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7b precious fruit Hyperbole? James' use of the adjective timios, a word usually connected with precious stones (Rv 18:12) or metaphorically with anything highly valued (e.g., 1Pt 1:19: the precious blood of Jesus), is unusual as applied to crops. James apparently has a lively sense of the value of the crop for the small farmer. James understands that for the subsistence farmer, the success of the crop could literally be a matter of life and death. See also Literary Devices 5:7b and Ancient Cultures 5:7b.
7b the farmer Types of Farmers The farmer (geôrgos, literally, "worker of the land") can refer to the man who owns the land he works (→ 4.18) or to a tenant farmer ( Hist.Mk 12:1). The term is used also for a gardener or a vine-dresser (Mk 12:1).
7c early and late rain Rains in Palestinian Climate Most commentators conclude that James refers to early and late rains, although it is grammatically possible that he refers to earlier and later harvests (Textual Criticism 5:7c and Comparison of Versions 5:7c).
In Palestine, the early rains of autumn and winter (late October to early December) are necessary for the preparation of the dry soil and the germination of the seed. The later spring rains (March-May) are necessary for the maturing of the grain.
Some commentators argue that this reference to early and late rains supports the Palestinian authorship of James; others hold that James may simply be echoing biblical language (e.g., Dt 11:14; Hos 6:3; Jl 2:23; Zec 10:1).
7f,10 patient Patience vs. Perseverance The verb makrothumeô and its cognate noun makrothumia can mean:
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).
One can discern these two main elements in James’ use of makrothumeô / makrothumia in Jas 5:7–11.
7b the farmer …fruit: Agricultural Analogies James returns to the imagery of rain and crops in Jas 5:18. Compare also his analogies in Jas 1:10-11 (the flowers and grass that wither) and Jas 3:12 (the proper fruits of plants and trees).
In comparing awaiting the harvest with awaiting the parousia (the Day of Judgment), James draws on common biblical imagery that connects the harvest with eschatological judgment (Jl 4:12-13; Mt 13:24-30; Rv 14:14-20).
7b precious fruit Agricultural Economy Ancient Mediterranean economies were based on agriculture. In Palestine, the main grain crops were barley and wheat, both used in making bread, the staple food of the lower classes. Other important crops were grapes, olives, and figs (cf. Jas 3:12 and Jas 5:14). Deuteronomy briefly lists essential crops in a word of the Lord, "I will give the seasonal rain to your land, the early rain and the late rain, that you may have your grain, wine and [olive] oil to gather in" (Dt 11:14; cf. Jas 5:7c on the early and late rains).
7c early and late rain Rain or Crop? G reads only the adjectives proimos ("early") and opsimos. In several biblical passages, however, these adjectives are read explicitly with "rain" (G: huetos; cf. Dt 11:14; G-Hos 6:3; Jl 2:23; Zec 10:1; Jer 5:24; also →m. Ta'an. 1:2). Given the context, it is most likely that James refers to the early and late rains (many MSS explicitly add "rain" [huetos] after "receives"). An alternate possibility is that James refers to early and late crop (karpos), as read in some mss. See also Textual Criticism 5:7c and Comparison of Versions 5:7c.
7c early and late Rain or Crops? S, Byz, and TR agree with the reading of A in adding “rain” after “receives” to clarify the meaning of “early and late”: agreeing with א , the Bohairic Coptic adds “crop.” Cassiodorus follows this reading. See also Textual Criticism 5:7c and Christian Tradition 5:7c.
7–11 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:
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.
7c early and late Rain or Crop? → ad loc., ( Ep. cath. 1983, 219), → ad loc. (col. 80) and the Tract. Iac.→Gloss. Ord. ad loc. (col. 1299) understand the adjectives early and late to refer to the crop.
In the Syriac tradition, → ad loc. speaks of early and late rain, referencing the exact months in which they come ( Ep. Cath. 1910, 101).
7c early and late Allegorical Interpretations The tradition offers allegorical readings of the terms "early and late," understood as either rain or crops.
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.