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5 If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all generously and without reproach, and it shall be given to him.
5 But if any of you lacketh wisdom, let him ask of God, who giveth to all liberally and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.
5 But if anyone among you is in need of wisdom, let him petition God, who gives abundantly to all without reproach, and it shall be given to him.
6 But let him ask in faith, doubting nothing, for he that doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind.
6 But he should ask with faith, doubting nothing. For he who doubts is like a wave on the ocean, which is moved about by the wind and carried away;
7 For let not that man suppose that he shall receive anything from YHWH;
7 then a man should not consider that he would receive anything from the Lord.
7 Thus let not that man expect that he will receive anything of the LORD.
8 he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.
8 a doubleminded man, unstable in all his ways.
8 For a man who is of two minds is inconstant in all his ways.
5a wisdom PNEUMATOLOGY Wisdom as One of the Seven Gifts of the Holy Spirit Many authors refer to wisdom as a gift of the Holy Spirit (e.g., → 2-2.45.1; STChristian Tradition 1:5a). The tradition defines it specifically as one the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit (→CCC 1831; referencing Is 11:1–2). These gifts "complete and perfect the virtues of those who receive them." Cf. the close connection in James between the "complete and whole person, lacking in nothing" (Jas 1:4) and the gift of wisdom (Jas 1:5).
6b rough waters of the sea Parallel in Sirach Sir 33:2 connects the stormy sea with one who lacks wisdom and does not follow the law, "He who hates the law is without wisdom, and is tossed about like a boat in a storm".
5–8 Exhortation to Pray for the Grace of Wisdom
The interpretive tradition developed various aspects of James' teaching, including the relationship of divine wisdom to God's grace, the endurance of trials, and to prayer.
Interpretation of James' teaching on prayer occasioned reflection on the nature of answered and unanswered prayer (Christian Tradition 1:5c).
5c it will be given to him Confidence in Prayer James‘ teaching reflects Jesus teaching on prayer, "Therefore I tell you, all that you ask in prayer, believe that you will receive it and it shall be yours" (Mk 11:24, cf. Mt 7:7; 21:22; Lk 11:9). The believer's confidence is premised on the understanding of God as the one "who gives to all without hesitation" (Jas 1:5b). Cf. Christian Tradition 1:5a; Christian Tradition 1:5b.
6b rough waters of the sea Simile of Instability
3ff produces perseverance. But Let Perseverance: Sorites This is a "chain-argument," composed of a chain of paired terms, in which the second term is used as the first term of the next pair: testing → perseverance (hupomonê); perseverance → being complete and whole. A similar figure (polyptoton) follows further between v. 4 and 5: leipomenoi "lacking" → tis leipetai "anyone lacks."
Compare Rom 5:3–4: affliction→ perseverance (hupomonê); perseverance →proven character (dokimê); proven character→ hope. And see 2Pt 1:5–7: "supplement your faith with virtue, virtue with knowledge, knowledge with self-control, self-control with perseverance (hupomonê); perseverance with devotion, devotion with mutual affection, mutual affection with love." Cf. also →Herm. Vis. 3.8.7. and Biblical Intertextuality 1:3.
5b the God who gives to all without hesitation Characterization of God the Father This passage, together with Jas 1:17, "Every good giving, every perfect gift, is from above, coming down from the Father of lights," reveals James' conception of the Father as a lavish and gracious giver of gifts. Cf. Biblical Intertextuality 1:5a; Christian Tradition 1:5a; Christian Tradition 1:5b.
6a not hesitating : Byz TR Nes | V: not hesitating | S: without being divided
8 double-minded Double-Mindedness Associated with Deception In Psalms, the one who has a "double heart" (lit.: "with a heart and a heart") is one who is deceitful:
In biblical thought, the heart is understood as the seat not only of the emotions, but of the mind and will. This is maintained in the Patristic tradition, especially in the literature concerning the Prayer of the Heart.
8 double-minded Rabbinic Tradition of the Good and Evil Inclination With roots in pre-rabbinic times (Peritestamental Literature 1:8; Biblical Intertextuality 1:8), the rabbinic tradition speaks of an evil inclination (yṣr hrʽ) and a good inclination (yṣr ṭwb) within the human heart (cf., e.g., →m. Ber. 9.5; →Sipre Deut. 32). God created the evil inclination (e.g., →b. Sûk. 52b). Good can come from the evil inclination, as when rivalry with one's neighbor motivates a person to great efforts (→Gen. Rab. 9.7). A person can use the good impulse to fight against the evil impulse, strengthening the good impulse through study of the Torah and prayer (→b. Ber. 5a).
While some interpreters see this yṣr tradition in the background of James' concept of dipsuchos, this is unlikely. James is clear that each person's sinful desire is not from God (Jas 1:14).
