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Messianic Judaism

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  • lmbarre@nethere.com
    Greetings I am impressed with how little the epistle of James has in common with the writings of Paul. There is one passage that discusses the relationship of
    Message 1 of 9 , Apr 1, 2003
      Greetings

      I am impressed with how little the epistle of James has in common with the writings of Paul. There is one passage that discusses the relationship of faith and works and even here, where James agrees with Paul, he does agree for the same reasons. I do not find any hint of the elements of Paul's Gospel, namely, that the Law exposes sin that drives one to the substitutionary death of Christ, of a mystical union in Christ's death, burial and resurrection, and of walking according to the indwelling Holy Spirit. Lacking a concept of the Gospel, James shows no compulsion to preach it to win converts. The one idea that they do share is in the imminent return of the Lord. In place of these Pauline themes, one finds instead connections with Israelite wisdom tradition and with certain sayings of the Lord. In fact, the entire letter breaths a certain atmosphere that is quite un-Pauline.

      I have previously mentioned that the presence of the wisdom tradition and the referencing some sayings of Jesus make me think that the epistle was written by James, the brother of Jesus. People who share this view often date it to about 47 CE.

      James regards Jesus as the returning Judge and also as the Messiah. James calls him also "the Lord of Glory," perhaps understood as "the glorious Lord." If James' communities did not have the Pauline concepts of the resurrection of Jesus, it would seem that, as in proto-Mark, Jesus' glory was exhibited by his life and noble death alone. I might suggest that James understood the return of Jesus in terms of Dan 7:13-14, as Jesus once did. It is as if the coming of the Messianic kingdom was simply pushed forward, past Jesus' death to his apocalyptic return. His death did not displace the belief of the imminent coming of the Kingdom.

      So it seems to me that the epistle of James expresses an early form of religiosity that might more accurately be described as "Messianic Judaism" rather than as a form of Christianity, the latter term perhaps better reserved for Paul.

      Lloyd

      ----------------------------------------------------------------------
      L.M. Barre'
    • mitrich08904
      I believe that James and Paul were not on the same page. I am not an expert on either; but James the Just never ceased being Yaakov ha- Tzaddick , Jacob
      Message 2 of 9 , Apr 1, 2003
        I believe that James and Paul were not on the same page. I am not an
        expert on either; but "James the Just" never ceased being "Yaakov ha-
        Tzaddick", "Jacob the Righteous." During the "Second Temple" period,
        two Jewish groups, possibly both Pharisee, were the "Tzaddikim" and
        the Hasidim", or the "Righteous" and the "Pious". These two groups
        functioned much as political parties might function. James was always
        and ever a "Righteous" or "Just" (thus, James the Just) individual.
        When you read the Book of James, you are reading the work of a very
        observant Jewish person, a person who never abandoned his Jewish
        observance. Two of my friends who are Christians (as in born-again)
        both say that when they feel they are "losing their way," they go
        back and read the Book of James.

        I am given to understand that Paul also never actually abandoned his
        own Jewish observance, even though he preached to the gentiles.

        Three good books on Paul:

        Lloyd Gaston, "Paul and the Torah", 1987, Univ of British Columbia
        Press, Vancouver

        Alan F. Segal, "Paul the Convert", 1990, Yale Univ Press, New Haven

        Daniel Boyardin, " A Radical Jew", 1994, Univ of California Press,
        Berkeley and L.A.

        Two good books on James:

        John Painter, "Just James", 1997, Univ of South Carolina Press,
        Columbia, SC

        Robert Eisenman, "James The Brother of Jesus", 1997, Penguin Books,
        New York

        Now, a lot of people think Eisenman is an idiot, a fool, a maker of
        charades, whatever; but he does the best job of backing up his
        statements with scholarship. I takes no sides, so I need not be
        attacked, I just point him out to be as helpful as possible.
      • George
        Dear mitrich08904 , I have made exactly the same conclusions about Eisenman s book, _JAMES THE BROTHER OF JESUS_. Great scholarship. Sometimes tough to
        Message 3 of 9 , Apr 2, 2003
          Dear "mitrich08904",

          I have made exactly the same conclusions about Eisenman's
          book, _JAMES THE BROTHER OF JESUS_.

          Great scholarship. Sometimes tough to read.... but
          wonderful footnotes. I do not reach the same conclusions
          as Eisenman, but everyone should try to read the book
          sometime.

