Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

An exploration into the structure, the original situation, and the historical context of the letter of James
by Mejia-Castillo, Guillermo, M.A., Trinity International University, 2015, 210; 1587195
Abstract (Summary)

Recognizing the lack of consensus among studies of the letter of James concerning its original situation, this thesis is a study in the circumstances that precipitated the letter of James; it argues that the letter responds in significant measure to the inclination of some pre 70 Diaspora Jews to rebel violently against the Roman Empire. In so doing, it is suggested that the paralleled passages of Jas 1:2-20 and 5:7-11/12 might covertly critique a set of convictions and behaviors of the letter’s audience that configures a “war agenda.” This thesis finds sufficient reasons to read the letter of James as a paralleled literary structure rather than as a linear progression of thought. Reading it thus provides a better control on the exploration of the plausibility of a “war agenda” as the original situation of the letter of James, inasmuch as such exploration can be speculative. Some corroborating evidence for the plausibility of the “war agenda” is provided in the form of identifying a highly volatile political environment in mid-first-century Palestine with important implications and reverberations in the Jewish Diaspora. Such evidence is correlated with the letter of James.

The letter of James can be seen thus as an authoritative exhortation embedded in the thought-world of the Old Testament as interpreted according to the teachings of Jesus. It is argued that such exhortation was addressed to the Jews in the Diaspora, irrespective of whether they were Christians, and that its author was James, the brother of Jesus and a Christian Jew. This James emerges then as a recognized leader in the nascent Christian movement, with influence among his Jewish brethren in Palestine and in the Diaspora, at a time when there was no clear discontinuity between Christianity and Judaism. Such reading seems to account for some of the clear, and at times problematic, traits identified by other studies in the letter of James, including the seemingly meager Christology, a strong Jewish ideological background, a reflection of the thought-world of Jesus, and the social concern for the marginalized.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Harris, Dana M.
Commitee: Osborne, Grant R.
School: Trinity International University
Department: New Testament
School Location: United States -- Illinois
Source: MAI 54/04M(E), Masters Abstracts International
Subjects: Religion, Biblical studies, Theology
Keywords: Authorship of james, Estructura, Historical context of james, Letter of james, Original situation of james, Situacion original, Structure of the letter of james, Y contexto historico de la carta de santiago
Publication Number: 1587195
ISBN: 9781321707595
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