Imágenes de páginas
PDF

of Romans in Hebrews, deny any literary relation between Romans and an epistle which-though not a third of the size of Hebrewsfurnishes three times as many coincidences (Romans, ICC, pp. lxxvilxxix) of an even more striking character. The proofs, gathered best by Zimmer (Zw Th, 1893, pp. 481-503), are substantially decisive for the priority of Paul. A similar conclusion is reached from a comparison of James with 1 Peter. In spite of Beyschlag, Spitta, Schmiedel, and Zahn, it must be held that the latter epistle presents a more concrete form of several sayings than that preserved by James, who rather gives the impression of having quoted and adopted them from a previous writer: cp. the evidence and arguments in Brückner (Chron. pp. 60–65), Wrede (LC, 1896, pp. 450-451), Holtzmann (Zw Th, 1882, “ Die Zeitlage des Jakobusbriefs,” pp. 292–310), supported by Weiss, von Soden, Pfleiderer, Klöpper, and Usteri (in his edition of i Peter, especially pp. 292-298). The parallels are best printed in Spitta, Urc. ii. pp. 184–187. That Hebrews is also used by James is urged by the same critics, with the exception of von Soden and the addition of Schmiedel (EWK, II. 34, article “Catholic Epistles"). On the other hand, the connections between

Jas. 119-21 225 313 41 416 214-17 James and Clem. Rom. ( nom. (CR. 131 121 382 465 215 3037 )

) and the Jas. 112 118 25 59 Apocalypse' Canoe 210 144 99 320 ), do not appear to prove more than community of atmosphere, nor is it safe to infer much more than this from the coincidences (reminiscences, P. Ewald, Das Hauptproblem, p. 59 f.) in the

Jas. 118 125 520 21 122 f. 44 fourth gospel Go 38.8 932 524 544 931 f. 316-21)

2314, 316-21) and the pastoral epistles Jas. 213 514 513 55 41.3 42 Past. II. 116. 18 Tt 15 etc. II. 29 45 1. 56 Tt 33 TT 924 ). James is thus, on the evidence of its contents, a secondary writing in the NT; its strong and fresh treatment goes back for materials not merely to pre-Christian or non-Christian but Christian sources. Also, its closest relations from a literary point of view are with writings towards the end of the first or in the first quarter of the second century. The terminus ad quem is fixed by Hermas, 2 in which James is almost certainly used. Before 140 c. it must have been composed, and—if it uses Hebrews-after 90.

A date within the Domitianic period has been favoured generally by Hilgenfeld (Einl. pp. 537–542) and S. Davidson (doubtfully); McGiffert (AX, pp. 579-585), like J. Réville (Les origines de l'Épiscopat, p. 230 f.), puts it before the end of the first century, as A. H. Blom (“De achtergrond van den Jakobusbrief,Theol. Tijd. 1881, pp. 439–4.49) had already argued. Similarly Rovers, Nieuw-test. Letterkunde (1888), p. 93. But the tone and literary connections of the epistle point to a later period. Most probably it was composed about the same time as the pastoral epistles, although the date of composition can only be fixed approximately. So Baur (Church History (Eng. tr.) i. pp. 128-130), Schwegler (Das nach-apost. Zeitalter, 1. pp. 413 f., 441 f.), Zeller, and Volkmar (ZwTh, 1861, p. 427), followed by Hausrath and Pfleiderer 3 (Urc. pp. 865–880). The lastnamed regards the latter as a protest, like Hermas, against the secularising of Christianity; he finds a parallel to its plain and practical i spirit, in the Waldensian' church or in the Minorites. Brückner (Chron. pp. 60–64, 287–296) regards the writing as the product of some little conventicle of Jewish-Christian Essenism in the reign of Hadrian, 117-138 A.D., directed against the Gnosticising tendencies of contemporary Paulinism. Jülicher (Einl. p. 140 f.), like Usteri (SK, 1889, pp. 211-256), dates ? the book 125-150 A.D., and von Soden (HC, III. 2, pp. 175, 176) agrees that there is nothing to prevent a theory of its composition before 130 A.D., though he inclines to an earlier dåte (Jpth, 1884, pp. 137–192). Some corroboration of this general period may be found in the naïve tradition, preserved by Hegesippus (Eus. HE, 111. 32, Iv. 22), that the church had remained a pure virgin up till the martyrdom of Symeon (c. 107 A.D.), after which heresies and errors openly grew active. It is c. 130 A.D. that Harnack also dates the percolation of Hellenism upon a large scale into Christianity: the religious philosophy of Greece began then to reach the centre of the new religion, and, simultaneously with this, the older enthusiasm passed from the communities (Das Wesen des Christentums, 1900, p. 125 f.).