          George



          --- In AncientBibleHistory@yahoogroups.com, "mitrich08904"
          <mitrich@o...> wrote:
          > I believe that James and Paul were not on the same page. I am not an
          > expert on either; but "James the Just" never ceased being "Yaakov
          ha-
          > Tzaddick", "Jacob the Righteous." During the "Second Temple" period,
          > two Jewish groups, possibly both Pharisee, were the "Tzaddikim" and
          > the Hasidim", or the "Righteous" and the "Pious". These two groups
          > functioned much as political parties might function. James was
          always
          > and ever a "Righteous" or "Just" (thus, James the Just) individual.
          > When you read the Book of James, you are reading the work of a very
          > observant Jewish person, a person who never abandoned his Jewish
          > observance. Two of my friends who are Christians (as in born-again)
          > both say that when they feel they are "losing their way," they go
          > back and read the Book of James.
          >
          > I am given to understand that Paul also never actually abandoned his
          > own Jewish observance, even though he preached to the gentiles.
          >
          > Three good books on Paul:
          >
          > Lloyd Gaston, "Paul and the Torah", 1987, Univ of British Columbia
          > Press, Vancouver
          >
          > Alan F. Segal, "Paul the Convert", 1990, Yale Univ Press, New Haven
          >
          > Daniel Boyardin, " A Radical Jew", 1994, Univ of California Press,
          > Berkeley and L.A.
          >
          > Two good books on James:
          >
          > John Painter, "Just James", 1997, Univ of South Carolina Press,
          > Columbia, SC
          >
          > Robert Eisenman, "James The Brother of Jesus", 1997, Penguin Books,
          > New York
          >
          > Now, a lot of people think Eisenman is an idiot, a fool, a maker of
          > charades, whatever; but he does the best job of backing up his
          > statements with scholarship. I takes no sides, so I need not be
          > attacked, I just point him out to be as helpful as possible.
        • mitrich08904
          Hi George, Have you looked into Eisenman s other books? Especially those concerning the Dead Sea Sect? His elements are compelling, based upon his scholarship.
          Message 4 of 9 , Apr 2, 2003
            Hi George,

            Have you looked into Eisenman's other books? Especially those
            concerning the Dead Sea Sect? His elements are compelling, based upon
            his scholarship. No one agrees with his conclusions, especially when
            he places James as the Teacher of Righteousness.

            However, James becomes the single most compelling figure in Second
            Temple Jewish history. He is, in my humble opinion, by the embodiment
            of his piety, not just at the crossroads, he is the crossroad.

            Even in the Gospel of Thomas, when the diciples ask Jesus what to do
            when he his gone, he tells them to go to James "...for whom heaven
            and earth were created..."
          • George
            Dear MIT.Rich, I m not sure if I ve read *all* of Eisenman s books... but I think I got through all of his DSS works. He did one with Prof. Wise. And Prof.
            Message 5 of 9 , Apr 2, 2003
              Dear MIT.Rich,

              I'm not sure if I've read *all* of Eisenman's books...
              but I think I got through all of his DSS works. He
              did one with Prof. Wise. And Prof. Wise recently
              put out a book called "THE FIRST MESSIAH". Quite
              good! Have you read it?

              I agree with you about James being a "crossroads"
              figure. I believe he was recognized as the next
              "king" in the "Kingdom of Heaven" organization,
              which is to say, his followers saw him as the
              replacement for Jesus... in the same way that
              one pope replaces another.

              George

              --- In AncientBibleHistory@yahoogroups.com, "mitrich08904"
              <mitrich@o...> wrote:
              > Hi George,
              >
              > Have you looked into Eisenman's other books? Especially those
              > concerning the Dead Sea Sect? His elements are compelling, based
              upon
              > his scholarship. No one agrees with his conclusions, especially when
              > he places James as the Teacher of Righteousness.
              >
              > However, James becomes the single most compelling figure in Second
              > Temple Jewish history. He is, in my humble opinion, by the
              embodiment
              > of his piety, not just at the crossroads, he is the crossroad.
              >
              > Even in the Gospel of Thomas, when the diciples ask Jesus what to do
              > when he his gone, he tells them to go to James "...for whom heaven
              > and earth were created..."
            • mitrich08904
              ... Yup. I ve read them all. I am intrigued. I really do want to see Eisenman be right that James was the Teacher of Righteousness. I know that he is way way
              Message 6 of 9 , Apr 2, 2003
                > Wise recently put out a book called "THE FIRST MESSIAH". Quite
                > good! Have you read it?


                Yup. I've read them all. I am intrigued. I really do want to see
                Eisenman be right that James was the Teacher of Righteousness. I know
                that he is way way out on a limb; but, that would simply be the
                coolest thing in Judeo-Christian history.

