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23 Because if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, this [one] is like a man observing his natural face in a mirror;
23 For if anyone is a listener of the Word, but not also a doer, he is comparable to a man gazing into a mirror upon the face that he was born with;
23 For if any be a hearer of the word, and not a doer, he is like a man who sees his face in a mirror;
22–25 doers of the word Semiticism The phrase "doers of the word" (poiêtai logou) most likely has a Semitic background. The most obvious referent of this phrase in Greek would be to poets: "makers of words" (e.g., 1.11.2: poiêtai logou). It is thus most likely influenced by the corresponding Hebrew "to do the word" ( ‘śh dbr), which often has the sense of performing words such as commandments (e.g., Ps 148:8: "Lightning and hail, snow and thick clouds…that fulfills his command").
Since for James "word" is equivalent with law (cf. the parallel in Jas 4:11: poiêtês nomou), James is here likely imitating the Scripture passages that refer to the "doing of the law (Torah)" (Jewish Tradition 1:22).
22–25 be doers of the word Theme of Living out Faith in Works This passage introduces James' characteristic focus on action and living out one's faith:
22–25 doers of the word Rhetorical Jewel
James gives literary coherence to this section with the repetition of the key nouns akroatês ("hearer") and poiêtês ("doer"):
v 25c: Conclusion: the doer of works is blessed.
Cf. → 322.
23ff mirror Interpretations of the Mirror
As James moves from gazing into a mirror to speaking of looking into" the perfect law of liberty (Jas 1:25), the tradition naturally associates the mirror with the law and thus with Scripture (both Old and New Testaments).
23 mirror Mirror as a Metaphor for Self-Reflection In Greco-Roman cultures, looking into a mirror was often understood as a metaphor for self-reflection. Although physical mirrors can lead to a vain obsession with one's beauty and appearance, gazing upon onself can also inspire self-awareness and virtuous action.
18–27 Exhortation to Doing the Word
23a hearer of the word Identity of Word and Law The second corrector of C, several minuscules, and lectionaries read "of the law" (nomou) instead of "of the word" (logou). The scribes correctly assume that James identifies the two terms (Jas 1:23–25: looking into the mirror of the word || looking into the perfect law of freedom).
22–25 that one will be blessed in his doing Rhetorical Elaboration of Jesus' Beatitude with an Example Jas 1:22–25 can be understood as a rhetorical elaboration of Jesus' saying, "Blessed are those who hear the word of God and observe (phulassô) it" (Lk 11:28; cf. Lk 8:21) or the version in Mt 7:24 (cf. Lk 6:47), "Everyone who listens to these words of mine and acts (poieiô) on them…" Just as Matthew and Luke elaborate the saying with the parable of a house built on rock or sand (Mt 7:24–27; Lk 6:47–49) so too James elaborates the saying with his example (Greek: parabolê; Latin: similitudo) of the forgetful person who looks into a mirror. → ad 7:26 notes the similarity between James and Jesus' teaching ( Sup. Matt. 1987, 271).
23f mirror Philo on the Image of a Mirror Philo uses the image of a mirror to signify contemplation, either of scripture or of one's own self.
Philo compares the process of rationally (logikê psychê) discerning the inner, allegorical sense of Scripture with gazing into a mirror:
→ 96–98 and Migr.→ 2.136–39 refers to the tradition that women gave their mirrors to make the bronze basin in which the priests purified themselves. While purifying themselves, the priests should reflect, as in a mirror, on any sins they may have so they might be purified. Philo also parallels James' reference to remembering: the priest should remember that the basin is made from mirrors. Mos.
23b the appearance of his birth : S his own face S lacks "of his origin."
23f the appearance of his birth What Is Reflected in the Mirror and then Forgotten? The tradition offers various suggestions as to what is reflected in the mirror, and then forgotten:
→specifies some of the lessons the Christian has forgotten ( Iac. Par. 1993, 145; 1997, 131).
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.
23b the appearance of his birth Contextual Meaning of the Expression The word genesis, "birth," in the expression to prosôpon tês geneseôs autou can refer to a remote origin (cf. the name of the first book of the Bible), or to one's own birth (e.g., Mt 1:18: the birth, genesis, of Jesus Christ). See also Christian Tradition 1:23-24. Here the phrase here may refer to:
22–25 be doers of the word and not only hearers Echo in the Liturgy of St. James A priestly prayer in the Liturgy of St. James reflects this passage: