The Bible in Its Traditions

James 1:26

Byz Nes TR
V
S

26  If anyone among you thinks he is religious, and does not bridle his tongue but deceiving his heart, the religion of this [man ]is useless.

26  But if anyone considers himself to be religious, but he does not restrain his tongue, but instead seduces his own heart: such a one’s religion is vanity.

26  If any man thinks that he ministers to God, and does not control his tongue, he deceives his own heart, and this manÆs ministry is in vain.

26 controlling one’s speech Jas 1:19; 3:1-12

Reception

Liturgies

17–27 Use in Lectionary RCL : Proper 17, Year B

19–27 Use in Lectionary

22–27 Use in Lectionary RML (1570) : 5th Sunday after Easter

Context

Biblical Intertextuality

26,3:14 heart Anthroplogy In biblical anthropology, the heart (kardia) is the source of a person's inner life: his thinking, feeling, and will (cf. Gen 6:5; Ex 4:21; Mt 6:21; Jas 3:14; 4:8; 5:5; 5:8).

Text

Literary Devices

26b bridling the tongue Topos: Passion as a Horse The Greek chalinagôgeô refers literally to bridling and thus controlling a horse. The image of the charioteer who can control strong horses is widespread in Hellenistic literature and philosophy (Ancient Texts 1:26b).

Reception

Comparison of Versions

26f Clarifying the Relationship between Jas 1:22–25 and 1:26–27

  • V adds "however"  (autem) following textual variants that add de.

Context

Biblical Intertextuality

26b bridling his tongue Guarding One's Speech

Exhortations to Control Speech

One finds exhortations to guard the tongue often in the biblical wisdom tradition:

  • Prv 13:3: "Those who guard their mouths preserve themselves; those who open wide their lips bring ruin";
  • Prv 21:23: "Those who guard mouth and tongue guard themselves from trouble."

Jesus' Teaching on Guarding One's Speech

  • Mt 12:36–37: "I tell you, on the day of judgment people will render an account for every careless word (rhêma agron) they speak. By your words you will be  acquitted, and by your words you will be condemned." See also Biblical Intertextuality 1:19bc.

Reception

Christian Tradition

26 thinks he is religious while not bridling his tongue Words Must Be Consistent with Actions

  • Gloss. Ord. ad loc. the interlinear gloss to "religious" reads: "Not only should you be doers of the word, but also bridle the tongue"; the interlinear gloss to "bridling" reads, "through faith which one has through works of faith" (per fidem quam habet per opera fidei; cols. 1273–74).

Context

Ancient Texts

26b bridling his tongue Classical Image of Bridling the Passions

Reason Bridling the Passions in the Soul

  • Plato Phaedr. 246AB applies this image to his tripartite division of the soul (see Plato Resp. 4 [439d–441c] for the three divisions). The charioteer, representing the reasoning faculty (to logistikon) of the soul, must control his two horses, who represent the part dominated by desire and other passions (to epithumêtikon) and the "spirited" part (to thumoeides) of the soul. See also Ancient Texts 4:1.

The Bridling Image Applied to Controlling One's Speech

  • Plato Leg. 701C "I must, every time, rein in my discourse (logos), like a horse, and not let it run away with me as though it had no bridle" (achalinon; Bury 1926, 1:249).
  •  Plutarch Adol. poet. Aud. 12 [Mor. 33f] "just as a horseman uses a bridle, or a helmsman uses a rudder, since virtue has no instrument so humane or so akin to itself as speech" (Babbit 1927, 1:177).
  • Philostratus Vit. Apoll. 4.26.1 "an unbridled tongue" (chalinos ouk ên epi têᵢ glôttêᵢ; Jones 2005, 1:376–77).
  • Euripides Bacch. 386 "tongues that know no bridle" (achalinos; Kovacs 2003, 44); cf. Plutarch Garr. 3.

See further Ancient Texts 3:2bLiterary Devices 3:2-3.

