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Re: [GTh] Saying 12

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  • FMMCCOY@msn.com
    Regarding Saying 12 on James, Ron McCann writes, Frank, I was using the logion to show, or at least argue, that the Thomasines were aware and knew or knew
    Message 1 of 21 , Aug 13, 2007
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      Regarding Saying 12 on James, Ron McCann writes, "Frank, I was using the
      logion to show, or at least argue, that the Thomasines were aware and
      knew or knew that James had the reputation of being a strict
      Torah-Observing Jew. It was known even to them. This, in the context of
      the argument as to the EARLIEST authorities we have being of one mind on
      that.
      The PURPOSE of the Thomasines for either penning or including this
      logion in their Gospel is a different issue. That addresses the question
      of what they were using this logion FOR. The question might be better
      framed as "Why on earth would they frame and/or include a logion
      apparently tying, linking or submitting themselves to a strict
      Torah-Observant figure, if they themselves were not only not
      Torah-Observant but evidence scorn and derision, if not contempt for
      those things that the Torah-Observant- the Jews, and (arguably) James,
      held most dear, central to their faith, important and precious?" Well,
      clearly, they cannot be using this logion as holding up James as an
      Stirling exemplar to be followed and emulated in his strict Torah
      Observance by all Thomasines. So what are they using it FOR?"

      Ron, you are assuming that, in Saying 12, Jame's title of "the
      Righteous/Just" means that he was Torah observant.

      But is this assumption correct? I suggest that it is not correct.

      In his work, James the Brother of Jesus, Robert Eisenman has several
      discussions on this title.

      He thinks that this title goes back to a Hebrew original, stating
      (pp.14-15), "The mention of Zadok and Yehozedek is important, because
      the root onwhich this noun cluster is based, the three Hebrew letters
      Z-D-K, bears the meaning of 'Righteousness'. This is not only the basis
      for James' cognomen, 'the Righteous' or 'Just One', according to all
      early Church sources, but it is connected to the name of one of the
      sects in Jesus' time, which transliterates into Greek, Sadducee or
      Zadduki/Zaddoki."

      The Greek word for "righteous/just" is dikaios. I don't know Coptic,
      but, eyeballing the underlying Coptic word in Saying 12, it appears to
      be related to this Greek word. Perhaps it is a loan word from the
      Greek?

      As for Saying 12, Eisenman relates it to a passage from the Zohar,
      stating (p. 136), "In this passage from the Zohar, the pre-existence or
      supernatural nature of 'the Zaddik' is stressed, an idea encountered as
      well in the Prologue of the Gospel of John in terms of 'Logos' and
      'Light' imagery, in the description there of Jesus' enterance into the
      world. But there is another allusion in the recently rediscovered Nag
      Hammadi Gospel of Thomas--'the Twin' or 'Judas Thomas'--the putative
      third brother of Jesus after James and Simon. This bears on the ideal
      of this pre-existent Righteous One of Heavenly Zaddik--in more mundane
      terms, James in his role as Perfect Righteous One. In turn this also
      bears on the appointment of James as Leader of the Jerusalem Church and
      therefore of all Christianity everywhere as successor to Jesus."

      He also states (Ibid.), "Aside from being a tradition incorporating the
      long-lost direct appointment of James by Jesus as Leader of the early
      Church, it (i.e., Thomas 12) also bears on the idea of 'the Zaddik'.
      Yet it is a thousand years earlier than the above description in the
      Zohar, which was purportedly written in Spain in the 1200s-1300s."

      Because of the lateness of the Zohar, I am extremely skeptical that it
      can shed any light on Saying 12 and on James' title of "the
      Righteous/Just".

      In any event, later in James the Brother of Jesus (pp. 236-238),
      Eisenman takes another approach to James' title of "the
      Righteeous/Just".

