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Just James: The Brother of Jesus in History and Tradition

Just James: The Brother of Jesus in History and Tradition

by John Painter, D. Moody Smith

ISBN-10: 1570031746

ISBN-13: 9781570031748

Pub. Date: 11/28/1997

Publisher: University of South Carolina Press

A new edition of Just James became necessary with the announcement of the discovery of a Jewish ossuary, or burial box, inscribed in Aramaic with the words, as commonly translated, "James son of Joseph brother of Jesus." Through the publicity surrounding the controversial discovery many people are now aware that Jesus of Nazareth had a famous brother named James. How


A new edition of Just James became necessary with the announcement of the discovery of a Jewish ossuary, or burial box, inscribed in Aramaic with the words, as commonly translated, "James son of Joseph brother of Jesus." Through the publicity surrounding the controversial discovery many people are now aware that Jesus of Nazareth had a famous brother named James. How does the ossuary relate to understanding that James and that Jesus? Just James sets out the varied considerations concerning this question while providing access to the early sources concerning James. In the process John Painter buttresses the case for recognizing James as the direct successor to Jesus and the leader of the original Christian movement in Jerusalem.

Recognition of the leadership of James is evident in the earliest sources of the New Testament. It is not prominent, however, since the New Testament reflects other interests that focus attention on Peter and Paul -- though both acknowledged James's authority, whether willingly or reluctantly. None of the sources names any other single leader of the Jerusalem church. By the second century the leadership of James in Jerusalem and beyond was fully acknowledged, and the sources reveal the extent of his reputation. By then Jewish Christians, Gnostics, and the emerging Great Church all claimed James as a foundational figure.

Using the person of James as a prism, Just James brings the history of earliest Christianity and its relationship to Jesus and Judaism into clearer view. For many centuries the prism was clouded by competing traditions that found in James support for their own ideology. But in all of these the death of James received concentrated attention -- from Josephus, the Jewish historian; Hegesippus, the Jewish Christian; Clement, the philosophical Christian identified with Alexandria; and the authors of the Gnostic texts of Nag Hammadi. The most comprehensive record of James, marking the height of his influence, is in the fourth-century history of the church by Eusebius of Caesarea. Without this account the distortions introduced by the disparate traditions would prevail. Just James considers all the relevant sources, examines the forces that fractured the powerful image of James, and puts that image together again. James reemerges as the singular first force in earliest Christianity.

Product Details

University of South Carolina Press
Publication date:
Studies on Personalities of the New Test
Edition description:
New Edition
Product dimensions:
6.40(w) x 9.34(h) x 1.27(d)

