Original Research

The Jewish Setting of the Epistle of James

Dale C. Allison
In die Skriflig/In Luce Verbi | Vol 49, No 1 | a1897 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/ids.v49i1.1897 | © 2015 Dale C. Allison | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 22 October 2014 | Published: 08 May 2015

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Dale C. Allison, Princeton Theological Seminary, Princeton, United States and Faculty of Theology, North-West University Potchefstroom Campus, South Africa


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Abstract

Many older commentators understood the Epistle of James to address itself to Jews of the diaspora, whether Christian or not. Although few modern scholars have seriously reckoned with this possibility, much is to be said for the thesis. It makes sense for example of important features of the epistle that otherwise would remain unclear, such as its dearth of explicit Christology, its seeming lack of distinctive Christian sentiments, and its thoroughly Jewish orientation. The author was a Jewish Christian still hoping for a Christian place within the Jewish synagogue; he wished for irenic relations with those who did not confess Jesus to be the Messiah. He was thus intentionally quiescent about much for apologetical purposes, a strategy with clear parallels in other ancient Christian literature.

Die Joodse agtergrond van die Jakobusbrief. Die Jakobusbrief is deur baie van die ouer kommentaarskrywers gesien as ’n selfverklarende geskrif aan die Jode van die diaspora – hetsy Christene of nie-Christene. Hoewel van die moderne navorsers heelhartig daarmee saamstem, bestaan daar heelwat twyfel oor hierdie siening. Dit maak egter sin ten opsigte van sekere belangrike beskrywings van die brief wat andersins onverklaarbaar sou wees soos die gebrek aan uitdruklike Christologie, die skynbare gebrek aan kenmerkende Christelike sentimente en die grondige Joodse oriëntering daarvan. Die skrywer was ’n Joodse Christen wat steeds gehoop het vir erkenning binne die Joodse sinagoge en versoenende verhoudings met diegene wat nie vir Jesus as die Messias erken het nie, verlang het. Dus was hy met voorbedagde rade baie stil oor baie dinge om apologetiese redes – ’n strategie wat duidelike parallelle met ander antieke Christelike literatuur toon.


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