James, the son of Zebedee

Jesus had two apostles named James.  The most important James was the son of Zebedee and the brother of the apostle John, one of the twelve apostles of Jesus.  James, the son of Zebedee and Mary Salome, with his brother John was one of the first disciples to join Jesus.  The synoptic gospels state that James and John were with their father Zebedee fishing by the seashore when Jesus called them to follow him in Matthew, chapter 4:21–22 and Mark, chapter 1:19-20.  Jesus also selected this James, his brother John, and Peter to witness the Transfiguration of Jesus, according to Mark, chapter 9:2, Matthew, chapter 17:1-8, and Luke, chapter 9:28-36.  The two brothers, James and John, also argued about whether they would sit on Jesus’ right and left in his glory in Mark, chapter 10:35-45, and Matthew, chapter 20:20-28. According to Acts, chapter 12:2, “Herod the king had James the brother of John executed by the sword.”  Herod Agrippa I was the ruler of Palestine from 41-44 CE.  Thus, James would have died in the early forties, about ten years after the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.  He also had a fiery temper, so that he and John were named the “Boanerges, or the Sons of Thunder” in Mark, chapter 3:17.  This apostle James is the patron saint of Spain with a famous traditional walk called the “Way of St. James”.  His feast day is celebrated on July 25.  Apparently, he had gone to Spain to preach the gospel before his early death.  With this information, it is hard to name him the author of this epistle from James.  This author did not call himself an apostle like Paul had done.  Secondly, with his early death, this epistle would then be the oldest New Testament document, written even before the letters of Paul, if it was him.  Therefore, although interesting, it is hard to prove that this James, the son of Zebedee, was the author of this epistle.  What do you know about James, the son of Zebedee?

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