Suggestions for Reading

18–27 Exhortation to Doing the Word

Thematic Structure 

Although some interpreters see Jas 1:19 as a thematic statement developed in Jas 1:20–27, the following thematic flow of thought is evident:

  • Vv. 18–21: An example of God's good gift: "the word of truth." God implants (Jas 1:21)  a "word of truth" (Jas 1:18), the natural law of right and wrong, within each person. This law exhorts one to bridle his speech and his passions (such as anger). 
  • Vv. 22–27: One must not only hear this law, but act on it. Bridling one's tongue (Jas 1:19; 26) and caring for widows and orphans (Jas 1:27) are two specific ways of living out this law.

Interpretive Issues

  • Jas 1:18–21: One interpretive crux is clarifying the identity of the "word of truth" and the "first-fruits of his creatures" (Jas 1:18) together with the "implanted word" (Jas 1:21). One strand takes the "first fruits" as Christians, and thus the "the word of truth" and the "implanted word" as the gospel message of salvation through Jesus. Another strand, in contrast, takes the "word" to be God's word at creation, and thus the "first-fruits" to be humanity in its pre-eminence over the rest of creation (Christian Tradition 1:18b; Christian Tradition 1:21a).
  • Jas 1:19: James' advice on controlling anger renewed a classical ethical debate on whether anger should be rooted out as a wholly negative vice, or whether controlled anger has a place in the struggle to attain justice and the good (Ancient Texts 1:19c ; Christian Tradition 1:19–20). 
  • Jas 1:23–25: The word of truth is identified with the Torah. Comparing the "word of truth" to a mirror in which a human can see a reflection of his original, God-given nature (Jas 1:23–24, James then identifies the mirror with the "perfect law of freedom," the Torah as interpreted by Jesus (Jas 1:25). 
  • Jas 1:26: James' advice to bridle the tongue is situated within a rich Greco-Roman ethical tradition that valued brevity of speech and self-control; many biblical parallels are also apparent (Ancient Texts 1:26bLiterary Devices 1:26b; Biblical Intertextuality 1:26b).
  • Jas 1:27:  James' admonition to care for orphans and widows develops a common scriptural topos (Biblical Intertextuality 1:27). The tradition understood James' admonition both literally and as referring to the care of the poor and vulnerable in general (Christian Tradition 1:27; Christian Tradition 1:27b).

Text

Textual Criticism

26a If anyone Pluses The precise relationship between James's well-structured admonition to "do the word" in Jas 1:22–25, and the teaching on "true religion" in Jas 1:26–27 is unclear. Textual variants attempt to make the transition clearer:

  • C P and some minuscules add the adversative de to "If anyone": "but if anyone" (de is not a strong adversative, however, and is often left untranslated); cf. also V.
  • Manuscripts of Byz add "among you" (en humin) to qualify "anyone," thus clarifying that James's teaching applies directly to the church community (Comparison of Versions 1:26-27).

Vocabulary

26f religious Semantics of "religion" The adjective thrêskos ("religious") is found only here in the whole NT; the adjective is not found in G. The cognate noun form used later in the verse, thrêskeia, is well attested.

Thrêskeia emphasizes the public cultus (see its use in Col 2:18 for the worship of angels; Ws 14:27: the worship of idols). It is often paired with eusebeia ("piety").  Eusebeia (adjective: eusebês) is generally understood as the state of being pious (corresponding to Latin pietas), while thrêskeia concerns outward acts of piety (corresponding to Latin religio):

  • Josephus A.J. 6.90: "grant thrêskeia and eusebeia";
  • Josephus A.J. 13.244: Antiochus, "because of his exaggerated devotion (thrêskeia) was by all men called Eusebes."

The word can thus be used for religion as a whole as in Acts 26:5 and 4 Macc. 5:7 for the Jewish religion (cf. V's translation: religiosus = thrêskos; religio = thrêskeia).  

