The Bible in Its Traditions

James 2:7

Byz Nes S TR
V

Do they not blaspheme the noble name by which you are called?

Are not they the ones who blaspheme the good name which has been invoked over you?

Suggestions for Reading

1–26 Appraisal of Faith-inspired Action This chapter presents James' demonstration of the integral relationship between genuine faith and actions. It falls into two basic sections:

  • Jas 2:1–13: The faith of Jesus Christ is incompatible with actions showing favoritism towards the rich. This section is a chiselled rhetorical argument (Literary Devices 2:1–13).
  • Jas 2:14–26: Verbal acceptance of the faith of Jesus Christ is not a true faith unless it is expressed through concrete actions, especially actions that assist the poor.

Text

Literary Genre

1–26 Deliberative Rhetoric The whole of chapter 2 is a fine example of deliberative (sumbouleutikon) rhetoric (see Aristotle Rhet. 1.3.3), where the speaker seeks to dissuade his audience from a certain action or exhort them to it. Here James attempts to dissuade his readers from showing favoritism to the rich (Jas 2:1–13) and to exhort them to live out their faith through actions (Jas 2:14–26). The diatribe style is used frequently in deliberative rhetoric.

Suggestions for Reading

1–13 Exhortation to Impartiality towards the Rich

Structure

Jas 2:1–13: The faith of Jesus Christ is incompatible with actions showing favoritism towards the rich. This section is a chiselled rhetorical argument (Literary Devices 2:1–13).

Contextual Contrast and Continuities

Interpretation

Two specific passages have attracted the greatest attention in the history of interpretation:

Context

Peritestamental Literature

7 blaspheme the noble name The Name and God’s People To "blaspheme" essentially means to slander, to speak badly, of God or of people.

  • Philo Fug. 84: Those blaspheme God who make false claims: "what more foul reviling could be uttered than the statment that the origination (genesis) of evil lies not at our door but at God's?" (Colson 1934, 5:54–55).
  •  Bar Salibi Ep. Cath. ad loc. suggests that the rich "blaspheme when they claim that their wealth is from God, when in fact it is obtained unjustly through oppression" (Sedlacek 1910, 93; Syriac-ibid., 122).

See further Christian Tradition 2:7.

Text

Literary Devices

1–13 Rhetorical Structure Watson 1993a analyzes the rhetorical structure of this section as follows (cf. Ps.-Cicero Rhet. Her. 2.18.28 for the categories). 

Propositio (the proposition to be proved; Jas 2:1): The faith of Jesus Christ is incompatible with displays of partiality towards the rich and powerful within the Christian community. 

Ratio (the causal basis for the propositio; Jas 2:2–4): The specific example of partiality in seating the rich and influential shows that community members are making judgments incompatible with the non-judgmental faith of Jesus Christ. 

Confirmatio (further confirmation of the propositio; Jas 2:5–7): In aligning themselves with the rich, church members align themselves with enemies of the faith: it is the rich who oppress poor community members and who blaspheme the name of the Lord Jesus: 

  • Jas 2:5–6a: partiality directly contradicts God’s preference for the poor; 
  • Jas 2:6bc: partiality supports the very people who oppress the community; 
  • Jas 2:7: partiality supports the blasphemy of the rich against God. 

Exornatio (embellishment and enrichment of the argument once the propositio is established; Jas 2:8–11): the one who shows favoritism violates the royal law (i.e., the faith of Jesus Christ: the Torah of the Kingdom taught by Jesus). 

Conplexio (a brief conclusion summarizing the argument; Jas 2:12–13): James exhorts the community to abandon favoritism and to speak and act in a way consistent with the royal law. If they continue with their unwarranted judgmental and partial behavior, they themselves can expect a harsh judgment.

1–13 beloved brothers Softening of the Criticism While strongly criticizing the community for the sin of partiality towards the rich, James uses rhetorical techniques to soften his criticism’s harshness:

He also employs hypothetical scenarios and rhetorical questions instead of directly accusing members of sin:

  • Jas 2:2: “if a man wearing gold rings”; 
  • Jas 2:4: “have you not made distinctions”; 
  • Jas 2:9: “if you show partiality”. 

Only at Jas 2:6a does one find direct accusation: “But you have dishonored the poor person.” 

2–7 Enthymeme Wachob 2000 analyzes this section as an enthymeme (77). Aristotle Rhet. 1.2.8 defines the enthymeme as a rhetorical syllogism.

  • Major premise (unstated): making distinctions within the community between rich and poor is incompatible with holding the faith of the Lord Jesus.
  • Minor premise: making distinctions between rich and poor is an act of partiality (Jas 2:4).
  • Conclusion: acts of partiality are incompatible with holding of the faith of the Lord Jesus and should not be done.

4–7 have you not made distinctions Confirmatio: Rhetorical Questions Written in the diatribe style, this section asks a series of rapid-fire rhetorical quesitons (cf. Epictetus Diatr. 1.12; cf.  Quintilian Inst. 9.2.6–11 on using rhetorical questions in proofs):

  • "Have you not made distinctions?"
  • "Has not God chosen the poor?"
  • "Are not the rich exploiting you?"
  • "Is it not they [i.e., the rich] who blaspheme?"

