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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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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One of My Favorite Letters in the New Testament: The Book of James

Sometimes the questions I get from readers are short and to the point, but require long answers over a number of posts.  Here’s one of the recent ones:

 

QUESTION:

Could you write a blog on the book of James and why it is considered a forgery?

 

RESPONSE:

I think this question deserves an entire thread of responses.  I haven’t talked much about the letter of James on the blog (at least so far as I can remember and tell!).   So why not?   It’s a ...

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Is the Qur’an More Reliable than the New Testament?

I often get asked questions about the Qur’an, and I almost always do not answer them, most because I can’t answer them.   I’m not an expert on the Qur’an, and tend to talk only about things I have done serious and sustained research on.  Otherwise I’m just spreading stuff I’ve heard, and I’m no more authoritative on that than anyone else.  So what’s the point of my talking about it?

But one question that I get frequently, especially from Muslim readers, ...

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Is There a Way to Know if a Manuscript is the “Original”?

In response to the recent flurry of posts on the question of a “first-century Mark,” I have received a very interesting question: suppose there *were* a first-century Mark that was discovered (hey, it’s possible!  And we’re holding our breaths – what an amazing find it would be)..  Would there be a way of showing it was the actual original Mark, the one the author himself wrote with his own hand?

I was asked this question on the blog seven years ago, ...

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Is There a “Best” Bible Translation Out There? A Blast from the Past

Here is one of the most frequently questions I have received over the years; I addressed it exactly seven years ago on the blog, as I have just discovered while rummaging through the archives.  And since it continually comes up, I thought it would be a good time to address it again.  Here’s what I said then (and what I still think now!).

 

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QUESTION:

Dr. Ehrman, most of your readers doe not know the ancient languages thatthe Bible was written ...

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61

Were Miracle Stories Originally in the Gospels?

Looking through old posts on the blog, I came across this very interesting and important question from seven years ago.  It’s a question I continue to get on occasion, so I thought we all might profit by thinking about it again.  (And now, older and wiser, I would answer almost exactly the same way!)

QUESTION:

I have looked up the content of all the papyri I’m aware of (off of links on wikipedia, so who knows if they’re accurate).

It is my understanding ...

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When Did Jesus Become Sinless?

I recently received a question from a blog member about when it was in the Christian tradition that Jesus came to be thought of as “perfect,” without sin.   I feel no great need to answer the question myself because my friend and occasional guest blog poster Jeffery Siker, long-time professor of New Testament at Loyola Marymount University, has written an entire book on the topic.   And so I asked him to prepare some blogposts, and here’s the first one.

For what ...

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Early Christian Liars

Yesterday I started explaining in some depth how forgers in early Christianity – that is, authors who falsely claimed to be, say, Peter or Paul or James (as in the case of the authors of 2 Peter, 1 Timothy, the Proto-Gospel of James, etc.) – could justify their lies.  I need to stress, the idea that they were lying is not just a modern one.  The ancients talk about forgery a good deal; they never approve of it and they ...

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Could Christian Forgers Justifying Lying?

Yesterday, in response to a question, I started to discuss the age-old problem of literary forgery (authors lying about their true identity), and specifically the question of why Christians would engage in it.  In my two books on the topic I spend considerable time trying to demonstrate that forgery was indeed understood – in antiquity – to involve lying, and that the authors who claimed (falsely) to be Plato or Galen or Peter or Paul knew they were lying.  But ...

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