|James the Just|
Icon of James
|Died||62 in Jerusalem|
|Venerated in||All Christianity|
|Feast||May 3 (Roman Catholic), May 1 (Anglican), October 23 (Lutheran)|
|Attributes||fuller's club; man holding a book|
|Controversy||James is sometimes identified with James, son of Alphaeus and James the Less. There is disagreement about the exact relationship to Jesus.|
Saint James the Just (יעקב "Holder of the heel; supplanter"; Standard Hebrew Yaʿaqov, Tiberian Hebrew Yaʿăqōḇ, Greek Iάκωβος), also called James Adelphotheos, James, 1st Bishop of Jerusalem, or James, the Brother of the Lord and sometimes identified with James the Less, (died 62 C.E.) was an important figure in Early Christianity. According to Christian tradition, he was the first bishop of Jerusalem, the author of the Epistle of James in the New Testament, and the first of the Seventy of Luke 10:1–20. Paul of Tarsus in Galatians 2:9 (KJV) characterized James as such: "…James, Cephas, and John, who seemed to be pillars…" He is described in the New Testament as a "brother of Jesus" and in the Liturgy of Saint James as "the brother of God" (Adelphotheos).
There has been much discussion about the actual relationship between James and Jesus, as well as about whether James' and his Jerusalem church represented a different strand of Christianity from what emerged under the influence of Saint Paul. Possibly, James' Christianity was more concerned with transforming this world than it was with human fate after death. Possibly, had a James-type Christianity survived, relations between Christians, Jews and Muslims may have been less hostile, if, as some argue, the cross was not nearly as central to Jewish Christianity as it was in the later teaching of the Church, and in the writing of Saint Paul.
James was called "the Just" because of his ascetic practices, which involved taking Nazarite vows. The name also helps distinguish him from other important figures in early Christianity, such as James, son of Zebedee.
He is sometimes referred in Eastern Christianity to as "James Adelphos," i.e., "James the Brother of Jesus" (Greek : Iάκωβος ο Αδελφόθεος ), based on New Testament descriptions, though different interpretations of his precise relationship to Jesus developed based on Christian beliefs about Mary, the mother of Jesus.
The English name "James" comes from the same root as the name "Jacob": the Hebrew name "Ya'akov" (יעקב). Ya'akov was first translated into Greek as "Ιakobos" (Iάκωβος), then Latinized as "Jacobus," which became Jacomus, and later James.
The canonical writings of the New Testament, as well as other written sources from the early church, provide some insights into James' life and his role in the early church. The Synoptics mention his name, but nothing else about him, whereas the Gospel of John and early chapters of the Acts of the Apostles do not even mention James.
Acts of the Apostles, in later chapters, provides evidence that James was an important figure in the Christian community of Jerusalem. When Peter, having miraculously escaped from prison, must flee Jerusalem, he asks that James be informed (12:17). When the Christians of Antioch are concerned over whether Gentile Christians need be circumcised to be saved, and they send Paul and Barnabas to confer with the Jerusalem church there, James plays a prominent role in the formulation of the council's decision (15:13ff). Indeed, after Peter and Paul have made their case, it is James who finally delivers what he calls his "judgement"—the original sense is close to "my ruling"—and afterwards, all accept it. James, in other words, is shown in charge of the Jerusalem group. And when Paul arrives in Jerusalem to deliver the money he raised for the faithful there, it is to James that he speaks, and it is James who insists that Paul ritually cleanse himself at Herod's Temple to prove his faith and deny rumors of teaching rebellion against the Torah (21:18ff) (a charge of antinomianism).
Paul further describes James as being one of the persons the risen Christ showed himself to (1 Corinthians 15:3–8); then later in 1 Corinthians, mentions James in a way that suggests James had been married (9:5); and in Galatians, Paul lists James with Cephas (better known as Peter) and John as the three "pillars" of the Church, and who will minister to the "circumcised" (in general Jews and Jewish Proselytes) in Jerusalem, while Paul and his fellows will minister to the "uncircumcised" (in general Gentiles). (2:9, 2:12). These terms (circumcised/uncircumcised) are generally interpreted to mean Jews and Greeks, who were predominant, however it is an oversimplification as 1st century Iudaea Province also had some Jews who no longer circumcised, and some Greeks (called Proselytes or Judaizers) and others such as Egyptians, Ethiopians, and Arabs who had converted to Judaism and were thus circumcised.
