What Is the New Testament? A Broad Overview

With some very sage outside advice, I have decided to add a new feature to the blog.   Once or twice a week (at least that’s the *plan*) I will create a kind of “general introduction” post, dealing with some broad and basic matter connected with the New Testament, the Historical Jesus, the apostle Paul, the role of women in the church, persecution and martyrdom, heresy and orthodoxy, the development of theology, the Christianization of the empire, etc. etc.   Broad overviews, ...

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Why Did the Author of James Claim to be James in Particular?

This will be my last post on the epistle of James in the New Testament as “counter”-forgery, that is, as a forgery (a book written by someone falsely claiming to be a famous person) that is written against another book that is itself a forgery (written by someone claiming to be some *other* famous person).   In this case, the author is claiming to be James, the actual brother of Jesus, and he is writing to counter views of Paul – ...

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Is the Author of James Rejecting Paul Himself?

I have been talking about how the letter of James appears to refer to Paul’s letters in order to contradict them (as has long been thought by scholars — going back at least to Martin Luther).  But as it turns out, I don’t think it’s actually that simple.   I briefly mentioned this in an earlier post, but here is the fuller scoop.   This again is taken from my book Forgery and Counterforgery.   I should remind you what I mean by ...

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The Close Connections of James and Paul

I continue here my comparison of the wording of the book of James to the writing of Paul,  in order to establish the point that whoever wrote James, it was someone who was directly responding to the letters of Paul (because he imitates Paul’s wording while refuting his views.)  This will lead then to my argument – not yet made – that the author of James is in fact writing a “counter-forgery” – that is he is writing a forgery ...

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Is James Responding to Paul?

I now begin to explain why someone might have wanted to (falsely) claim to be James the brother of Jesus when writing the letter attributed to him in the NT.  My basic argument is that the letter is being written to oppose the writings of Paul (at least as they were being *interpreted*: whether Paul himself would have agreed with the interpretation of his views that they oppose is a completely different question), and the author needed someone of the ...

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Does James (the Book) Have the Same Concerns as James (the Man)? Part 2

This will be my last post mounting the case that the brother of Jesus, James, did not write the letter of James.  Here I get into some of the most substantive issues: what does this author consider to be the most important aspects of his Christian faith, and how does this stack up against what we know otherwise of James of Jerusalem?  And are there indications that in fact he is addressing issues that simply do not appear relevant to ...

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Does the Book of James Have the Same Concerns as the Historical James?

I continue now with my discussion of whether the book of James was actually written, as it implicitly claims, by the historical James, the brother of Jesus.  The issue is much bigger than whether James could write (a topic I discussed in my earlier posts).  Are the issues/concerns/interests of this book at all consonant with what we know about James himself?   The question is rarely asked, but it’s absolutely key.

Here is what I say in my book about it:

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The Brother of Jesus and the Book of James

Finally I get to explaining reasons why the brother of Jesus, in my judgment, almost certainly did not write the book of James.   The explanation will come in two parts, or possibly three.  In this one I build on my last post, by arguing that it seems completely implausible that James *could* have written the letter.  (For those of you inclined to think he used a “secretary” to do it for him — I’ve posted on this a bunch in ...

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Could Most People Write in Antiquity?

I am ready now to discuss in a couple of posts the issue of whether Jesus’ brother James actually wrote the book of James, or if it was someone else wanting his readers to *think* it was him.   To make sense of what I want to say about it at the outset (it will take a couple of posts), I’ve decided I need to re-post an old post on a broader and even more interesting question: who actually *could* write ...

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Did James Write James?

In two previous posts I gave an overview of the letter of James, one of the real gems hidden away in the New Testament (it takes 15 minutes to read it, max.  Try it!  Great little book.)   Now I want to devote several posts to address the question I was originally asked about it.  Was it really written by James, the brother of Jesus, as traditionally claimed?

I deal with that question at some length in my book Forgery and Counterforgery.  ...

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