A project of the Bible in Its Traditions Research Program AISBL
Directed by the École Biblique et Archéologique in Jerusalem
To support us, click here
12 Transitional Verse The relationship of verse 12 to other passages in James is debated. It seems to be a transitional verse, linking the earlier discussion on external trials (Jas 1:2–4)—and more loosely, his discussion of single-minded prayer and the piety of the poor—with the clarification that internal trials (temptations) are not from God (Jas 1:13–15).
12b having been tested Result of testing See Vocabulary 1:3.
12b that the Lord promised Imagery of the Promise James clearly sees a functional equivalence between receiving "the crown of life" and inheriting the "kingdom." The man who perseveres through trials, moreover, is equivalent to "the poor of the world." This latter connection supports the identification of the "humble brother" (Jas 1:9) with the one who endures trials (Jas 1:2–4). James' thought is echoed further (Literary Devices Jas2:5c).
12 Blessed Macarism The saying is a beatitude (macarism), a device commonly used in both ancient Greco-Roman, Hebrew, and early Christian literature. Beatitudes are used frequently in Psalms (e.g., Ps 1:1), and are found frequently in the tradition of Jesus' sayings: the Sermon on the Mount (Mt 5:3–12) and Sermon on the Plain (Lk 6:20–23), and 13 times in the →Ev. Thom..
If this verse is considered as a conclusion to the discussion of testing in Jas 1:2–4 (sections Jas 1:5–8 and Jas 1:9–11 taken as more loosely related material), this would fall in with James' technique of finishing a discussion with a general maxim; cf. Jas 2:13; 3:18; 4:17.
12–18 Use in Lectionary →RML : Tuesday, Week 6, Year 2
12c the Lord Specifying the Subject of “Promised” The original text (witnessed in the most important Greek MSS), likely did not specify the subject of the verb "promised. " To make the subject explicit, C and P (followed by Byz and TR) read "the Lord;" a few Greek miniscules (followed by V and S) read "God."
12b crown Symbolism of the Crown In Greco-Roman culture, the crown (stephanos) was commonly a wreath fashioned from twigs, grass, leaves, or flowers, and thus a sign of life and fertility. Crowning could have religious connotations: priests wore crowns while offering sacrifices (→ 7.1.40) and participants in religious processions wore crowns ( Anab.→ 27.37.13). Political leaders also wore crowns ( Ab Urb. Cond.→ 19) as a sign of their authority, and could be associated with royalty (although the royal crown was more commonly called a "diadem" [ Tim.diadêma]). At the Olympic games, victors were crowned with olive wreaths ( → 5.15.3). The wearing of a crown also connoted a general sense of joy and celebration: brides wore crowns, as did participants in banquets ( Descr.→ 212e). See also Symp.Biblical Intertextuality 1:12b and Peritestamental Literature 1:12b.
12b crown Crown as Eschatological Reward for Endurance
12b crown Crown as a Symbol for Eternal Reward The NT regularly uses the crown or wreath (stephanos; Ancient Cultures 1:12b) to symbolize eternal life as a reward for a life well and faithfully lived. Paul (1Cor 9:24–25) compares the perishable crown for which athletes in a race strive with the imperishabe crown for which believers strive; cf. 2Tm 4:8: "the crown of uprightness which the Lord, the upright judge, will give to me on that Day"; Rv 2:10: "the crown of life"; 1Pt 5:4: "the crown of glory." The image appears already in Ws 5:15–16; cf. G-Zec 6:14.
1–12 Use in Lectionaries — Calendar The beginning of the letter of James is often read on the feast day of James, brother of the Lord:
1–12 Divisio Textus
See also →James: Medieval Divisio Textus.
1:1–5:20 James Depictions of the Author Depictions of James, the author of the epistle, in paintings, statues, manuscript illustrations, engravings, woodcuts, and embroidery on liturgical vestments are particularly prominent in the Middle Ages. A common consensus of the artists is that the author of the epistle is James the Just, leader of the Jerusalem church; he is typically further identified with James, son of Alphaeus, one of Jesus' Twelve (Mk 3:18), and "James the Less" (Mk 15:40). The iconography of James draws particularly on accounts of James recorded in → 23 and Hist. eccl.→ 2, who in turn draw on accounts from Clement of Alexandria and Hegesipus. See also Vir. ill.→James: Introduction.
Several prominent features of these portrayals may be noted:
The following images are noteworthy:
James holds a club.
James, who resembles his brother Jesus, is second from his left. This full-scale copy was the main source for the— unfortunate—twenty-year restoration of the original (1978–1998). It includes several lost details such as Christ's feet, the transparent glass decanters on the table, and the floral motifs of the tapestries that decorate the room's interior. It was first mentioned in 1626 by the author Bartolomeo Sanese as hanging in the Certosa di Pavia, a monastery near Pavia, Italy, but it is unlikely that it was intended for this location. At some point, the upper third of the picture was cut off, and the width was reduced. Giampietrino is thought to have worked closely with Leonardo when he was in Milan. A very fine, full-size copy of this painting, before it was cut down, is installed at Tongerlo Abbey in Westerlo, near Antwerp, Belgium.
