work-of-faith into communion with the people of God. Ch. 2.
IV. The Apostle in the fourth place, considers it matter of great moment, to dissuade the Jews from their fondness for fanatical teaching, which was their characteristic both in their intercourse with the pagans in particular and with those of a different turn of mind in general (cf. Matth. 23:15; Rom. 2:19), They transgressed particularly with their irrepressibly-busy, didactic tongue, inclined to condemn and curse. The consequence of such a tendency the Apostle shows to be an earthly, sensual and devilish wisdom, born of envying and strife; with this he contrasts heavenly wisdom with the beautiful attributes of love and the blessing of peace. Ch. 3.
V. The Apostle, in the fifth place, now indicates to the Judaistically prejudiced Jewish Christians and with them to the Jews the infallible mark whereby they may perceive that their stand-point is not true; fanatics, he says, live in strife and war among themselves as well as with others. The root of this quarrelsomeness, he says, are lusts and worldly desires, which in their sensual life are at war with one another; its fruit, disappointment and the failure of all their striving, contention and even of their prayer. James 4:1–3.
VI. James now proceeds in the sixth place, to disclose the ground of those egotistical, pleasurable lusts. It is the apostasy of the (spiritual adulterers and) adulteresses from the living God by their worldly-mindedness; their friendship with the world (in a spiritual garb) is enmity with God. Here the portrait of Judaism appears in the foreground with increasing distinctness. It lacks the spirit which is opposed to hatred, the spirit of humility to which grace is accorded. Pursuant thereto are the exhortations which follow: Be true Israelites in relation to God; true subjects of God, truly praying and sacrificing to God (James 4:8), truly purified and God-affianced (James 4:8), truly poor and humble in the sense of the Old Testament (James 4:9, 10). Be true Israelites in relation to the brethren; avoid slandering, condemning and cursing! Be true Israelites in your dispersion-life (Diaspora-life, so German.—M.]! Do not yield yourselves in-blind confidence to your planning, to go from city to city with a view to traffic and gain, but realize your transitoriness and dependence on God! Otherwise all your knowledge of good will turn to sin and judgment (James 4:11–17). James 4:4–17.
VII. These admonitions, the Apostle concludes, in the seventh place, by a powerful denunciation of woe on the rich, doubtless on the Judaizing Jewish-Christians and Jews who called themselves poor but thought themselves rich in their Jewish privileges, and here the affinity of his mode of statement with that of the prophets, becomes quite prophetical. It contains the prophecy of judgment, of a judgment which, with the destruction of Jerusalem, soon afterwards came upon Judaism. Let them weep, i.e., be penitent. Their riches are corrupted etc., i.e., all their self-righteousness has turned to sin and disgrace. They confide in and boast of this treasure before the near day of judgment. But that which brings judgment rapidly near is the crying of the hire withheld from their labourers and reapers, the ingratitude to and the rejection of Apostles and believers, who had undertaken the harvest of Israel. The day of slaughter, which shall come on their pleasure-life, is nigh at hand, and has opened with the condemnation and murder of the Just, who now no longer arrests their running into destruction (James 5:1–6).
Then follows the final theme and the conclusion. Once more he addresses the brethren. Let them in long-suffering patience persevere unto the coming of the Lord (James 5:7).
1. Encouragement thereto: the example of the husbandman waiting for the harvest (James 5:7, 8).
2. Conditions of that patience.
a. They must not murmur against one another in disaffection, i.e., they must not nourish in their hearts the spirit of fanatical hardness and alienation. Examples: the prophets; the patience of Job; the end of the Lord (James 5:9–11).
b. The excitement of swearing and complications by oaths they must avoid, and hallow their minds (James 5:12).
c. They must cheer their minds by prayer, praise, the help of the presiding officers of the Church, and the confession of sins (James 5:13–16).
3. Elias the type of wonder-working [effective—M.] prayer, whose first prayer effected the miracle of chastisement and his second the miracle of mercy (James 5:17, 18).
4. Conclusion. Exhortation containing a promise of blessing on the effort of reclaiming an erring brother. Every one should engage in this work, and whoever succeeds, does thereby save a soul from death and prevent the multitudinous evil of sin (James 5:19, 20), James 5:9–20.
The existing tables of contents do not exhibit a perfect, organical structure of the Epistle, because the idea which animates all its separate parts, has not been laid down as the foundation of the Epistle. The construction of the Epistle has been treated in extenso by Pfeiffer, On the connection of the Epistle of James, Stud. and Krit., 1850, Part 1; in Wiesinger’s division in his Commentary, p. 46; in Huther’s division in his Commentary, p. 15; de Wette and Schleiermacher see neither plan nor order in the Epistle. See Brückner, p. 182 (his own exposition, p. 184); Schleiermacher, p. 421.