In describing James' ascetic lifestyle, Saint Jerome, De Viris Illustribus, quotes Hegesippus' account of James from the fifth book of Hegesippus' lost Commentaries:
"After the apostles, James the brother of the Lord surnamed the Just was made head of the Church at Jerusalem. Many indeed are called James. This one was holy from his mother's womb. He drank neither wine nor strong drink, ate no flesh, never shaved or anointed himself with ointment or bathed. He alone had the privilege of entering the Holy of Holies, since indeed he did not use woolen vestments but linen and went alone into the temple and prayed in behalf of the people, insomuch that his knees were reputed to have acquired the hardness of camels' knees."
Since it was unlawful for any but the high priest of the temple to enter the Holy of Holies once a year on Yom Kippur, Jerome's quotation from Hegesippus indicates that James was considered a high priest. The Pseudo-Clementine Recognitions suggest this.
According to a passage in Josephus's Jewish Antiquities, (xx.9) "the brother of Jesus, who was called Christ, whose name was James" met his death after the death of the procurator Porcius Festus, yet before Lucceius Albinus took office (Antiquities 20,9) — which has thus been dated to 62. The High Priest Ananus ben Ananus took advantage of this lack of imperial oversight to assemble a Sanhedrin who condemned James "on the charge of breaking the law," then had him executed by stoning. Josephus reports that Ananus' act was widely viewed as little more than judicial murder, and offended a number of "those who were considered the most fair-minded people in the City, and strict in their observance of the Law," who went as far as meeting Albinus as he entered the province to petition him about the matter. In response, King Agrippa replaced Ananus with Jesus, the son of Damneus.
Though the passage in general is almost universally accepted as original to Josephus, some challenge the identification of the James whom Ananus had executed with James the Just, considering the words, "who was called Christ," a later interpolation.
Eusebius, while quoting Josephus' account, also records otherwise lost passages from Hegesippus (see links below), and Clement of Alexandria (Historia Ecclesiae, 2.23). Hegesippus' account varies somewhat from what Josephus reports, and may have been an attempt to reconcile the various accounts by combining them. According to Hegesippus, the scribes and Pharisees came to James for help in putting down Christian beliefs. The record says:
They came, therefore, in a body to James, and said: "We entreat thee, restrain the people: for they are gone astray in their opinions about Jesus, as if he were the Christ. We entreat thee to persuade all who have come hither for the day of the passover, concerning Jesus. For we all listen to thy persuasion; since we, as well as all the people, bear thee testimony that thou art just, and showest partiality to none. Do thou, therefore, persuade the people not to entertain erroneous opinions concerning Jesus: for all the people, and we also, listen to thy persuasion. Take thy stand, then, upon the summit of the temple, that from that elevated spot thou mayest be clearly seen, and thy words may be plainly audible to all the people. For, in order to attend the passover, all the tribes have congregated hither, and some of the Gentiles also.
To the scribes' and Pharisees' dismay, James boldly testified that Christ "Himself sitteth in heaven, at the right hand of the Great Power, and shall come on the clouds of heaven." The scribes and pharisees then said to themselves, "We have not done well in procuring this testimony to Jesus. But let us go up and throw him down, that they may be afraid, and not believe him."
Accordingly, the scribes and Pharisees
…threw down the just man… [and] began to stone him: for he was not killed by the fall; but he turned, and kneeled down, and said: "I beseech Thee, Lord God our Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do."
And, while they were thus stoning him to death, one of the priests, the sons of Rechab, the son of Rechabim, to whom testimony is borne by Jeremiah the prophet, began to cry aloud, saying: "Cease, what do ye? The just man is praying for us." But one among them, one of the fullers, took the staff with which he was accustomed to wring out the garments he dyed, and hurled it at the head of the just man.
And so he suffered martyrdom; and they buried him on the spot, and the pillar erected to his memory still remains, close by the temple. This man was a true witness to both Jews and Greeks that Jesus is the Christ.
Vespasian's siege and capture of Jerusalem delayed the selection of Simeon of Jerusalem to succeed James.
Josephus' account of James' death is more credible because the Acts of Apostles doesn't mention anything about James after the year 60. Josephus, however, does not mention in his writings how James was buried, which makes it hard for scholars to determine what happened to James after his death.
Robert Eisenman argues that the popularity of James and the illegality of his death may have triggered the First Jewish-Roman War from 66 to 73 C.E.
Some apocryphal gospels testify to the reverence Jewish followers of Jesus (like the Ebionites) had for James. The Gospel of the Hebrews fragment 21 relates the risen Jesus' appearance to James. The Gospel of Thomas (one of the works included in the Nag Hammadi library), saying 12, relates that the disciples asked Jesus, "We are aware that you will depart from us. Who will be our leader?" Jesus said to him, "No matter where you come [from] it is to James the Just that you shall go, for whose sake heaven and earth have come to exist."
