Davids - A Theology of James, Peter, and Jude

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Peter H. Davids - A Theology of James, Peter, and Jude
Biblical theology of the New Testament
In this present volume we will not discuss 1, 2, and 3 John, for in style, theology, and probably historical origin they fit better with the Fourth Gospel and thus are included in "The Theology of John's Gospel and Letters" in this series.
 
The remaining four letters are disparate enough to require every bit of the present volume to give them a hearing. And a good hearing is what they deserve, for their theological voices have often been neglected because of the dominance of Paul (whose work for centuries was believed to include Hebrews), particularly in Reformation and post-Reformation Protestantism, and the Synoptic Gospels (including the two-part Luke-Acts), and the Johannine writings in the New Testament. We do not for a moment wish to disparage the importance of these other works; yet we must emphasize that the four voices that constitute our present enquiry, while minor in size, were of great importance during the first century (perhaps of more importance than Paul before the fall of Jerusalem and the circulation of Paul's letters), and they must be allowed to balance and nuance the louder voices found in the present configuration of the New Testament.
 

Peter H. Davids - A Theology of James, Peter, and Jude

(Biblical theology of the New Testament; volume 6)
Zondervan, Grand Rapids, Michigan, 2014 - 340 pp.
ISBN 978-0-310-29147-3
 

Peter H. Davids - A Theology of James, Peter, and Jude - Contents

Contents (Detailed)
Series Preface
Author's Preface 
Abbreviations
CHAPTER 1 Introduction: Common Themes and Issues 
CHAPTER 2 James 
CHAPTER 3 First Peter
CHAPTER 4 Second Peter 
CHAPTER 5 Jude
Conclusion
Bibliography 
Scripture Index 
Index of Classical and Jewish Sources 
Subject Index
Author Index
 

Peter H. Davids - A Theology of James, Peter, and Jude - James

2.1 Recent Scholarship
 
For a long period of time James languished in the scholarly world, as witnessed to by the fact that J. P. Mayor and J. H. Ropes were the most-cited commentaries in the English-speaking world up through at least the 1960s. The German-speaking world was hardly better served, for the standard there was the work of Martin Dibelius, which was heavily influenced by form criticism, and even in its later editions did not move on to redaction criticism. For Dibelius James was a collection of New Testament paraenesis, or strung together ethical teachings, that reflect a common theological background but do not present a unified argument. While there were commentaries published between these early twentieth-century works and the late twentieth century, none were major works. James was too dominated by Luther's apparent rejection of the letter to be of theological interest.
This started to change with the work of Sophie Laws in English and Franz Mussner in German. Both took more of a theological interest in James, as in Mussner's case the series title (Herders theologischer Kommentar ... ) implied. It helped, perhaps, that both the commentators lived in the world of redaction criticism that expected ancient literature, whatever sources they used, to come up with something of a unified theology. It was in this context that this author's own early writing on James was published, work that explicitly viewed James as a theological document. It was also at this time chat Jack T. Sanders used James as an independent theological-ethical voice to relacivize the voice of Paul.
 
One does not need to agree with Sanders to appreciate the fact that James was finally being viewed as a theologically significant work in its own right rather than substandard Paul.
Since roughly 1990 there have been a plethora of serious studies and commentaries on James, which together give James a much clearer voice than it has had in decades, perhaps centuries (at least in the Western Protestant world). First, there have been a series of biographical studies on James son of Joseph, the man-studies that invariably also discuss the letter, whether or not they believe that James actually wrote the letter. Two of these come from a four-year seminar on James and his letter sponsored by Bard College under the direction of Bruce Chilton and Jacob Neusner, namely, "James the just and Christian Origins", and the more popular "The Brother of Jesus". John Painter, a member of that seminar, wrote his own work on James, "Just James". Finally, Patrick J. Hartin, whose doctoral dissertation, "James and the Q Sayings of Jesus", indicated some of the direction in which his later work would go, has written "James of ]erusalem".
 

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