5,3:13,15,17 wisdom Ambiguity of “Wisdom”
When James uses the word "wisdom" (sophia) in an unqualified sense (Jas 1:5; 3:13), he understands it as the "wisdom from above" (Jas 3:15a; 3:17a), that is, a good gift from God (cf. Jas 1:17). Cf. Jewish Tradition 1:5a; Christian Tradition 1:5b.
By contrast, Jas 3:15b speaks of a "wisdom" that is earthly, unspiritual, demonic. One may interpret this passage in two ways.
8 double-minded Jamesian Creation? The word dipsuchos, used by James here and in Jas 4:8, is not used elsewhere in the NT and in fact is not attested in Greek literature before James. It may well have been coined by him.
The term and its cognate appear in some writings of the Apostolic Fathers, suggesting that they had access to the text of James:
See also Christian Tradition 1:8.
5a wisdom Aspects of Wisdom in Scripture
The biblical wisdom literature identifies God as the source of all wisdom (Prv 1:7; 2:6; Sir 1:1: "all wisdom comes from the Lord"; Ws 8:21). James shares this view: wisdom comes down from above (Jas 1:17,3:17).
The wisdom literature (Proverbs, Sirach) presents wise sayings as a guide for daily ethical living; see Prv 2:6–9: "For the Lord gives wisdom, from his mouth come knowledge and understanding.…Then you will understand rectitude and justice, honesty, every good path." For James, wisdom is meaningless if it does not result in practical action (Jas 1:22–27; 2:14–26; 3:13). Cf. Jewish Tradition 1:5a.
"Wisdom" can refer to a basic worldview and value system. In 1Cor 1:19–31 and 1Cor 2:5–7,13, Paul contrasts the "wisdom of the world" with "the wisdom of God." Jas 3:13–18 similarly contrasts the wisdom from God with a wisdom that is "worldly, unspiritual, and demonic" (Jas 3:15)
Writings within the wisdom literature refer to God's wisdom as a power that was alongside God before the creation (Prv 8:22–31; Sir 24; Ws 8). Sirach identifies this pre-existent wisdom with the Law of Moses (Sir 24:22). The Gospel of John identifies this wisdom as God's Word who took on flesh in Jesus (Jn 1:1–17).
In his few references to Jesus, James does not identify him as God's eternal Wisdom. Nevertheless, James certainly understood Jesus as the authoritative teacher of the Torah for the messianic age, as well as the eschatological judge. He thus certainly understands Jesus as the spokesman for God's wisdom.
6a ask in faith, not hesitating Faith as the Opposite of a Divided Mind
James reflects Jesus‘ teaching, "Amen, I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, 'Be lifted up and thrown into the sea,' and does not doubt (mê diakrithêᵢ; pass. of diakrinô) in his heart but believes (pisteuô) that which he says will happen, it shall be done for him" (Mk 11:23).
James' contrast of internal dispute or doubt (Vocabulary 1:6a) with single-minded faith also parallels closely the thought of Paul. Referring to Abraham‘s faith, "He did not doubt (ou diekrithê) God's promise in unbelief; rather, he was empowered by faith (pistis)" (Rom 4:20). Discussing conflicts in the Roman church regarding dietary practices, Paul argues, "But whoever has doubts (diakrinomenos) is condemned if he eats, because this is not from faith (pistis); for whatever is not from faith is sin" (Rom 14:23).
8 double-minded “Two Spirits” Anthropology James' thought has connections with the "two spirit" anthropology found in ancient Jewish tradition.
This same "two spirits" tradition is found in the Testaments Twelve of the Patriarchs:
See also →4 Esd. 3:21–26; 4:30–32, esp. 4:30: "for a grain of evil seed (granum seminis mali) was sown in Adam's heart from the beginning" (OTP 1:530–31). The tradition continues in rabbinic literature (Jewish Tradition 1:8).
James certainly has a sense of two inclinations in humans: one's own epithumia entices one towards sin and death (Jas 1:14-15); yet the "implanted word" is still able to save one's soul (Jas 1:21). Yet James explicitly denies that God is in any way responsible for the sinful desire, and so is unlikely to accept the belief that God placed an evil inclination in humans.
5c and it will be given to him Qualifications for Receiving Answers to Prayer The interpretive tradition qualifies this apparently open-ended promise of answered prayer:
→ 2-2.83.15 a. 2 teaches that the merit of prayer is ordered to beatitude, yet at times the object of a petition is not so ordered, and so prayers are not answered. Thomas delineates four conditions necessary for a prayer to be answered: ST
Elsewhere, Aquinas notes that God heeds prayer only if the one praying draws near to him:
5a wisdom Wisdom in Greek Philosophy
Like James, the classical Greek tradition also recognizes that wisdom has a divine source: "God is the sole or chief possessor of this sort of knowledge"(→ 1.2.14 [983a]; cf. Metaph→ 278d, "the epithet 'wise' is too great and befits God alone" ). The Stoics defined wisdom as the "scientific knowledge ( Phaedr.epistêmê) of the divine and the human" ( 1. Pref. 2 in →SVF 2.35; →, 158), a definition influential in the Christian tradition (cf. 1987→ 14.3). Trin.
