WHO WAS JAMES? WRITTEN BY DR. GIL HAAS, SAINT AUGUSTINE OF CANTERBURY EPISCOPAL CHURCH, OKLAHOMA CITY, OKLAHOMA
James, Joses, Jude, and Simon are listed Biblically as Jesus’ brothers. Because James is listed first, he was probably the eldest. St. Jerome, believing in the Catholic doctrine of the perpetual virginity of Mary, argued that the “brothers” of Jesus were actually His cousins. Interestingly, Biblical Hebrew lacks a word for “cousin”, which might require the alternative, “brother”. James was the first bishop of Jerusalem, and his liturgy is the oldest still in use. After Peter fled Jerusalem for fear of Herod, James became Christianity’s leader. James presided over the “Apostolic Council” when Paul argued successfully that Gentile converts need not be circumcised. Although Jesus had two apostles names James - James, the son of Zebedee and James, the son of Alphaeus - it is unlikely that either wrote the epistle attributed to James, and James, the brother of Jesus is thought to be the author. James was stoned to death in 63 A.D. Martin Luther wrote that James’ Epistle was an “Epistle of Straw” because it stressed Christian “works”, in apparent opposition to Luther’s belief in justification by faith alone. Although Luther unsuccessfully attempted to remove Hebrews, James, Jude, and Revelation from the canonical Bible, these four books were relegated to last place in the German-language Bible.
~Dr. Gil Haas, Saint Augustine of Canterbury Episcopal Church, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
Various Clergy and members of St. Augustine contribute to authoring the blog on a variety of topics.