Just James Personalities Of Ntby John Painter
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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.
- Augsburg Fortress, Publishers
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