The New Testament

A Historical and Theological Introduction

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36. James

Questions for Research and Discussion

  1. Discuss the significance of James. Is its importance in the canon diminished any by the fact that it took quite a long time to be recognized as Scripture and even afterward it was often eschewed in various ways (such as being called an “epistle of straw” by Luther)?
  2. Discuss Martin’s two-stage theory of development for James. What problems does this theory solve? What new problems does it appear to create?
  3. After examining the list of possible allusions to sayings of Jesus in James, what is your conclusion? Did the author of James intend to reflect the sayings of Jesus or were both the author of James and Jesus both influenced by Jewish wisdom literature in a more general way?
  4. James and Paul are almost always pitted against one another. Why is this probably unfair and an oversimplification?
  5. What do you make of the fact that Luther relativized James due to the absence of what he called “the gospel”? Was his assessment fair?