Item description for The Letter of James (The Anchor Yale Bible Commentaries) by Luke Timothy Johnson...
Overview The Letter of James is one of the most significant, yet generally overlooked, New Testament books. Because Martin Luther, leader of the Protestant Reformation, disliked this letter for its emphasis on good deeds, the book has come to be viewed as being in opposition to Paul's letters, which emphasize faith in God. To correct these and other misperceptions about "James", Luke Timothy Johnson embarks on an unprecedented history of the interpretation of this pivotal letter, highlighting the vast appreciation for "James" over the centuries.Johnson boldly identifies the first-century authors as none other than James, the brother of Jesus Christ. While modern skepticism casts doubt on this conclusion, early textual witnesses, as well as saints and scholars throughout the centuries, corroborate Johnson's position.A thorough examination of the original-language texts and an explanation of the literary context of James help illuminate the original meaning of the letter. Johnson's sensitivity to both the biblical text and the sensibilities of the modern reader, coupled with his convincing scholarly presentation, set this apart as one of the premier commentaries on James for present and future generations.
Publishers Description "The Letter of James" is one of the most significant, yet generally overlooked, New Testament books. Because Martin Luther, leader of the Protestant Reformation, disliked this letter for its emphasis on good deeds, the book has come to be viewed as being in opposition to Paul's letters, which emphasize faith in God. To correct these and other misperceptions about James, Luke Timothy Johnson embarks on an unprecedented history of the interpretation of this pivotal letter, highlighting the vast appreciation for James over the centuries. Johnson boldly identifies the first-century author as none other than James, the brother of Jesus Christ. While modern skepticism casts doubt on this conclusion, early textual witnesses, as well as saints and scholars throughout the centuries, corroborate Johnson's position. A thorough examination of the original-language texts and an explanation of the literary context of "James "help illuminate the original meaning of the letter. Johnson's sensitivity to both the biblical text and the sensibilities of the modern reader, coupled with his convincing scholarly presentation, set this apart as one of the premier commentaries on "James" for present and future generations.
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Studio: Yale University Press
Est. Packaging Dimensions: Length: 8.9" Width: 5.9" Height: 1" Weight: 1.35 lbs.
Release Date Sep 5, 2005
Publisher Yale University Press
Series Anchor Bible Commentary
ISBN 030013990X ISBN13 9780300139907
Availability 0 units.
More About Luke Timothy Johnson
Professor Johnson's research concerns the literary, moral, and religious dimensions of the New Testament, including the Jewish and Greco-Roman contexts of early Christianity (particularly moral discourse), Luke-Acts, the Pastoral Letters, and the Letter of James. A prolific author, Dr. Johnson has penned numerous scholarly articles and more than 25 books. His 1986 book The Writings of the New Testament: An Interpretation, now in its second edition, is widely used in seminaries and departments of religion throughout the world.
A former Benedictine monk, Dr. Johnson is a highly sought-after lecturer, a member of several editorial and advisory boards, and a senior fellow at Emory University's Center for the Study of Law and Religion. He received the prestigious 2011 Louisville Grawemeyer Award in Religion for his most recent book, Among the Gentiles: Greco-Roman Religion and Christianity (2009, Yale University Press), which explores the relationship between early Christianity and Greco-Roman paganism.
Luke Timothy Johnson currently resides in Atlanta, in the state of Georgia.
Reviews - What do customers think about The Letter of James (The Anchor Yale Bible Commentaries)?
Excellent technical commentary Nov 10, 2006
Overall, this is an excellent commentary. I am using it along with 2 others in study of James. Johnson is long on technical and historical background, but is often short on application. Once in a while, verse background is quite brief, and I've found this at times when I was looking for more.
The introduction is second to none, with Johnson's survey of the interpretation of James of highest value. Johnson explodes the myth of the Paul vs. James debate, demonstrating that this is purely a modern controversy thrust on the text. Johnson further shows that from a historical perspective, that the faith vs. works debate, is also a modern development. The church through the ages has held that these two emphases of salvation and their authors have never been viewed as contradictions.