See HEIDEGGER, Enchiridion, I., p. 617. LILIENTHAL, Bibl. Archivarius, p. 784. WINER’S Handbuch der Theol. Literatur, I., pp. 268 and 271. Supplement, p. 42, DANZ, Universal-Wœrterbuch, p. 421. Supplement, p. 51. DE WETTE, Introd. 6th ed. p. 362. Wiesinger’s Commentary, p. 45—See General Works on the Bible. (Among the most recent works on the Bible is the Critical and Practical Commentary on the New Testament, by C. W. NAST, Cincinnati and Bremen, 1860);—also Commentaries on the Catholic Epistles.
Particular exegetical works.
ROMAN CATHOLIC: LORINUS, 1622; PRICÆUS, 1646.
LUTHERAN: WINKELMANN, ALTHAMER, BROCHMANN, LAURENTIUS etc
REFORMED: ZWINGLI, CALVIN, COCCEIUS and others.
MODERN: BENSON, SEMLER, BAUMGARTEN, HERDER, (Briefe Zweener Briefe Jesu in unserm Kanon), STORR, MORUS, HENSLER, HOTTINGER, POTT, SCHULTHESS, GEBSER (Berlin, 1828),SCHNECKENBURGER (1832), THEILE (1833), KERN (1838), J. J. CELLERIER (Etude el commentaire sur l’ Epitre de St. Jaques, Genève, 1850), A. NEANDER, Pract. Exposition, edited by Schneider (1850), WIESINGER (Vol. VI. Sect. 1 of Olshausen’s Commentary), HUTHER (Sect. 15 of MEYER’S Comment., 2d ed., 1863), BRÜCKNER’S edition of DE WETTE’S Commentary, Vol. 3., Part. 1, 3d ed., 1865.
DUTCH WORKS: De Brief van Jac, bearbeid door J. CLARISSE, Amsterdam, 1802; M. STUART, Amsterdam, 1806; Proeve eener Verklaring etc. door G. VAN KOSTEN, Amsterdam 1821; JACOBUS etc. VAN FRIESEMA, Utr., 1842; G. VAN LEEUWEN, 1855; VINKE, 1861; Dis sertatio de Jacobi Epistolœ cum Syracidæ libro etc. convenientia, Gröningen, 1860; Recently appeared: H. BOUMANN, Comm. perpet. in Jacobi Epistolam, Utrecht, 1865.
FOR THE PARTICULAR TREATMENT OF THE EPISTLE see HEISEN, FLACHS, FABER. WINER, I. p. 272; DANZ,. 421 etc.; Supplement, p. 51. WIESINGER, p. 46. HERTWIG, Tabellen, p. 51.—We must also mention, The Apocryphal Protevangelium, of James, edited by SUCKOW (Breslau, 1841).
FOR DOGMATICAL TREATMENT consult the works on Biblical or New Testament Theology in general. See the list in HAGENBACH’S Encyclopædia, 6th ed. p. 201.
ON THE DOCTRINE OF THE APOSTLES: LUTTERBECK, die Neutestamentlichen Lehrbegriffe, 1852; MESSNER, die Lehre der Apostel und Neutestamentlichen Schriftsteller, 1856; History of the Apostolic Age, NEANDER, SCHAFF, LANGE.—RITSCHL, Origin of the Old- Catholic Church;—SCHAFF, das Verhältniss des Jacobus, Bruders des Herrn, zu dem Jacobus Al phœi, Berlin, 1842.
FOR SPECIAL PRACTICAL TREATMENT see BALTHASAR KERNER, Jakobsstab oder Erklärung der Epistel Jacobi in 60 Predigten, Ulm, 1639. HARTMANN CREIDIUS, Jakob’s Schatz, oder 91 Predigten über die Epistel Jacobi, Frankfurt, 1694; DANIEL GRIEBNER, Erklärung etc. in 79 Predigten, Leipzig, 1720. GOLTZIUS, de allgemene Sendbrief des Apostels Jacobus verklaart en toegeeygent, Amsterdam, 1698; Similarly JANSSONIUS, Grœningen, 1742.—K. BRAUNE, die Sieben Katholischen Briefe.—Die Briefe des Jakobus und Judas, Grimma, 1847; 0JAKOBI, der Brief des Jakobus, ausgelegt in 19 Predigten, Berlin, 1835; STIER, der Brief des Jakobus in 32 Betrachtungen ausgelegt, Barmen, 1845; DRÆSEKE, Predigten über den Brief Jokobi 1851; VIEDEBANDT, der Brief Jakobi in Bibelstunden, Berlin, Schulze, 1859, Jakobus, der Zeuge vom lebendigen Glauben, Eine Reihenfolge von Predigten übr den ganzen Brief Jakobi, von G. Porubszky, evang.