For → 1.17 [981b] wisdom is the knowledge of the most universal principles, "what is called wisdom is concerned with the primary causes ( Metaph.prôta aitia) and principles (archai)." Aristotle further defines wisdom as the highest form of knowledge:
According to → 23b, Socrates concludes that he is the wisest human because he alone recognizes that he is not wise, "This one of you, O human beings, is wisest, who, like Socrates, recognizes that he is in truth of no account in respect to wisdom" ( Apol. 1914, 87). James too connects divine wisdom with proper human humility: "Who among you is wise and understanding? Let him show his works by a good life in the humility that comes from wisdom" (Jas 3:13).
For → 6.6.3 [1141ab] wisdom is concerned with primary causes and principles, while prudence ( Eth. Nic.phronêsis) is concerned with practical action. Differing from Aristotle, the Stoics understand wisdom as combining theory and practice, as does James, who connects God‘s wisdom closely with developing the courageous perseverance needed to face life‘s trials (Jas 1:2–8).
The Stoics identified the wise (sophos) person (see Jas 3:13) with the perfect (teleios) person. The wise, complete person is sharply distinguished from all other people.
The Stoics thus closely linked wisdom, completeness, reason, and the virtues:
James, too, implicitly links the perfect person (one who excels in the virtues; specifically, perseverance) and the wise person (Jas 1:4–5; Ancient Texts 3:13a). Compare with the biblical perspective below (Biblical Intertextuality 1:5a).
6a ask in faith, not hesitating Reformation Debates on Faith and Efficacy of Sacraments
This passage was central in a Reformation debate on the nature of faith.
Lutheran and Reformed leaders argued that James supported their view that a person must have confident faith in order to receive God's grace and forgiveness of sins. Luther often expressed the general principle.
The Catholic response to this Lutheran and Reformed conception of faith is expressed in its decree on Justification ( →Conc. Trid. Just. 9; →DzH 1533–34). In Catholic theology, justification is primarily an ontological change; hence, from that point of view, the Protestants' notion that one must have epistemological certainty in order to be justified seems to be based on a category mistake, viz. equating subjective experience with essence.
In his commentary on Jas 1:5-8, → insists that James' teaching disproves the "impious dogma" of the Catholics that "we ought to pray doubtingly, and with uncertainty as to our success ( Comm. Iac.dubitanter et incerta successus opinione esse orandum)." He contrasts the Reformed principle "that our prayers are not heard by the Lord, except when we have a confidence that we shall obtain" (nisi quum adest impetrandi fiducia). Calvin admits that a Christian may suffer temptations, and vacillate and tremble due to the weakness of the flesh, "but temptations of this kind are at length to be overcome by faith."
In his commentary on Trent, the Lutheran theologian Martin Chemnitz similarly condemns the Catholic understanding of faith as compatible with doubt. This acceptance and even encouragment of doubt concerning the forgiveness of sin, → I.9.3.2 asserts, is designed to support the Catholic system of encouraging "works" (pilgrimages, indulgences etc.) as necessary for salvation. To support the doctrine that Christians should not be in a state of agonizing doubt, but rather can have sure and firm comfort ( Ex. Conc. Trid.certa et firma consolatio) on which they can rely with sure confidence in remission of their sins (in qua certa fiducia de remissione peccatorum acquiescere possint (9.3.10). → I.9.3.16 cites Ex. Conc. Trid.Jas 1:5–8 as proof that doubt is incompatible with faith. See also → 13.E.3, citing Loc. Theo.Jas 1:6–7 in support of his view that doubt is a sin.
In his commenatry on this passage, → distinguishes between different meanings of "faith," each corrresding to a different form of doubt. See also the Glossa's reading of this passage in which these distinctions are implicit ( Comm.Christian Tradition 1:6a).
→ ad loc. also makes these distinctions in his commentary. The "faith" to which James refers is not confidence Comm. ep. cath.(fiducia) that one's prayer will be answered, but rather James refers to the Christian faith, which Estius defines as faith in the truth and in the divine promise. But the divine promise is conditional: one must ask in a way that is fitting (modo petas sicut opertet). Thus one is uncertain whether one will actually obtain what one asks for. This is thus not the "special faith" as defined by the Protestants, by which one's prayer is always heard: they fail to consider Jas 4:3 which clearly states that one may ask wrongly, and thus not receive what is asked for. Thus Calvin falsely accuses Catholics of teaching that one should pray doubtingly. For he confuses confidence in what one asks for with with faith in the divine promise when he teaches that the one who prays with faith cannot doubt.