Of the James Commentaries in current research, simply the best May 13, 2006
This is the most comprehensive James commentary currently on the market, plain and simple. It offers an extended meditation not only on how the letter of James fits into the New Testament, something all commentaries engage, but it also succinctly incorporates an impressive milieu of works contemporary to James that help to flesh out both its composition and its meaning.
Furthermore, scholarship in the Epistle of James has been notoriously focused on the "James v. Paul" fight, while ignoring some of the unique qualities of the letter that make it what it is. Johnson expertly engages the Pauline question without dwelling on it, and places, rightly so, the emphasis back squarely on the letter itself, letting its theological voice be heard in its own right.
For anyone serious in the area of biblical studies who wants an insightful and deep commentary on one of the most controversial and neglected works of the NT, I recommend this work highly.
ably and admirably argues against the critical consensus May 8, 2000
No one to date has argued for the unity of the argument of the letter of James more systematically and more cogently than L. T. Johnson. While M. Dibelius' atomized reading of James continues to dominate the critical approach, Johnson's rejection of his basic premise that James is a series of unrelated moral exhortations is both fresh and appealing. Johnson's well-researched historical scholarship is balanced by his close reading of the text. Johnson discovers the overarching theme of the message of James in the antithesis between friendship with the world and friendship with God (Jas 4:4). The unity of James' argument is discovered in the injunction against "double-mindedness," the attempt to live according to two perceptions or measures of reality (or two "wisdoms": the world's measure and God's measure. James' discussion of faith and works fits this overall framework, directed against those who claim to embrace God's measure (faith), but whose works reveal another wisdom at work in their members.
Johnson could have followed through on a number of exegetical issues he just touches on. For example his identification of the OT prophetic idiom in James' call to covenant conversion (Jas 4:7-10) is a promising avenue which he fails to explore. Johnson is also inconsistent in his thesis that James is a protreptic discourse, an address to a community of profession (i.e. "the faith of Jesus Christ" (Jas 2:1)) calling for consistency of life with profession. Johnson fails adequately to take into consideration the particular address to "the twelve tribes of the diaspora" (Jas 1:1) governs the scope of the discussion as it limits James' audience. Where, however, he does remember his thesis, the commentary is very insightful and profitable.
As with the Anchor Bible series a familiarity with theological idiom and a basic understanding of Greek is requisite.
Thorough and Informative Commentary Apr 8, 2000
A reader who encounters the Epistle of St. James without preconceptions is unlikely to see anything in it that would account for its position as one of the most disputed and problematic works in the New Testament canon. On the surface, the book is a series of apparently disjointed reflections and injunctions, emphasizing the absolute goodness of God, human responsibility for sin, the need to restrain intemperate speech and other passions, and the deadness of religious faith that does not lead to action on behalf of the poor and suffering. Both form and content reflect what one would expect from a very early Christian writing in the tradition of Jewish Wisdom literature.
If the same reader consults the typical modern commentary, he will get a very different picture: of a pseudonymous composition, dating from as late as 150 A.D., whose real point is to attack the theology of St. Paul (which is allegedly either misrepresented or misunderstood). This negative view goes back as far as Martin Luther, who branded James "a right strawy epistle" and only reluctantly included it in his translation of the Bible.
Luke Timothy Johnson's commentary ably defends the epistle against its detractors and reveals the profound beauty of its thought. In a lucid fashion, with almost (but only almost) no academic jargon and turgidity (he really ought to find synonyms for "rich" as an adjective and worry less about James' failure to use "gender-neutral" language), Johnson presents a wealth of information about the epistle's literary and historical background, its reception by the Church and its place in Christian thought and worship. Especially acute is his analysis of James' line of argument, which he shows to be remarkably coherent, albeit not linear and easy to grasp.
There has lately been a revival of scholarly interest in James, "the Brother of the Lord". Before turning to the solid but plodding John Painter ("Just James") or the wild-eyed Robert Eisenman, one would do well to absorb Johnson's thorough and informative study.