on the James Project
JAMES project is not only valuable in itself but also as a model
of collaborative research among specialists in a common project.
The idea of the Institute, realized in this project, and the management
of the Institute to date have shown how humanities research can
benefit from joint enterprises in the way that natural scientists
work together: many experts sharing ideas and knowledge and criticism.
For the larger enterprise of systematic philosophical study of religion
such as theology undertakes, we stand at the elementary stages of
a new field of academic learning, and it is the adventure of founding
something fresh and important that has drawn me to Bard as well.
This is just one sign of what the Institute can achieve in academic
Research Professor of Religion and Theology, Bard College
consultation on James, chaired by Bruce Chilton, is very important
because it has recognized the importance of James as a representative
of early Jewish Christianity, bridging the gap between Jesus and
the forms of Christianity best known to us in the New Testament.
Through a study of James, the characteristics of a form of Jewish
Christianity becomes visible in the New Testament and this relates
to other forms of Judaism known to us in other sources. James, also,
relates to other forms of Christianity. The consultation has concentrated
on the relationship to Peter and now turns its attention to the
relationship to Paul. According to Galatians 2, James, the brother
of Jesus, Peter (Cephas) and John were the pillars of the Jerusalem
church and as such played roles of great importance in the life
of earliest Christianity. Towering over the other two was James,
and even Paul does not escape from the shadow of James. The consultation
has ensured that earliest Christianity is viewed from the perspective
of Jewish sources which is fundamental for a sound study of Christian
beginnings. The group of scholars who form part of this collaboration
provide a scholarly base capable of work that no single scholar
is in a position to achieve. Such a collaborative work deserves
the strongest possible support.
Professor of New Testaments
St. Mark's National Theological Center
are some areas of biblical studies that have been neglected by the
scholarly community at large. While there are stacks of books on
Paul and the various gospels, there is only a much more limited
literature on the lesser-known characters of the first century,
and especially those who are more identified with Jewish-Christianity,
especially James. Indeed, even the Epistle of James is getting little
coverage in the Society of Biblical Literature. In contrast, this
series of consultations have put time, energy and money into looking
where others have not been looking. It is not only a contribution
to a neglected area of scholarship, but by looking at people who
certainly viewed themselves as Jewish it is contributing to better
understand of the roots of what is now two different faiths. In
doing this, and in the creativity of the interchange, this project
is unique in my experience in biblical scholarship.
H. Davids, Ph.D.
Director, Schloss Mittersill Center