The pseudepigraphical First Apocalypse of James associated with James's name mentions many details, some of which may reflect early traditions: he is said to have authority over the twelve Apostles and the early church; this work also adds, somewhat puzzlingly, that James left Jerusalem and fled to Pella before the Roman siege of that city in 70 C.E. (Ben Witherington suggests what is meant by this was that James' bones were taken by the early Christians who had fled Jerusalem).
The Protevangelion of James (or "Infancy Gospel of James"), a work of the second century, also presents itself as written by James—a sign that his authorship would lend authority—and so do several tractates in the codices found at Nag Hammadi.
The Epistle of James has been traditionally attributed to James the Just. A number of modern Biblical scholars, such as Raymond E. Brown, while admitting the Greek of this epistle is too fluent for someone whose mother tongue is Aramaic, argue that it expresses a number of his ideas, as rewritten either by a scribe or by a follower of James the Just. Other scholars, such as Luke Timothy Johnson and James Adamson, argue that the historical James could have had such fluency in Greek, and could conceivably have authored the Epistle himself.
Modern historians of the early Christian church tend to place James in the tradition of Jewish Christianity; where Paul emphasized faith over observance of Mosaic Law, which he considered a burden, James is thought to have espoused the opposite position which is derogatively called Judaizing. One corpus commonly cited as proof of this are the Recognitions and Homilies of Clement (also known as the Clementine literature), versions of a novel that has been dated to as early as the 2nd century, where James appears as a saintly figure who is assaulted by an unnamed enemy some modern critics think may be Paul.
Robert Eisenman developed a thesis that James and the observant Christian Jews were marginalized by Paul and the Gentile Christians who followed him, a thesis that has been widely criticized for his recreation of the hostile skirmishes between Jewish and Pauline Christianity, relating his reconstruction to "proto-Christian" elements of the Essenes, as represented in the Dead Sea scrolls. Some of the criticism deconstructs as Pauline apologetics, but Eisenman is equally harsh on the Christians at Jerusalem, whom he portrays as a nationalistic, priestly and xenophobic sect of ultra-legal pietists. . There is some overlap between Eisenman's thesis and that of Ferdinand Chrisian Baur (1792-1880), who posited a split between Paul and the Peter-James led Jewish Church, followed by a "process of smoothing down their differences, and finding the mean between their opposing principles," including respective emphasis on faith and on works. Eisenman depicts Jesus and James as Jews who were nationalist and apocalyptic who started a movement that was one of many sects along others, such as the Essenes, the Zealots and the Nazirites. He argued that Jesus was not for James or for original Christianity the "spiritual redeemer" or sovereign of an "invisible kingdom." This emerged later, due to Paul's accommodation with Hellenic and pagan systems. Earlier, Joseph Klausner had similarly argued that Jesus was a good Jews while Christianity was a Pauline synthesis of certain Jewish, with Greek and pagan notions. . "James," says Eisenman, "was a normative Jew of his time." Joseph Klausner, writing in 1944, similarly stated that James "was punctilious about observing the ritual requirements and honouring the Temple" and that his "peculiar Messianic" views were tolerated." 
Was James' Christianity more concerned with establishing God's Kingdom on Earth?" is a question that emerges from this theory. For James to have been able to enter the Holy of Holies suggests that he was not regarded as a heretic, or with disfavor, by the Temple authorities, that is, by the High Priest at least up until shortly before his death. Was it jealousy that provoked Ananus ben Ananus? Eisenman thinks it likely that James had objected to the misbehaviour of wealthy priests in the Temple who "violently appropriated the tithes due to 'Priests of the Poorer Sort'" and represents him as a "leader of the multitude of Jerusalem' locked in a type of class-struggle with the aristocratic priests. James was the leader of "the poorer priests."  A Christianity for which the Cross was not so central, too, would certainly have had implications not only for historical relations with Jews but also with Muslims, most of whom do not believe that Jesus was crucified. It has been argued that the Gospel of Thomas's lack of a crucifixion narrative is not only due to its style of writing, which is a collection of sayings rather than a chronological account of Jesus life, but also because, whether it happened or not, the crucifixion was not essential to its theology. If James is the author of the Epistle of James, its emphasis on the necessity of moral conduct and of good works (JAMES 2: 14-26) rather than on faith alone, may challenge Christianity's tendency to neglect the here and now and the redemption of the world in favor of a purely spiritual, next-worldly understanding of faith. This next-worldly emphasis has attracted criticism from Muslims and from Jews.
