The Letter of James
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The so-called letter of James bears the marks of an ancient letter only in the Praescriptio found in the first verse of the document. Elsewhere the literary patterns follow that of an ancient Jewish homily or sermon. This form is pre-rabbinic and pre-dates the rabbinical drasha, which laid the foundation for the Jewish sermon in the Sabbath service all the way into modern times. In first centry Greek, it is alluded to when the writer of Hebrews labels his document a homily in 13:21 (tou' lovgou th'" paraklhvsew"). It grew out of Jewish scribal midrashic approaches to interpreting scripture. It will have points of commonality with the Jewish wisdom literary tradition whose roots reach back to Proverbs and the Psalms. The dominant tone will be admonition to high standards of moral behavior with a spiritual foundation. For most of the scribal Jewish writers that spiritual foundation was the Torah. For James and Hebrews, it was the crucified and resurrected Jesus Christ.

Out of this understanding of the basic genre of the document emerges understandings about point of origin. In the history of the canonization of James stands with considerable uncertainty among early church fathers about which "James" was responsibile for the composition of the document. That uncertainty has resurfaced in modern scholarship, only with broader parameters.

A number of individiuals with the name James surface in the pages of the New Testament. Some were apostles and one is identified as the brother of Jesus. Gradually, the brother of Jesus mentioned prominently in the Jerusalem Council meeting described in Acts 15 came to be regarded as responsibile for this document. In more recent New Testament scholarship, an attractive view has emerged suggesting that the contents of the letter reflect exerpts from the preaching ministry of James the Just in and around Jerusalem during the 50s of the first century. This James was executed by the Jewish authorities in 61 AD. The perspective, which I find most appealing, is that disciples of James concluded that his message needed to be preserved for Christians far beyond Judea in southern Palestine. Either shortly before, or, perhaps more likely, shortly after his martyrdom in AD 61, exerpts of major themes in James' lengthy preaching ministry to Jewish Christians were recorded in written form and then distributed to Christian communities beyond Judea, especially to those communities with large segments of Jewish Christians.

The testing of this -- and other -- hypotheses regarding authorship comes through examination of the evidence from both external and internal sources. Compositional History
In light of the above confusion over the name James in the New Testament, identification of the author of this document has its own set of challenges. And these have been around in one fashion or another virtually from the second Christian century to our present day. External History
When one begins looking at the sources of information about the book of James in early Christian history, some difficulties emerge.

This assessment of external history comes from the Catholic Encyclopedia article on James, and is very adamately pro-traditional in its stance on authorship from a traditionalist Roman Catholic perspective:

External evidence begins at a comparatively late date. Some coincidences, or analogies, exist between the Epistle and the Apostolic Fathers (Clement of Rome, the Pastor Hermas, St. Justin, St. Irenæus; see Mienertz, "Der Jacobusbrief", Freiburg im Br., 1905, p. 55 sqq.). The literary relation between the Epistle of James and the Epistle to the Romans is doubtful. Its later recognition in the Church, especially in the West, must be explained by the fact that it was written for Jewish Christians, and therefore not widely circulated among the Gentile Churches. From the middle of the third century, ecclesiastical authors cite the Epistle as written by St. James, the brother of the Lord. See the testimonies in the section following. The greater number of the Fathers in the Western Church identify the author with James the Apostle. In the Eastern Church, however, the authority of Eusebius and St. Epiphanius may explain some ecclesiastical doubts about the Apostolic origin of the Epistle, and consequently about its canonicity....

In the first centuries of the Church the authenticity of the Epistle was doubted by some, and amongst others by Theodore of Mopsuestia; it is therefore deuterocanonical. It is wanting in the Muratorian Canon, and because of the silence of several of the Western Churches regarding it, Eusebius classes it amongst the Antilegomena or contested writings (Hist. eccl., III, xxv; II, xxiii); St. Jerome gives the like information (De vir. ill., ii), but adds that with time its authenticity became universally admitted. In the sixteenth century its inspired nature was contested by Erasmus and Cajetan; Luther strongly repudiated the Epistle as "a letter of straw", and "unworthy of the apostolic Spirit", and this solely for dogmatic reasons, and owing to his preconceived notions, for the epistle refutes his heretical doctrine that Faith alone is necessary for salvation. The Council of Trent dogmatically defined the Epistle of St. James to be canonical.

As the solution of this question of the history of the canonicity of the Epistle depends chiefly on the testimony of the ancient Fathers, it remains to be seen whether it is quoted by them as Scripture.

(a) In the Latin Church it was known by St. Clement of Rome (before A.D. 100), the Pastor Hermas (about A.D. 150), St. Irenæus (125?-202?, 208), Tertullian (d. about 240), St. Hilary (d. 366), St. Philaster (d. 385), St. Ambrose (d. 397), Pope Damasus (in the canon of about A.D. 382), St. Jerome (346-420), Rufinus (d. 410), St. Augustine (430), and its canonicity is unquestioned by them.

(b) In the Greek Church, Clement of Alexandria (d. 217), Origen (d. 254), St. Athanasius (d. 373), St. Dionysius the Areopagite (about A.D. 500), etc., considered it undoubtedly as a sacred writing.

(c) In the Syrian Church, the Peshito, although omitting the minor Catholic Epistles, gives that of St. James; St. Ephraem uses it frequently in his writings. Moreover, the most notorious heretics of Syria recognised it as genuine. Thus we find that Nestorius ranked it in the Canon of Sacred Books, and James of Edessa adduces the testimony of James, v, 14. The Epistle is found in the Coptic, Sahidic, Ethiopic, Arabic, and Armenian versions.

Although, therefore, the canonicity of the Epistle of St. James was questioned by a few during the first centuries, there are to be found from the very earliest ages, in different parts of the Church, numerous testimonies in favour of its canonicity. From the end of the third century its acceptance as inspired, and as the work of St. James, has been universal, as clearly appears from the various lists of the Sacred Books drawn up since the fourth century.

Another assessment, although of somewhat questionable quality scholarship wise, can be found in the Wikipedia article on the Epistle of James. These observations are made regarding authorship and canonicity, and seem reasonably accurate historically:
The Epistle was first definitely quoted by Origen, and possibly a bit earlier by Irenaeus of Lyons[10] as well as Clement of Alexandria in a lost work according to Eusebius.


The Epistle of James was included among the 27 New Testament books first listed by Athanasius of Alexandria and was confirmed as a canonical epistle of the New Testament by a series of councils in the fourth century. Today, virtually all denominations of Christianity consider this book to be a canonical epistle of the New Testament. See Biblical canon.