26c worthless Religious Connotations

Generic

The adjective mataios elsewhere in the NT characterizes activities as useless or unprofitable. For example, see  Tt 3:9: "avoid foolish speculations, and those genealogies, and the quibbles and disputes about the Law—they are useless and futile (mataios)." 

Cultic

  • G-Is 29:13 uses the cognate adverb matên to refer to an outward worship of God that is merely verbal: "they honor me with their lips, while their heart is far from me, and in vain (matên) do they worship me, teaching human precepts and teachings";  Mk 7:6–7 / Mt 15:8–9 reports that Jesus quoted this passage against Pharisees and scribes.
  • Mataios and its cognates are regularly used to describe the "vain" worship of pagan gods:  G-Lv 17:7; Jer 2:5; 8:19; Ez 8:10; Am 2:4; Ep. Arist. 134; Sib. Or. 3.547; 5.85. With its widespread application to worship of idols, James may well imply that the religious observance of a person who commits sins of speech is no better than idol worship.

Grammar

26a thinks that he is religious What is the Subject? The 3rd person sing. verb dokei ("to seem") can be understood as either having a subject or being impersonal. So here there are two possibilities.

  • It is interpreted as having a subject, tis: "someone thinks that he is religious"; cf. Lk 8:18.
  • Or it is understood impersonally, "it appears that someone is religious" (cf.  Calvin Comm. Iac.).

The first possibility is more likely, given James' focus on correct understanding (cf. Jas 1:26c: "deceives his heart"; →James: Emphasis on Correct Knowledge in James ).

Context

Peritestamental Literature

26b bridling his tongue The Image of Bridling One's Speech Philo often applies the image of a bridle to controlling one's tongue (Ancient Texts 1:26b).

  • Philo Det. 44: Those proficient in rhetoric but not in wisdom often have an unbridled tongue (achalina glôtta) (Colson 1929, 2:230–31).
  • Philo Det. 174: achalinos glôtta (Colson 1929, 2:316–17).
  • Philo Somn. 2.132: unbridled mouths (achalina stomata; Colson 1934, 5:500–501).
  • Philo Somn. 2.165: among some, wine causes an unbridled tongue (achalinôtos glôtta; Colson 1934, 5:516–17).
  • Philo Abr. 29: the unbridled mouth (achalinon stoma) perpetually speaks when silence is due (Colson 1935, 6:18–19).
  • Philo Mos. 2.198: unbridled mouth (achalinon stoma; Colson 1935, 6:546–47).
  • Philo Legat. 163: the Alexandrians have unbridled mouths (achalinon stoma; Colson 1962, 10:163–64).

The image can also be used in a positive sense for unrestrained praise:

  • Philo Her. 110: an unbridled mouth (achalinon stoma) used in a positive sense for praising God (Colson 1932, 4:336–37).
  • Philo Ios. 246: unbridled mouths (achalina stomata; Colson 1935, 6:258–59).

As is apparent from the following passage, the image of bridling the tongue draws on the more general image of the rational powers reining in the passions.

  • Philo Sacr. 49: Rule over oneself is greater than the rule over others: "the strength to rule (ischusai), as a king in a city or country, over the body and the senses and the belly, and the pleasures (hêdonai) whose seat is below the belly, and the other passions (pathê) and the tongue and in general all our compound being.…For like the charioteer (hêniochos) he must sometimes give the rein to his team; sometimes pull them in and draw them back, when they rush too wildly in unreined career towards the world of external things (Colson 1929, 2:130–31; Ancient Texts 1:26b).
  • Philo Spec. 1.79: a person must use a bridle (chalinos) on his passions, or disaster will result. In this context, Philo explicitly quotes  Stoic definitions of the passions (Colson 1937, 7:56–57; Peritestamental Literature 3:3–4).

