Brother of Jesus, Friend of God: Studies in the Letter of James
Brother of Jesus, Friend of God: Studies in the Letter of James

Brother of Jesus, Friend of God: Studies in the Letter of James

by Luke Timothy Johnson

5 Rank Score: 5.4 from 4 reviews, 0 featured collections, and 0 user libraries
Pages 304 pages
Publisher Eerdmans
Published 2004
ISBN-13 9780802809865


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Luke Timothy Johnson has provided a service for all New Testament scholars and students with the publication of Brother of Jesus Friend of God: Studies in the Letter of James. The book is a collection of essays written by Johnson over the last twenty years as well as two written especially for this collection. In his prologue, Jamess Significance for Early Christian History, Johnson concludes that the half-brother of Jesus was indeed the author of the epistle. He affirms the place of James in the early church and shows there is no real disparity between Paul and James on the subject to faith. The epistle, according to the author, is Hellenistic, sharing Greco-Roman moralist sensibilities and is an important piece of evidence to early Christianity. In An Introduction to the Lett er of James, Johnson notes that its vocabulary is that of the LXX, and its sentences resemble those written by moralists. While many insist the book has no real structure, Johnson finds a rhetorical structure that he terms protreptic discourse, which sought to e xhort those holding a profession to behavior constant with their ideal (26). Johnson classifies Jame s as a letter and his views are thoroughly biblicalhe is concerned with morality and community. Johnson strongly argues that the letter is of the first Christian generation. [Full Review]
L. T. Johnson legt mit diesem Buch eine Sammlung jener Studien vor, die vor allem als Vorarbeiten zu seinem Jakobus-Kommentar in der Anchor Bible (1995) entstanden sind. Die Beitrge stammen aus dem Zeitraum 19852000, zwei zur Rezeptionsgeschichte des Jakobusbriefes werden hier erstmals publiziert. Zudem sind Abschnitte zur Einleitung in den Brief, zur Forschungsgeschichte sowiebesonders empfehlenswertzur Theologie des Jak neu geschrieben worden. Leser und Leserinnen werden erkennen, dass zwar selbstverstndlich die Ergebnisse in beid en Bchern bereinstimmen, die Flle an Einzelbeobachtungen und die Auseinandersetzung mit anderen Forschungspositionen im Kommentar so nicht erreicht werden konnte. Es ist also durchaus zu begren, wenn auf diese Weise die Einleitungsfragen zum Jak, die Rezeptions- und Wirkungsgeschichte sowie einzelne exegetische Probleme ausfhrlicher behandelt werden und so auch manches nachgeliefert wird, was man beim Lesen des Kommentars mglicherweise vermisste. In einem Prolog (123) beschftigt sich der Vf. mit der historischen Bedeutung des Jak, wobei er bekanntlich von der Authentizitt des Schreibens ausgeht. Und tatschlich lieen sich einige Aspekte de r Geschichte des frhen Christentums anders verstehen, wenn dem so wre (was der R ezensent nicht annimmt). [Full Review]
Luke Timothy Johnsons Brother of Jesus, Friend of God: Studies in the Letter of James is a technically astute collection of new and previously unpublished essays spanning over two decades of research. The volume is intended in part as a counterpoint to the historical-critical consensus, inherited from F. C. Baur, that James is a second-century early Catholic attempt to synthesize Christian conflicts. Johnsons prologue, Jamess Significance for Early Christian History, be gins with the all too unique methodological premise that the Epistle of James was in fact composed by Jesus ha lf brother. Johnson is in no way begging the question. He simply applies an optimistic hermeneutic in order to determine if this hypothesis produces a plausible accounting of the data. He concludes that Jamess literary and thematic character is thoroughly consistent with what might be expected from a Jewish Christian in first-century Palestine. Like Paul, James employs stock themes from the Greco-Roman moralists in conjunction with highly stylized Hellenistic literary traditions seamlessly assimilated by other Jewish writers (e.g., The Testaments of the Twelve Patriarchs). In An Introduction to the Le tter of James, Johnson expands on these issues and traces the compositions voice through its Septuagi ntal vocabulary, biblical worldview, and Greco-Roman moralism. [Full Review]
The fifteen chapters of this collection include eight articles published between 1982 and 1999 and others that have not previously been published. Johnson is the author of the 1995 Anchor Bible commentary on James, so there are references in both directions between the commentary and the articles of the present book. The framing studies Jamess Significance for Early Christian Hi story (prologue, 123) and The Importance of James for Theology (epilogue, 23559) ha ve been written especially for this collection. It is instructive to note how the scope of the essays has expanded over the two decades. The earliest contribution examines The Use of Leviticus 19 in the Letter of James (12335). The authenticity issue that bothers th e author in his more recent contributions does not surface here. According to Johnson, the letter writer engages in halakic midrash on Lev 19:1218, much like Pseudo-Phocylides but within a distinctively Christian tradition (134): In James, the value of Leviticus is affirmed for the church by reading it in the light of the Christian tradition which began with the words of Jesus. Another detailed analysis from the 1980s focuses on The Mirror of Remembrance: James 1:2225 (16881). A wealth of comparative mate rial is scrutinized, but 1 Cor 13:12 and Odes Sol. 13:1 are only mentioned in footnotes. [Full Review]