The Bible in Its Traditions

James 5:10

Byz S V
Nes TR

10  My brothers, take the prophets, who spoke in the name of YHWH, as an example of evil suffering and of longsuffering.

10  Take, brethren, for an example of suffering and of patience, the prophets who spake in the name of the Lord.

Context

Biblical Intertextuality

10a patience fruit of the Spirit Paul lists patience (makrothumia) as one of the fruits of the Spirit (Gal 5:22).

Reception

Christian Tradition

7–12 Divisio Textus In Ps.-Andreas Catena the heading for this section is, "Concerning patience (makrothumia) and perseverance (hupomonê) during suffering, and concerning the truth" (Cramer 1844, 8:34).

10b the prophets Identity of the Prophets Bede understands the "prophets" in a broad sense, from Noah to the apostle James, son of Zebedee. These men offer several different types of examples:

  • Bede Ep. cath.: Bede understands "the result of evil" (exitus mali) to refer to the martyrdom of some prophets: Zecharaiah, Uriah, the Maccabees, and John the Baptist, Stephen, and James the son of Zebedee in the New Testament. These men even bore death patiently and did not complain (Comparison of Versions 5:10a).
  • Bede Ep. cath.: Others give examples of patiently enduring labors: Noah builds his ark over a hundred year span (!), Moses leads the people for 40 years in the wilderness, David endures exile, and Joseph endures slavery (Hurst 1985, 59; Hurst 1983, 219-20).

Liturgies

10–20 Use in Lectionary BL : Special and General Feasts: Prophets; 1 of 3 reading options.

Text

Textual Criticism

10a suffering |א : nobility Instead of kakopathia  ("suffering"),  א reads kalokagathia ("goodness, nobility"). See also Literary Devices 5:10a.

Vocabulary

7f,10 patient Patience vs. Perseverance The verb makrothumeô and its cognate noun makrothumia can mean:

  • Simply waiting for something. Thus Hebrews speaks of Abraham, “And so, after patient waiting, he obtained the promise” (Heb 6:15; cf. Heb 6:12). A servant who owed his master a great debt asks his master to have patience with (makrothumeo) him (Mt 18:26,29). 
  • Patient endurance in an uncomfortable condition. Thus Plutarch Vit. Par. Luc. 32.3 uses this word when describing Lucullus' exhortation of his soldiers to endure harsh winter conditions.

Comparison with the Virtue of Perseverance

James uses two word families to describe the virtue of patience: hupomonê / hupomenô (used in Vocabulary 1:3–4,5:11) and makrothumeô / makrothumia. Whereas hupomonê is closely connected with a trial (peirasmos), makrothumeô / makrothumia does not necessarily involve testing or suffering, but may simply involve waiting patiently for an event or person. Similarly, the cultural background of the words is strikingly different: makrothumeô / makrothumia is not a significant term in Greek philosophical ethics tradition, while hupomonê is regularly discussed in conjunction with the virtue of courage (andreia; Ancient Texts 1:3). On the other hand, makrothumia is an important quality of God (Biblical Intertextuality 5:7–10). 

In James

One can discern these two main elements in James’ use of makrothumeô / makrothumia in Jas 5:7–11

  • (1) Paired with the term “hardship” (kakopathia), the sense is of enduring hardships and trials, and thus is not essentially different from hupomonê / hupomenô.
  • (2) In the analogy with the farmer (v. 7) and the implied connection with the exhortation to the community to not complain against one another (v. 9), the sense is of being patient with events and with people (Christian Tradition 5:8a).

Context

Biblical Intertextuality

10b in the name of the Lord Speaking and Acting with Divine Authority

  • The Old Testament prophets often speak "in the name of the Lord" (G: en tôᵢ onomati kuriou), as in Jer 20:9; Dn 9:6 (Theodotion). The phrase carries the sense of speaking as a representative of the Lord, or by the authority or power of the Lord. It also applies to cursing (2Kgs 2:24).
  • The phrase is also applied to other actions done by the authority and power of the Lord. Thus the elders of James' church anoint the sick "in the name of the Lord" (Literary Devices 5:14-15).  Jesus' disciples heal (Acts 3:6) and cast out demons "in the name of the Lord" (Mk 9:38; Lk 10:17); cf. baptizing in the name of Jesus Christ (Acts 10:48).
  • The Gloss. Ord. ad loc. (interlinear gloss) offers two further possibilities: they speak in the name of the Lord by invoking the name (invocatione nominis), or when they speak for the purpose of spreading the name (ad ampliandum nomen; cols. 1299-1300).