      He begins by stating, "In his famous description of essens in the War,
      as well as that of John the Baptist in the Antiquities, Josephus makes
      it very clear what was implied by this dichotomy (of piety and
      righteousness). Righteousness is 'Righteousness towards men', that is,
      the sum total of one's social obligations in this world towards one's
      fellow man. This is very often summed up in a single commandment, known
      from the Ten Commandments and often presented as the essence of Jesus'
      teaching in Scripture, 'love your neighbor as yourself'. This,
      therefore can be termed the Righteousness Commandment."

      Then, he begins to associate this concept of righteousness with James,
      thusly continuing, "As will also become clear form its use at Qumran and
      in the New Testament, this included an economic dimension as well. One
      could not love one's neighbor as oneself if one made economic
      distinctions between oneself and one's neighbor or, to put it simply, if
      one were Richer than one's neighbor--therefore not only the extreme
      antagonism towards 'the Rich', but the pivotal emphasis on 'the Poor' in
      all traditions associated with James--not to mention Jesus--as well as
      those associated with the Righteous Teacher in all the texts at Qumran.
      This, of course, moves into 'the Poor' or 'Ebionite' terminology and its
      variations."

      Finally, shortly thereafter, he explicitly associates this concept of
      righteousness with James' title, stating, "This 'Righteousness', and the
      ideology associated with it, is not only the basis of the cognomen to
      this effect always attached to his name, it would appear to be a basic
      element of all traditions associated with James, even more than for his
      reputed brother Jesus....This 'Righteousness' ideology is also the basic
      one where 'the Teacher of Righteousness'--the central character in the
      Qumran documents--is concerned. If James is not identical with him,
      then he is certainly a parallel character or one of a long series of
      individuals bearing this title, because James certainly taught a
      doctrine of Righteousness. This doctrine epitomized--as both the Letter
      attached to James' name and parallel portions of the Damascus Document
      attest--by the Commandment to 'love your neighbour as yourself'. It is
      epitomized, too, in the notion of 'the Poor', one of the principal forms
      of self-designation at Qumran, and the name either of James' group per
      se in Jerusalem or the groups in early Church accounts after this, which
      took him as its progenitor."

      Ron, I think that Eisenman hits the nail on the head here. James had
      the title of "the Righteous/Just" not because of any alleged obedience
      to the Law of Moses but, rather, out of his zeal for being righteous to
      men, preaching and doing the love of others.

      There are two reasons why, I think, this is not widely accepted.

      First, Paul's concept that one is justified and made righteous by faith
      rather than by works of the Law of Moses fosters the misconception that,
      for all Jews at the time, righteousness meant obedience to the Law of
      Moses.

      Second, many are unaware of just how wide-spread in first century CE
      Jewish circles was the notion that there were the two cardinal virues of
      piety to God and righteousness to men--and with righteousness to men
      taken to mean love of other men.

      As Eisenman points out above, this notion appears in Josephus and in the
      DSS. Further, in one of the two times this notion appears in Josephus,
      he claims that John the Baptist preached obedience to both of these two
      cardinal virtues.

      It even appears in Philonic thought. Thus, in On Abraham (208), Philo
      states, "For the nature which is pious is also kindly, and the same
      person will exhibit both qualities, holiness to God and justice to men."
      Again, in the Decalogue, 108-110), he writes, "Now we have known some
      who associate themselves with one of the two sides (of piety to God and
      justice to men) and are seen to neglect the other. They have drunk the
      unmixed wine of pious aspirations and turning their backs upon all other
      concerns devoted their person life wholly to the service of God. Others
      conceiving the idea that there is no good ouside doing justice to men
      have no heart for anything but companionship with men. In their desire
      for fellowship they supply the good things of life in equal measure to
      all for their use, and deem it their duty to alleviate by any means in
      their power the dreaded hardships. These may justly be called lovers of
      men, the former sort lovers of God."