In each case, the expected answer is "Yes": these are points that James' readers should know.

James' questions also gives a clue as to the social location of James' audience. Since he questions them on their response to both rich and poor, it may be inferred that they themselves are at neither extreme. 

Context

Biblical Intertextuality

7a name The Divine Name: God and Jesus' Presence and Authority In ancient Judaism, the name (Hebrew: šem) of God had a rich significance. A central point in the relationship between God and Israel occurs when God reveals his name (Yhwh) to Moses at the burning bush (Ex 3:14). Jesus shares the divine name, Lord, with God the Father (cf. Phil 2:9; Rv 1:8).

The Name as the Revelation of One’s Essential Character

In the ancient world in general, a person or deity's "name" is not just an arbitrary label: it represents the person or deity's essence. The importance of the "name" of Jesus is so self-evident that no other reference is necessary: the apostles rejoiced  "that they had been found worthy to suffer dishonor for the sake of the name" (Acts 5:41; cf. 3Jn 7; Ign. Eph. 3.1).

The Name of God as God’s Manifestation on Earth

The "name" of God was understood as a kind of manifestation of God's presence on earth. Thus Solomon says of the Jerusalem Temple, "I have built this house for the name of the Lord, the God of Israel" (1Kgs 8:20; cf. Dt 12:11; 14:23). This conception is similar to the "glory" of the Lord as a divine manifestation: Isaiah parallels the two: "Those in the west shall fear the name of the Lord, and those in the east, his glory" (Is 59:19; cf. Biblical Intertextuality 2:1b Jewish Tradition 2:1b).

The Name’s Connection with Power and Authority

 "Name" is closely connected to the power and authority of a person or deity (cf. Acts 4:10; 1Cor 5:3–4). Thus a prophet speaks "in the name of the Lord"(cf. Dt 18:19), i.e., by the power and authority of the Lord. Peter heals a man who is crippled "in the name of Jesus Christ" (Acts 3:6).

  • James has two examples of this type of use, referring to the "the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord"  (Jas 5:10) and the elders of the church who pray over and anoint the sick with oil "in the name of the Lord" (Jas 5:14). 

Reception

Liturgies

7 the noble name which is invoked over you Use in the Liturgy of St. James

  • Lit. Jas.: After the recitation of the Lord's Prayer, the priest comments, "Do not lead us into temptation, Lord, Lord of the powers, who knows our weakness, but deliver us from the evil one and his works and all his abuse and craftiness through your holy name that we invoked upon our humility" (to onoma sou to hagion to epiklêthen epi tên hêmeterên tapeinôsin; Brightman-Hammond 1896, 60).

Christian Tradition

1–13 Liberation Theology Perspectives

Taking the Perspective of the Poor

Commenting on Jas 2:5b from the perspective of the Latin American poor, Elsa Tamez concludes,

  • James clearly states that God indeed has a partiality for the poor. "If favoritism is prohibited in the community it is because favoritism always favors the rich, never the poor."

Tamez criticizes contemporary biblical exegetes of Jas 2:1–13 on two points:

  • Many exegetes comment that one should not conclude from this passage that all wealthy people are bad or should be condemned (Christian Tradition 2:5b). Nothing in the text itself would occassion such a comment, and thus reveals that these exegetes write from the perspective of the wealthy and powerful.
  • Some exegetes argue that James' reference to "the poor" signifies those who are pious, and thus does not indicate their economic status.  In the view of these scholars, "The rich become the piously poor and the poor rich in piety, and the economic order and the unjust power stay as they are." In Tamez's view, James, on the contrary, clearly refers to the economically poor, and criticizes the wealthy for their oppression of them (Tamez 2002, 36–37).
Partiality as Discrimination
  • Smit argues that the closest modern counterpart to James' concept of partiality is discrimination, and applies it specifically to apartheid in South Africa. Partiality towards the wealthy and powerful necessarily involves a dehumanization of the poor and powerless, who are seen not as human beings created in God's image, but defined by non-essential characteristics such as race and economic status (Smit 1990, 65–67).

Text

Literary Devices

1–13 Theme of Wholeness and Division James continues the contrast between godly wholeness and sinful division: just as an individual person should not be divided and double-minded (Jas 1:6–8), so too the church members should not be divided by showing partiality to the rich in the community (Jas 2:4). See also→James: Perfection / Wholeness in James .

6c–7 they themselves …is it not they: Emphasis Placed on “the Rich” Using the grammatically unnecessary pronoun "they" (autoi), James emphasizes the absurdity of his audience's actions: the readers show partiality to the rich, in spite of the fact that they themselves (i.e., the rich) oppress them and drag them to court.

Reception

Christian Tradition

1–13 Divisio Textus

  •  Ps.-Andreas Catena, recognizing James' primary focus on the issue of partiality within the church, places Jas 2:1–13 under the heading, "Concerning imparital (aprosôpolêptos) love for each person according to the law" (Cramer 1844, 8:9).

See →James: Medieval Divisio Textus .

