James 4:5 -- A Quote From a Lost Apocryphal Scripture

by Leolaia 64 Replies latest watchtower bible

  • A Paduan
    A Paduan

    Earnest and Leolaia,

    I didn't write about a triune god, and did not point to a triune god - it is something you have read into it



    But there are some solid similarities between James and the clementine writings (especially with the the specific linking of "double-minded" with "wretched") which (even taking the trinity as a granted) can best be explained by their having used a common apocryphal source.

    Do you consider it likely that Clement simply read the Epistle of James?

  • Deputy Dog
    Deputy Dog


    The 66-book Bible as a compilation only dates back to the Reformation. The Bible used for centuries by the Catholic Church has 73 books, including the deuterocanonicals customarily called the Apocrypha (which includes such books as 1, 2 Maccabees, Sirach, Judith, Tobit, Wisdom, etc.).

    The deuterocanonicals were not included (or approved) in the canon until 1546 at the council of Trent. Nor did Jerome and other church fathers believe they were authoritative.

    What about the council of Nicea in 325? They approved only the 66.

    D Dog

  • Midget-Sasquatch

    A Paduan:

    It wasn't Earnest, but me who thought you were talking about the trinity.

    In the case of John 7:38, I would say that Exodus 17:6 belongs to a range of many texts which contain one small feature of the logion in John 7:38 -- in this case, it would be the pouring of water from a source for people to drink.

    I thought the obvious part was about striking the rock three times

    I honestly read the above as your implying that the water from the rock was actually about water coming from God (hitting the rock 3 times as a veiled allusion to the triune God.) At least thats how I thought you were trying to argue a similarity. What then was the connection you were making? You'll have to give me more info.

    Do you consider it likely that Clement simply read the Epistle of James?
    Just considering those two works alone, then yes that sounds reasonable. But it wouldn't explain how Hermas uses a very similar phrase to that in James 4:5, but then states its source to be the Book of Eldad and Modad. She is making tenable links between several works (not just James and Clement) and doing so with a very simple connection among all of them - one common source that provided much of the relevant detail.

  • Midget-Sasquatch

    Deputy Dog:

    I recall that the bishops Athanasius and Eusibius did write up lists for what works to include as canonical. In part, as a response to illegitimize sects, like the Marcionites.

    Whatever may have been included in the agenda at the Council of Nicea in 325 AD, I don't believe there is any confirmation that an official ruling on those lists were made. Athanasius may have pushed his lists then...thats something you can check up on...but I'm pretty sure the Council really just focussed on weeding out the views of Arius (i.e.Jesus was a creature) - and finding textual support for the now orthodox view of the nature of Jesus (i.e god in flesh).

  • jst2laws


    As usual, excellent research.


    Did you at any point in your exit from the JW's discuss the Bible with their elders?

    A "Leolaia's shootout with the elders" would have been priceless!

    Amusing. While the "elders" have been the essences of theological authority in the lives of the survivors here, they are hardly in the position to "discuss the Bible" on this level. In fact, since the death of Fred Franz there is not even a GB member up to speed to dare TRY and dispute Leolaia's posts. The WT fundies just can't touch this stuff.


  • Leolaia
    A side question since I may be too ignorant to have grasped it: What in particular (other than the slightly different wording) leads to the conclusion that the later writing of Clement used that same common apocryphal source independently as a primary source, and not just have lifted that passage from 1 Clement as a secondary souce? Couldn't the changes in wording and the difference in detail just be due to the later writer quoting from memory?

    Midget....Thanks for the great question. There are several clues that make this quite unlikely. First, is the fact that 2 Clement refers to the "double-minded" as "doubting in their heart", which more original (that is, closer to underlying Semitic notion of "double hearted") than the version cited in 1 Clement. Second, 2 Clement also introduces the quote in v. 11 by making reference to having a pure heart (kathara kardia), and this phrase is part of the web of intertextuality with James (cf. 4:8) and Hermas (cf. Mand. 9.5, 7) -- yet this phrase does not occur in this context of 1 Clement. The decisive piece of evidence however is that the source of the quote is characterized as the "prophetic word" (prophétikos logos), which definitely would not apply to 1 Clement but to a prophetic or apocalyptic text. The same phrase occurs in 2 Peter 1:19 (prophétikon logon) where it is equated with the prophéteia graphés "prophecies of scripture" in v. 20, and a similar expression graphon prophetikon "prophetic scripture" is used by Paul in Romans 16:26 to refer to the OT prophetic writings. 1 Clement is not a prophetic writing and would hardly have had scriptural status at the time.

