well-advanced project on James demonstrates the scholarly aspirations
of the Institute. During the 1997 conference "The Missing JesusRabbinic
Judaism and the New Testament," Institute fellows found that
James, the brother of Jesus, had been virtually ignored in biblical
scholarship, although in his time he was revered among both Jews
and Jesus followers. This discovery prompted the Institute
to launch a series of consultations on James.
a result, James has been rediscovered both as the principal founder
of what came to be called Christianity and as a man venerated by
his Jewish contemporaries in Jerusalem. This recognition of the
importance of James as a representative of early Jewish Christianity
and Judaism bridges a gap between Jesus and the Hellenistic forms
of early Christianity, which later became dominant.
has emerged as the commanding figure of New Testament formation,
more vital to its existence than Peter, John, or Paul, a loyal and
influential disciple of Jesus, and one of the outstanding figures
in early Jewish Christianity. After Jesus death, James
adherence to Jewish identity and his reputation as a holy and knowledgeable
rabbi is clear. James became the leading figure of the Jerusalem
church, and he and his supporters intended to maintain the integrity
of the Jesus movement as authentically Jewish. He was known as James
the Righteous and James the Just because of his
absolute devotion and loyalty to God and his suffering as a martyr.
Read fellows' comments on the James