Did the writer of the Epistle of James know a historical Jesus?

 

Now James was allegedly the BROTHER of Jesus, so we would expect his letter to be chock-full of personal details about Jesus.

But actually - the letter of James only even MENTIONS the name "Jesus" twice in the whole letter.

 

It has NO personal details at all. NOT one shred of historical information about Jesus can be found in the letter allegedly from a member of his FAMILY ! The person who wrote the letter of James had OBVIOUSLY never even HEARD of a historical Jesus.

Let examine the letter to see what I mean -

 

The ONLY 2 places to use the name Jesus are here :

 

1:1 James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, to the twelve tribes which are in the Dispersion: Greetings.

The introduction of the letter, mentions he is a "servant" of God and of Lord Jesus Christ (ie. a typical faithful phrase invoking their highest names) - totally FAILS to mention he is brother to Jesus.

 

2:1 My brothers, don't hold the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ of glory with partiality.

Another faithful phrase telling us nothing about Jesus. The point of this sentence is to say "don't be half-hearted in your belief about Jesus Christ". No mention James is his brother, even when it is exactly what we would expect.

 

 

What DON'T we see in James :

 

NO mention of Jesus' family at all - NO Mary or Joseph or siblings.

NO mention of the birth stories - NO Bethlehem, Nazareth, Magi, Herod, the flight...

NO mention of teachings Jesus - NO sermon, Lord's prayer, food regulations

NO mention of miracles - NO Lazarus, feeding the multitude, healing the sick...

NO mention of any Gospel event - NO Teaching at the Temple, Temple Cleansing, Triumphal Entry, Temptation, Baptism in Jordan etc, etc...

NO mention of the trial of Jesus - NO Pilate, Sanhedrin, Judas etc...

NO mention of the empty tomb, the crucifixion, the resurrection.

I can not find a SINGLE PIECE of historical information about Jesus in the whole epistle of James. From a person who was supposedly in Jesus' very family and probably would have experienced many of these events if they had really happened.

 

 

Even when expected

 

Even worse, if you do read James, there are many places where you would expect him to mention Jesus or his teaching -

Chapter 1 talks about resisting temptation - NO mention of the temptation of Jesus !

Chapter 2 starts like this in some versions - "do you .. really believe in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ?" (a different translation of the phrase which in the Greek goes something like this: "do not with partiality believe in Jesus Christ the glorious").

Here is James trying to convince them to believe in Jesus Christ, and he totally fails to even mention he knew Jesus, let alone was his brother - instead all he gives to try and prove Jesus is some preaching about the poor and the rich WITHOUT mentioning anything Jesus said about the poor.

James quotes "Love Thy Neighbour as Thyself" - but NOT from Jesus, just "scripture".

James preaches about adultery - NO mention of Jesus' teachings.

James argues that faith without works is useless - when he provides examples, it's from the OT - Abraham, Rahab - NO mention of Jesus.

James reminds people not to curse or speak evil - NO mention of Jesus' teachings on that.

James preaches about suffering and patience - NO mention of Jesus as example, just Job and the prophets.

James talks about the church elders bringing healing and forgiving sins - NO mention of Jesus doing that.

James even invokes Elijah who was a "human being like us" - NO mention of Jesus !

 

James never knew any Jesus

In dozens of places, James preaches something that CRIES out for a mention of Jesus or his teachings - but it looks like James has never even HEARD of Jesus of Nazareth - just the risen Christ, a spiritual being.

Note that James uses the phrase "my brothers (and sisters)" DOZENS of times - NOT the slightest hint that HE is the brother of Jesus anywhere in the letter.

There simply is NOTHING about Jesus in the letter of James to indicate the writer had ever even HEARD of a historical Jesus.

 

 

 

by Kapyong

 


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