In the first centuries of the Church the authenticity of the Epistle was doubted by some, and amongst others by Theodore, Bishop of Mopsuestia in Cilicia; it is therefore deuterocanonical. It is missing in the Muratorian fragment, and because of the silence of several of the western churches regarding it, Eusebius classes it amongst the Antilegomena or contested writings (Historia ecclesiae, 3.25; 2.23). St. Jerome gives a similar appraisal but adds that with time it had been universally admitted. Gaius Marius Victorinus, in his commentary on the Epistle to the Galatians, openly questioned whether the teachings of James were heretical.

Its late recognition in the Church, especially in the West, may be explained by the fact that it was written for or by Jewish Christians, and therefore not widely circulated among the Gentile Churches. There is some indication that a few groups distrusted the book because of its doctrine. In Reformation times a few theologians, most notably Martin Luther, argued that this epistle was too defective to be part of the canonical New Testament.[11] This is probably due to the book's specific teaching that faith alone is not enough for salvation (James 2:24), which seemed to contradict his doctrine of sola fide (faith alone).[12]

From just these two secondary sources one can glean a divided opinion regarding the book of James among the Church Father in the first several centuries of Christian history. This difference of viewpoint, although eventually overcome, will lay a foundation for different assessments of the contribution of this document to New Testament faith from the time of the Protestant Reformation to the present.

Primary Sources opposing inclusion of James in NT and doubting authorship:

Some more detailed consideration of some major primary sources among the Church Fathers is merited, if we are to clearly sense the concerns about this document, its origin and significance for Christianity. We will take a look first at those who doubted its origin and/or its importance. Then those who weren't committed either way. And finally the developing positive stance toward the book.

Theodore of Mopseustia

 Theodore (ca. 350 - 428), was bishop of Mopsuestia, a city in what is now Turkey which has since declined into a village which is now known as Yakapinar, from 392 to 428. He is also known as Theodore of Antioch, from the place of his birth and presbyterate. He is the best known representative of the middle Antiochene school of hermeneutics. ("Theodore of Mopsuestia," Wikipedia Online Encyclopedia)
As regards the Old Testament, Theodore seems to have accepted Flavius Josephus's idea of inspiration and his canon. He rejected as uncanonical the Book of Job, the Canticle of Canticles, the Book of Esdras, and the deutero-canonical books. From the New Testament he excised the Catholic Epistles (except I Peter and I John) and the Apocalypse (cf. Leontius, loc. cit., III, 13-17, in P.G., LXXXVI, 1365-68). In his explanation of the Holy Writ Theodore employs primarily the prevailing historical and grammatical method of the Antiochene school. Of all the Psalms he recognized only ii, vii, xiv, and cx as containing direct prophetic reference to the Messias; the Canticle of Canticles was pronounced by him a vulgar nuptial poem. ("Theodore of Mopsuestia," Catholic Encyclopedia, Sect. III. A.)

Primary sources neutral about inclusion of James and authorship:


This church father lists James as among the disputed letters of the New Testament , the Antilegomena, in his Church History, as quoted from English translation below.

Chapter XXV.—The Divine Scriptures that are accepted and those that are not.[1]

1. Since we are dealing with this subject it is proper to sum up the writings of the New Testament which have been already mentioned. First then must be put the holy quaternion of the Gospels;[2] following them the Acts of the Apostles.[3]

2. After this must be reckoned the epistles of Paul;[4] next in order the extant former epistle of John,[5] and likewise the epistle of Peter,[6] must be maintained.[7] After them is to be placed, if it really seem proper, the Apocalypse of John,[8] concerning which we shall give the different opinions at the proper time.[9] These then belong among the accepted writings.

3. Among the disputed writings,[10] which are nevertheless recognized[11] by many, are extant the so-called epistle of James[12] and that of Jude,[13] also the second epistle of Peter,[14] and those that are called the second and third of John,[15] whether they belong to the evangelist or to another person of the same name.

4. Among the rejected writings[16] must be reckoned also the Acts of Paul,[17] and the so-called Shepherd,[18] and the Apocalypse of Peter,[19] and in addition to these the extant epistle of Barnabas,[20] and the so-called Teachings of the Apostles;[21] and besides, as I said, the Apocalypse of John, if it seem proper, which some, as I said, reject,[22] but which others class with the accepted books.[23]

5. And among these some have placed also the Gospel according to the Hebrews,[24] with which those of the Hebrews that have accepted Christ are especially delighted. And all these may be reckoned among the disputed books.[25]

6. But we have nevertheless felt compelled to give a catalogue of these also, distinguishing those works which according to ecclesiastical tradition are true and genuine and commonly accepted,[26] from those others which, although not canonical but disputed,[27] are yet at the same time known to most ecclesiastical writers — we have felt compelled to give this catalogue in order that we might be able to know both these works and those that are cited by the heretics under the name of the apostles, including, for instance, such books as the Gospels of Peter,[28] of Thomas,[29] of Matthias,[30] or of any others besides them, and the Acts of Andrew[31]  and John[32] and the other apostles, which no one belonging to the succession of ecclesiastical writers has deemed worthy of mention in his writings.

7. And further, the character of the style is at variance with apostolic usage, and both the thoughts and the purpose of the things that are related in them are so completely out of accord with true orthodoxy that they clearly show themselves to be the fictions of heretics.[33] Wherefore they are not to be placed even among the rejected[34] writings, but are all of them to be cast aside as absurd and impious.

Let us now proceed with our history.

