Heidegger's Bible Handbook: James: Canonical Authority

Updated: Apr 24

4. Its Authority asserted against ancient and more recent men.


Concerning this Epistle Eusebius writes, Historia Ecclesiastica, chapter II, section 22, that it νοθεύεσθαι, was considered adulterated, by the ancients, and so not many make mention of it. Nevertheless, he adds that he found it received and approved by many Churches. Jerome also, in his Catalogo Scriptorum Ecclesiasticorum, writes, that it was alleged to have been written by some other under the name of James; although, says he, it gradually obtain authority over time. The reason that thus it was not mentioned by all the ancients, as the majority of the rest were, appears to be that it was Catholic, that is, written to no one in particular; by way of contrast, the other Epistles written to the Romans, Corinthians, Galatians, etc., having the testimony of those Churches to which they were written, more easily came under the notice of the rest. But to this and the other Catholic Epistles it was able to happen, as to other writings that are sent to no one in particular, but are written in such a way that they are left to Divine Providence to determine into whose hands they should come. Nevertheless, that not a few ancients made mention of this Epistle, and that the silence of a few, and the scruples moved by more recent men, Cajetan, Luther, and the Centuriators,[1] detract nothing from its authority, we have abundantly shown in Dissertationibus Selectis, Tome I, Dissertation XI, sections 2-4. Also, the Most Illustrious Gomarus has disputed at length against Ægidius Hunnius over this issue, in Jacobum, chapter I, page 663, which things are able to be consulted. That this Epistle is certainly holy, worthy of an Apostle of Christ, and filled with salutary and necessary lessons, and so truly Divine and Canonical, is not able to be doubted.

[1] The Magdeburg Centuries is an ecclesiastical history covering the first one thousand and three hundred years of the Church, which was compiled by certain Lutheran scholars in Magdeburg, known as the Centuriators of Magdeburg, led by Matthias Flacius Illyricus. It is a pioneering work in ecclesiastical history, which aims to show the substantial uniformity of the faith of God’s people throughout the centuries, while tracing the parallel development of Antichristian Romanism.


Dr. Dilday's Lecture: "James and 1 Peter, Part 2"



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