The Importance of James The Just
Recap the Importance of James
$ To understand James is to understand Isa
$ James is mentioned by a variety of sources as the next leader
$ His Sunnah is the Sunnah of Isa– Like the first Generation of Muslims
$ We know the factions of the time: to know his Akida is to place him
$ James has been systematically removed from Christian History
$ Systematically removed from Christian dogmas
$ Theologians have tried for 2000 years to reconcile him and Paul
$ This was done to give the Palestinian or “overseas” Christians power
$ The Christians have not removed “all” traces of him from their books of History
$ This is great since James’ Ideas stand in direct opposition to the of “Overseas” Christianity or Pauline Christianity.
$ So if it James is the undisputed leader of the Jesus movement after the Messiah, and James is in opposition to what is “Pauline,” we can assume with a high level of Certainty the Isa would have also been in opposition to Paul.
$ James was a member of one of these groups called “sectarians” by Josephus, or “rebels” by the Romans
$ If James is a member of one of these groups it is likely that Jesus was also a member of ne of these group
$ If this is true then we would expect for the theology of these groups to at minium to reflect what Allah has said about Isa’s Akida: Tawhid, Torah, and future Messenger.
But what do we know of James the Just?
First Century Sources:
$ Josephus: tells of his importance after Isa, but the information is limited. Josephus does, however, give us a lot of information that will also help place James in this historic environment
Acts of the Apostles: The Gospel of Paul.
$ The Epistles are the First writing of the Church they appear slightly before the Jewish wars (40 Ce. To 62 Ce.), and even less of an interval between the reaction of James to the Pauline community
$ A number of Scholars tell us that Pauls message was propagated “BEFORE” the writings of either the Synoptic Gospels or the Writing of Acts.
$ Alan E. Segal. Paul the Convert: The Apostolate and Apostasy of Saul the Pharisee,
“As important as Pauls concerns were, he did not answer
all the questions of the early [gentile] Christian community. Mark, Matthew, and John realized the need for an account of the life of the Christ, and Luke, after writing his gospel of the Christ, also wrote the life of Paul.
Luke and His Intentions:
$ Writes fifty years AFTER the fact (Segal and Eisenman)
$ Tradition says he was a Doctor and a follower of Paul
$ To paint Paul as a Prophet in the Jewish tradition
$ The Book of Ezekiel’s account of Ezekiel call to Prophethood
“I looked , and I saw a windstorm coming out of the north– an immense cloud with flashing lightning and surrounded by brilliant light...in appearance their form was that of a man...this was the appearance of the likeness of the glory of the Lord. When I saw it, I fell face down, and I heard the voice of one speaking. (Ezek. 1:1-28)
(Ezekiel as a “true” vision, Prophethood or lack of– is unimportant at this time)
$ The point is that Luke is trying to make the comparison
$ Luke is the “ONLY” real writer of these visions of Paul
$ Luke gives three accounts that differ about Pauls conversion (Acts 9:1-19, 22:1-21, 26:12-23)
$ Inshallah we will discuss this in detail next week
$ These Discrepancies have been the source of Academic attacks against this book: Additions and Subtractions
The “We” document:
$ A number of scholars suggest that we can know Luke’s true writing by first analyzing this We document beginning in Acts 16:11
$ By seeing this “Journalistic Account” we can then look at the previous writings and determine the primary source for Lukes accounts
What does Luke tell us:
$ Paul converts by some “mystical” experience
$ He travels to the overseas Christians BEFORE coming to the Apostles
$ He has already been “doctrinalized” BEFORE meeting the Apostles
$ The undisputed leader of the Hebrew followers of Isa
$ Paul was in opposition to the Hebrew Followers of Jesus
$ Paul was not one of the Apostles: “He went up to the Apostles”
$ James was giving rulings on the Sunnah of Isa
$ James was ruling based on the Torah
$ Paul DID NOT DISAGREE ABOUT JAMES HAVING THE RIGHT TO BE THE HEAD OF THE CHURCH NOR HIS AUTHORITY
$ Then again, mysteriously, the account of Paul fades from the pages of the book of Acts. WHY?
Early Sources mentioning James and his position:
$ Hegesippus: now lost but quoted (90-180)
$ Clement of Alexandrea (150-215)
$ Jerome in his Praise of Illustrious Men (347-420)
$ Thomas: ‘exaggerated by this time, however, shows his commanding role even in the 4th century Ideology
What do they all agree on?
$ The leader of the Hebrew followers of Jesus
$ Undisputed Judge of matters of Sunnah
$ And multiple souses tell us he upheld the Torah and Tawhid
$ Paul was in opposition to “his” following of the Sunnah
BUT we must put James in his historical setting:
$ Which group would he have followed– knowing what we know about him? The Jewish Compromisors or those trying to uphold the Torah Monotheism, and the hope for the Final Messenger?
I would arguing that He and his followers were part of the Children of Israel that Josephus says:
They despised danger and conquer pain by sheer will power: death, if it comes with honor, they value more then life without end. Their spirit was tested to the utmost by the WAR WITH THE ROMANS, who racked and twisted, burnt and broke then, subjecting them to every torture yet invented in order to make them blaspheme the Lawgiver, or eat some forbidden food, but could not make them do either, or ever once fawn on their tormentors or shed a tear. Smiling in their agony and gently mocking those who tortured them, they resigned their souls in the Joyous certainty that they would receive them back.
Next week inshallah we will start with the Major parallels between this community and that of James’. There are a number of connections between this group that we should find very exciting. May Allah be our everything.