      On the Philonic notion that those who love other men "deem it their duty
      to alleviate by any means in their power the dreaded hardships", compare
      the Damascus Document (VII), "They shall love each man his brother as
      himself; they shall succour the poor, the needy, and the stranger."

      Ron, now comes the key point: Not only is it the case that James
      appears to have gotten his title of "the Righteous/Just" because of his
      righteousness to men, loving them and doing what he could to alleviate
      the hardships of the poor, but the Thomas group tried to be righteous in
      just the same way. So, there is a negative version of the Golden rule
      in Th 6. Again, it is stated in Th 25, "Love your brother like your
      soul, guard him like the pupil of your eye." Too, see Th 95, where you
      are told to lend money "from whom you will not get it back."

      As a result, Ron, I do not think that the Thomas group ever renounced
      being righteous in the same sense that James was known to be righteous,
      i.e., in the sense of loving other human beings and providing whatever
      assistance that is needed by those who have fallen on hard times. So, I
      think, they had a legitimate claim to being faithful to him as "the
      Righteous/Just", even though they renounced many Jewish practices
      associated with the Law of Moses.

      Frank McCoy
      2036 E. Magnolia Ave.
      St. Paul, MN USA 55119



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    • Ron McCann
      Hello Frank. Thanks for your message of August 13th. You wrote:- Ron, you are assuming that, in saying 12, James s title of the Righteous/Just means that he
      Message 2 of 21 , Aug 14, 2007
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        Hello Frank. Thanks for your message of August 13th.

        You wrote:- "Ron, you are assuming that, in saying 12, James's title of "the Righteous/Just means that he was Torah observant. But if this assumption correct? I suggest it is not correct."
        You then supply 4 separate quotations/arguments from Robert Eisenman against my view that for "Righteous" in 12 we should be reading it as "Torah-Observant, or "strict Torah- Observant, or perhaps even" FULLY Torah-observant", and for an alternate view that the word "Righteous" in James's name does NOT refer to his (arguable) strict Torah observance, rather it refers exclusively to his pursuit and practice of the cardinal virtue of love for one's fellow man, as exemplified in his "works" to alleviate human suffering in pursuit of the virtue that Eisenman defines as "righteousness to men".
        You then go into two reasons what Eisenman's view here, is not widely accepted.
        Then you invoke some material from Philo which appears to support Eisenman's view, and also invoke part of the Damascus document in support.
        Finally you get to your key point:-
        "Not only is it the case that James appears to have gotten his title of "The Righteous/Just" because of this RIGHTEOUSNESS TO MEN (caps, mine) (That is- NOT by strict Torah-Observance.) loving them and doing what he could to allegiate the hardships of the poor, but the Thomas group tried TO BE RIGHTEOUS IN THE SAME WAY. (caps mine).

        You conclude "" ... I do not think that the Thomas group ever renounced being righteous IN THE SAME SENSE that James was known to be "righteous"..{That is_ in pursuing the cardinal virtue of Righteousness towards Men"] ... they had a legitinate claim to being faithful to him [in pursuing the virtue of "Righteousness towards Men"] as the 'Righteous/Just", even though they renounced many practices associated with the Law of Moses."

        Well, Frank, Eisenman's take on this is one of the worst cases of "hair-splitting" I have ever encountered, and with all due respect to him as a scholar, I think he is just plain wrong here, and completley missed the boat.

        In the interests of brevity, I do not propose to address his or the other arguments point by point in refutation. Rather I'm just going to cut right through them directly to the heart of this matter. I do appreciate all the careful reasoning and the citations of (arguably) competent authorities on these matters, but I think I can dispose of most, if not all of their argument in another, more economical, way.

