General Epistles
Azusa Pacific University
Mr. Matt Hauge
March 11, 2004
"Survey of James"

I.   Christian Identity within a Christian Subculture (Church)
A.   If James is telling us what a Christian looks like, it is reasonable to assume that there are people within the church struggling with the idea of what it means to be a Christian
II.   Summary of basic information
A.   Genre
1.   Author & addresses named in greeting (Jam 1:1)
2.   There is no closing
3.   It is heavily Jewish document
a.   Not a Christian document
b.   When compared to other Jewish literature it looks like wisdom literature
i.   Wisdom is drawn from everyday experiences
ii.   Jam 1:5 is a very common wisdom literature introduction
iii.   1:9 - 5 :20 is then God's wisdom to these people
iv.   Wisdom is collected & preserved in pithy statements (i.e. proverbs)
v.   Ancient Near Eastern Wisdom Literature
a.   Two type of wisdom
1.   Traditional
a.   Transmits code of behavior & view of life
b.   Comes out of Egypt (Egypt was usually a prosperous, stable place)
2.   Skeptical
a.   Questions traditional wisdom
b.   Comes out of Mesopotamia (Mesopotamia was not as stable as Egypt and had a lot more hardships)
b.   Basis of Near Eastern Wisdom Literature: the Old experience life and then transmit wisdom to the young
vi.   Ancient Israelite Wisdom Literature
a.   Traditionally & skeptical wisdom
b.   Basis
1.   Life is not threatening because there is order
2.   Order is good, therefore God is good
3.   Humans are subject to patterns of cause and effect
4.   Foolish action -> Disruption -> Failure
5.   Wise action -> Harmony -> Success
vii.   Old Testament Wisdom Tradition
a.   Proverbs
1.   Type: Traditional
2.   Theme: experience can be relied upon
b.   Job
1.   Type: Skeptical (of Traditional wisdom)
2.   Job's Friends: Traditional
3.   Theme: do not absolutize experience
c.   Ecclesiastes
1.   Type: Skeptical (of Job)
2.   Theme: limitations on human experience
c.   Wisdom literature has a tendency to be in dialogue with previous wisdom literature
i.   Proverbs <- Job <- Ecclesiastes <- New Testament (James)
ii.   James, therefore, is wisdom literature in the New Testament
4.   Theme of James
a.   You can believe what you can but it does not matter unless you do anything with it
b.   Ethics: how do we deal with each other
i.   Power of Speech
ii.   Poverty/wealth
B.   Author
1.   Identified explicitly as "James" (1:1)
2.   James is a very common name - we have no distinction
3.   James New Testament
a.   James, son of Zebedee (Mt 4:21)
b.   James, son of Alphaeus (Mt 10:3)
c.   James, father of Judas (Lk 6:16)
d.   James, son of Mary (Mt 27:56)
4.   "Symbolic James" Theory - in Greek, James literally means Jacob and Jacob was the father of the 12 tribes so it could mean that the author of this book was in a sense saying, "the father of the Jews saysÉ"
5.   James, son of Mary most probable author
a.   James' concern
i.   Not concerned with Christ, or salvation
ii.   Concerned only with what you do
iii.   What you do is very Jewish
b.   Written to Jews in the Diaspora and James was a the leader of the Jerusalem church which would connect it very closely with Jews living outside of Judah (and Jerusalem)
6.    Problems with James, son of Mary authorship
a.   Date - many people feel this is much later than 60 AD
b.   James is a cognitive of Judah - so it could be saying "The Jew writing to the Jews"
C.   Audience
1.   "To the twelve tribes in the Dispersion" (1:1)
2.   Twelve Tribes = Israelites
3.   Dispersion = Diaspora
a.   Diaspora was any Jew living outside of Judah (mainly Jerusalem)
b.   These were Christ believing Jews that were not living in the vicinity of Jerusalem
4.   Assembly place is called the "synagogue" (2:2)
D.   Date
1.   If written by James, son of Mary (before mid 60's AD)
2.   Most scholars put the book after 70-110 AD