Reception

Comparison of Versions

26f religious ...religion: Religion as Serving God S translates the adjective thrêskos (Vocabulary 1:26-27) with the Pa‘el participle of the verb šmš, literally meaning "to serve." S uses this same verb at the following places:

  • Lk 22:27: "For who is greater: the one seated at table or the one who serves?"
  • 1Pt 4:11: " whoever serves, let it be with the strength that God supplies" (both verses translate the Greek diakoneô).

S uses the same root šmš for the noun at the end of the verse: "the service (tšmšth) of that person is worthless."

Christian Tradition

26b bridling his tongue James Refers Especially to Hypocrites The commentary tradition often attempts to specify what type of speech James means to control; identifying especially the hypocritical speech of one who appears to be religious outwardly, but uses his tongue for evil purposes.

Call to Refrain from Dishonest and Foolish Speech

  • Bede Ep. cath. ad loc. "even if someone appears to carry out in actions the commandments of God which he has learned, if he has not also bridled his tongue from slanders (detractionibus), lies (mendaciis), blasphemies, foolish conversations (stultiloquiis), even from the very act of speaking too much (multiloquium), and from the other things in which he is accustomed to sin, in vain does he boast of the righteousness of his works, as Paul, showing his approval of the thought of a pagan poet, says, 'Evil conversations corrupt good morals'" (1Cor 15:33; Hurst 1983, 192; Hurst 1985, 20–21).

Call to Refrain from Hypocrisy 

  • Calvin Comm. Iac. "'If anyone,' he says, 'seems to be religious,' that is, who has a show of sanctity (speciem habet sanctimoniae), but in the meantime flatters himself by speaking evil of others, it is hence evident that he does not truly serve God" (hinc convincitur non vere Deum colere; Owen 1849, 299; Reuss and Erichson 1896, 396).

Connection with Jesus' Teaching

Many commentators connect James' admonition with Jesus' teaching in Mt 12:36–37:

Application to Monks

Caesarius of Arles alludes to this passage in an admonition to monks to avoid murmuring and disobedience to their superiors:

  • Caesarius of Arles Serm. 233.7 "If we do not bridle (non refrenamus) our tongue, our religion is not true but false (non est vera sed falsa; Mueller 1973, 3:198; Morin 1953, 2:931).

Text

Literary Devices

26f to look after orphans and widows in their affliction A Central Theme: Concern for the Poor In his definition of "religion," James returns to a central theme of his letter: concern for the poor and vulnerable of society:

  • Jas 1:9: the humble person (closely associated with the poor) is actually exalted;
  • Jas 1:27: true religion is caring for widows and orphans;
  • Jas 2:2–7: christians should not show favoritism to the rich and dishonor the poor in their communities;
  • Jas 2:15–16: true faith is expressed in meeting the needs of those who are poorly dressed and lack daily food;
  • Jas 5:4: the just wages of harvesters have been withheld (→James: Rich and Poor).

26 thinks that he is religious while not bridling his tongue but rather deceiving his heart Emphasis on Correct Knowledge As is typical, James criticizes incorrect knowledge: here an incorrect, self-deceptive understanding of religion; cf. James's criticism of those who deceive themselves (Jas 1:22; →James: Emphasis on Correct Knowledge in James).

Context

Ancient Texts

26b bridling his tongue Greco-Roman Tradition on Brevity of Speech

Brevity in Speech Associated with Wisdom and the Philosophical Life

  • Plutarch Garr. 1 [Mor. 502b]: logos is the remedy (pharmakon) for talkativeness (adoleschia).
  • Diogenes Laërtius Vit. Phil. 1.35 quotes Thales: "Many words do not declare an understanding heart / Seek one sole wisdom / Choose one sole good / For you will check the tongue of chatterers prating without end" (Hicks 1925, 1:36–37).
  • Diogenes Laërtius Vit. Phil. 1.69–70, cites Chilon, who was a man of few words (brachulogos): "Control the tongue (glôttês kratein), especially at a banquet";  "Let not your tongue outrun your thought" (tên glôttan mê protrechein tou nou; Hicks 1925, 1:70–71).
  • Diogenes Laërtius Vit. Phil. 9.7 commends Heraclitus is for his brevity (brachutês).