[1] This chapter is the only place in which Eusebius attempts to treat the canon systematically, and in it he is speaking purely as an historian, not as a critic. He is endeavoring to give an accurate statement of the general opinion of the orthodox Church of his day in regard to the number and names of its sacred books. He does not, in this passage, apply to the various works any criterion of canonicity further than their acceptance as canonical by the orthodox Church. He simply records the state of the canon; he does not endeavor to form a canon. He has nothing to do, therefore, with the nature and origin of the books which the church accepts. As remarked by Weiss (Einleitung in das N. T., p. 96), the influence of Eusebius in the formation of the canon is very commonly overestimated. He contributed himself very little; his office was to record the usage of the church of his age, not to mould it.
        The church whose judgment he takes is, in the main, the church of the Orient, and in that church at this time all the works which we now call canonical (and only those) were already commonly accepted, or were becoming more and more widely accepted as such. From the standpoint, then, of canonicity, Eusebius divided the works which he mentions in this chapter into two classes: the canonical (including the Homologoumena and the Antilogomena) and the uncanonical (including the novqoi and the ajnaplevsmata aiJetikw'n ajndrw'n ). But the novqoi he connects much more closely with the Homologoumena and Antilegomena than with the heretical works, which are, in fact, separated from all the rest and placed in a class by themselves. What, then, is the relation of the Homologoumena, Antilegomena, and novqoi to each other, as Eusebius classifies them? The crucial point is the relation of the novqoi to the ajntilegovmena. Lücke (Ueber den N. T. Kanon des Eusebius, p. 11 sq.) identified the two, but such identification is impossible in this passage. The passages which he cites to confirm his view prove only that the word Antilegomena is commonly employed by Eusebius in a general sense to include all disputed works, and therefore, of course, the novqoi also; that is, the term Antilegomena is ordinarily used, not as identical with novqoi, but as inclusive of it. This, however, establishes nothing as to Eusebius’ technical use of the words in the present passage, where he is endeavoring to draw close distinctions. Various views have been taken since Lücke’s time upon the relation of these terms to each other in this connection; but, to me at least, none of them seem satisfactory, and I have been led to adopt the following simple explanation. The Antilegomena, in the narrower sense peculiar to this summary, were works which, in Eusebius’ day, were, as he believed, commonly accepted by the Eastern Church as canonical, but which, nevertheless, as he well knew, had not always been thus accepted, and, indeed, were not even then universally accepted as such. The tendency, however, was distinctly in the direction of their ever-wider acceptance. On the other hand, the novqoi were works which, although they had been used by the Fathers and were quoted as grafh; by some of them, were, at this time, not acknowledged as canonical. Although perhaps not universally rejected from the canon, yet they were commonly so rejected, and the tendency was distinctly in the direction of their ever-wider rejection. Whatever their merit, and whatever their antiquity and their claims to authenticity, Eusebius could not place them among the canonical books. The term novqoi, then, in this passage, must not be taken, as it commonly is, to mean spurious or unauthentic, but to mean uncanonical. It is in this sense, as against the canonical Homologoumena and Antilegomena, that Eusebius, as I believe, uses it here, and his use of it in this sense is perfectly legitimate. In using it he passes no judgment upon the authenticity of the works referred to; that, in the present case, is not his concern. As an historian he observed tendencies, and judged accordingly. He saw that the authority of the Antilegomena was on the increase, that of the novqoi on the decrease, and already he could draw a sharp distinction between them, as Clement of Alexandria could not do a century before. The distinction drawn has no relation to the authenticity or original authority of the works of the two classes, but only to their canonicity or uncanonicity at the time Eusebius wrote.
        This interpretation will help us to understand the peculiar way in which Eusebius treats the Apocalypse, and thus his treatment of it becomes an argument in favor of the interpretation. He puts it, first among the Homologoumena with an  ei[ge faneivh, and then among the novqoi with an ei] faneivh. No one, so far as I know, has explained why it should be put among the novqoi as an alternative to the Homologoumena, instead of among the Antilegomena, which, on the common interpretation of the relation of the classes, might be naturally expected. If the view presented is correct, the reason is clear. The Antilegomena were those works which had been disputed, but were becoming more and more widely accepted as canonical. The Apocalypse could not under any circumstances fall into this class, for the doubts raised against it in the orthodox Church were of recent date. It occupied, in fact, a peculiar position, for there was no other work which, while accepted as canonical, was doubted in the present more than in the past. Eusebius then must either put it into a special class or put it conditionally into two different classes, as he does. If the doubts should become so widespread as to destroy its canonicity, it would fall naturally into the novqoi, for then it would hold the same position as the other works of that class. As an historian, Eusebius sees the tendency and undoubtedly has the idea that the Apocalypse may eventually, like the other Christian works of the same class (the Shepherd, the Apocalypse of Peter, etc.), become one of the novqoi, one of the works which, formerly accepted, is at length commonly denied to be canonical: and so, as an historian, he presents the alternative. The Apocalypse was the only work in regard to which any doubt could exist.
        Eusebius’ failure to mention explicitly in this passage the Epistle to the Hebrews, has caused considerable misunderstanding. The explanation, if the view presented be adopted, is simple. Eusebius included it, I believe, among the epistles of Paul, and did not especially mention it, simply because there was no dispute about its canonicity. Its Pauline authorship had been widely disputed as Eusebius informs us elsewhere, and various theories had been proposed to account for it; but its canonicity had not been doubted in the orthodox Church, and therefore doubts as to the authorship of it did not in the least endanger its place among the Homologoumena, as used here in a technical sense; and since Eusebius was simply stating the works of each class, not discussing the nature and origin of those works, he could, in perfect fairness, include it in Paul’s epistles (where he himself believed it belonged) without entering upon any discussion of it.
        Another noticeable omission is that of the Epistle of Clement to the Corinthians. All efforts to find a satisfactory reason for this are fruitless. It should have been placed among the novqoi with the Epistle of Barnabas, etc., as Eusebius’ treatment of it in other passages shows. It must be assumed, with Holtzmann, that the omission of it was nothing more nor less than an oversight.
        Eusebius, then, classifies the works mentioned in this chapter upon two principles: first, in relation to canonicity, into the canonical and the uncanonical; and secondly, in relation to character, into the orthodox (Homologoumena, Antilegomena, which are canonical, and novqoi, which are uncanonical), and heterodox (which are not, and never have been, canonical, never have been accepted as of use or authority). The Homologoumena and Antilegomena, then, are both canonical and orthodox, the ajnaplevsmata aiJretikw'n ajndrw'n are neither canonical nor orthodox, while the novqoi occupy a peculiar position, being orthodox but not canonical. The last-named are much more closely related to the canonical than to the heterodox works, because when the canon was a less concrete and exact thing than it had at length become, they were associated with the other orthodox works as, like them, useful for edification and instruction. With the heretical works they had never been associated, and possessed in common with them only the negative characteristic of non-canonicity. Eusebius naturally connects them closely with the former, and severs them completely from the latter. The only reason for mentioning the latter at all was the fact that they bore the names of apostles, and thus might be supposed, as they often had been — by Christians, as well as by unbelievers—to be sacred books like the rest. The statement of the canon gives Eusebius an opportunity to warn his readers against them.
        Upon Eusebius’ New Testament Canon, see especially the work of Lücke referred to above, also Westcott’s Canon of the New Testament, 5th ed., p. 414 sq., Harnack’s Lehre der Zwölf Apostel, p. 6 sq., Holtzmann’s Einleitung in das N.T., p. 154 sq., and Weiss’ Einleitung, p. 92 sq.
        The greater part of the present note was read before the American Society of Church History in December, 1888, and is printed in Vol. I. of that Society’s papers, New York, 1889, p. 251 sq.

[2] On Matthew, see the previous chapter, note 5; on Mark, Bk. II. chap. 15, note 4; on Luke, Bk. III. chap. 4, notes 12 and 15; on John, the previous chapter, note 1.

[3] See above, chap. 4, note 14.

[4] See chap. 3, note 16. Eusebius evidently means to include the Epistle to the Hebrews among Paul’s epistles at this point, for he mentions it nowhere else in this chapter (see above, note 1).

[5] See the previous chapter, note 18.

[6] See chap. 3, note 1.


[8]See the previous chapter, note 20. Upon Eusebius’ treatment in this chapter of the canonicity of the Apocalypse, see note 1, above.

[9] Compare the previous chapter, note 21.