    One futher fact relates to the relation between 2 Peter and this apocryphal text quoted in 1 and 2 Clement. In my first post, I noted the general similarity between the words of the doubters in 2 Peter 3:2-4 and the Clementine apocryphal citation. This however is not a simple matter of 1 or 2 Clement knowing 2 Peter since another parallel is found in James 5:7-8. Rather, 2 Peter appears to build on the first half of the apocryphal citation (what the doubters say) while James seems to build on the example from nature in the second half. But there are also verbal parallels. As noted above, both 2 Peter and 2 Clement refer to the "prophetic word" (prophétikos logos). 2 Clement 11:2 hémeran ex hémeras "day after day" is missing in 1 Clement but is found in 2 Peter 2:19. The quote in both Clements has legontes "saying" (cf. 2 Peter 3:4) and "fathers" (pateres/paterón; cf. 2 Peter 3:4). Since the author of 2 Peter introduced the material in ch. 3 by saying he wanted to remind his readers of "the sayings of the holy prophets (rhématón hupo tón hagión prophétón)," as well as the apostles, and since he had already discussed the prophecies of the old prophets in 1:19-21, it is not implausible that Pseudo-Peter was also relying on a prophetic text as one of his sources (which included the epistle of Jude, which claimed apostolic status).

    A Paduan....Spitta and Zahn argued that 1 Clement knew James; Moffitt considered each piece of evidence in turn (such as James 4:1 = 1 Clement 46:5, James 4:16 = 1 Clement 21:5, the fact that both cite Proverbs 3:34, etc.) and concludes that the parallels are "seldom very close" and "hardly seem to warrant" this conclusion, and some of the parallels "probably go back to a common source" as I have argued (p. 467). The critical commentary of Diebilus on James also decides negatively on the issue of Clementine dependence on James, and specifically addresses the passage in 1 Clement 30:3-6 which Spitta and Zahn cited as the strongest evidence of dependence ("There is no allusion to Jas. here," p. 33). With respect to issue of intertextuality being considered here, a claim of dependence on James does not explain features which are shared between the Clementine texts and Hermas but not with James, such as 1 Clement 46:2, as well as the simple fact that the apocryphal text quoted by 1 and 2 Clement is not found in James -- though there are similarities in wording as well. The best explanation for all of this, again, is that James, 1 and 2 Clement, and Hermas all knew a common source, which the Clementines characterized as "scripture" and the "prophetic word" and which Hermas identified at least in one passage as Eldad and Modad. Thanks Midget-Sasquatch for the very succint explanation!

    Deputy Dog....Tradition has it that the Tanakh was limited to 39 books in the second century AD at the council of Jamnia (which was when Esther was finally fully accepted), and Jerome applied this standard to the Vulgate -- setting the 7 deuterocanonicals aside to respect Jewish tradition and placed them in a lower rung in the hierarchy of "scripture" (he did refer to such books as Wisdom and Sirach as "scripture", cf. Epistle 51, Eustochium Epistle 108, etc.), the "hidden" books not recognized by the Jews. Bear in mind that "canon" is a narrower category than "scripture". The Apocrypha however were included in canon lists in the fourth century AD. Pope Damasus I declared the Apocrypha as canonical at the Council of Rome (AD 382). Augustine fully endorsed the Apocrypha as canonical and persuaded the Council of Hippo (AD 393) and Council of Carthage (AD 397) to accept the Apocrypha as canonical. Pope Innocent I in AD 408 declared the Apocrypha as "received in the canon", Pope Gelasius (AD 492-496) issued a canon list which included the Apocrypha, and Pope Hormisdas (AD 514-523) similarly approved the deuterocanonicals. The second Council of Carthage (AD 419), meanwhile, reaffirmed the previous Carthage ruling and the second Council of Nicea (AD 797) reapproved the rulings of Carthage. The first Council of Nicea in AD 325 was before all this.

    However since these councils lacked ecumenical authority over the entire Western church, and since other fathers and councils endorsed the smaller canon, the situation over the centuries was not one of a unified universally-recognized canon, but rather co-existing and competing provenicial and regional canons. The bishops were divided between followers of Jerome and followers of Augustine. Those who followed Jerome in leaving the Apocrypha out of the official canon included bishops Primasius and Junilius (AD 550) who strictly held the canon to 24 books. Among those who followed Augustine in treating the Apocryphal books as canonical included Isidore of Seville in the seventh century and Rabanus Maurus in the ninth century who numbered 45 books of the OT. Pope Adrian I sent Innocent I's decree (listing what was to be regarded as authoritative) to Charlemagne who adopted it in 802 throughout the Frankish Empire, and Pope Nicholas I in 865 again appealed to Innocent I's definition of the canon for bishops in France. Peter Blensensis in the twelfth century included the Apocrypha as a fourth category in the OT (alongside the Pentateuch, the Prophets, and the Writings). In the thirteenth century, St. Thomas Aquinas articulated well the ambivalent status of the Apocrypha as "Holy Scripture" but whose authority depended on the church: " The C atholic Church has received these books in the category of Holy Scriptures, whose teachings are not in doubt, though its authors are; not because the authors of these books are unknown, but because these men were not of known authority. Hence the books have their power not from the authority of the authors, but rather from the reception of the church" (Principium Biblicum, Opera Omnia, 3).

