James; The Wisdom from above

page: 1
4
<<   2  3  4 >>

log in

join

posted on Jul, 2 2012 @ 04:03 PM
link   
In the middle of his New Testament letter (ch3 vv13-18), James has a passage explaining the effects of “the wisdom from above”.

It begins in v13, when he appeals to those who are “wise and understanding”.
He’s returning to the theme he was expounding at the end of ch2, that a man needs to be able to “show his works”.
This should be done in “meekness”; he’s just been complaining about the aggressive use of the tongue, and “meekness” is the opposite of “boastfulness”.
Meekness is one of the qualities that comes with Wisdom.

The nature of this Wisdom can best be defined by contrast with its opposite.
There is a wisdom which is not “from above”, but is EPIGEIOS (“having an earthly nature”), PSYCHIKE (“having a nature that belongs to the human soul”), and DAIMONIODES (“having a demonic nature”).
The immediate product of this kind of false wisdom is “jealousy and selfish ambition”.
One effect of jealousy and selfish ambition is that people boast and are false to the truth.
Another effect is “disorder and every vile practice”.

On the other hand, the wisdom from above is 1)pure, 2)peaceable, 3)gentle, 4)open to reason, 5) “full of mercy and good fruits”, 6) “without uncertainty or insincerity”.
Finally (seventhly?) “the harvest of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace”.

It’s a very interesting exercise to place this passage alongside Paul’s teaching as found in Galatians ch5 vv15-26.

Just as James was advising the “wise” man to “show his works in the meekness of wisdom”, so Paul tells those who “live by the Spirit” that they also need to “walk by the Spirit”.
The nature of “walking by the Spirit” can best be defined by contrast with its opposite.
“The desires of the Spirit” are opposed, in Paul’s teaching, by” the desires of the flesh”.

Paul lists a number of “works of the flesh”, and they fall into two groups.
Half of them are concerned with aggressive and contentious behaviour towards other people; they include enmity, strife, jealousy, anger, selfishness, dissension, “party spirit” (that is, a tendency to form factions), and envy.
Comparing this with what James wrote, we can see that jealousy and selfishness are included in this list, while boastfulness and being false to the truth belong there in principle, as aggressive offences against other people.
The rest of Paul’s list includes fornication, impurity, licentiousness, idolatry, sorcery, drunkenness, “carousing and the like”.
All these would be well summed-up by James’ phrase “disorder and every vile practice”.

On the other hand, there is the “the fruit of the Spirit”, described in nine words;
Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control.
How does this compare with the effects of “the wisdom from above”?
The “self-control” mentioned by Paul corresponds to the quality of purity, which James places at the beginning.
The next three items in James’ list- “peaceable, gentle, open to reason”- can be matched against three of Paul’s words- “peace, gentleness, and patience”.
Paul has “kindness and goodness” while James has “full of mercy and good fruits”.
Finally, “without uncertainty or insincerity” would be a very reasonable definition of what Paul means by PISTIS (“faithfulness”).
How do we account for the similarity between the two patterns?

My favoured explanation is that James had a copy of Galatians in front of him, and he was deliberately re-writing the “fruit of the Spirit” passage in language that he found more congenial. This view is encouraged by the fact that James himself twice uses the word “fruit”- “good fruits” and “the fruit (KARPOS) of righteousness”.

If I’m right, then the most important difference between the two is that James is unwilling to bandy the word “Spirit” as freely as Paul does. Instead he offers the euphemistic substitute “the wisdom from above”, just as Matthew writes “kingdom of heaven” where the other gospels have “kingdom of God”.

After that, James appears to be following the same outline as Paul.
He finds other ways of describing the opposite of what God provides.
His list of the bad effects of the “wrong” wisdom looks like a summary of Paul’s “works of the flesh”..
Finally he gives his own version of “the fruit of the Spirit”.

If James’s list of the “fruit” is based on Paul’s, two of the differences between them are particularly interesting.
One is that he omits any mention of the “love” and “joy” which Paul places at the beginning of the list. Does this present James as a crusty old curmudgeon? Or is it simply that he prefers to work towards the Jewish sacred number seven instead of the Greek sacred number nine?
The other difference is that the climax of James’ list is the “fruit of righteousness”, which he prefers to Paul’s talk of “no law”.
Otherwise, as I said before, they seem to be talking about much the same thing.