1 Spitta, Offenbar. Joh. p. 521 f.; Feine, pp. 131-133.

2 Cogent proofs in Spitta, Urć. ii. pp. 236 f., 382–391, also Dr. C. Taylor, Journal of Philol. XVIII. p. 297 f., and Zahn's edition of Hermas, pp. 396–409.

3 With whom, as far as the date is concerned, R. Steck practically agrees (“ Die Konfession des Jakobusbriefes,” 2. Schz. 1889, xv. 3); also J. H. Wilkinson, AJT, ii. pp. 120-123.

Austere and frequently ironical in tone, aphoristic in form, pregnant in expression, the successive paragraphs resemble more than once the sentences in Bacon's Essays. They are brief, condensed, direct. They “ do not seem to end, but fall. Their quick thrusts are quite in keeping with the author's rigorous demands upon his readers. Severe and urgent warnings abound. In one hundred and eight verses fifty-four imperatives have been counted. They lie side by side with more tender consolations ; but of praise there is not a syllable. The laxity of the inoral situation is too keenly felt by the writer; and he never lets his readers go far from the agenda of Christianity. “Er ist der Apostel der That, für welchem alles auf die That ankommt” (Rovers)." He has been called the Jeremiah of the NT, but he has affinities equally with the stubborn and pungent realism of Amos. The so-called primitiveness of this undogmatic-even antidogmatic—writing is explicable when it is set against the background, not of a nascent, elementary stage in Christianity (for the existence of which the evidence is quite inadequate), but of tendencies and features which here, as in Hermas and 2 Clem., reveal phrases of almost moralistic 3 religion side by side with the deeper or elaborated aspects of the faith. This standpoint helps one to rightly orientate the writings and its pithy phrases. It was a time of aberration (519-20), when the supreme call was for personal reformation (119. 27) and the reclaiming of others (516. 20). The long development of Christianity, even within the personal experience of the readers (3), had begun to betray symptoms of moral degeneracy. Along with the wide diffusion of Christianity, abuses—especially of money and mind-had crept into the church, with the result that (as Klöpper graphically puts it) the moral deficiencies of Christian conduct were being covered by the withered fig-leaf of a merely intellectual belief. Neither talk nor theories make up life, this prophet thunders. Without morality they are a corpse. Words—words by themselves are alike the source of quarrelling and the substitute for honest conduct. No wonder that such a development or rather degeneration was followed some thirty years later by the Montanist reformation. This letter bears much the same relation to that movement as that which existed between the writings of Barclay or Tyndale and the English Reformation in the sixteenth century.

i Reuss (pp. 140-143; also Hist. Christ. Theol. i. pp. 423, 424) from a different standpoint underlines this dislike on the writer's part to theological disputation. “His warnings read like the first startled shrinking of piety from the fights of science”; he is a man “to whom all talking and disputing about religious subjects seemed like stepping out of the temple altogether." Similarly the pastorals.

2 Cp. Bousset (TR, 1897, p. 15). Harnack's period is also c. 110-130 A.D. He denies that the writing is an epistle ; comparing it with 2 Clem., he regards both as homilies, composed of isolated exhortations to the community and to individuals. Certainly our cywyń (22) is a term transferred from Greek worship as an equivalent of faxhnoice (514); cp. Heinrici, ZwTh (1876), pp. 103-109, 523, 524.

3 In 4th Esdras (832-36 97 f. etc.) a similar emphasis falls on works in relation to faith.

From another side than that of the pastorals, and yet with some substantial kinship, the epistle of James comes into the Christian development. Here, as in the pastorals, practical piety ? is the dominant note. But the author, who was one of the wise men (Mt 2334) in his age, and himself a teacher (31), instead of presenting his conceptions in the spirit of Paul, occupies the standpoint of an emancipated Jewish Hellenist.” To him (cp. Denney, DB, iii. 82) as to many in the second century, Christianity appeared in all its attractiveness mainly as a new law,4 the supreme manifestion and expression of ethical monotheism and plain morality. To obey the commandments of God—that is the religious ideal of the age. Contrasted with the wearisome scheme of Judaism (Mt 1129), it is a light and easy obedience (1 Jn 53, Jas 125). In the Johannine apocalypse and epistles this legal conception is bound up with a rich Christology, and even in the pastorals these two are not wholly severed. But the author of James stands nearer to the blanched Christology of the Didachê (on which see Harnack, Apostellehre, pp. 1420) than to these NT writings, and his motives for the observance of the moral law are not drawn from God's Fatherhood and man's love to him.

