Amidst various interpretative options about the identities of the author and addressees of the Letter of James, one’s interpretation of the letter’s discourse on the concept of law plays a critical role in the way in which these identities are reconstructed. Two laws or principles form part of the discourse in the Letter of James, namely, the Mosaic law (esp. 2:9–11) and the kingdom-principle of freedom (esp. 1:25; 2:8, 12). It is argued that the kingdom-principle of freedom in Christ is presented to the recipients in contrast with a probable tendency among these Judaean Christ-believers to be torah-orientated, especially involving the judging of people on the basis of the Mosaic law. In this scenario, the author can be identified as James, the half-brother of Christ, who is not fully torah abiding. It is argued that James uses a rhetorical strategy of frankness in terms of the issues in the congregation he addresses together with a strategy of subtlety in respect of his discourse on law. In his rhetorical strategy on law he contextualises his message in such a manner that he identifies with the recipients’ frame of reference of law. By doing so, he attempts to lead them to a different perception on law and present to them a different principle by which they can become whole in their personal and corporative life.


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pp. 275-305
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