It seems to me that James is re-presenting Paul’s teaching, with a slight change in emphasis, and a much more radical change in the terminology.
This has implications for the way we understand his intentions in the rest of the letter.




posted on Jul, 2 2012 @ 04:08 PM
link   
James wasn't re-presenting Paul's teaching, James was written prior. But great thread.



posted on Jul, 2 2012 @ 04:09 PM
link   
reply to post by NOTurTypical
 

Thank you.
As far as I know, the date of writing is guesswork, so the question of priority may be open.



posted on Jul, 2 2012 @ 04:15 PM
link   
reply to post by DISRAELI
 


Many people think James was a rebuttal to Romans, but James was written first. And the two books do not contrast, they just address the same thing taken in different directions. Romans discusses how to be saved, James talks about what saved people look/act like.



posted on Jul, 2 2012 @ 04:17 PM
link   
reply to post by DISRAELI
 


Well, I don't know. What I do know is that everything BOTH of them taught can be summed up with what Jesus said.




Love the Lord thy God with all thy heart and all your soul and love your neighbor as yourself


Everyone else quoted in the New Testament in my opinion, just complicates everything.



posted on Jul, 2 2012 @ 04:23 PM
link   
reply to post by NOTurTypical
 

I still think the date question is moot.
There is no exact evidence, so people can only make assumptions about when it "ought" to have been written.
The chronology at the back of the Jerusalem Bible offers a later date for James than for Galatians.
But of course they are just guessing too, so my theory is based on a comparison of the two passages.

I agree that James and the Pauline letters are not in conflict. James is saying some very similar things, with a slight change in emphasis, but failing to use the terminology which Paul developed.
I have a theory that the use of a different terminology is conscious and deliberate.




edit on 2-7-2012 by DISRAELI because: (no reason given)



posted on Jul, 2 2012 @ 04:26 PM
link   
reply to post by skepticconwatcher
 

I think both would agree that this is a good summary.
But they would also want to talk about how to apply it in practice.



posted on Jul, 2 2012 @ 04:33 PM
link   
reply to post by DISRAELI
 
Wow! I think this is akin to slander or "bearing false witness", Desrael, there are some things I'm not so sure I agree with Paul about, but this is rediculous. Don't you think that the same Holy Spirit that guided some of Paul's words may be the same Holy Spirit that guided James. Jesus didn't say that the Holy Spirit would guide only Paul into all truth and tell Paul to teach us all things...heck no! Within the past few days I've heard a preacher preach on the same things that I've written of here on ATS, does that mean he read my work and pilfered it? Of course not! He said the same things I've said but differently, why because the Holy Spirit isn't just here to show a few select believers what is true! God's word is ETERNAL, as it applied then it does still today. "There is nothing new under the sun." And what about what Paul and James have to say on Abraham? Did you get to that part? Let me burst your bubble, James does not parrot him on that matter!



posted on Jul, 2 2012 @ 04:36 PM
link   
reply to post by Wonders
 

Yes, I agree that the same Holy Spirit was guiding Paul and James.
My point in the OP is that both of them were talking about the Holy Spirit, but James was reluctant to use that name in writing and referred to it as "the Wisdom from above" instead

I will get to other parts of the epistle on later dates.
Yes, it is very suggestive that both Paul and James choose to talk about Abraham.


.

edit on 2-7-2012 by DISRAELI because: (no reason given)



posted on Jul, 2 2012 @ 04:52 PM
link   

Originally posted by NOTurTypical
reply to post by DISRAELI
 


Many people think James was a rebuttal to Romans, but James was written first. And the two books do not contrast, they just address the same thing taken in different directions. Romans discusses how to be saved, James talks about what saved people look/act like.