[10]tw'n ajntilegomevnwn


[12] See Bk. II. chap. 23, note 46.

[13] See ibid. note 47.

[14] See above, chap. 3, note 4.

[15]See the previous chapter, note 19.

[16] ejn toi'" novboi".

[17] See above, chap. 3, note 20.

[18]Ibid., note 23.

[19]Ibid., note 9.

[20]  The author of the so-called Epistle of Barnabas is unknown. No name appears in the epistle itself, and no hints are given which enable us to ascribe it to any known writer. External testimony, without a dissenting voice, ascribes it to Barnabas, the companion of Paul. But this testimony, although unanimous, is neither very strong nor very extensive. The first to use the epistle is Clement of Alexandria, who expressly and frequently ascribes it to Barnabas the companion of Paul. Origen quotes from the epistle twice, calling it the Epistle of Barnabas, but without expressing any judgment as to its authenticity, and without defining its author more closely. Jerome (de vir. ill. 6) evidently did not doubt its authenticity, but placed it nevertheless among the Apocrypha, and his opinion prevailed down to the seventeenth century. It is difficult to decide what Eusebius thought in regard to its authorship. His putting it among the novqoi here does not prove that he considered it unauthentic (see note 1, above); nor, on the other hand, does his classing it among the Antilegomena just below prove that he considered it authentic, but non-apostolic, as some have claimed. Although, therefore, the direct external testimony which we have is in favor of the apostolic Barnabas as its author, it is to be noticed that there must have existed a widespread doubt as to its authenticity, during the first three centuries, to have caused its complete rejection from the canon before the time of Eusebius. That this rejection arose from the fact that Barnabas was not himself one of the twelve apostles cannot be. For apostolic authorship was not the sole test of canonicity, and Barnabas stood in close enough relation to the apostles to have secured his work a place in the canon, during the period of its gradual formation, had its authenticity been undoubted. We may therefore set this inference over against the direct external testimony for Barnabas’ authorship. When we come to internal testimony, the arguments are conclusive against “the Levite Barnabas” as the author of the epistle. These arguments have been well stated by Donaldson, in his History of Christian Literature, I. p. 204 sqq. Milligan, in Smith and Wace’s Dict. of Christ. Biog., endeavors to break the force of these arguments, and concludes that the authenticity of the epistle is highly probable; but his positions are far from conclusive, and he may be said to stand almost alone among modern scholars. Especially during the last few years, the verdict against the epi+stle’s authenticity has become practically unanimous. Some have supposed the author to have been an unknown man by the name of Barnabas: but this is pure conjecture. That the author lived in Alexandria is apparently the ruling opinion, and is quite probable. It is certain that the epistle was written between the destruction of Jerusalem (a.d. 70) and the time of Clement of Alexandria: almost certain that it was written before the building of Ælia Capitolina; and probable that it was written between 100 and 120, though dates ranging all the way from the beginning of Vespasian’s reign to the end of Hadrian’s have been, and are still, defended by able scholars. The epistle is still extant in a corrupt Greek original and in an ancient Latin translation. It is contained in all the editions of the Apostolic Fathers (see especially Gebhardt and Harnack’s second edition, 1876, and Hilgenfeld’s edition of 1877). An English translation is given in the Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol. I. p. 133 sqq. For the most important literature, see Schaff, Ch. Hist. II. p. 671 sqq., and Gebhardt and Harnack’s edition, p. xl. sqq.

[21]tw'n ajpostovlwn aiJ legovmenai didacaiv. The Teaching of the Twelve Apostles, Didach; tw'n dwvdeka ajpostovlwn, a brief document in sixteen chapters, was published in 1884 by Philotheos Bryennios, Metropolitan of Nicomedia, from a ms. discovered by him in the Jerusalem convent in Constantinople in 1873. The discovery threw the whole theological world into a state of excitement, and the books and articles upon the subject from America and from every nation in Europe have appeared by the hundred. No such important find has been made for many years. The light which the little document has thrown upon early Church history is very great, while at the same time the questions which it has opened are numerous and weighty. Although many points in regard to its origin and nature are still undecided, the following general positions may be accepted as practically established. It is composed of two parts, of which the former (chaps. 1–6) is a redaction of an independent moral treatise, probably of Jewish origin, entitled the Two Ways, which was known and used in Alexandria, and there formed the basis of other writings (e.g. the Epistle of Barnabas, chaps. 18–21, and the Ecclesiastical Canons) which were at first supposed to have been based upon the Teaching itself. (Bryennios, Harnack, and others supposed that the Teaching was based upon Barnabas, but this view has never been widely accepted.) This (Jewish) Two Ways which was in existence certainly before the end of the first century (how much earlier we do not know) was early in the second century (if not before) made a part of a primitive church manual, viz. our present Teaching of the Twelve Apostles. The Two Ways, both before and at the time of (perhaps after) its incorporation into the Teaching, received important additions, partly of a Christian character. The completed Teaching dates from Syria, though this is denied by many writers (e.g. by Harnack), who prefer, upon what seem to me insufficient grounds, Egypt as the place of composition. The completed Teaching formed the basis of a part of the seventh book of the Apostolic Constitutions, which originated in Syria in the fourth century. The most complete and useful edition is that of Schaff (The Teaching of the Twelve Apostles, 3d ed., New York, 1889), which contains the Greek text with English translation and a very full discussion of the work itself and of the various questions which are affected by its discovery. Harnack’s important edition Die Lehre der zwölff Apostel (Texte und Untersuchungen zur Gesch. der altchrist. Lit., II. 1 and 2, 1884) is still the standard German work upon the subject, though it represents many positions in regard to the origin and history of the work which have since been proved incorrect, and which he himself has given up. His article in Herzog, 2d ed., XVII. 656 sqq. and his Die Apostel-Lehre und die jüdischen Beiden Wege, 1886, should therefore be compared with his original work. Schaff’s book contains a very complete digest of the literature down to the close of 1888. As to the position which the Teaching occupied in the canon we know very little, on account of the very sparing use of it made by the early Fathers. Clement of Alexandria cites it once as Scripture (grafhv), but no other writer before the time of Eusebius treats it in the same way, and yet Eusebius’ mention of it among the novqoi shows that it must have enjoyed a wide circulation at some time and have been accepted by at least a portion of the Church as a book worthy to be read in divine service, and thus in a certain sense as a part of the canon. In Eusebius’ time, however, its canonicity had been denied (though according to Athanasius Fest. Ep. 39, it was still used in catechetical instruction), and he was therefore obliged to relegate it to a position among the novqoi. Upon Eusebius’ use of the plural didacaiv, see the writer’s article in the Andover Review, April, 1886, p. 439 sq.

[22]ajqetou'sin. See the previous chapter, note 20.

[23]toi'" oJmologoumevnoi". See note 1, above.