        Frank, "Righteousness Towards Men" is not just some laudible cardinal virtue (How very Greek phisolophyish!) that the Jews, at their option, pursued. Iit is mandated in the TORAH. It is a commandment. It is PART of the Torah itself. It cannot be severed from it. It is every bit as much a part of it as the commandments, statutes, ordinances and regulations of Mosaic Law as "Thous shalt not kill." is.. At least 3/4's of the Ten Commandments address it and are concerned with it. Any Jew who is truly Torah Observant MUST obey it, therefore, and engage in those "humanitarian" and"relief" activities ('works").
        This is the entire cut and thrust of Chapter 2 of the Letter of James, which you deem authentic. He speficially cites "You shall love your neigbor as yourself." as part of the "Royal Law" (his words). He is pointing out that in disobeying it they are BREACHING THE TORAH, even if, in every other respect, they are obeying it. Full righetousness before God and Man require BOTH.
        Either Hillel or Gamiel (I forget which) made the same point when, in response to a fellow who demanded he explain the whole of the Torah while he himself stood on one foot, condensed the whole Torah down to two precepts. "Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all the soul , and with all thy heart, and with all thy mind, and your neighbor as yourself." They are both inseparable parts of the Torah. Two legs attached to one body.
        The same point, that is- that that loving and caring for your fellow man is MANDATED by the Torah, as something you MUST do in addition to loving God (Believing in him, having him as your one and only god, and obeying his commandments, ordinances, and regulations as set down by Moses)- is found underscored in Jesus' teachings in Matthew 22, v 34-40, and Luke 10 v 27- an ancient and hoary Q saying, and I'll quote Matthew's version:-
        "When the Pharisees heard that he had silenced the Sadduces, they gathered together and one of them, a lawyer, asked him a question to test him. "Teacher, which commandmnet IN THE LAW is the greatest?" . He said to him, "You shall love the Lord your God, with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the greatest and first commandment. And a second (commandment) is like it: "You shall love your neigbor as yourself. In these two COMMANDMENTS hang all the Law and the Prophets (The Torah)." True Torah observance required you to do both.

        So why, on earth, would you seek to limit the aquisition of Righteousness in the eyes of God, and men, to the obedience to just the second of those two commandments?
        Do we have to get into the story, where a rich man, who pleases Jesus because he has kept all the commandments since his youth, and asks what else he must do to be "saved" (ie: be fully righteous and worthy of salvation in God's eyes) is told that he has missed one, and is directed to go out, sell his possessions and give to the poor?
        Mandatory conduct
        In fact, Frank, the Letter of James stands as yet another First Century source (making 5 of them now)) that tells us James himself was strictly Torah-Observant. In Chapter 2, he is telling his fellow Jews in the Diaspora that they are not being FULLY Torah-Observant, and in fact are breaching the law in ignoning them commandment to "Love thy Neigbor",.and he is urging them to FULL observance of the Torah- BOTH legs.. And if he is urging that, of them, then what does that tell us about what he himsefl was practicing? Answer:- Full, strict Torah Observance. He was NOT forgetting that "second" commandment.
        And I suggest to you that Paul, whom you mention on the point, was correct and that is that the First Century Jews believed that OBEDIENCE TO THE TORAH (What he seemed to call the Mosaic Law- but as we have seen, also included that "second" commandment) conferred righteousness in the eyes of God and men to one who practiced it.
        I'd like to see you find a Rabbi, even to-day, who would tell you that Obedience to the Torah did NOT confer righteousness is the eyes of God and man.

        So I say, that James acquired his nick-name, or his honorific, "James the Righteous" by, over the course of his life-time, building up a reputation for strict Torah Obedience. There is simply no warrant to limit his acquisition of the title and reputation for being "righteous" to his performance of only one leg of the Torah- the "second" commandment.

        I would liked to have addressed some other points you raised, but this is already too long.