Theology

7 blaspheme the noble name which is invoked over you  The Significance of “the name”

Jesus is the Divine, Salvific Name

  • CCC 432 references Jas 2:7 in its teaching that the "name 'Jesus' signifies that the very name of God is present in the person of his Son." It is "this divine name alone that brings salvation, and henceforth all can invoke his name." 

Blasphemy and the Second Commandment

  • CCC 2148 cites Jas 2:7 in its discussion of blasphemy as a direct violation of the second commandment. Blasphemy consists "in uttering against God—inwardly or outwardly—words of hatred, reproach, or defiance; in speaking ill of God; in failing in respect toward him in one's speech; in misusing God's name."

Context

Biblical Intertextuality

7 the noble name that is invoked over you Indication of God's People and a Worship Context

A Phrase Showing God’s Special Relationship with Israel

 When epikaleô is used in the passive with the preposition epi, as here ("to call a name upon someone"), it denotes a relationship of possession between the parties (e.g., the Lord promised Solomon, "if then my people, upon whom my name has been pronounced, humble themselves and pray...[2Chr 7:14]; cf.  Am 9:12; Dt 28:10). Thus the people of Israel could simply be called "those who are called by the name of the Lord" (i.e, the Lord's people);  terminology that was take over by Christians: cf. Herm. Sim. 8.1.1; 8.6.4). This relationship also implies the Lord's special presence among the people.

Calling on the Name of the Lord in Worship

James' language (to onomoa epikaleô) also invokes a context of worship.  To call on the name of the Lord means to worship him cultically: Abram built an altar and "invoked the Lord by name (epikaleô epi tôᵢ onomati kuriou)" (Gn 12:8; cf. Gn 4:26; Zep 3:9). 

James may refer specifically to baptism. Christians were baptized "in the name of Jesus Christ" (Acts 2:38; 8:16; 10:48) or "in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit" (Mt 20:19). James also refers to the presbyters of the church anointing a sick person "in the name of the Lord" (Christian Tradition 5:14–15).

The Ambiguity of the Reference “Lord”

In the biblical tradition, "the name invoked upon you" would generally refer to God. James' use is ambiguous:

  • James' reference to God in Jas 2:5, and James' connnection of "the name of the Lord" with God in Jas 5:10 point towards a reference to God's name.
  • James' reference to the the Lord Jesus Christ in the beginning of this pericope (Jas 2:1) and the likely connection of "the name of the Lord" with Jesus in Jas 5:14 point towards a reference to the Lord Jesus.

James' ambiguity here corresponds with his ambiguous use of the title kurios (→James: The Title Kurios in James)—James applies the title both to the Father and to Jesus in different contexts. Here it likely refers to the name of Jesus, understood in the sense of Jesus sharing the divine name; this reinforces the association of Jesus with the divine glory or presence expressed in Jas 2:1 (Biblical Intertextuality Jas 2:1b; Jewish Tradition 2:1b).

Reception

Liturgies

1–9 Use in Lectionary RML : Thursday, Week 6, Year 2.

1–10,14–17 Use in Lectionary RCL : Proper 18, Year B- Longer Reading = Jas 2:1-17.

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.

Christian Tradition

7 blaspheme the noble name God’s Name or the Name of Christians The tradition offers various interpretations of the identity of the “name” blasphemed by the rich.

The Divine Name

  • Ps.-Hilary of Arles Tract. Iac. ad loc. “This is the name of the God of Israel, which was invoked (invocatum est) over you in Egypt, or in baptism” (col. 70).
  • The →Gloss. Ord. glosses “the name” with “the healing (salutiferum) [name] of Christ” (cols. 1277–78).

The Name of Christians

  • Aquinas Impug. prol. understands “the name” as one’s reputation, citing this passage against those who seek to defame members of religious orders (Procter 1902, 45)
  • Hilegard of Bingen Ep. 378 “Through the pride of his riches the rich man rules over other men, whom he can harm, and treats them badly, just as if they were not fellow creatures, and in this way the good name (bonum nomen) of mankind (i.e., that man is the image and likeness of God) is blasphemed.” Hildegard adds that when the rich man blasphemes God’s image in another, his own image (shared with the poor man) is also blasphemed. Finally, since the Son took on the human form and image, blasphemy against the poor is also blasphemy against God (Baird and Ehrman, 166–67; Van Acker and Klaes-Hachmöller, 135–36).
  • Bar Salibi Ep. Cath. ad loc.: the name is “Christianity or ‘clothed in Christ’” (Sedlacek 1910, 93; Syriac-ibid., 122).

Blasphemy of The Rich

Bar Salibi Ep. Cath. ad loc. notes two ways in which the rich blaspheme.

  • They blaspheme when they say, “We are rich because of our own righteousness; they are poor because of their own wickedness.”
  • They blaspheme when they say that they have abundance and wealth from God, which was gathered through injustice and oppression. (Sedlacek 1910, 93; Syriac-ibid., 122).

Bar Salibi also suggests that poor behavior among Christians allows pagans to speak badly of them:

  • Those Christians who deny mercy to their brothers “open the mouths of pagans to blaspheme the excellent name of Christianity” (Sedlacek 1910, 93; Syriac-ibid., 122).