Reception

Liturgies

7–10 Use in Lectionary

  • RML: 3rd Sunday in Advent, Year A.
  • RCL : 3rd Sunday in Advent, Year A.

Text

Vocabulary

10a,13a suffering Active Attitude The noun kakopathia in v. 10 means literally “suffering of evil.” Its cognate verb kakopatheô, “to suffer,” we will find slightly further in Jas 5:13. It comes from the noun pathos, “experience, emotion, state,” and kakos, “evil,” (compare by contrast eupatheô, “to enjoy oneself”).

Literary Devices

10a suffering and of patience Hendiadys James here connects two nouns: suffering (kakopathia; Vocabulary 5:10a) and patience (makrothumia; Vocabulary 5:7f,10). One may simply translate, "an example of suffering and patience." Alternatively, one may take the second noun to modify the first by hendiadys, thus leading to a translation of "patient suffering" or "patience in suffering."  A close parallel is 4 Macc. 9:8, which links kakopathia and hupomonê.

Suggestions for Reading

7–11 Theme of Patience

Theme of Patience

Jas 5:7-11 focuses on various aspects of patience (using two words to express the idea: makrothumeô / makrothumia and hupomenô / hupomonê). James' admonitions address two main aspects of patience:

  • waiting patiently for something, in this case for the coming of the Lord (parousia Kuriou) (vv. 7-8);
  • patiently bearing hardship and suffering (vv. 10-11).

Relationship of v. 9 to the Rest of the Passage

Verse 9a, with its admonition to not speak badly of fellow believers, fits awkwardly within the thematic flow of Jas 5:7-11, leading some commentators to conclude that it originally was an independent saying. The other verses in Jas 5:7-11 focus on patience, while v. 9 echoes James' earlier admonitions that community members not speak badly about one another (see especially Jas 4:11, and earlier admonitions on the dangers of improper speech in Jas 1:19,26, and especially Jas 3:1-12). With its further connection with the theme of judgment ("so that you are not judged"), however, the verse does fit into a further theme of the Jas 5:7-11 passage: eschatological judgment. 

The implicit logic seems to be the following: complaining against one's fellow believer is equivalent to judging him. If one judges another person, then one in turn brings judgment on oneself. This judging, in any case, is illicit, since there is only one legitimate judge: Jesus Christ. 

By placing this admonition here, James may imply that community members should patiently bear suffering caused by fellow community members, rather than complain against them.

Context

Peritestamental Literature

10a example …of suffering: Persecution of the Prophets A central theme in Second Temple Judaism portrays in further detail the faithful sufferings of the prophets and other biblical figures, e.g., Mart. Ascen. Isa. and Vit. Proph.  See also Biblical Intertextuality 5:10b.

Reception

Comparison of Versions

10a take as an example, my brothers Textual Addition

  • Bede Ep. cath. ad loc. (Hurst 1983, 219) and the Gloss. Ord. (col. 1300) adds exitus mali et longanimitatis ("of the result of evil and longsuffering") before "of hardship and patience";
  • C also adds exitus mali.

Liturgies

9–12 Use in Lectionary RML : Friday, Week 7, Year 2.

Context

Biblical Intertextuality

10 an example ...of suffering and of patience: Persecution of the Prophets James assumes his readers' familiarity with the hardships of the prophets (e.g., Jer 1:17-19; Am 7:10-15). In the NT, the persecution of the prophets is a standard trope (Mt 5:12, Mt 23:34-37; Lk 13:33; Acts 7:52; 1Thes 2:14-15; Heb 11:32-38), that can take on an anti-Jewish flavor (e.g., Acts 7:52; 1Thes 2:14-15). The NT and early Christian adversus Iudaeos literature polemically link the "Jewish" persecution of the prophets and the killing of Jesus (e.g., 1Thes 2:14-15; Barn. 5.11; Justin Dial. 93.4). See also Peritestamental Literature 5:10a.

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. 

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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

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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).

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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.

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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.