Heidegger's Bible Handbook: James: Authorship

2. The Author of the Epistle was James, not the son of Zebedee, called the greater; nor the Just, called Oblias, of the number of the seventy disciples, but the son of Alpheus, called the less, an Apostle, and perhaps the Bishop of Jerusalem. The fables of the ancients concerning his sufferings.


The author, therefore, was James τοῦ Θεοῦ καὶ Κυρίου Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ δοῦλος, the servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, James 1:1, not the son of Zebedee, the brother of John, called James the greater; as the Syriac Translator of Widmenstadius, Lucius Dexter in his Chronicle,[1] and Sixtus III in Bibliotheca Patrum[2] state; since that sufficiently squares neither with the time of his life, since he, taken away prematurely by Herod,[3] did not see the Gospel propagated among the Jews and the Gentiles, nor Churches gathered, James 1:1; nor to the matter of the composition, which treats of manners rather than faith, and so then was written when the abuse of the doctrine of faith waxed strong: but the son of Alphæus, Matthew 10:3, brother, that is, kinsman, of the Lord, Galatians 1:19, and brother of Jude, Jude 1; named μικρὸς, the less, Mark 15:40, by a comparison of his age with that of the other James; called a στύλος/pillar, together with Peter and John, Galatians 2:9, on account of the fame and eminence of his virtues, who acted as president of the Council of Jerusalem, Acts 15:13: not merely a disciple of Christ, of the number of the seventy disciples,[4] whom the Ancients called James the Just and Oblias (that is, a wall, as Epiphanius in an obscure manner interprets it), but an Apostle, as the Inscription has it; and perhaps also the Bishop of Jerusalem, not because he was fixed to that seat or Church, but because by the counsel of the other Apostles he stayed there somewhat longer to advance the usefulness of all the Churches. Concerning his suffering, various things, little differing from fables, are found in Eusebius, Historia Ecclesiastica, book II, section 23, where are cited Hegesippus[5] and the Hypotyposes of Clement, concerning which somewhat more is found in Scaliger’s Animadversionibus in Eusebius, number MMLXXVII; Henricus Valesius’ Notis on that passage of Eusebius; and also Ursinus’ Analectis, Tome II, Book V, section 7.

[1] Flavius Lucius Dexter (368-444) was a historian, and friend of Jerome. The Chronicle attributed to him is probably of a later date. [2] Marguerin de la Bigne (1546-1595) was a French theologian and expert in Patristic literature. In an effort to lend the strength of the Fathers to the Roman Counter-Reformation, he published Sacra Bibliotheca Sanctorum Patrum in nine volumes (1575), containing more than two hundred authors. His work went through several editions and enlargements, including the 1644 Magna Bibliotheca Veterum Patrum. [3] See Acts 12:1, 2. [4] See Luke 10. [5] Hegesippus was a second century Chronicler and preserver of the traditions of the early church. His five-volume Hypomnemata is lost, save for the fragments preserved in Eusebius.

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