[24] This Gospel, probably composed in Hebrew (Aramaic), is no longer extant, but we possess a few fragments of it in Greek and Latin which are collected by Grabe, Spic. I. 15–31, and by Hilgenfeld, N. T. Extra Can. rec. II. The existing material upon which to base a judgment as to the nature of the lost Gospel and as to its relation to our canonical gospels is very limited. It is certain, however, that it cannot in its original form have been a working over of our canonical Matthew (as many have thought); it contains too many little marks of originality over against our Greek Matthew to admit of such a supposition. That it was, on the other hand, the original of which our Greek Matthew is the translation is also impossible; a comparison of its fragments with our Matthew is sufficient to prove this. That it was the original source from which Matthew and Luke derived their common matter is possible—more cannot be said. Lipsius (Dict. of Christ. Biog. II. 709–712) and Westcott (Hist. of the Canon, p. 515 sqq.) give the various quotations which are supposed to have been made from it. How many of them are actually to be traced back to it as their source is not certain. It is possible, but not certain, that Papias had seen it (see chap. 39, note 28), possible also that Ignatius had, but the passage relied on to establish the fact fails to do so (see chap. 36, note 14). It was probably used by Justin (see Westcott, ibid. p. 516, and Lipsius, ibid. p. 712), undoubtedly by Hegesippus (see below, Bk. IV. chap. 22), and was perhaps known to Pantænus (see below, Bk. V. chap. 10, note 8). Clement of Alexandria (Strom. II. 9) and Origen (in Johan. II. 6 and often) are the first to bear explicit testimony to the existence of such a gospel. Eusebius also was personally acquainted with it, as may be gathered from his references to it in III. 39 and IV. 22, and from his quotation in (the Syriac version of) his Theophany, IV. 13 (Lee’s trans. p. 234), and in the Greek Theophany, §22 (Migne, VI. 685). The latter also shows the high respect in which he held the work. Jerome’s testimony in regard to it is very important, but it must be kept in mind that the gospel had undergone extensive alterations and additions before his time, and as known to him was very different from the original form (cf. Lipsius, ibid. p. 711), and therefore what he predicates of it cannot be applied to the original without limitation. Epiphanius has a good deal to say about it, but he evidently had not himself seen it, and his reports of it are very confused and misleading. The statement of Lipsius, that according to Eusebius the gospel was reckoned by many among the Homologoumena, is incorrect; ejn touvtoi" refers rather to the novqoi among which its earlier acceptance by a large part of the Church, but present uncanonicity, places it by right. Irenæus expressly states that there were but four canonical gospels (Adv. Hær. III. 2, 8), so also Tertullian (Adv. Marc. IV. 5), while Clement of Alexandria cites the gospel with the same formula which he uses for the Scriptures in general, and evidently looked upon it as, if not quite, at least almost, on a par with the other four Gospels. Origen on the other hand (in Johan. II. 6, Hom. in Jer. XV. 4, and often) clearly places it upon a footing lower than that of the four canonical Gospels. Upon the use of the gospel by the Ebionites and upon its relation to the Hebrew Gospel of Matthew, see chap. 27, note 8.
        The literature upon the Gospel according to the Hebrews is very extensive. Among recent discussions the most important are by Hilgenfeld, in his Evangelien nach ihrer Entstehung (1854); in the Zeitschrift f. wiss. Theol., 1863, p. 345 sqq.; in his N. T. extra Canon. rec. (2d ed. 1884); and in his Einleitung z. N. T. (1875); by Nicholson, The Gospel according to the Hebrews (1879); and finally, a very thorough discussion of the subject, which reached me after the composition of the above note, by Handmann, Das Hebräer-Evangelium (Gebhardt and Harnack’s Texte und Untersuchungen, Bd. V. Heft 3, Leipzig, 1888). This work gives the older literature of the subject with great fullness. Still more recently Resch’s Agrapha (ibid. V. 4, Leipzig, 1889) has come to hand. It discusses the Gospel on p. 322 sq.

[25]tw'n ajntilegomevnwn


[27]oujk ejndiaqhvkou" mevn, ajlla; kai; ajntilegomevna". Eusebius, in this clause, refers to the novqoi, which, of course, while distinguished from the canonical Antilegomena, yet are, like them, disputed, and hence belong as truly as they to the more general class of Antilegomena. This, of course, explains how, in so many places in his History, he can use the words novqoi and ajntilegovmena interchangeably (as e.g. in chap. 31, §6). In the present passage the novqoi, as both uncanonical and disputed, are distinguished from the canonical writings, — including both the universally accepted and the disputed, — which are here thrown together without distinction. The point to be emphasized is that he is separating here the uncanonical from the canonical, without regard to the character of the individual writings within the latter class.

[28] See chap. 3, note 5.

[29] The Gospel of Thomas is of Gnostic origin and thoroughly Docetic. It was written probably in the second century. The original Gnostic form is no longer extant, but we have fragmentary Catholic recensions of it in both Latin and Greek, from which heretical traits are expunged with more or less care. The gospel contained many very fabulous stories about the childhood of Jesus. It is mentioned frequently by the Fathers from Origen down, but always as an heretical work. The Greek text is given by Tischendorf, p. 36 sqq., and an English translation is contained in the Ante-Nicene Fathers, VIII. 395–405. See Lipsius in the Dict. of Christ. Biog. II. p. 703–705.

[30] This gospel is mentioned by Origen (Hom. in Lucam I.), by Jerome (Præf. in Matt.), and by other later writers. The gospel is no longer extant, though some fragments have been preserved by Clement of Alexandria, e.g. in Strom. II. 9, Strom. III. 4 (quoted below in chap. 30), and Strom. VII. 13, which show that it had a high moral tone and emphasized asceticism. We know very little about it, but Lipsius conjectures that it was “identical with the paradovsei" Matqivon which were in high esteem in Gnostic circles, and especially among the Basilidæans.” See Lipsius, ibid. p. 716.

[31] Eusebius so far as we know is the first writer to refer to these Acts. But they are mentioned after him by Epiphanius, Philaster, and Augustine (see Tischendorf’s Acta Apost. Apoc. p. xl.). The Acts of Andrew (Acta Andrææ) were of Gnostic origin and circulated among that sect in numerous editions. The oldest extant portions (both in Greek and somewhat fragmentary) are the Acts of Andrew and Matthew (translated in the Ante-Nicene Fathers, VIII. 517–525) and the Acts of Peter and Andrew (ibid. 526–527). The Acts and Martyrdom of the Holy Apostle Andrew (ibid. 511–516), or the so-called Epistle of the Presbyters and Deacons of Achaia concerning the Passion of Andrew, is a later work, still extant in a Catholic recension in both Greek and Latin. The fragments of these three are given by Tischendorf in his Acta Apost. Apoc. p. 105 sqq. and 132 sqq., and in his Apocal. Apoc. p. 161 sq. See Lipsius in the Dict. of Christ. Biog. I. p. 30.

