Saturday, February 05, 2022

Working My Way Through James 1:2-3 (In Process)

Greek (NA28): Πᾶσαν χαρὰν ἡγήσασθε, ἀδελφοί μου, ὅταν πειρασμοῖς περιπέσητε ποικίλοις, γινώσκοντες ὅτι τὸ δοκίμιον ὑμῶν τῆς πίστεως κατεργάζεται ὑπομονήν.

After his greetings to the "twelve tribes of the diaspora," James urges his readers to consider their variegated trials Πᾶσαν χαρὰν which is an accusatival phrase modified by ἡγήσασθε (first aorist middle imperative of 
ἡγέομαι). F.J.A. Hort contends that Πᾶσαν χαρὰν not "every (kind of) joy," but rather all joy "as expressing completeness and unreservedness" (The Epistle of St. James, page 3). A.T. Robertson adds that James is talking about "whole joy" or a joy that is unmixed, not mingled with some joy and some grief.

ἀδελφοί μου-vocative plural nominative + genitive. James employs ἀδελφός metaphorically with the referent being fellow Christians (Abbott-Smith).

ὅταν-Robertson seems to prefer "whenever" here: he identifies the word as an indefinite temporal conjunction. Hort points out that ὅταν has frequentative force: "whensoever ye shall."

πειρασμοῖς περιπέσητε ποικίλοις-"when you encounter (meet with) various trials." Thucydides writes: τοιούτῳ μὲν πάθει οἱ Ἀθηναῖοι περιπεσόντες ἐπιέζοντο (History 2.54). See Luke 10:30; Acts 27:41.

γινώσκοντες-present participle active nominative masculine singular of γινώσκω.

ὅτι τὸ δοκίμιον ὑμῶν τῆς πίστεως-compare 1 Peter 1:7.

κατεργάζεται ὑπομονήν-Robertson writes:

Worketh (κατεργάζεται). Present (durative) middle indicative of the compound verb with the perfective sense of κατα as in Philippians 2:12, which see.

Patience (ὑπομονήν). Old and common word for remaining under (υπομενω), "staying power" (Ropes), as in Colossians 1:11.

Compare Romans 5:3:
οὐ μόνον δέ, ἀλλὰ καὶ καυχώμεθα ἐν ταῖς θλίψεσιν, εἰδότες ὅτι ἡ θλίψις ὑπομονὴν κατεργάζεται

Romans 5:2-5, James 1:2-4, and 1 Peter 1:6-7 structure arguments in similar fashion by linking statements together through concatenation.


Roman said...

The Greek of James 1:2 poses two translation problems. First, the verb hēgēsasthai, the first command in the composition, is particularly difficult to render. As used in the NT, the verb always denotes some sort of mental judgment, such as “regarding” (Acts 15:22; 1 Thess 5:13; 2 Thess 3:15); “considering” (Acts 26:2; 2 Cor 9:5); and “calculating” or “reckoning” (Phil 2:3, 6, 25; 3:7, 8; Heb 10:29; 11:26). In every usage, there is an element of value judgment. Second, the phrase pasan charan (literally “all joy” or “entire joy”) demands being treated adverbially. The calculation or consideration of testings is to be unequivocal concerning what it represents, namely “joy.” This simple moral judgment stands in contrast to the equivocation of the “double-minded” person (1:7–8). The term joy (chara) not only echoes chairein (compare Plutarch, A Pleasant Life Impossible 8 [Mor. 1091 E]), but corresponds to a pervasive characteristic of early Christian experience (see Acts 13:52; Rom 14:17; 15:13; 2 Cor 1:15; 2:3; Gal 5:22; Phil 1:4; Col 1:11; 1 Pet 1:8; 1 John 1:4; 2 John 12). A distinctive aspect of such joy is its compatibility with suffering (see John 16:20–22; 2 Cor 7:4; 1 Thess 1:6; Heb 10:34). Clearly, something other is meant by this joy than simple pleasure (hēdonē) or happiness (eudaimonia); see Nauck, “Freude im Leiden,” 68–80.

Luke Timothy Johnson, The Letter of James: A New Translation with Introduction and Commentary, vol. 37A, Anchor Yale Bible (New Haven; London: Yale University Press, 2008), 176–177.

Luke Timothy Johnsons Anchor bible commentary on James.

Roman said...

BTW, I'm planning on working on a paper that involves the class elements of some early Christian literature, including James (and the Didache, and the Epistle of Barnabas). We'll see if it ends up anywhere.

Edgar Foster said...

Thanks for the remarks by Johnson: I like his work on the GNT. Regarding your paper, I will definitely have to read that one. Sounds like something the field really needs.

Edgar Foster said...

In thinking about Johnson's remarks, it also called to mind ὃς ἀντὶ τῆς προκειμένης αὐτῷ χαρᾶς ὑπέμεινεν σταυρὸν αἰσχύνης καταφρονήσας (Hebrews 12:2)

For the joy set before Christ, he endured pain and inglorious shame along with the speech of despisers.