        Ron McCann
        Saskatoon, Canada


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      • FMMCCOY@msn.com
        Ron McCann writes, Frank, Righteousness Towards Men is not just some laudible cardinal virtue (How very Greek phisolophyish!) that the Jews, at their
        Message 3 of 21 , Aug 16, 2007
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          Ron McCann writes, "Frank, 'Righteousness Towards Men' is not just some
          laudible cardinal virtue (How very Greek phisolophyish!) that the Jews,
          at their option, pursued. Iit is mandated in the TORAH. It is a
          commandment. It is PART of the Torah itself. It cannot be severed from
          it. It is every bit as much a part of it as the commandments, statutes,
          ordinances and regulations of Mosaic Law as 'Thous shalt not kill.' is..
          At least 3/4's of the Ten Commandments address it and are concerned with
          it. Any Jew who is truly Torah Observant MUST obey it, therefore, and
          engage in those 'humanitarian' and 'relief' activities ('works').
          This is the entire cut and thrust of Chapter 2 of the Letter of James,
          which you deem authentic. He speficially cites 'You shall love your
          neigbor as yourself. as part of the 'Royal Law' (his words). He is
          pointing out that in disobeying it they are BREACHING THE TORAH, even
          if, in every other respect, they are obeying it. Full righetousness
          before God and Man require BOTH.
          Either Hillel or Gamiel (I forget which) made the same point when, in
          response to a fellow who demanded he explain the whole of the Torah
          while he himself stood on one foot, condensed the whole Torah down to
          two precepts. 'Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all the soul , and
          with all thy heart, and with all thy mind, and your neighbor as
          yourself.' They are both inseparable parts of the Torah. Two legs
          attached to one body."

          Ron, James 2:8 reads, "If indeed you perform the Royal Law according to
          scripture, 'You shall love your neighbor as yourself', you do well."

          According to the way you interpret this passage, the Royal Law is the
          Law of Moses.

          However, this is not the only possible way to interpret the Royal Law.

          For example, according to Luke Timothy Johnson, in "Brother of Jesus,
          Friend of God (p 134), it is the Law of Love. So, he states, "The law
          of love from Lev. 19:18b is characterized by basilikos not only because
          of its 'excellence,' but because it is the 'law of the kingdom' (the use
          of basileia in 2:5 is decisive for this)...".

          It appears that our discussions now ends. There are scholars who
          support your interpretation of the Royal Law as being the Law of Moses,
          and there are those who do not. I happen to agree with those who think
          it is a law in its own right. In particular, my opinion is that, in
          Jacobian thought, the Royal Law, also called the Law of Freedom, is not
          the Law of Moses but, rather, the Logos as a Law. So, it appears, we'll
          just have to agree to disagree, since even the scholars can't come to an
          agreement here. I've enjoyed the discussion, though, and I hope that you
          have as well.

          Frank McCoy
          2036 E. Magnolia Ave.
          St. Paul, MN USA 55119





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        • Ron McCann
          Thank you Frank, And yes, indeed I have enjoyed the fencing . We can agree to disagree as you say. Actually, in this exercise I was just keen on seeing what
          Message 4 of 21 , Aug 16, 2007
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            Thank you Frank,

            And yes, indeed I have enjoyed the "fencing".
            We can agree to disagree as you say.
            Actually, in this exercise I was just keen on seeing what sort or evidence and argument your could muster, amass and align that could potentially "take down" those First Century authorities that SEEM to support the premise that James was a Torah-Observant Jew.
            I had not actually intended to cross swords with you on the issue itself, but found myself compelled to respond to what I perceived to be some obvious holes in your argument, which, in turn, you've given good answer to, in terms of reply/rebuttal. Every time I was about to shout "Touché", you parried the thrust quite effectively.

            All in all, a very creditable effort - if I can say that without sounding patronizing. Some, surely, will find your arguments compelling. I still have my doubts.

            I too am feeling somewhat weary, and think that we have pretty much exhausted the matter.

            In closing, let me just say that if I looked up across the aisle in a courtroom, and saw you appearing as opposing counsel for the other side, I'd certainly know, given your skill at argument, I had no cake-walk ahead of me.
            As the French say:- "Formidable!".

            My Thanks,

            Ron McCann
            Saskatoon, Canada



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