[32] Eusebius is likewise, so far as we know, the first writer to refer to these Acts. But they are afterward mentioned by Epiphanius, Photius, Augustine, Philaster, &c. (see Tischendorf, ibid. p. lxxiii.). They are also of Gnostic origin and extant in a few fragments (collected by Thilo, Fragmenta Actum S. Johannis a Leucio Charino conscriptorum, Halle, 1847). A Catholic extract very much abridged, but containing clear Gnostic traits, is still extant and is given by Tischendorf, Acta Apost. Apoc. p. 266 sq. (translated in the Ante-Nicene Fathers, VIII. 560–564).
        The last two works mentioned belong to a collection of apocryphal Acts which were commonly ascribed to Leucius, a fictitious character who stands as the legendary author of the whole of this class of Gnostic literature. From the fourth century on, frequent reference is made to various Gnostic Acts whose number must have been enormous. Although no direct references are made to them before the time of Eusebius, yet apparent traces of them are found in Clement of Alexandria, Tertullian, Origen, &c., which make it probable that these writers were acquainted with them, and it may at any rate be assumed as established that many of them date from the third century and some of them even from the second century. See Salmon’s article Leucius in the Dict. of Christ. Biog. III. 703–707, and Lipsius’ article in the same work, I. 28.

[33]aijretikw'n ajndrw'n ajnaplevsmata

[34]ejn novqoi".

Primary sources including James and affirming authorship:

Athanasius of Alexandria

Pope Athanasius I of Alexandria (c. 293-May 2, 373) also known as St. Athanasius The Apostolic (Greek:  jAqanavsio" , Athanásios) was a theologian, Patriarch of Alexandria, and a noted Egyptian leader of the fourth century. He is best remembered for his role in the conflict with Arius and Arianism. He is revered as a saint by the Oriental Orthodox & Eastern Orthodox Church, Roman Catholic & Eastern Catholic Church. He is traditionally regarded as a great leader of the Church by the Lutheran Church, the Anglican Communion, and most Protestants in general. He is chronologically the first Doctor of the Church so designated by the Roman Catholic Church, and he is counted as one of the four Great Doctors of the Eastern Church. His feast day is January 18 in the Eastern Orthodox Churches and May 2 in Western Christianity and the Coptic Orthodox Church. ("Pope Athanasius I of Alexandria," Wikipedia Online Encyclopedia)

His Festal Letter for Easter of 367 AD was sent out to the churches in his territory in Egypt and dealt with the canon of scriptures. In it he asserted those writings, which he considered as sacred scriptures, and others that he was convinced were filled with heresy and should not be treated as having spiritual value. Below is an English translation of this letter. His listing contains the same 27 documents [cf. sec. 5 below] that historically have comprised the NT among virtually all Christian traditions.

...1. They have[1] fabricated books which they call books of tables[2], in which they shew stars, to which they give the names of Saints. And therein of a truth they have inflicted on themselves a double reproach: those who have written such books, because they have perfected themselves in a lying and contemptible science; and as to the ignorant and simple, they have led them astray by evil thoughts concerning the right faith established in all truth and upright in the presence of God.

…2. But[3] since we have made mention of heretics as dead, but of ourselves as possessing the Divine Scriptures for salvation; and since I fear lest, as Paul wrote to the Corinthians[4], some few of the simple should be beguiled from their simplicity and purity, by the subtilty of certain men, and should henceforth read other books — those called apocryphal — led astray by the similarity of their names with the true books; I beseech you to bear patiently, if I also write, by way of remembrance, of matters with which you are acquainted, influenced by the need and advantage of the Church.

3. In proceeding to make mention of these things, I shall adopt, to commend my undertaking, the pattern of Luke the Evangelist, saying on my own account: ‘Forasmuch as some have taken in hand[5],’ to reduce into order for themselves the books termed apocryphal, and to mix them up with the divinely inspired Scripture, concerning which we have been fully persuaded, as they who from the beginning were eyewitnesses and ministers of the Word, delivered to the fathers; it seemed [line 552] good to me also, having been urged thereto by true brethren, and having learned from the beginning, to set before you the books included in the Canon, and handed down, and accredited as Divine; to the end that any one who has fallen into error may condemn those who have led him astray; and that he who has continued stedfast in purity may again rejoice, having these things brought to his remembrance.

4. There are, then, of the Old Testament, twenty-two books in number; for, as I have heard, it is handed down that this is the number of the letters among the Hebrews; their respective order and names being as follows. The first is Genesis, then Exodus, next Leviticus, after that Numbers, and then Deuteronomy. Following these there is Joshua, the son of Nun, then Judges, then Ruth. And again, after these four books of Kings, the first and second being reckoned as one book, and so likewise the third and fourth as one book. And again, the first and second of the Chronicles are reckoned as one book. Again Ezra, the first and second[6] are similarly one book. After these there is the book of Psalms, then the Proverbs, next Ecclesiastes, and the Song of Songs. Job follows, then the Prophets, the twelve being reckoned as one book. Then Isaiah, one book, then Jeremiah with Baruch, Lamentations, and[7] the epistle, one book; afterwards, Ezekiel and Daniel, each one book. Thus far constitutes the Old Testament.

5. Again it is not tedious to speak of the [books] of the New Testament. These are, the four Gospels, according to Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. Afterwards, the Acts of the Apostles and Epistles (called Catholic), seven, viz. of James, one; of Peter, two; of John, three; after these, one of Jude. In addition, there are fourteen Epistles of Paul, written in this order. The first, to the Romans; then two to the Corinthians; after these, to the Galatians; next, to the Ephesians; then to the Philippians; then to the Colossians; after these, two to the Thessalonians, and that to the Hebrews; and again, two to Timothy; one to Titus; and lastly, that to Philemon. And besides, the Revelation of John.

6. These are fountains of salvation, that they who thirst may be satisfied with the living words they contain. In these alone is proclaimed the doctrine of godliness. Let no man add to these, neither let him take ought from these. For concerning these the Lord put to shame the Sadducees, and said, ‘Ye do err, not knowing the Scriptures.’ And He reproved the Jews, saying, ‘Search the Scriptures, for these are they that testify of Me'[8].

7. But for greater exactness I add this also, writing of necessity; that there are other books besides these not indeed included in the Canon, but appointed by the Fathers to be read by those who newly join us, and who wish for instruction in the word of godliness. The Wisdom of Solomon, and the Wisdom of Sirach, and Esther, and Judith, and Tobit, and that which is called the Teaching of the Apostles, and the Shepherd. But the former, my brethren, are included in the Canon, the latter being [merely] read; nor is there in any place a mention of apocryphal writings. But they are an invention of heretics, who write them when they choose, bestowing upon them their approbation, and assigning to them a date, that so, using them as ancient writings, they may find occasion to lead astray the simple.

[1] This section is preserved in the Coptic (Memphitic) Life of S. Theodore (Amélineau Ann. du Musée Guimet. xvii. p. 239). Its contents and the context in which it is quoted appear decisive for its identification as part of Letter 39. But the Letter from which the fragment comes is stated in the context to have been received by Theodore in the spring previous to his death. If Theodore died in 364, as seems probable on other grounds (see p. 569, note 3), the speech from which our fragment comes must have been written for him by his biographer. This is not unlikely, nor does it throw any suspicion on the genuineness of the fragment itself.

[2] Copt.ajpogravmmwn: astrological charts or tables appear to be meant.

[3] The remainder of the thirty-ninth Letter has long been before the world, having been preserved, with the heading of the Letter, in the original Greek, by Theodorus Balsamon. It may be found in the first volume of the Benedictine edition of the works of S. Athan. tom. i. p. 767. ed. 1777. [Migne, ubi supra]. A Syriac translation of it was discovered by Cureton in an anonymous Commentary on the Scriptures in the collection of the British Museum (Cod. 12, 168). This translation commences only at the quotation from S. Luke. The Syriac is apparently the work of a different translator.

[4] 2 Cor. xi. 3.

[5] Luke i. 1.

[6] i.e. Ezra and Nehemiah.

[7] i.e. Baruch vi. — The Syriac has the conjunction, which is rejected by the Benedictine editors.

[8] Matt. xxii. 29; John v. 39.

Clearly for Athanasius the book of James belongs in the New Testament. From the way of the listing, one can conclude that his conviction was that "James" wrote it, although he doesn't specify which James.
The external evidence for both canonicity and authorship as illustrated by the church fathers cited above reflect diversity of viewpoint early on in the history of Christianity. Internal History
In analyzing the time and place markers inside the book of James for signals of compositional history, one faces the challenge of the wisdom literary style that deals more in timeless religious principles than with specifically identifiable historical situations.

The facing of opposition as a Christian is certainly a theme present in the document. Loss of property (1:10), slandering of the name of Christ (2:7), believers being drug into the court system because of their faith (2:6), peasant Christian workers being defrauded out of their just wages (5:4) -- these are the signals of persecution of Christians mentioned in the book. Unfortunately, they are sufficiently generalized so that one can not reach hard and fast historical dating conclusions from them. The only probable historical signal lies in the condemnation of the wealthy landowners' abuse of their workers in 5:1-6. From Josephus ??? Wirkungsgeschichte des Jakobus Fathers through Middle Ages Reformation to Present Summary of Contents

The contents of James mystifies most modern western Bible scholars. Because it defies logical analysis and subsequent outlining as the writings of the apostle Paul lend themselves to, scholars tend to struggle with perceiving a "logical" thought flow of the material. All too often associative word games are played with the text and exteriorily formed outlines are superimposed down onto the text with a resulting distortion of the meaning of the biblical text.

The literary genre of wisdom writing generates, in part, the patchwork quit style of the content of James. Add to that the paraenesis nature of most all the content and the orientation of such material will inevitably be miscellaneous topics addressed in random fashion. Additionally, the assumption of the historical origin of this material as exerpts of James' oral preaching of the gospel in and around Jerusalem preserved now in written expression will further contribute to the miscellaneous topic nature of the contents.

In light of this, the following literary summary of James can be determined at the individual pericope level:

1:1 Letter Praescriptio
      1.2-12 Trials
      1.13-18 Temptation
      1.19-27 Worship
      2.1-13 Faith and worship
      2.14-26 Faith and service
      3.1-12 Tongues
      3.13-18 Wisdom
      4.1-10 Worldliness
      4.11-12 Criticism
      4.13-17 Leaving God out
      5.1-6 Abusive wealth
      5.7-11 Patient suffering
      5.12 Oaths
      5.13-18 Praying
      5.19-20 Reclaiming the fallen

To be certain, certain themes will surface periodically, much in the pattern of a candy swirl . One can see emphases on speech (1:26; 3:1-12; 4:11-12; 512), wisdom (1:5-8; 3:13-18); unholy living (1:27; 4:1-10; 4:13-17; 5:1-6) etc. But to layer a systematic outline over the biblical text  is to distort the text and to stifle the voice of James by squeezing him into a Pauline box. This is to turn exegesis into eisegesis, a great interpretative tragedy that creates pseudo-tension between James and Paul. The history of the interpretation of James since the Protestant Reformation has been plagued with this kind of failure.

For a study guide that carries the Bible student through the English text study of James, see LIR James in the Academic section of Cranfordville. For an in depth probing of the Greek text of James, see Greek 495J in the Academic section of Cranfordville. Both courses of study are designed to help bring the Bible student face to face with the voice of James as it was heard in the mid-first Christian century world. Each pericope is scrutinized against the backdrop of well established principles of exegeting scripture. Jas. 1:1 Letter Praescriptio

The beginning verse of James is the only part of the entire document that follows an ancient letter format. The remainder of the document reflects ancient Jewish homily or preaching patterns in the Jewish wisdom literary tradition. Interestingly, the letter introduction in verse one stands as one of the more Hellenized letter praescriptia in the entire New Testament.
        qeou' kai; kurivou  jIhsou' Cristou' dou'lo" 

tai'" dwvdeka fulai'" 
            tai'" ejn th'/ diaspora'/ 


   a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ,

To the twelve tribes
                            in the Dispersion:


Identifies the sender of the letter. In more formal letters, this ID comes at two points typically: (1) The personal name of the sender(s) will be given; (2) the title of the sender(s) will be specified with authority labels.  The Greek text will use the nominative case forms in the Independent Nominative function, and where titilary designations are given the Nomination of Apposition function. 
Identifies the recipients of the letters. In the New Testament this ranges from a single individual to a group of Christians in a particular geographical location such as Rome to a broader, more inclusive designation of Christians without any specific geographical location in mind.
Expresses greetings from the sender (superscriptio) to the recipients (adscriptio). Typically in ancient Greek letters this was the single word caivrein

This section of James introduces us to one of the purest ancient Greek letter praescriptia to be found anywhere inside the New Testament.  It is matched only by those found in Acts 15:23 and 26.

