Echoes of Humility the Ethics of James 4:1-10 in Light of the Words and Actions of Jesus

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Echoes of Humility The Ethics of James 4:1-10 in Light of the Words and Actions of Jesus By Noah Stepro James and 1st Peter Dr. Joel Green 6-10-08 Fuller P.O. Box# 797 2 “More than any other NT document James has been subject to shifting opinions of its interpreters.”1 At the heart of this change is the issue of Christology within the highly theocentric book of James. While the author makes no overt christological claims regarding Jesus of Nazareth, he explicitly calls him Lord or ku,rioj (vv. 1:1; 2:1) in two instances and refers to God by the same title (vv. 3:9; 5:4) later in the book. The existence, possibilities and extent to which James views Jesus as the Christ has received significant academic attention over the past several decades – particularly in relation to the sayings of Jesus within James. At one end of this academic spectrum James is viewed as having a high, Christocentric theology which claims Jesus as Christ and Son of God.2 This position sees threads of the words and action of Jesus woven throughout the epistle. The converse view holds that James’ view of Jesus as the exalted Christ is nonexistent.3 Scholars holding to this position claim no case can be made for literary dependence on any formal tradition of Jesus’ words or even, in some cases, the informal oral traditions. Some scholars have even gone as far as claiming this Epistle was originally a pre- 1 Ralph P. Martin and Peter H. Davids. Dictionary of the Later New Testament and Its Developments.(Downers Grove, IL: Inter Varsity Press, 1997):an argument against a Christology in James based on the “kerygmatic omissions…unfairly pits James’s theocentrism against the Christocentric of other NT documents.”420 2 For more on this position see: J. Julius Scott, Jr. “Commas and the Christology of the Epistle of James” (paper presented at the National Meeting of

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