                Best,
                Richard
              • amartouk
                ... know ... Hello Richard, I have read and reread Eisenman s James book. Although I find the scholarship utterly mind boggling in its scope, I found myself at
                Message 7 of 9 , Apr 2, 2003
                  --- In AncientBibleHistory@yahoogroups.com, "mitrich08904"
                  <mitrich@o...> wrote:
                  > > Wise recently put out a book called "THE FIRST MESSIAH". Quite
                  > > good! Have you read it?
                  >
                  >
                  > Yup. I've read them all. I am intrigued. I really do want to see
                  > Eisenman be right that James was the Teacher of Righteousness. I
                  know
                  > that he is way way out on a limb; but, that would simply be the
                  > coolest thing in Judeo-Christian history.
                  >
                  > Best,
                  > Richard

                  Hello Richard,

                  I have read and reread Eisenman's James book. Although I find the
                  scholarship utterly mind boggling in its scope, I found myself at
                  odds with his conclusion of James as the Righteous Teacher. I weighed
                  the data presented in his book and came up with a completely
                  different scenario as to who might have been the Teacher. In my
                  hypothesis, which is as hard to accept (if not harder), James works
                  out to be the Wicked Priest, Paul the liar (in agreement with
                  Eisenman) and Stephen, the first Christian martyr is cast as the
                  Teacher. The problem with all of this, Eisenman's interpretation, as
                  well as my own wild theory, is that C14 and AMS dating of the
                  Habakkuk Pesher place it being written in the 1st century BCE. Then
                  there's the arguments about the accuracy over C14 and AMS dating to
                  consider. I won't load you down with my theory here as you may not be
                  interested, but I will point out that the Wicked Priest got 'the
                  Reward of his hands" for what he did to the Teacher of Righteousness.
                  Stephen was purportedly stoned for blasphemy - about twenty years
                  later, James, who wore the mitre of the high priest, was also stoned.
                  These two events share a correlation with 1QHab more than I think
                  most want to see.

                  David
                • mitrich08904
                  Hey- I just think that is is cool that someone else thinks that Eisenman s work is worthwhile. A big term concerning scholars is reliable . Is the scholar
                  Message 8 of 9 , Apr 3, 2003
                    Hey-

                    I just think that is is cool that someone else thinks that Eisenman's
                    work is worthwhile. A big term concerning scholars is "reliable". Is
                    the scholar reliable. To my mind, Eisenman has to be considered
                    reliable because no one else comes close in specificity. The only
                    carping that has any merit is over the carbon dating.

                    Sometimes, in the writings of the history of the period, Stephen and
                    James are confused for each other. There is so much jelly-like data,
                    your conclusions are a valid as anyone else's.

                    For me, though, I root for James for everything: James' position as
                    the Bishop of the Jewish-Christian Church in Jerusalem; logion 12 in
                    the Gospel of Thomas, and yet his obvious Jewish piety as reflected
                    in the Book (Letter) of James, put him, as I said earlier as a
                    candidate for the crossroad hero of Judeo-Christian history.
                  • mitrich08904
                    Yup. You ve got it right, Dude. James has no need of Paul. Richard ... with the writings of Paul. There is one passage that discusses the relationship of
                    Message 9 of 9 , Apr 3, 2003
                      Yup. You've got it right, Dude. James has no need of Paul.

                      Richard

                      --- In AncientBibleHistory@yahoogroups.com, lmbarre@n... wrote:
                      > Greetings
                      >
                      > I am impressed with how little the epistle of James has in common
                      with the writings of Paul. There is one passage that discusses the
                      relationship of faith and works and even here, where James agrees
                      with Paul, he does agree for the same reasons. I do not find any
                      hint of the elements of Paul's Gospel, namely, that the Law exposes
                      sin that drives one to the substitutionary death of Christ, of a
                      mystical union in Christ's death, burial and resurrection, and of
                      walking according to the indwelling Holy Spirit. Lacking a concept
                      of the Gospel, James shows no compulsion to preach it to win
                      converts. The one idea that they do share is in the imminent return
                      of the Lord. In place of these Pauline themes, one finds instead
                      connections with Israelite wisdom tradition and with certain sayings
                      of the Lord. In fact, the entire letter breaths a certain atmosphere
                      that is quite un-Pauline.
                      >
                      > I have previously mentioned that the presence of the wisdom
                      tradition and the referencing some sayings of Jesus make me think
                      that the epistle was written by James, the brother of Jesus. People
                      who share this view often date it to about 47 CE.
                      >
                      > James regards Jesus as the returning Judge and also as the
                      Messiah. James calls him also "the Lord of Glory," perhaps
                      understood as "the glorious Lord." If James' communities did not
                      have the Pauline concepts of the resurrection of Jesus, it would seem
                      that, as in proto-Mark, Jesus' glory was exhibited by his life and
                      noble death alone. I might suggest that James understood the return
                      of Jesus in terms of Dan 7:13-14, as Jesus once did. It is as if the
                      coming of the Messianic kingdom was simply pushed forward, past
                      Jesus' death to his apocalyptic return. His death did not displace
                      the belief of the imminent coming of the Kingdom.
                      >
                      > So it seems to me that the epistle of James expresses an early form
                      of religiosity that might more accurately be described as "Messianic
                      Judaism" rather than as a form of Christianity, the latter term
                      perhaps better reserved for Paul.
                      >
                      > Lloyd
                      >
                      > --------------------------------------------------------------------
                      --
                      > L.M. Barre'
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