8 double-minded man, unstable in all of his ways. Kierkegaard on Double-mindedness In his lengthy reflection on James, →, Soren Kierkegaard contrasts "double-mindedness" with purity of heart (cf. PurityJas 4:8c: "purify [your] hearts, you double-minded"). Kierkegaard defines purity as the desire to will one thing—the Good. Kierkegaard's describes a myriad of ways in which a person can be double-minded and miss the Good. Following are a few examples:
5b without hesitation An Aspect of Divine Wholeness The Greek haplôs has a range of meanings, including "simply," "plainly," "generously," or "openly." Given James' contrast between God's wholehearted giving and the conflicted petition of the one in doubt (Jas 1:6), here, it most likely connotes giving without any mental reservation. Following are two examples of this use:
One sees here again another aspect of James' contrast between wholeness (acting in harmony with internal dispositions) and division (acting with internal doubts or reservations). See further →Perfection in James.
6a ask in faith A Central Theme: Faithful and Unfaithful Prayer Three passages focus on this theme:
8 unstable Instability: Internal and External Other NT texts apply this word (akatastatos) to social instability:
5b gives to all without hesitation God’s Liberal Giving
6a not hesitating Disobedience and Pride
Bede sees the source of hesitation the tension between one's words and one's way of life:
Other commentators see hesitation and doubts as a sign of pride:
6a ask in faith Praying in Faith
6a hesitating Judgment without Decision The Greek verb here translated as "hesitate" or hesitat in Latin is diakrinomai. Most literally diakrinô means to "separate from one another." Hence it can mean "judge" in the sense of deciding the winner of a contest or of diagnosing a disease. In the middle-passive voice, as used here, this verb generally means to "distinguish," to "parse out," to "analyse into elements." It has a philosophical resonance, used by Aristotle (cf. → 985a28) and Plato (cf. Metaph.→ 157a) to mean "to be differentiated, analysed" as opposed to being "synthesized." More generally, it can simply mean "decide for oneself." Parm.
Here, then, James does not counsel us against making a decision, but of forever remaining in the moment of crisis—perpetually judging, analysing, distinguishing, and measuring without ever making a decision. One steps back from the moment of decision and continually reflects upon possibilities—in a word, he hesitates and wavers. Thus he who is diakrinomenos regarding faith is constantly asking himself questions and refraining from decisions and actions (cf. Mk 11:23; Mt 21:21; Acts 10:20; Rom 4:20; 14:23; Christian Tradition 1:5a; Christian Tradition 1:6a; and →James: Judging). See also the note on Søren Kierkegaard's interpretation of James below (Christian Tradition 1:8).
1–12 Divisio Textus
See also →James: Medieval Divisio Textus.
8 double-minded Aspects of Double-Mindedness The adjective dipsuchos, along with its cognate verbal form dipsucheô and the noun dipsuchia, are key terms in 1 Clement and the Shepherd of Hermas.Whether they are dependent on James or not, their use of these terms show how influential the concept of "double-mindedness" was in early Christianity.
More specifically, double-mindedness is manifested in doubts about God‘s mercy due to a consciousness of one‘s own sin. Oppressive shame—rather than humility in charity and trust in God's mercy—precludes love and engenders alienation from God and others (cf. Christian Tradition 1:5a).
The term dipsuchia is often associated with the "two ways" ethical tradition that presents ethical decisions as a stark choice between life and death, light and darkness (see →Barn. 18–19; →Did. 1–5). The double-minded man does not explicitly reject the path of life, but hesitates in deciding whether to follow it or not ( →Barn. 19.5; →Did. 4.4).
For Hermas, however, double-mindedness is not only a hesitation between good and evil, but clearly associated with following the path of evil.
Thomas Aquinas quotes Jas 1:8 (vir duplex animo inconstans est) in associating double-mindedness with duplicity (duplicitas).
Thus, for Thomas, the double-minded person is one whose mind constantly fluctuates, and who is governed by his passions rather than by his reason.
→ 2.4 applies this passage to the Eusebian party, who gave doubtful support to the Nicene Council's definition of the consubstantiality of the Father and Son. The Decr. →Gloss. Ord. (V) ad. loc. summarizes Athanasius' comment (col. 1267).
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.
5a wisdom Connection between Wisdom, Reason (Logos), Law, and Virtue 4 Maccabees, like James, sees an essential connection between wisdom, reason, law, and virtue.
5b let him ask Various Interpretations