Related Subjects

Table of Contents

Preface to the Second Editionxi
Just James: The Death of a Legend1
Part IThe Gospels, Acts, and the Letters of Paul
1.The Gospels: James and the Family of Jesus11
The Family in the Gospels11
The Role of the Family12
James: Follower or Opponent?13
John: The Family as Followers14
John 2:12: The Faithful Family15
John 7:3-5: The Brothers as Unbelievers?16
John 19:25-27: The Ideal Disciples and the Absence of James18
The Synoptics: The Markan Framework and Its Interpretation by Matthew and Luke20
Mark: A Critique of Disciples and Family20
Mark 3:20-21: Disciples or Family?21
Mark 3:31-35: The Eschatological Family28
Mark 6:3-4: Jesus' Rejection in His Own Country31
Mark 15:40 and Parallels: The Women at the Cross34
Matthew: Nativity and Rejection34
Matt 1:18-25: The Nativity35
Matt 12:46-50: The Eschatological Family35
Matt 13:53-58: The Proverb of Rejection36
Luke: The Idealization of the Family37
Luke 1:26-56: The Role of Mary in Luke's Nativity Story38
Luke 4:16-30: The Rejection at Nazareth38
Luke 8:19-21: The True Family of Jesus41
2.Acts: James as Convert or Foundation Leader?42
Acts 1:14: The Role of Jesus' Family in the Earliest Church42
Acts 12:17: The Leadership of James42
The Hebrews and the Hellenists44
Acts 15: James and the Council of Jerusalem48
Acts 21:17-26: James as Leader of the Jerusalem Church54
Acts 21:27-36; 23:12-22: James and the Arrest of Paul56
3.The Letters of Paul: Paul and James58
Galatians: The Two Missions in Antioch and Jerusalem58
Gal 1:17-19: Leadership in Jerusalem59
Gal 2:1-10: The Pillars and the Leadership of the Two Missions61
Gal 2:11-14: James and the Dispute at Antioch67
Two Missions, Many Factions73
1 Corinthians: Rivalry between James, Peter, and Paul78
1 Cor 9:5-6: The Role of Wives and Work in the Two Missions78
1 Cor 15:5-8: Rival Appearance Traditions79
4.James, Peter, Matthew, and Paul: Diversity and Conflict in the Two Missions83
Peter and James as Opponents of Paul83
Peter and James and the Leadership Question84
Matthew and the Gentile Mission85
B. H. Streeter and the Conflict between the Two Missions86
Matthew and Antioch88
The Law in Matthew90
Matt 5:17-2090
Matthew and Q: Matt 11:12-1392
Matt 28:19-2094
Models of Leadership and Mission95
Part IIImages of James in the Early Church
5.Tradition in Eusebius: James the Just, Brother of the Lord, First Bishop and Martyr105
HE 1.12.4-5: Paul on James, according to Eusebius107
HE 1.13.1-22; 2.1.6-7: The Abgar Incident--An Interlude?109
HE 2.1.2-5: The Use of Unspecified and Specific Sources110
HE 2.1.2: The Summary Statement111
HE 2.1.3-5: Two Quotations from Clement113
HE 2.1.5: Eusebius Appeals to Paul to Clarify the Identity of James117
HE 2.23.1-25: The Martyrdom of James118
HE 2.23.1-3: The Summary by Eusebius118
HE 2.23.3-18: Hegesippus according to Eusebius119
HE 2.23.19: Eusebius's Concluding Summary130
HE 2.23.20: First "Quotation" of Josephus132
HE 2.23.21-24: Josephus and the Martyrdom of James133
HE 2.23.24-25: Final Summary on James and Reference to the Epistle142
HE 3.5.2-3: Summary Statements Concerning James as First Bishop and Martyr142
HE 3.7.7-9; 3.11.1; 3.12.1: The Death of James and the Siege of Jerusalem143
HE 3.7.7-9: The Delay of the Siege143
HE 3.11.1; 3.12.1: After the Siege144
HE 3.19.1-3.20.7: The Family of Jesus until the Reign of Trajan147
HE 3.32.1-6: Symeon in the Time of Trajan149
HE 4.5.1-4: The Traditional List of the Bishops of Jerusalem151
HE 4.22.4: The Jerusalem Succession and the Beginning of Heresy152
HE 7.19.1: The Throne of James154
Conclusion: Eusebius on James156
6.The Nag Hammadi Library: James as Successor to Jesus and Repository of Secret Tradition159
The Coptic Gospel of Thomas: Appointed by the Risen Lord160
The Apocryphon of James: James and the Secret Tradition163
The First Apocalypse of James: The Brother of the Lord and the Chain of Succession168
The Second Apocalypse of James: The Revelation Discourse of Jesus to "the Just One"174
7.The Apocrypha and Later Christian Evidence: Bishop of Bishops and Bulwark of Truth182
The Gospel of the Hebrews: The Brother of Jesus as the First Witness183
The Pseudo-Clementines: Bishop of Bishops in the Church of the Hebrews187
The Ascents of James and the Martyrdom Tradition188
The Kerygmata Petrou and the Epistula Petri on Peter, Paul, and James189
The Pseudo-Clementines and Jewish Christianity191
The Protevangelium of James: James the Son of Joseph198
Origen: The Brothers of Jesus and James in Pseudo-Josephus200
Commentary on Matthew X.17201
Contra Celsum 1.47; 2.13204
The Panarion of Epiphanius: The Royal and Priestly Role of the First Son of Joseph208
Jerome and Helvidius: James as the Cousin or Brother of Jesus213
Part IIIJames and Jewish Christianity
8.Jewish Christianity, the Righteous Sufferer, and the Epistle of James227
Jewish Christianity228
The Epistle of James234
The Teaching of the Epistle of James248
The Epistle of James and the Jesus Tradition260
James and Paul265
9.Jacob Son of Joseph Brother of Jesus270
The Name Jacob270
The Jewish Use of Ossuaries272
The Ossuary and Its "Owner"274
The Inscription277
The Case for Identification278
The Impact of the Announcement278
Ossuaries, Names, and Statistics280
The Importance of the Brother283
The Verdicts of Science285
Accounting for the Inscription288
Accounting for "Front" and "Back"288
The Function of the Inscription290
References to Jacob and the Jacob Ossuary Inscription292
10.Jacob Brother of the Lord295
The Western Position295
The Epiphanian Position297
Protevangelium Jacobi299
Manuscripts and Provenance300
English Texts302
J. B. Lightfoot and the Advocacy of the Epiphanian Position304
Naming the Sisters306
The Throne of Jacob308
The Burial of Jacob314
Just Jacob: The Rebirth of a Vision325
Excursus: Robert Eisenman's James the Brother of Jesus333
AppendixReports and Opinions on the Ossuary345
Geological Survey of Israel Dated 9/17/2002345
Summary of Israel Antiquities Authority Report346
Edward J. Keall for the Royal Ontario Museum352
Index of Biblical and Ancient Sources373
Index of Modern Authors389
Index of Subjects393

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