The horizon is Christendom, but the atmosphere and situation are nearer the Jewish moralism of the Didachês than the distinctively Christian writings that lie within the NT canon. There is nothing specially referring to the Gentiles, it is true. But the Jews are as decidedly left out of account. These racial divisions do not exist for the writer. A Jew

1 Hints of Gnostic trouble (315=Jud 19) and persecution (12. 3. 12 57-11) are not very luminous.

2 Cp. the remarkable parallel on charity (1 Jn 317 = Jas 214-17), a good instance of the mystic and the moralist each pressing in his own fashion upon the same point of conduct. Add 1 Jn 215 = Jas 44, 1 Jn 225 = Jas 112.

3 On the theology of James cp. especially Usteri, loc. cit.; Holtzmann, NTTh, ii. pp. 328–350, and in ZwTh (1893), pp. 57–69. For the reproduction of the wisdomideas cp. the great section in the Book of Baruch (39-44), where wisdom is claimed as the privilege and security of Israel. The monotheism of the Diaspora is excellently illustrated by the Sibylline oracles (Blass, KAP, ii. p. 179 f., and slightly otherwise, Zahn, ŽKWL, 1886, pp. 7787).

4 Christianity as law is characteristic of the sub-apostolic age (Barnabas 26, é raivos νόμος του κυρίου ημών άνευ ζυγου ανάγκης ών). On the beginnings of this conception cp. Gottschick, RTK, vi. pp. 634, 635, and Seeberg, Lehrbuch der Dogmengeschichte, 1895, 1. pp. 33f., 35 f.

Jas 18 (48) 36-8. 9 f. 314-18 516 " op. Did. 43_ 24_ 256 1. The ethical preoccupation of James need not seem so surprising when one remembers the traces of such a conception of Christianity already given in passages like Ac 17, 1415-17, 2425. There the author, apparently without any sense of incongruity, makes Paul speak in semi-Jewish terms which are scarcely more Christian than the conceptions in James' epistle.

by birth, in all likelihood, he lives and writes in an age when these parties are neither included nor excluded ; they are simply transcended. À fusion has taken place in the church. The Christianity in vogue is not now Paulinism, it is a diffused Gentile Christianity which no longer needs to remain in opposition to the semi-legal 1 conception of the faith, but is permeated with Hellenising influences (A. Meyer, Die moderne Forschung iiber d. NT, pp. 54-56) analogous to those stirred in the ethical revival of the first century by the Cynic “street-preachers” of the age, and by the fascination exerted by the Hellenic mysteries upon those who were dissatisfied with the superstition and moral impotence of current religions. The influence of this atmosphere on Christianity only began to be felt to any great extent as the new faith moved out into the Empire, certainly not before the third quarter of the first century.

To the writer, impatient and distrustful of theorising, Christianity then appears quite in the second-century manner as a law," the perfect law" (125), i.e. the fulfilment of Judaism. The Christian is he who by a practical and consistent life obeys that royal law (28 = Just. Apol. 112), and is thus a perfect man. Here, as in the later literature, the first notes of Protestantism are heard, though the author reminds us also of the Humanists in his taste for older literature. Contemporary religion had already developed far enough to be liable to aberrations which, in this man's view, were best remedied by a sharp recall to the primitive elements, and especially to the forgotten commonplace that a divorce between faith and conduct is ruinous to both. His polemic implies that Paul's original conceptions of faith and works were being misapprehended and abused. But he is no pupil of Paul's, eager to re-state the distinctive Pauline doctrines, much less an opponent who writes with the ulterior and covert purpose of refuting such positions. To this author Christianity is not, as it was to Paul, an overpoweringly new spirit. It is the legal and moral heir of all that was best in Judaism. Of grace, of the Messiahship of Jesus,—the burning question of the primitive church,-of the hope of eternal life, there is as little mention as of circumcision and the Mosaic law, or of man's personal union with Jesus Christ. These are not the writer's world.3 His ideal is “the truth,” “the wisdom," — practically equivalent to a good, moral life, which is an observance of God's law. Of God's Fatherhood and kingdom, truths which were the very life of Christ's first disciples, there is but the slightest mention. So far as distinctiveness and characteristics go, this document is to early Christianity pretty much what writings like those of pseudo-Phokylides are to the Judaism of the first century; both are genuine products, but tend to concentrate their attention upon the general moralistic features of the faith in question, instead of upon its particular tenets (cp. Jacoby, NT Ethik, pp. 151-201).

