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James, Peter, Paul, and the Formation of the Gospels

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Chapter Summary

This chapter locates James in respect of Peter, Paul, and those who framed the Gospel traditions, It then offers a conclusion in regard to his status and position with the primitive Church. The remarkable and early agreement that Jews and non-Jews could be included in the same movement by baptism established a radical principle of inclusion. The book of Acts does clearly reflect his perspective in regard to both circumcision, and the issue of purity, the two principal matters of concern in Galatians. The second item on the agenda is settled on James' authority, not Peter's, and the outcome is not in line with Paul's thought. The personal model of James as bishop was evidently sufficient to elevate that office above other possible contenders for what was to be the predominant authority within the church by the end of the first century.

Keywords: baptism; circumcision; Gospels; James; Paul; Peter



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