James, the so-called brother of Jesus

This other James, the so-called brother of Jesus, played an important role in the development of the early Christian communities, especially those around Jerusalem.  This James was a much more important person in the early Christian movement than most casual readers of the New Testament imagine.  Sometimes he was known as James the Less, just like James, the son of Alphaeus.  This James was respected, well known, and often called James the Just.  The main sources for the life of this James are the Pauline epistles and the latter part of the Acts of the Apostles.  Paul the apostle described him as “the brother of the Lord” in Galatians chapter 1:19.  This James, the brother of Jesus was mentioned in Galatians, chapter 2:9, and Acts chapters 12:17,15:23, and 21:18, as an important Christian leader in Jerusalem.  Traditionally, it is believed he was martyred in 62 or 69 CE by being stoned to death.  There was also a mention of this James among the early Christian writers in the second and third centuries. Most of them portray him as the righteous undisputed leader of the Jewish Christians, especially in Jerusalem.  He was called the bishop of bishops, who ruled Jerusalem, the Holy Church of the Hebrews. This James the righteous would have been the first bishop of Jerusalem, appointed by Peter and John.  Thus, James the Just, brother of the Lord, was an early leader of the Jerusalem Church in the Apostolic Age.  He was also the principal authority who presided at the Council of Jerusalem around the year 50 CE.  This James seems to have taken the place of James, the son of Zebedee, after his martyrdom, around 44 CE.  Modern historians of the early Christian churches tend to place James as the leader of Jewish Christianity, while Paul was an apostle to the gentiles with the importance of faith over the observance of Mosaic Law.  Peter was the bridge between these two prominent leading Christian figures, Paul and James the Just.  The Holy Tradition of the Eastern Orthodox Church teaches that the Book of James was “written not by either of the apostles, but by the ‘brother of the Lord’ who was the first bishop of the Church in Jerusalem.”  In fact, there is a liturgy of St. James.  However, there is no reference to personal family ties in this letter of James.  Some have suggested that the authorship of this epistle points to this James, since he was prominent among the disciples, but not a follower of Jesus before Jesus died and rose from the dead.  From the middle of the 3rd century, patristic authors cited this epistle as being written by James, the brother of Jesus and a leader of the Jerusalem church.  Thus, this Jerusalem Christian leader seems a more likely suspect to have written this letter.  Do you think that James the Just may have written this letter?

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