The side and central panels describe a a great hall with blue grey walls and three-colored tiles. In the side panels are depicted the half sisters of Virgin Mary, called after their fathers Mary Cleophas (left) and Mary Salome (right) together with their husbands.
Left panel: St. Mary Cleophas and Alphaeus (with the features of Friedrich the Wise with their two sons, the Apostles St. James the Less (at her breast) and Joseph Justus, called St. Barnabas, as annunciator of the Gospel of Matthew depicted with a book.
Central panel: Joseph, who seems to seems to sleep, the Virgin, dressed in blue with yellow lining, Anna and the Christ Child on her knee, who is stretching out his hand towards an apple given to him by Virgin Mary. Anna's three husbands following → are shown in the background in the matroneum: on the left Joachim, who is attracted by the holy women in front of him and whose relation is also shown by the corresponding blue and yellow color of his dress, Cleophas (with the physiognomy and chain of Emperor Maximilian I and Salomas, with the physiognomy of Sixtus Oelhafen von Schöllenbach, secretary of Friedrich III, Maximilian I and Karl V), who are talking to each other. There is an architectural structure by a great stone bench in the foreground of the central panel with two marble columns on the sides, over which is strectched a cloth of gold. On the right column is a tablet with date and signature: [LVCAS CHRONVS FACIEBAT ANNO 1509. The parapet of the matroneum is decorated by a sculptured frieze with dancing putti holding six escutcheons with the six fields of Electorate of Saxony. In the hall are shown the 17 members of the Holy Kinship. In the central panel are shown two more children of Mary Cleophas and Alpheus, the Apostles Simon, patron saint of weavers, dyers, tanners and saddlers and Jude, who went on mission and suffered their martyrdom together and therefore are regularly depicted together. Leg. aur.
Right panel: St. Mary Salome and Zebedee (with the features of Frederick III, Elector of Saxony, and his brother Herzog Johann der Beständige). St. Mary Salome, dressed in gold with dark red lining, is combing her son Saint James the Greater and while Saint John the Evangelist is hiding in her dress.
James is shown holding a Bible, symbolizing his status as a scriptural writer, in one hand. James is depicted in the Mannerist style with elongated form and without any of the traditional iconographic symbols
The risen Jesus appears to James and breaks bread with him (based on an account recorded in → 2, said to be drawn from the Gospel according to the Hebrews). Vir. ill.
James holds a book and club.
James, resembling Jesus, prayers on his knees with outstretched arms. It perhaps reflects Hegesippus' statement that James spent so much time in prayer that his knees were as hard as a camel's.
The inscription bearing the name of the saint has disappeared, but the iconography—facial features and beard shape —suggest that the icon is of James. Byzantine art places him among the founding fathers of the Church. As the creator of the first liturgy containing memorial services and the author of the message, which speaks of the healing power of prayer (Jas 5:14-16), he was also worshipped in ancient times as a healer. In Novgorod, James is prayed for the end of the epidemics. In sacred iconography, the representations of James of Jerusalem alone are very rare. We know the icons of Novgorod in which he is represented with other saints: Nicholas the Thaumaturgist, James the brother of God, Ignatius the bearer of God, end of the 15th c.; James the brother of God, Cosmas and Damian, 2nd quarter of the 16th c. The icon comes from the best workshops in Moscow or Novgorod.
12 Blessed is the man... Current Suffering and Future Glory The structure of James' macarism is similar to macarisms of Jesus: one who currently suffers trials will receive a heavenly reward:
Mt 5:11–12a: "Blessed are you when they insult you and persecute you and utter every kind of evil against you [falsely] because of me. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward will be great in heaven" (=Lk 6:22–23); cf. Mt 10:22: "You will be hated by all because of my name, but whoever endures (hupomenô) to the end will be saved."
The NT often compares present suffering with future glory:
On may also find Old Testament parallels where those suffering are admonished to endure in light of an eschatological reward:
12a perseveres through trials Various Interpretations
The tradition often uses Jas 1:12 and Jas 1:2 to contrast James' positive view of "tempation" or "trial" (peirasmos) with negative view of temptation implied in the petition in the Lord's Prayer, "lead us not into temption" (Christian Tradition 1:2)
→ 2.3 takes this verse as a proof (against the position of his opponant Jovianus) that the baptized can be tempted "and fall of their own free choice" ( Adv. Jov.propria corruere voluntate; NPNF2 6:389; PL 23:299). Jerome also mentions Jas 1:22–24 and Jas 2:10 as further proofs of the possiblity of sin after baptism.