Who was the author? And please don’t say James. Seriously, which James was it?
I think it was James, brother of the lord, bishop of Jerusalem.
Epistle of James is attributed to one of the twelve Apostles, in Catholic tradition, James, son of Alphaeus. See:
“James is without doubt the Bishop of Jerusalem (Acts 12:17, 15:13, 21:18; Galatians 1:19; 2:9-12) and the author of the first Catholic Epistle. His identity with James the Less (Mark 15:40) and the Apostle James, the son of Alpheus (Matthew 10:3; Mark 3:18), although contested by many Protestant critics, may also be considered as certain.”
Bechtel, F. (1907). The Brethren of the Lord. In The Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton Company.
Why is it considered certain? Does not ancient Orthodox / Eastern Catholic tradition maintain that James, the Brother of God and Bishop of Jerusalem, was NOT one of the 12 but rather one of the 70?
That does seem to be the case, per OrthodoxWiki:
Saint James the Just, also called James Adelphos and James the Brother of Our Lord (died AD 62), was the first Bishop or Patriarch of Jerusalem. According to the Protoevangelion of James, James was the son of Joseph—along with the other ‘brethren of the Lord’ mentioned in the scripture—from a marriage prior to his betrothal to Mary. He wrote an epistle which is part of the New Testament. St. James is commemorated on October 23; on December 26 and also on the first Sunday after the Nativity, along with David the King and St. Joseph; and on January 4 among the Seventy Apostles.
In the Western Catholic Church, though not in the East, the standard view is that James the Just is the same man as James the Less, one of the Twelve. But among non-Catholic New Testament scholars this view finds little, if any, support these days. Instead, they identify him with the James who is mentioned in Matt 13:59, Mark 6:3, and Gal. 1:19, where he is named as one of the “brothers” of Jesus, and also in 1 Cor. 15:7.
The Greek word adelphos can mean full brother and it can also mean half-brother, stepbrother, or even (possibly) a more distant kinsman.
Martin Hengel writes in Paul between Damascus and Antioch: "Now [after Peter’s arrest and escape at Passover 43] the leadership of the earliest Jerusalem community passed to James the brother of the Lord and his body of elders, which is mentioned for the first time in Acts 11.30. The Lord’s brother was one of the earliest witnesses to the Resurrection (1 Cor. 15.7), but not one of the Twelve. Luke mentions him here for the first time (12.17), and in so doing suppresses the fact that he was the brother of the Lord.”
N.T. Wright ties the loose ends together very convincingly, I think, in his book The Resurrection of the Son of God. Discussing 1 Cor. 15:7, “Then he appeared to James,” Wright dismisses out of hand, in a throwaway parenthesis, the alleged identification of James the Just with James the Less: “(this clearly refers to the brother of Jesus, not to either of the members of the Twelve who had that name).” He then goes on to state his conclusion in a single carefully worded sentence: “Since he had probably not been a disciple of Jesus during the latter’s public career, it is difficult to account for his centrality and unrivalled leadership unless he himself was known to have seen the risen Jesus.”
The basis is Galatians 1.
18 Then, when three years had passed, I did go up to Jerusalem, to visit Peter, and I stayed a fortnight there in his company; 19 but I did not see any of the other apostles, except James, the Lord’s brother. Catholic Encylopedia continues:
“There is no reasonable doubt that in Galatians 1:19: “But other of the apostles [besides Cephas] I saw none, saving James the brother of the Lord”, St. Paul represents James as a member of the Apostolic college. The purpose for which the statement is made, makes it clear that the “apostles” is to be taken strictly to designate the Twelve, and its truthfulness demands that the clause “saving James” be understood to mean, that in addition to Cephas, St. Paul saw another Apostle, “James the brother of the Lord” (cf. Acts 9:27).”
Also there are five James:
The name “James” in the New Testament is borne by several:
James, the son of Zebedee — Apostle, brother of John, Apostle; also called “James the Greater”.
James, the son of Alpheus, Apostle — Matthew 10:3; Mark 3:18; Luke 6:15; Acts 1:13.
James, the brother of the Lord — Matthew 13:55; Mark 6:3; Galatians 1:19. Without a shadow of doubt, he must be identified with the James of Galatians 2:2 and 2:9; Acts 12:17, 15:13 sqq. and 21:18; and 1 Corinthians 15:7.
James, the son of Mary, brother of Joseph (or Joses) — Mark 15:40 (where he is called ò mikros “the little”, not the “less”, as in the D.V., nor the “lesser”); Matthew 27:56. Probably the son of Cleophas or Clopas (John 19:25) where “Maria Cleophæ” is generally translated “Mary the wife of Cleophas”, as married women are commonly distinguished by the addition of their husband’s name.
James, the brother of Jude — Jude 1:1. Most Catholic commentators identify Jude with the “Judas Jacobi”, the “brother of James” (Luke 6:16; Acts 1:13), called thus because his brother James was better known than himself in the primitive Church.
Camerlynck, A. (1910). St. James the Less. In The Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton Company.
Holy Apostle James the son of Alphaeus one of the Twelve Apostles, was the brother of the holy Evangelist Matthew. He heard the Lord’s words and witnessed His miracles. After the Descent of the Holy Spirit, the Apostle James Alphaeus and the Apostle Andrew the First-Called (November 30), made missionary journeys preaching in Judea, Edessa, Gaza, Eleutheropolis, proclaiming the Gospel, healing all sorts of sickness and disease, and converting many to the path of salvation. St James finished his apostolic work In the Egyptian city of Ostrachina, where he was crucified by the pagans.
Holy Apostle James, the Brother of God (Adelphotheos) was the son of Righteous Joseph the Betrothed of the Most Holy Theotokos (December 26). From his early years James was a Nazarene, a man especially dedicated to God. The Nazarenes vowed to preserve their virginity, to abstain from wine, to refrain from eating meat, and not to cut their hair. The vow of the Nazarenes symbolized a life of holiness and purity, commanded formerly by the Lord for all Israel. When the Savior began to teach the nation about the Kingdom of God, St James believed in Christ and became His apostle. He was chosen as the first Bishop of Jerusalem.
But there were apostles outside the Twelve.
There is mention of five James, which includes two of the Twelve: James, son of Zebedee, and James, Son of Alpheus.
I honestly don’t care which James it was. It is authoritative and in my Bible, that is all that matters to me. Because the Church said it is authoritative and is supposed to be in my Bible.
Well thank you Adam. You did not have to be one of the twelve to be an apostle, but you would have to be one of the twelve to be one of them:p. Would it help anyone if there is another author in the Bible named Judas who is related to James?