In this study, a discourse analysis of James is conducted with the goal of better understanding the structure, theme, and cohesion of the letter. By paying careful attention to the details of the text, James’ paragraphs are identified, as are the signals of transition between the various paragraphs. The conclusions reached based on a discourse analysis of James are illuminating. Far from being a randomly arranged work, James repeatedly uses present prohibitory imperatives in the overall organization of the Epistle. These imperatives are important in marking transitions between main sections. Furthermore, a discourse analysis reveals that James is a coherent epistle comprised of 16 paragraphs, with 3,13-18 providing the overarching macrostructure of the letter. Bearing the fruit of righteousness, a theme prominent in 3,13-18, is seen to be the letter’s overarching and unifying thought.
The Epistle of James has been considered one of the most practical pieces of writings in the New Testament, and yet it has been consistently neglected in the writings of both New Testament scholars and ethicists. This neglect most likely derives from a failure to understand the theological underpinning for the imperatives in James, perceived as ethics in a vacuum. Understood correctly, the three areas of James’ ethical concern: speech ethics, social justice, and moral purity, stem from God’s own character and his redemption of his chosen people, making his ethics among the most theologically developed of the New Testament.
The author of the Letter of James accuses his readers (Jas 4,1-4) of being responsible for war, murder and adultery. How are we to explain this charge? This paper shows that the material in Jas 1,13-21; 2,8-11 and 4,1-4 is closely akin to
the teknon section in Did 3,1-6. The teknon section belonged to the Jewish Two Ways tradition which, for the most part, is covered by the first six chapters of the
Didache. Interestingly, Did 3,1-6 exhibits close affinity with the ethical principles of a particular stream of Rabbinic tradition found in early Derekh Erets treatises. James 4,1-4 should be considered a further development of the warnings in Did 3,1-6.
The question of the identity of the young man who flees naked at the end of the Markan Passion narrative has elicited a great variety of responses from exegetes. Early commentators merely referring to existing hagiography, often identifying the man as 'James, the brother of the Lord' because of his supposed aestheticism. In the 19th century the idea that the young man was a type of signatory device by the evangelist came to the fore in critical biblical literature. Research into Coptic MSS now reveals the identification of the young man with the Evangelist in fact finds its root in 13th century Egyptian hagiography.