Brevity in Speech and Strength of Character

Brevity in speech is associated with strength of character; talkativeness with weakness and lack of self-control.

  • Demetrius Eloc. 7: Short clauses have "a greater force and vehemence when a lot of meaning is packed into a few words. So it is because of this forcefulness (deinotêtos) that the Spartans are brief in speech (brachulogoi)…Old men too speak at length, because they are weak" (dia tên astheneian; Innes and Roberts 1995, 348–49).
  • Plutarch Garr. 17 [Mor. 510e–511a] notes that short and pithy speeches are more admired than long, uncontrolled discourses, giving the speech of the Spartans as an example.

The Literary Tradition of Collecting Brief Wise Sayings

The Greek literary tradition was fond of collecting brief sayings or anecdotes to express the wisdom of various sages. The literary forms included (see, e.g., Hermogenes Progym. 3–4):

  • the maxim (gnômê): a saying, often unattributed;
  • the chreia: an attributed saying, often accompanied by a contextual action (Kennedy 2003, 76–78; Rabe 1913, 6–11);
  • the aphorism (aphorismos): a more general term for a brief saying, usually attributed to an individual.

Divine Wisdom and Brevity of Speech

Even the oracles of the gods were characterized by brevity of speech. This was especially true of the famed oracle of Pythian Apollo at Delphi:

See also Literary Devices 1:26b; Ancient Texts 1:19c; Literary Devices 3:2–3; →James: Speech in James.

Reception

Visual Arts

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 Eusebius of Cesarea Hist. eccl. 23 and Jerome Vir. ill. 2, who in turn draw on accounts from Clement of Alexandria and Hegesipus. See also →James: Introduction

Several prominent features of these portrayals may be noted:

  • Following the tradition that he was the first bishop of Jerusalem, James is often portrayed anachronistically in bishop's vestments.
  • James is often portrayed holding a fuller's club, alluding to the tradition that James was beaten to death with a such a club. Variations show him holding different types of clubs. Another related tradition shows James holding a bow such as one used by hat-makers of the Middle Ages.
  • James bears a striking physical resemblance to his brother Jesus.
  • One artistic tradition, based on accounts found in the preface to the Gloss. Ord. and de Voragine Leg. aur., portrays the infant James as part of a large extended family. According to this legend, St. Anne, mother of the Virgin Mary, had three children named Mary with three different husbands. James and his brothers Joses (Joseph), Simon, and Jude (cf. Mk 6:3) are the sons of Mary (daughter of Anne and Cleophas; cf. Jn 19:25) and Alphaeus (cf. Mk 3:18). James and his brothers are thus cousins of Jesus (son of Mary, daughter of Anne and Joachim) and of St. John the Evangelist and James the Greater (sons of Mary, daughter of Anne and Salomas).

The following images are noteworthy:

  • A painting of James in the Armenian Sts. James Cathedral, Jerusalem: James is dressed in episcopal robes, wears a miter and holds a crozier (Gowler 2014, 54).
  • Blessed James Apostle. In the Stav. Bib. (1093-97) illuminations of the apostle James are at the introduction to the Catholic epistles (f. 197 r→) and at the beginning of his epistle (f. 197 v→.). The apostle stands, holding a book.
  • Apostle James the Less, statue, south portal of Chartres Cathedral, early 13th century.

Anonymous, James Among Other Apostles (sculpture on limestone, early 13th c.),  South Portal, Chartres Cathedral, France

© D.R. Photo Mary Ann Sullivan→ 

James holds a club.

  • Leonardo da Vinci (1495-98), The Last Supper, Santa Maria delle Grazie, Milan. 