Pfarrer in Wien, Wien, 1861.
[English Commentaries on James.
TURNBULL, RICHARD, Exposition on the Canonical Epistle of St. James in 28 lectures, 4vo., Lond., 1606; MAYER, JOHN, Praxis Theologica, or the Epistle of the Apostle James resolved, expounded and preached upon, by way of doctrine and use, 4vo., Lond., 1629; MANTON, THOM., D. D., A Practical Commentary; or an Exposition with Notes on the Epistle of James, 4vo., Lond., 1653. Repr. imp. 8vo., Lond, 1840; 8vo, Lond., 1842.
See also STANLEY, Essays and Sermons on the Apostolic Age, Lond., 1852; the General Commentaries, those on the Apostolical and Catholic Epistles.—M.].
I did not know at the first advancing of my hypothesis, that Bertholdt had already considered the second chapter as an interpolation.
Huther (p. 4, Note 3) thinks that the prominent position of James at Jerusalem could not have been owing to his Apostleship “which pointed rather to missionary activity than to the episcopal government of a congregation” But where was the Apostle of the Jews to reside, if not at Jerusalem ? If Christ did charge the Apostles “Go ye into all the world,” He surely did not mean to exclude the centre of Judaism.
On the view of Neander, who makes ̓Ιάκωβον subject of αὐτοῦ, cf. my article “Jacobus” in Herzog’s R. E. p. 407, and my Apostolical Age, I. p. 194. Nor does the note of Huther (p. 5) affect our explanation, especially as it proposes to leave undecided the account of Hegesippus, that Simeon the son of Clopas was ἀνεψιός of the Lord.
Huther will not admit that this Jude is a son of Alphæus, but the son of a James, because he is called ̓Ιούδας ̓Ιακώβου in Luke 6:16 and Acts 1:13. But Jude 1 proves that a Jude might be thus designated with reference to his honoured and universally known brother. Lebbæus also is placed in juxtaposition with James in Matth. 10:3 and we must not press the circumstance that he is not expressly called his brother. In the case of this Jude it was contemplated to distinguish him as much as possible from Judas Iscariot (see Jno. 14:22), and this was accomplished by designating him as the brother of the well-known James.
Stier’s and Wieseler’s proposed distinction between the James of Gal. 1 and Gal. 2 is so forced as to render all refutation unnecessary.
Huther who characterized this presentation of the remarkable complications of said names as exaggerated (p. 4) supports his statement mainly by the assertion that it is erroneous to maintain the identity of James the Just and James the son of Alphæus. But this is just what follows from the report of Hegesippus (Euseb. 4:22). δεύτερον evidently belongs to the immediately preceding ἀνεψιόν and sustains the exposition that “Simeon the son of Cleophas our Lord’s uncle, next was appointed bishop.”
Huther says p. 7 that this hypothesis is devoid of all solid reason but he substantiates his assertion only by the statement that tradition is ignorant of the early death of Clopas and the adoption of his children by Joseph. History knows that the sons of Alphæus and Mary the mother of Jesus formed one household in which the former wielded some authority. Huther (p. 8) thinks it more probable that Mary and the brothers of Jesus believed (according to Mark 3:21, 31), Jesus to be beside Himself, than to have had recourse to a pretext in order to extricate Him from supposed imminent danger. Mary is to have believed the report that Jesus was out of His mind !! We use here for once two marks of attention against the one of Huther, who, after the manner of Meyer expects it to produce a sensation and for the rest remind our readers of Luther’s well-known flight to the Wartburg.
“Altogether arbitrary,” says Huther, although the matter may be elucidated by the analogous cases in the conduct of Mary, of Peter, of the sons of Zebedee and of Thomas.
According to Huther they went with Him from Cana to Capernaum, not because they were inclined to believe, but because they belonged to their mother. He seems to conceive them to have been young children, but Mark 3 clearly shows that such was surely not the case.
On the doubt concerning the genuineness of the words in Italics expressed by Clericus and others, see Huther p. 2. Note. But the several notices of Eusebius seem to sustain Josephus.
The German has “in seinem jetzigen Entwicklungsstande gewordener und werdender Christlichkeit”—the literal meaning of geworden is “that to which it already has attained,” of werdender “that to which it is attaining, or which it is in process of becoming;” actual and future seemed the best equivalents we could find without a lengthy circumlocution. Christliness is a word of my coining—I had to coin it, because the German Christlichkeit has no English equivalent or representative.—M.].
Only for the sake of noticing it, we have to add that Schwegler has removed the origin of the Epistle to a late period of the second century.
Lange, John Peter - Commentary on the Holy Scriptures: Critical, Doctrinal, and Homiletical
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