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James and the Pauline Legacy: Power Play in Corinth?

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Chapter Summary

Few documents within early Christian literature have proved so resistant to being placed in terms of their tradition-history as the letter of James. The Pauline theological concepts seem to have contributed to James's understanding of faith and works on a deeper level too. To match the Pauline emphasis on faith, Jas elaborates on the idea of 'work'. In the case of justification language too, the heavy polemical tone in Jas 2:14-26 obscures rather than reveals the author's deeper dependence on, and critical reworking of, Pauline theology. However, Jas points out that the planted word has power and salvific effect only when the former life is "put away" and the word is properly "received" in meekness. The author of Jas seems to share Paul's position outside the secure power of patronage, but his response is clearly more radical than Paul's.

Keywords: early Christian literature; James; Jas 2:14-26; Pauline theology



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