    Thus many viewed the Apocrypha as "ecclesiastical" scripture but not "authoritative," as inferior to the undisputed books but still scripture; this was the position of John Wycliffe whose Bible translation in 1388 included the Apocrypha. The Glossa Ordinaria of the twelfth century reiterated the position of Jerome and asserted the unequal status of the Apocrypha as "not [being] in the canon". At the other extreme, the Council of Florence in 1442 reaffirmed the inclusion of the Apocrypha into the "old and new testaments" and did not make any distinction between the Apocrypha and the other books -- all were treated equally as scripture. The Council of Trent in 1546 similarly affirmed that there was to be equal authority throughout scripture. What was new was that it authoritatively defined the canon universally throughout the church and raised the status of the Apocrypha in many places where it was not regarded authoritative. It is simply not true that the Apocrypha were not listed in the canon before Trent; this is exactly what the earlier councils of Florence, Nicea II, Carthage, etc. had done. It just wasn't universally accepted. And even if the deuterocanonicals were not always recognized as canonical or authoritative, they were for centuries included in Bible codices from the fourth century down to Wycliffe. As for your specific points:

    Nor did Jerome and other church fathers believe they were authoritative.

    Jerome did not (tho he called them "scripture"), but Augustine certainly did view them as authoritative....Moreover, Tertullian, Cyprian, Hippolytus, Origen (cf. Ad Africanus, 5-9, 13; Adversus Celsus, 7.12, etc.), and others treated these books as scripture. Athanasius left most deuterocanonicals out of the canon but included Baruch and rejected Esther, and the other books were still occasionally cited in his writings as "scripture" (cf. Against the Arians, 3, which cites Wisdom as "holy Scripture"). Again, even if certain books were not "authoritative", they were still used as "holy Scripture," "divine Scripture," "the Holy Spirit" and so forth by those who adopted Jerome's smaller canon (see also Cyril of Jerusalem, Hilary of Poitiers, Basil the Great, St. Gregory, Rufinus, Pope Gregory, John Damascene, etc.).

    What about the council of Nicea in 325? They approved only the 66.

    Not true. According to Jerome, in the preface to his translation of Judith in the Vulgate, he said that "the Nicene Council is considered to have counted this book among the number of sacred Scriptures".

    Narkissos....Wow, wouldn't that be something, to submit a polished version to JBL? One could dream.... As it happens, none of the sources I checked went through the trouble to connect all the dots as I did -- none, for instance, has noticed the parallel to the Eldad and Modad quote in James 4:8, and even Seitz (the biggest proponent of Eldad and Modad common-dependence theory) has not realized the significance of the non-canonical quote in James 4:5 -- which has parallels in both Hermas and in Numbers 11. As I said, this two-way self-confirmatory linkage clinched it for me. If I were to publish this, tho, I would have to take greater care in interpreting the texts and addressing earlier work which takes a different position on James 4:5. One criticism I could foresee is that James is a paraenetic composition and thus one could not rule out the possibility that some of the intratextual sequences of features (such as dipsukhos and talaipóros) might derive simply from oral discursive cliches -- just like the angels that sinned/Sodom and Gomorrah/Balaam collocation that occurs in Jude and 2 Peter (which has parallels in pseudepigraphal and rabbinical literature). I doubt this is a strong objection however since no such collocation of dipsukhos and talaipóros is known beyond our texts, dipsukhos anyway is such a rare and highly distinctive term (unlikely to have been stereotyped in this manner independently), and there is much positive evidence of an underlying text (the "scripture" cited in James 4:5, the apocryphal text quoted in 1 and 2 Clement, the Eldad and Modad cited by Hermas), which outweighs the lack of evidence of these highly distinctive phrases and terms having typical catchword associations.

  • Leolaia

    Here are Jerome's words in Latin:

    "Apud Hebraeos liber Judith inter apocrypha legitur: [Col. 0038D] cujus auctoritas ad roboranda illa quae in [Col. 0039A] contentionem veniunt, minus idonea judicatur. Chaldaeo tamen sermone conscriptus, inter historias computatur. Sed quia hunc librum Synodus Nicaena in numero sanctarum Scripturarum legitur computasse, acquievi postulationi vestrae."


  • Midget-Sasquatch


    Thanks for your answering my question so thoroughly! I too urge you to try for publication in a journal like Narkissos suggested. I realize academia is your passion, but with your gift for assimilating detail into coherent plausible wholes, you'd have made one super @$$-kicking police detective!

  • ellderwho


    Tradition has it that the Tanakh was limited to 39 books in the second century AD at the council of Jamnia (which was when Esther was finally fully accepted), and Jerome applied this standard to the Vulgate --

    We must also consider the inaccuracies of some of the Apocryphal Books:

    Esther, chronology: 11:2-4 ( the dates of Mordecai's captivity [597 b.c.] and dream [485/484 b.c.] would make him well over 112 years old.

    Your thoughts?

  • Narkissos
    We must also consider the inaccuracies of some of the Apocryphal Books:

    Esther, chronology: 11:2-4 ( the dates of Mordecai's captivity [597 b.c.] and dream [485/484 b.c.] would make him well over 112 years old.

    By this standard you could dump most of the Hebrew Bible as well.

    I find it amazing how easily some can shift from apologetic to critical mode as soon as they cross the canon border...

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