James, brother of Jesus
- It is something less than edifying to read from Mahlon Smith that anyone
who disagrees with him must be deluded, a non-historian, an apologist.
I have tried to write clearly that I read the Josephus passage as
recounting that an opportunist priest took an opening to kill some of those
he disapproved, opponents; that the trial, and sentence too, was a
miscarrage of justice. Then, if one consults other texts, such as NT, one
finds James said to observe torah.
"No! No1 Sentence first--verdict afterwards!" (Alice in Wonderland, ch.
Did the executioners think they were doing the right thing? Likely. Did
they word the charge(s) in terms other than guilt of the crime of not being
a Sadducee? Likely.
Was James a perfect person, sinless, etc.? I do not recall avering such.
Having been lectured not to call him James the Just, I can only wonder--not
having here done so. Nor did I explore the knotty problem of camel-knee
So if I am accused of being an apologist deluded non-historian, can I be
read the full charge, M. Smith--apologist for what?
Martin Luther, perhaps we can agree, was not a great proponent in any
impeccable quality of James. I was raised--I really should not have to
write this--in the Lutheran church, beginning in pre-ecumenical days. I was
not taught there Roman Catholic nor Jewish tradition. And whatever "Jewish
Christian" groups may exist today--to the best of my knowledge--and I have
studied history of sectarian strife for a while now, well or poorly as
others may say--none of them is a direct descendant of such groups from,
say, the first four centuries of the era.
To try to end on a more positive note: Richard Bauckham, in his
Jewish-Christianity article in the Encyclopedia of the Dead Sea Scrolls,
offers reasonably that "Jewish Christianity" is a modern term, but cites
one possible exception, which, I add, is not noted in Klijn and Reinink, a
useful but incomplete collection in various respects. Jerome, comm. in
Zach. 3.14.9 (I think the 9 is a typo for 10, but I may be mistaken).
Jerome, following Epiphanius, wrote, to paraphrase, that those claiming to
be Jews as well as Christians were neither, nothing. At least Bauckham
added something constructive, even if, in this case, merely an
interesting little footnote. Thank goodness.