Some scholars, such as Ben Witherington, believe that the conflict between these two positions has been overemphasized and that the two actually held quite similar beliefs.
Others suggest, however, that the "parting of the ways" between Christianity and Judaism took place over an extended period of time. Initially, Christians did regard themselves as Jews, even though circumcision was not required of Gentiles. Nor were Jews blamed for Jesus' death, or regarded as a rejected people. Initially, Christians sheltered under the special dispensation that Jews enjoyed from participation in the imperial cult. Following the Jewish rebellions of 70 C.E. and 132-135, after which Judaism forfeited its special status, Christians were anxious to prove themselves loyal to Rome. The final parting of the way, however, may not have occurred until after Constantine I's conversion in 332 C.E. It was, according to one scholar, Empress Helena's discovery of the "true cross" in Jerusalem that led to a focus on the centrality of Jesus' death and to what became known as the "teaching of contempt" against the Jews. 
Barbara Thiering developed a theory that James was Jesus' rival in his bid for recognition as the heir of David. James, in her view, was the legitimate son of Joseph and Mary, while Jesus was illegitimate. 
Jesus' "brothers"—James as well as Jude, Simon and Joses—are mentioned in Matthew 13:55, Mark 6:3 and by Paul in Galatians 1:19. Since James' name always appears first in lists, this suggests he was the eldest, after Jesus. Even in the passage in Josephus' Jewish Antiquities (20.9.1) the Jewish historian describes James as "the brother of Jesus who is called Christ," though this passage has been suggested as an interpolation.
Paul refers to James, at that time the only prominent Christian James in Jerusalem, as an Apostle. In Galatians 1:18–19, Paul, recounting his conversion, recalls "Then after three years I went up to Jerusalem to visit Cephas, and tarried with him fifteen days. But other of the apostles saw I none, save James the Lord's brother."
The relationship of James to Jesus has been rendered difficult due to the Christian belief that Jesus Christ was the Son of God, born of a Virgin, and the Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox Christian dogma of the Perpetual Virginity of Mary, the belief that Mary's virginity continued even after the Virgin Birth (not directly stated in the canonic New Testament, but can be interpreted as implying it).
The Mosaic Law advised married couples to be fruitful and have many children, as long as they were not deformed in any way. Assuming Mary and Joseph were devout Jews, one would then prima facie assume that they would have had more children after Mary gave birth to Jesus, thus making James a blood brother of Jesus. This assumes Jesus was the biological son of Joseph, and not miraculously conceived.
For proponents of the doctrine of Jesus' virgin birth, the claim that James may have been a full brother of Jesus is unacceptable; at most James and the other brethren of Jesus would have been co-uterine half-brothers. This is the view of most Protestants, who believe Mary and Joseph lived as a sexually active married couple after the birth of Jesus, as they believe is stated in Matthew 1:25.
A variant on this is presented by James Tabor, argues that, after the early and childless death of Joseph, Mary married Clopas, whom he accepts as a younger brother of Joseph, according to the Levirate law. According to this view Clopas fathered James and the later siblings but not Jesus, who whilst legally adopted by Joseph, is presumed to be the product of an earlier pre-marital coupling, possibly with Panthera.
John Dominic Crossan suggested that he was probably Jesus' older brother.
Those who assert that James and his brethren are not full or half-siblings of Jesus (the Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox churches) point out that Aramaic and Hebrew tended to use circumlocutions to point out blood relationships; it is asserted that just calling some people "brothers of Jesus" would not have necessarily implied the same mother. Rather, something like "sons of the mother of Jesus" would have been used to indicate a common mother.
James could also have been the stepbrother of Jesus. If Mary was a lifelong virgin, this would mean that James and the other "brethren of Jesus" could not have been born of Mary. Joseph would then have had a previous marriage before Mary and already had children. This view is first found in the apocryphal Gospel of James from the second century.
According to this reasoning, James is an older stepbrother of Jesus; indeed all of Jesus' supposed brothers and sisters would have been stepbrothers and sisters rather than full siblings.
This belief is endorsed especially in Eastern Orthodoxy and among some Roman Catholics. However, according to another Roman Catholic tradition (found in Jerome and Augustine's writings), Joseph was not married prior to Mary and the brothers of Jesus were actually cousins.
James could also have been cousin to Jesus, along with the other named "brethren." This is justified by the claim that cousins were also called "brothers" and "sisters" in Jesus' postulated native language, Aramaic; it and Hebrew do not contain a word for "cousin." Furthermore, the Greek words adelphos and adelphe were not restricted to their literal meaning of a full brother or sister in the Bible; nor were their plurals. This use is still common in Greece and other Balkan cultures. This assumes that the Middle Eastern authors' usage of Greek reflects their way of speaking. The tradition of considering cousins as brothers or sisters is still evident in most Eastern cultures; in some languages the term "cousin" does not even exist.
Eusebius of Caesarea (c. 275 – 339) reports the tradition that James the Just was the son of Joseph's brother Clopas, and therefore was of the "brethren" (which he interprets as "cousin") of Jesus described in the New Testament.
This is echoed by Jerome (c. 342 – 419) in De Viris Illustribus ("On Illustrious Men") - James is said to be the son of another Mary - the wife of Clopas, and the "sister" of Mary, the mother of Jesus - in the following manner:
"James, who is called the brother of the Lord, surnamed the Just, the son of Joseph by another wife, as some think, but, as appears to me, the son of Mary, sister of the mother of our Lord of whom John makes mention in his book… "
Jerome refers to the scene of the Crucifixion in John 19:25, where three Marys - the mother of Jesus, Mary of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene - are said to be witnesses. John also mentions the "sister" of the mother of Jesus, often identified with Mary of Clopas due to grammar. Mary "of Clopas" is often interpreted as Mary "wife of Clopas." Mary of Nazareth and Mary of Clopas also need not be literally sisters, in light of the usage of the said words in Greek, Hebrew and Aramaic.
Mary of Clopas is suggested to be the same as "Mary, the mother of James the younger and Joses," "Mary the mother of James and Joseph" and the "other Mary" in Jesus' crucifixion and post-resurrection accounts in the Synoptic Gospels. Proponents of this identification argue that the writers of the Synoptics would just have called this Mary the mother of Jesus if she was indeed meant to be the mother of Jesus, given the importance of her son's crucifixion and resurrection. These proponents find it odd that Mary would be referred to by her biological children other than Jesus at such a significant time (James happens to be the brother of one Joses, as spelled in Mark, or Joseph, as in Matthew).
Jerome's opinion suggests an identification of James the Just with the Apostle James, son of Alphaeus. This is because Clopas and Alphaeus are thought to be different Greek renderings of the Aramaic name Halpai.  Despite this, some biblical scholars tend to distinguish them; this is also not Roman Catholic dogma, though a traditional teaching.
Since this Clopas is according to tradition Joseph of Nazareth's brother (see above) and this Mary is said to be Mary of Nazareth's sister, James could be related to Jesus by blood and law.
This view of James-as-cousin gained prominence in the Roman Catholic Church, displacing the "stepbrother" view to an extent. Roman Catholics may choose for themselves whether James was a stepbrother or cousin of Jesus, since either could be true.
Also, Jesus and James could be related in some other way, not strictly "cousins," following the non-literal application of the term adelphos and the Aramaic term for "brother". Being close blood relatives, James and his kin could have been treated as brothers to Jesus anyway.
In the November 2002 issue of Biblical Archaeology Review, André Lemaire of the Sorbonne University in Paris, published the report that an ossuary bearing the inscription Ya`aqov bar Yosef akhui Yeshua` ("James son of Joseph brother of Jesus") had been identified belonging to a collector, who quickly turned out to be Oded Golan, a forger posing as a collector. If authentic it would have been the first archaeological proof that Jesus existed aside from the manuscript tradition. There is no mention of Jesus' and James' mother. The ossuary was exhibited at the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto, Canada, late that year; however, on June 18 2003, the Israeli Antiquities Authority published a report concluding that the inscription is a modern forgery based on their analysis of the patina. Specifically, it appears that the inscription was added recently and made to look old by addition of a chalk solution. Oded Golan has since been arrested and his forgery equipment and partially completed forgeries have been recovered. On December 29 2004, Golan was indicted in an Israeli court along with three other men—Robert Deutsch, an inscriptions expert who teaches at Haifa University; collector Shlomo Cohen; and antiquities dealer Faiz al-Amaleh. They are accused of being part of a forgery ring that had been operating for more than 20 years. Golan denies the charges against him.
Recent comparisons of the James Ossuary to the finds of the Jesus Tomb seem to disprove the premise of the IAA’s arguments for the James Ossuary for being a forgery, as an analysis of the chemical compositions of the patinas of both the ossuaries found in the Jesus Tomb and the James Ossuary are found to “match.”
This chemical analysis will be presented as evidence by Oded Golan's defense team in support of his innocence and the authenticity of the James Ossuary.
All links retrieved March 20, 2018.
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