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4 Adulterers and adulteresses! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Whoever therefore wants to be a friend of the world is constituted an enemy of God.
4 Ye adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? Whosoever therefore would be a friend of the world maketh himself an enemy of God.
4 O you adulterers! Do you not know that the love for worldly things is enmity with God? Whosoever, therefore, esteems worldly things is the enemy of God.
4a adulteresses Vituperation and the Metaphor of Adultery James uses the word moichalides, the term for females committing adultery, alluding to a prophetic tradition of metaphorically conceiving the divine-human relationship as a marriage (Biblical Intertextuality 4:4a). James thinks of the community as the chosen people (cf. Jas 1:1: "the twelve tribes") who have a covenant relationship with God. Jealousy and inordinate desire for possession violate the covenant law (which commands "do not covet"). The people's choice to become "friends with the world" (Jas 4:4) instead of remaining faithful to the covenant relationship with God is tantamount to adultery; metaphorically, the community is the unfaithful wife. See also Textual Criticism 4:4a and Christian Tradition 4:4a.
4a friendship with the world Friendship and Ethical Values In a Hellenistic context, friendship involves a sharing of common interests (at the lower level) and at the higher levels involves shared virtue Ancient Texts 2:23c. To have friendship with the world, then, involves sharing the values of the world. In the immediate context (Jas 3:13-4:3), James condemns the worldly values of jealousy and a competitive desire for possessions that causes conflict in the community. See also Biblical Intertextuality 4:4a and Christian Tradition 4:4a.
1:27c,3:6,4:4 world Negative Connotations The word kosmos is negative in James's worldview, expressing a realm or state opposed to God (Biblical Intertextuality 1:27; Christian Tradition 1:27; Christian Tradition 4:4b).
4a Adulterers Plus in Byz TR It is probable that originally there was only one vocative: "adulteresses" (moichalides); cf. Nes and V. Several manuscripts (e.g., the second corrector of א, P, and Ψ ), followed by Byz and part of the Syriac tradition, add moichoi (the term for male adulterers) in order to balance out James' exclusive reference to female adulterers (moichalides). See also Literary Devices 4:4a.
4b would wish A Stress on Free Will The verb boulomai carries the connotation of deliberate planning. James' word choices strongly emphasize that a person freely chooses to accept worldly standards. James uses this same verb in Jas 3:4 to illustrate the free will of the pilot to direct his ship as he wishes, as well as the will of God which gave us birth (Jas 1:18). James reiterates the point of Jas 1:13-15: one is led into sin by one's own desire, not by God.
4a Adulterers! Drawing on a Prophetic Metaphor
1–5 you ask wrongly Right Disposition in Prayer Under the heading, "Why do we complain of not being heard [in prayer]," the Catechism answers by drawing on Jas 4:1-5:
3:11–4:6 Use in Lectionary →BL : Wednesday, 32nd Week after Pentecost.
2ff Allusion to the Decalogue? The Decalogue may be in the background of James' thought in these verses:
4a friendship with the world NT: Contrast Between Loving the World and Loving God The principle that friendship with the world (i.e., accepting the "wisdom" or values of the world) means enmity with God (and godly values) is common in the NT.
The general thought pattern parallels Jesus' teaching:
The lack of verbal correspondence between Jesus' teaching and James' teaching, however, makes it doubtful that James consciously intended an allusion. See also Ancient Cultures 4:4a and Christian Tradition 4:4a.
1–10 Use in Lectionary →RML : Tuesday, Week 7, Year 2.
4a Adulterers! Adultery Metaphor Why does James use the term "adulterers" here?
→ draws out the connections in James' thought between: Iac. Par.
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.
1–12 Internal and External Conflicts Overall, James again emphasizes the connection between the microcosm of the individual person and the macrocosm of the community: disorder and strife (caused by passions and conflicting desires) within the person manifest themselves in disorder and conflict in the community. This section expands earlier topics :
James' exhortation to the community may be analyzed in the following way:
While the pericope presents one famous crux interpretativa—Jas 4:5, a challenging verse that defies clear interpretation, raising a host of textual, grammatical, and interpretative issues, cf. Textual Criticism 4:5b; Grammar 4:5b; Christian Tradition 4:5a; Christian Tradition 4:5b—several texts have drawn special attention in the interpretive tradition: