JAMES, Epistle of, one of the seven New Testament epistles called "Catholic* or "Gen eral,* because addressed, unlike Paul's writings, to no specific group or individual, but "to the twelve tribes of the Dispersion,* the latter term being given no such local limitation as is at tached to it in 1 Peter i, 1. Though lacking the customary thanksgiving, prayer and concluding salutations or benediction, the conventional epistolary tokens appear in the introductory sig nature, address and formula of greeting, fol lowed by some 60 hortatory imperatives. The readers addressed as "the twelve tribes,* like those who in 1 Peter i, 1, and Gal. vi, 16, are styled "the elect* and "the Israel of God,' are Christian believers. (Compare Gal. iii, 29; Phil iii, 3). The writer has added to his name "James* no further clue to his identity, such as Paul and Peter's designation of themselves as "apostles,* or the words "the brother of James,* attached to the name of Jude (ver. 1). The assumption that the author was "James, the Lord's brother* (Gal. i, 19; ii, 9 12) has made from the time of Origen (a.n. 230) an inevitable and fascinating appeal to the imagination. The adamantine obstacle, however, to the theory of a pre-Pauline date and authorship lies in the drastic polemic of ii, 14-26 against such an an tinomian abuse of his distinctive doctrine of saving faith as he foreshadowed and repro bated in Phil. iii, 18 f. A Hebrew Christian, familiar with Old Testament characters, the Septuagint version and the Wisdom books, he shows no trace of the mysticism of Paul and John, making no single allusion to Christ's in carnation, death, resurrection, or to forgiveness in His name. Twice only does he mention Jesus' name (i, 1; ii, 1), though no whit behind Paul in reproducing the ethical lucidity and rigor of his divine Master. His literary form is that of the Greek diatribe, the traditional style of the street-preacher of philosophic morals, shaped to arrest and hold the attention of pass ers-by (Acts xvii, 17 f). It is "wisdom crying aloud in the street* (Prov. i, 20) with bold challenges, pointed Imaginary inter ruptions from objectors, striking metaphors, co gent similes and abrupt transitions and repeti tion of topics. His method is not the syste
matic development of argument, hut that of antiphonal contrast, as found in the Proverbs and the Sermon on the Mount.. Thus the ble meaning of the Greek word reipaupOr sug Bests in i, 2-11 the mutual aspects of prayerful fortitude in trials from without, and in i, 12-18 the tragic issues of temptation from within. Similarly the ethics of word and deed are treated in recurrent refrains. Tongue religion and heart religion are contrasted in i, 19-26; reckless and conceited censoriousness with the spirit of peace-making, in iii, 1-18; the thought less boasting of future plans with trust in Providence, in iv, 13-17; and the Oriental habit of profane swearing with simplicity of utter ance in v, 12. So in i, 27-ii, 26 the caricature of a dead faith that courts the rich and feeds the poor with pious platitudes is opposed to a living faith of deeds; and in v, 1-6 and iv, 1-12 the spirit of worldly greed and pride is set over against a humble walk with God. In v, 7-11. 13-20, as before in i, 5, prayer for patience and mutual confession and intercession are com mended.
Though authorship and date must remain uncertain, as in the case of Job and Hebrews, yet none the less aptly do the words of the Pastoral Epistle apply to this Scripture as "profitable for teaching, for reproof, for cor rection, for instruction which is in righteous ness.* (2 Tim. iii, 16).
Bibliography.— Discussion of authorship, date, style, vocabulary may be found in New Testament Introductions: T. Zahn (Eng. trans., 1909) ; • J. Moffatt (1911) ; B. Weiss (1897); H. J. Holtzmann (1892) ; A. Juelicher (1904); A. S. Peake (1910); and detailed exegesis in commentaries: J. B. Mayor (3d ed., 1910); W. Beyschlag's Meyer (3d ed. 1897) ; H. von Soden in Holtzmann's