Giampietrino (1495–1549), The Last Supper (oil on canvas, ca. 1520, after Leonardo da Vinci [1452–1519], The Last Supper [1495-1498]),  298 cm x 770 cm

Royal Academy of Arts, London, exhib. Magdalen College, Oxford

Public Domain © Wikicommons→ 

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. 

  • Lucas Cranach the Elder (1509), Infant Saint James among his relations, a triptych in the Stadelsches Kunstinstitut, Frankfurt, Germany. The infant Jesus, his mother Mary, and Mary's mother St. Anne are portrayed in the center. To the right is St. Anne's other daughter Mary, her husband Zebedee, and sons John the Evangelist and James the Greater. To the left is another of St. Anne's daughters named Mary with her husband Alphaeus; their children James, Joses (Joseph), Simon, and Jude are in the left and center panels.

Lucas Cranach the Elder (1472–1553), The Holy Kinship, (mixed media on lime, Wittenberg, 1509), Altarpiece, central panel: 100.4 × 121.1 cm; wings: 40 × 120 cm

Städel Museum — 1398, Frankfurt am Main

Public Domain © Wikicommons→

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 de Voragine Leg. aur. 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.

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.

  • Paolo Veronese (Caliari) James as Bishop (1500s). Burghley House Collection, Lincolnshire, UK. The Bridgeman Art Library. James with crozier and miter, holding a book.

Paolo Veronese Cagliari (1528-1888), Saint James, (oil on canvas, ca. 1578), 200 X 85 cm, One of the volets of the organ of the church of San Jacopo, Murano, Venice — the other is a portrait of St. Augustine.

Burghley House Collection, Lincolnshire, UK, © A Graduate of Pomona→

  • Saint James the Less, painting by El Greco (c. 1612), Museo del Greco, Toledo, Spain. 

Not Found

Not Found

Not Found

Not Found

Not Found

Not Found

Not Found

Not Found

El Greco (Domenikos Theotokópoulos) 1541-1614, The Apostle James the Greater, (Oil on canvas, 1610-1614), 100 cm X 80 cm

 Museo de El Greco→ (Toledo, Spain), © Wikicommons, 

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

Not Found

Not Found

Not Found

Not Found

Not Found

Not Found

Not Found

Not Found

Nicolò Bambini (1651-1736), San Giacomo Minore (Oil on canvas, 1722-1723), Communion of St James (Series of the Twelve Apostles), Presbytery: right wall, center, Saint Stae,Venezia, © Chorus Venezia→ 

The risen Jesus appears to James and breaks bread with him (based on an account recorded in Jerome Vir. ill. 2, said to be drawn from the Gospel according to the Hebrews).

Not Found

Not Found

Not Found

Not Found

Not Found

Not Found

Not Found

Not Found

Angelo de' Rossi (1671 – 1715), Jacobus Minor (Sculpture on marble, 1710-1711), Gli Apostoli, (h: 424 cm), Nef, San Giovanni in Laterano, Roma, © Wikicommons

James holds a book and club.

Not Found

Not Found

Not Found

Not Found

Not Found

Not Found

Not Found

Not Found

James Tissot (French, 1836-1902), James the Lesser, (Opaque watercolor over graphite on gray wove paper, 1886-1894), 30.6 x 23.5 cm, Brooklyn Museum, 00.159.237, © Brooklyn Museum photograph, 2008

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.

Eastern Orthodox traditions

  • James the Just, Russian icon, 16th century. Novgorod. James is depicted in episcopal robes and holds a book.

Anonymous, James the Just, (pigments on wood, mid. 16th c.), icon, Novgorod or Moskow, Novgorod

Public Domain © Wikicommons→,

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.

  • Martyrdom of James the Just. Illustration from the Menologion of Basil II. (PG 117:6-612). Late 10th, early 11th c. AD. Vatican Library. Vat.gr. 1613. Image 131.→  

For discussion of visual depictions, see Gowler 2014, 53-62; Bedford 1911.