Acts 15:23.
Superscriptio:        OiJ ajpovstoloi kai; oiJ presbuvteroi ajdelfoi;
                                     The apostles and the older brothers
Adscriptio:             toi'" kata; th;n  jAntiovceian kai; Surivan kai; Kilikivan ajdelfoi'" toi'" ejx ejqnw'n
                                     to the brothers at Antioch, Syria, and Cilicia among the Gentiles
Salutatio:               caivrein
Acts 23:26.
Superscriptio:         Klauvdio" Lusiva"
                                     Claudius Lysias
Adscriptio:               tw/' krativstw/ hJgemovni Fhvliki
                                     to his Excellency the governor Felix
Salutatio:                  caivrein
These two letters, which are embedded in the book of Acts, reflect a typical ancient Greek letter. The first one is addressed to a group of people and sent from the Christian leaders in Jerusalem, although James was personally responsible for the composition of the letter found in 15:22-29. The second letter, 23:25-30, is an offical letter from the Roman centurion Claudius Lysias in Jerusalem to the Roman govenor Felix at Caesarea Philippi outlining the situation of the plot against Paul at Jerusalem. Both of these identify the senders either by title or by personal name. The recipients are addressed in minimal terms that are appropriate to the situation in each letter. The single word greeting, caivrein, is very standard to letters in that world.

Adscriptio.  In the sender identification sub-section, the sender of the document is identified in two ways.  First, he is James,  jIavkwbo". Clear enough. James is the sender. But once you check the New Testament you discover more than one person had the personal name of James. There is a

  1. a James, the son of Zebedee (Mt. 4:21; 10:22);
  2. a James, the son of Alphaeus (Mt. 10:3; Mk. 1:19, 3:18; Acts 1:13);
  3. a James, the brother of Jesus (Mt. 13:55; Mk. 6:3);
  4. a James, the brother of John (Mt. 17:1; Mk. 1:29, 3:17, 5:37, 9:2, 10:35, 41, 13:3, 14:43; Lk. 5:10, 6:14, 8:51, 9:28, 54; Acts 1:13, 12:2 );
  5. a James, whose mother was Mary (Mk. 15:40 [called 'James the younger']; Lk. 24:10) and brother was Joseph / Joses (Mt. 27:56; Mk. 15:40, 16:1);
  6. a James, who was the father of a Judas, but not Judas Iscariot, (Lk. 6:16; Acts 1:13)
  7. a James, who a leader of the Christian community in Jerusalem (Acts 15:13, 21:8; 1 Cor. 15:7; Gal. 1:19, 2:9, 12)
  8. a James, whose brother was Judas / Jude (Jude 1)
Two issues surface immediately. How many James' were there as historical individuals? Eight or less than this? Careful study reveals that Zebedee had two sons: James and John. So in the above list #1 and # 4 are the same James. Down through the centuries of Christian understanding, # 3 has been identified as the same person as # 7 and # 8. James the brother of Jesus had a brother named Jude / Judas (Mt. 13:55; Mk. 6:3). The English name Jude comes from the Greek name  jIouvda", as does also the name Judas, and in the English Bible translation tradition has been translated Jude in order to distinguish this person from Judas Iscariot. Early church tradition gradually became unified in its conviction that the James in 1:1 of the book is the brother of Jesus who was also the leader of the Christian movement in Jerusalem from the late 30s until his death in AD 61.

The second issue is what does Adscriptio imply about the composition of the book? Did the sender of the letter also do the writing of the original letter? At first glance, the answer would seem to be a simple yes. Modern biblical scholarship makes heavy use of the English term "author" of a NT document. Who wrote the document? This is a major issue in historical critical biblical studies. And the assumption of most of modern scholarship is the baggage implied in the word "author." Author means writer, composer etc. It means the one responsible for putting the contents of a document into written expression. The online Merriam-Webster Collegiate Dictionary defines "author" this way:

1 a: one that originates or creates : source <software authors> <film authors> <the author of this crime>
   b capitalized : God
2: the writer of a literary work (as a book)

The problem is that the ancient world didn't think or function the way the modern world does in regard to the composition of a written document, especially in regard to definition 2 above. Thus the modern word "author" with what it normally implies about writing is seldom applicable to the composition of an ancient document.

Another central factor here is the process of composing documents in the ancient world. This is particularly true in regard to the writing of letters in the Greco-Roman world of the first Christian century. Important letters, especially more formal letters written to a group of people, normally went through a lengthy process of composition. The person responsibile for sending the letter, and also responsibile for its contents, would give an initial oral dictation to a writing secretary (in Latin, amanuensis; in Greek grammateuv"). This could take the form of a detailed, almost word-for-word dictation to the writing secretary. But most of the time the letter sender simply sketched out the basic ideas and depended upon a trusted associate to flesh out those ideas in a written form. After going through between one and four revisions, which normally would be written on a writing board(s) with a layer of wax across the top surface, the final draft would be written on papyrus "paper" in order to be sent to its destination. In the letters found in the New Testament, two individuals are identified by name as the writing secretary for two different letters. In Rom. 16:22, Tertius identifies himself as the one who did the actual writing of the Letter to the Romans. In 1 Pet. 5:12, Silvanus (Latin for Silas) is identified as the writing secretary for 1 Peter. What this suggests is that most, if not all, the letters in the New Testament were actually written by a writing secretary, rather than by the person identified as the sender of the letter. This would be very much in line with the normal pattern in the first Christian century in general. Therefore, the modern term "author" has to be greatly qualified before it can stand as an appropriate term for the one responsible for the contents of any of the documents found in the New Testament. Jas. 1.2-12 Trials Jas. 1.13-18 Temptation Jas. 1.19-27 Worship Jas. 2.1-13 Faith and worship Jas. 2.14-26 Faith and service Jas. 3.1-12 Tongues Jas. 3.13-18 Wisdom Jas. 4.1-10 Worldliness Jas. 4.11-12 Criticism Jas. 4.13-17 Leaving God out Jas. 5.1-6 Abusive wealth Jas. 5.7-11 Patient suffering Jas. 5.12 Oaths Jas. 5.13-18 Praying Jas. 5.19-20 Reclaiming the fallen


Also check the appropriate Bibliography section in

Bibliography: How do I learn more about the book of James?

Early Christian Writings: The Epistle of James

IVP Online Commentary on James

Berkhof, Louis, "The General Epistle of James," An Introduction to the New Testament.

Camerlynck, A., ”The Epistle of James, Catholic Encyclopedia

Goodspeed, Edgar A., "Chapter 18: The Epistle of James," An Introduction to the New Testament

Grant, Robert M. "Chapter 14: The Non-Pauline Letters: The Epistle of James," A Historical Introduction to the New Testament.

Heard, Richard, "Chapter 16: The Epistle of James," An Introduction to the New Testament

J. Hampton Keathley, III, "The Non-Pauline Epistles: The Epistle of James," Concise New Testament Survey.

McNeile, A. H., "Chapter VIII - Part 1: GENERAL EPISTLES AND HOMILIES: § I.JAMES," An Introduction to the Study of the New Testament

"James," New American Bible. (US Conference of Catholic Bishops).

"Book of James," Questions about the New Testament.

Robbins, Vernon K., "Making Christian Culture in the Epistle of James," Scriptura, 59 (1996) , pp. 341-351

Smith, Barry, "The Letter of James," New Testament Introduction