The person to whom this letter is ascribed can scarcely be one of the two members of the Twelve who bore the name James (see Matthew 10:2-3; Mark 3:17-18; Luke 6:14-15), for he is not identified as an apostle but only as “slave of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ” (James 1:1). This designation most probably refers to the third New Testament personage named James, a relative of Jesus who is usually called “brother of the Lord” (see Matthew 13:55; Mark 6:3). He was the leader of the Jewish Christian community in Jerusalem whom Paul acknowledged as one of the “pillars” (Gal 2:9). In Acts he appears as the authorized spokesman for the Jewish Christian position in the early Church (Acts 12:17; 15:13-21).
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