1 With this sublimated conception of “law,” which proved so influential in early Christianity, there may be compared the post-exilian attitude to the Hebrew Law, with its nourishment of rich and genuine piety(cp. Montefiore's Hibbert Lectures, chap. ix., and I. Abrahams, “Jewish Life under the Law,Jewish Quart. Review, July 1899, pp. 626–642). Fourth Maccabees is an example of the stress laid on this piety (Euceßús) by Judaism, when touched by a Stoical devotion to ethics.

2 Cp. Éoltzmann, Einl. pp. 333-335. That the readers were specifically JewishChristian is maintained by several scholars (e.g. Reuss, Weizsäcker, Klöpper, Schmiedel). That they were liable to risk from some form of ultra-Paulinism seems indisputable.

3 Familiarity with the terminology of the Greek mystics (e.g., as Hilgenfeld has shown with the Orphites 36, whom Dr. Gardner finds already behind a passage like

While the address implies an oecumenical Christianity which is viewed under the comprehensive and idealised symbols of the OT (the twelve tribes, 11, being equivalent to God's people, an ideal number like Apoc 74 141, or 1 P 11), the letter bears distinct marks of a local and concrete situation. But it is no longer possible to reconstruct a picture of it. The generic term ó dikalos (56, cp. Wisd Sol 212-20), however, corroborates the other evidence of the epistle by indicating that the writer felt in greatest sympathy with the class represented by the atóxol of Pss. Sol, or the “mansueti et quiescentes” of 4 Esdras (1132), the suffering lower classes who represented by their Puritanism the true piety of the age. How far this is due to the archaic style of the writer, and how far to his actual environments, it is hard to say. If the latter hypothesis were pressed, the indications might point to Syria or Palestine, as in the case of the Didachê. But in all probability the tone of the letter represents the author's ideal. His sympathies revolted from the ostentatious religion of the better classes and clung to an Essene-like character, which resembles-it has been suggested—the simplicity and winsomeness of Francis the great Poverello. The connection of the writing with Romans, Hebrews, and Hermas has led several scholars (e.g. Brückner and von Soden) to think of Rome as the locus of the epistle ; but indeed certainty on this matter is unattainable, and conjectures are simply guesswork.

It is equally impossible to discover who the unknown James was, who wrote the letter. There is not any sufficient reason for holding it a pseudonymous document. Had the writer wished to pose as the first bishop of the Jerusalem church, he would (like the author of 2 P) have taken care to introduce unmistakable allusions to his traditional character. As it is, no one would dream that the apostle James was meant by the James of ver. 1, merely by reading the contents of the epistle. More local colour and detail would certainly have been necessary to produce this conviction among the first readers and authenticate the epistle. Had the writer intended to represent himself as the brother of the Lord-and much more, if he had actually been 80—he would have emphasised his self-designation in the title and contents of the writing.? 1 Pet 318 ; Explor. Evangelica, chap. xxi.), certain echoes of Philonic phraseology and the reproduction of ideas and sentences from Wisd. Sol. and Ecclus. (Spitta, Urc. ii. pp. 14–155, a rich series of parallels), do not in this practised scholar and writer affect the question of the date much more than the use of apocalyptic quotations in the Epistle of Judas. They merely tell against apostolic authorship. “ Cet helléniste familier avec les ressources de la rhétorique est un même temps un philosophe, fusion des deux types alors commune et en honneur dans le monde grec. On se rappelle son système dualiste" (Massebieau).

i It will scarcely do, I fear, to regard the warning and denunciation of 413_56 as an apostrophe addressed to "the rich as a class” (Adeney, BI, p. 436). Surely here, as throughout the epistle, the author speaks as one who has known, suffered with and from, studied and lived beside, the individuals who prompt his utterances ?

2 How inconclusive and improbable all attempts at a biography are, made from the side either of internal evidence or of later tradition, may be seen from what is their best statement in Zahn, Einl. i. pp. 72–88.

« AnteriorContinuar »