It seems to me as if Paul was inventing his own religion. A lot of what Paul stands in direct conflict as to what Jesus (as) taught. It is even noted how what Paul was teaching bothered the original 12 disciples in the Book of Acts, although Acts was written by Paul's friend Luke so clearly there is a bias towards Paul in said book.



posted on Jul, 2 2012 @ 04:55 PM
link   
I think James was a much more "down to earth" kind of guy who liked straightforward and common language. Paul, on the other hand, was highly educated, had an extensive vocabulary, and understood the nuances of the languages he spoke. (For instance, the word he used for the "shield of faith" was a specific word befitting the context.)

It just goes to show, no matter how much or little education one has, a principle can still be demonstrated once it is properly understood.



posted on Jul, 2 2012 @ 04:58 PM
link   
reply to post by Klassified
 

Yes, that's probably the right assessment of James.
Throw in some conservatism on the use of language, a preference for old Hebraic forms over Greek forms.



posted on Jul, 2 2012 @ 06:32 PM
link   
reply to post by CoolerAbdullah786
 

This is a thread on James, not on Paul, so I won't be getting into that side of things.



posted on Jul, 2 2012 @ 10:25 PM
link   

Originally posted by DISRAELI
reply to post by CoolerAbdullah786
 

This is a thread on James, not on Paul, so I won't be getting into that side of things.

????
WHAT????
Oh other things Paul said doesn't matter because this is about James and how he isn't Paul's Parrot. I get it.



posted on Jul, 2 2012 @ 10:47 PM
link   
reply to post by DISRAELI
 


And people scoff at Paul and accuse him of teaching outside Christ and breand people of "Paulinity", when he actually kept to scripture and the nature of Christ...

And we know who those people are....



posted on Jul, 2 2012 @ 10:53 PM
link   
reply to post by CoolerAbdullah786
 





It is even noted how what Paul was teaching bothered the original 12 disciples in the Book of Acts, although Acts was written by Paul's friend Luke so clearly there is a bias towards Paul in said book.


What bothered the others was that Paul was blending jews with gentiles and making no distinction between the 2 flocks and he dug into Peter's crap about it. They were human just like you and me but Paul was right, and this is noted at the Council of Jerusalem. Even after the vision given to Peter ontop the house of Simon the Tanner he still choked a bit afterwards.



posted on Jul, 2 2012 @ 11:05 PM
link   
reply to post by DISRAELI
 



But Paul got mentioned above, did he not? Regardless, I can respect that. Another topic for another time. As-salaam alaikum!



posted on Jul, 3 2012 @ 06:19 AM
link   

Originally posted by CoolerAbdullah786

Originally posted by NOTurTypical
reply to post by DISRAELI
 


Many people think James was a rebuttal to Romans, but James was written first. And the two books do not contrast, they just address the same thing taken in different directions. Romans discusses how to be saved, James talks about what saved people look/act like.


It seems to me as if Paul was inventing his own religion. A lot of what Paul stands in direct conflict as to what Jesus (as) taught. It is even noted how what Paul was teaching bothered the original 12 disciples in the Book of Acts, although Acts was written by Paul's friend Luke so clearly there is a bias towards Paul in said book.


Go read 2 Peter 3:15-16 and return and tell us what it says please. The church wasn't "born" until Pentecost. That was 50 days after Passover when Christ was killed. There was no church to discuss before that point
Jesus in John chapter 6 lays out the Christian gospel rather clearly.



posted on Jul, 3 2012 @ 09:19 AM
link   
reply to post by NOTurTypical
 


Who wrote the Gospel according to John?



posted on Jul, 3 2012 @ 11:33 AM
link   
reply to post by Wonders
 

If this is meant sarcastically, look at what I was replying to.
A thread which was primarily about James (as expressed in the title) was in danger of being de-railed into completely unrelated topics like whether Paul was inventing his own religion.
As for the "parrotting" charge- the idea that one writer is being influenced by another writer is quite common in New Testament studies. E.g. any standard New Testament commentary will suggest to you that Matthew and Luke probably based their gospels on a previously written Gospel of Mark. This is not seen as slanderous, nor does it conflict with believing they were inspired by the Holy Spirit. It is just another aspect of the way the Holy Spirit actually works. The suggestion that James was aware of Paul's teachings belongs to the same line of thought.





top topics
 
4
<<   2  3  4 >>

log in

join