Are you as annoyed as I am by people who name drop? I suppose all of us have done it at one time or another, but there are some folk who go out of their way to let you know whom they know. Continue reading . . .
Are you as annoyed as I am by people who name drop? I suppose all of us have done it at one time or another, but there are some folk who go out of their way to let you know whom they know. It’s almost as if their own personal value is enhanced by their acquaintance with someone they think you admire. You can almost hear them saying to themselves: “If she were to know that I know _______ she’d probably think I’m a big deal too. So I need to figure out a way to slip in a reference to _______ and make it sound as if we’re on a first-name basis. Surely that will impress her.”
What got me thinking about this was the opening verse of the epistle of James (“James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ” [1:1a]). There are no fewer than six prominent men in the NT named James, but only three of them could possibly qualify as the author of this letter.
James, the son of Zebedee, was the brother of John and one of the 12 apostles (see Acts 12:1-2). This is the James who was martyred when King Herod Agrippa had him beheaded in 44 a.d. But it’s fairly clear that the book could not have been written before 44, so this James is precluded. James, the son of Alphaeus, was another of the original 12 apostles (see Mark 3:18; Matt. 10:3; Luke 6:15; Acts 1:13). But few think he is the author.
The most likely candidate is James, the younger half-brother of Jesus (see Mark 6:3-6). He was the natural born son of Joseph and Mary and was, like the rest of his family (except for Mary) initially opposed to the ministry of Jesus. At one point he attempted to restrain Jesus from pursuing his earthly ministry. After