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Ferdinand Christian Baur.

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appear to be the immediate and the independent, and the centre
of gravity of the religious consciousness must fall on the side of
the practical This is plainly stated in the proposition that re-
ligion consists essentially in willing and in action, or that no
hiKalfoau^ is possible, save what comes through eftyou Only e/oya
are reckoned to be reed and objective, since they are what exists
in the state of actuality. Now this amoimts to saying that only
what exists outwardly, empirically, to the senses, is true and
actual This outward existence, however, necessarily presupposes
other existence in a different form, that is, in essence ; and even
the Jacobean view recognises that eftya come after and presuppose
TTurri^, But the characteristic feature of the position is that what
is in essence is held to be the unreal, the empty, the shadow, which,
existing as it does in essence is held unimportant, and scarcely
worth considering. Thus with James the relation of irUm^ to
epya is this, that wloTt^ has scarcely any real existence in itself
at all, that it is only in epya that it begins to exist truly and
actually. The Pauline doctrine of justification takes us to the
very opposite pole; here everything actual has reality only in
virtue of that which it is in essence, nlari^ is what epya pro-



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App. II.] I'AUL AND JAMES COMPABED. 303

ceed from and presuppose ; and the value of cfyya consists entirely
in irl<m<:; this is the substantial element in them, this is the
main point in question, and epya are, as it were, a mere accidens
otirlariq, Not that which exists externally, but that which is essen-
tially, is true and real; and only that which can be conceived as being
in essence can truly exist, as with Paul epya are true, actual epya
only inasmuch as they are operations of tt/ot*?. Regarded from the
one standpoint epya have their absolute value in themselves; they are
for themselves the absolute, and the fact must be overlooked that
as material phenomena they are and must be finite and imperfect.
Regarded from the other standpoint, the epya appear as the parti-
cular, and bear a negative and inadequate relation to their own
essential conception. This negative character of the particular
must be constantly corrected by a reference to the unity of the
whole, namely to faith, the moral disposition which is the totality
of the particular actions. The contrast of the Jacobean and the
Pauline doctrine is thus not merely that of the Judaeo-Christian
and the opposite school of Christian thought : it is the contrast of
the empirical and the speculative. Paul rises in his doctrine of
faith from the empirical consciousness to the spiritual ; starting
from the position that works as the particular can only be finite,
inadequate, and negative, and that the consciousness of the ab-
solute, if there be such a thing, cannot reside in works themselves
but must be something beyond and above them, he rises to that
which is essential, and which works presuppose. This is faith ;
it is as a unity, as a totality, what works can only represent in a
finite, inadequate and negative way. Looking at the doctrine of
James from this point of view, we cannot but consider it a retro-
gression from that of PauL When James puts SiKaLowOai if
epycDv in place of the Pauline StKaiovaOai Ik irlcrreo)^, he ascribes
to works that absolute value which faith has with PauL The
reason why Paul denied hiKaiovaOav to epya was that there was
nothing absolute about them, and that they could only stand in
an inadequate relation to SixaiovaOac. Now what does James do
but vindicate for works that absolute character which, according to



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304 LIFE AND WORK OF PAUL. [App. IL

Paul, they cannot possibly have ? They could not have this ab-
solute character except in virtue of their unity with faith, and
thus the absoluteness of works would not belong to works but to
faith. This absoluteness of faith, however, is just what James
denies. He must therefore place the absoluteness which works
must have in their reference to ScKaiova-Oai in the works them-
selveis, regardless of the proof that has been given that works can-
not as such have any absolute vedua What is this but going
back to a position which Paul had already overcome ? The ab-
solute standpoint of Christian consciousness which Paul took up
in his doctrine of faith is degraded again to that of Judaeo- Christi-
anity, at whiqh a value is ascribed to works, which from their
very nature they cannot possibly have. The spiritued conscious-
ness of faith is made to retreat before the empirical consciousness
of works.

But though the account here given of the relations the two doc-
trines bear to each other be accepted as satisfactory, the further
question will remain, whether the Epistle of James is to be regarded
as an intentional denial of the Pauline doctrine. This question is
so important for the history of Paulinism that we feel bound to
devote some attention to it. Schneckenburger^ and Neander^ have,
as is well known, maintained that this is not the case. Neander
asserts that the proposition of James, which most scholars
seem constrained to regard as a denial of the Pauline doctrine
of justification, belongs to quite a diflferent province of religious
life from that doctrine, and is aimed at a tendency of .the Jewish
mind, at the dead faith of Jewish religiosity. " It is mere imagina-
tion," Neander says, " to suppose that James alludes to the expres-
sions and the illustrations of PauL And is this allusion, if such
it be, so very striking? Let it be remembered that the Pauline
phraseology arose out of Judaism, from the Judaeo-Hellenic use of
terms, — ^it was by no means made up of new expressions, but often
simply appropriated the old Jewish terms, employed them in new

^ Annot. ad Epist. Jac. 1832, p. 126 sq., Beitrage zur EinL in's N. T., p. 196 sq.
^ Planting and Training, i. 357 sq.



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App. IL] PAUL AND JAMES COMPARED. 305

combinations, applied them to new contrasts, and animated them
with a new spirit Thus neither the tenn SiKaiova-Oai in reference
to Gk)d, nor the term tt/ota?, was entirely new ; both of these ideas
had long been femiliar to the Jews. And the example of Abraham
as a hero of faith must have been obvious to every Jew," etc. All
this is very well known, and no one denies it ; but what does it
prdve with regard to the position to be assigned to the Epistle in
the history of the primitive Church ? With regard to this, the
only question we have to ask is, whether the onesided and perverted
religious position which James denotes with the formula Slkcu-
ovaOai €K irlarea)^ can be regarded as a phenomenon which stands
in any natural connexion with Judaism. And this question must
undoubtedly be answered in the negative. Abstract notional faith,
such as the term SiKaiov<r0ac ck irtoTeta^ may denote when used
in a bad sense, was never one of the leading errors of the Jewish
religion. It is true that faith is an important feature of the Jewish
religion, faith, that is, in the One true God, or the ytva><rK€tv Seoi/,
by which Judaism is distinguished from heathenism. This faith,
however, is an essentially practical thing ; it is essential to it that
the knowledge of God should always be accompanied by the worship
of God through all the religious actions which are prescribed in the
law. Judaism is no mere speculative monotheism : it is the religion
of the one true God who has revealed himself in the law ; and as
the law demands, according to the very conception of its nature, to
be observed and kept, so action in conformity with the law is the
very essence and the distinctive characteristic of the Jewish reli-
gion. Thus except where confusion arose from the invasion of
foreign elements, the main errors of the Jewish religion were not
errors of theory, but of practice ; the form of religious life was
determined by the law in its various aspects and demands. Now
it is certainly possible that the main error of a legal religion such
as Judaism may consist in the mere knowledge of the law being
regarded as the most important point. But the law being in its
very essence a thing to be practised,, knowledge thus divorced from
action cannot be considered a peculiar development of the legal

u



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306 LIFE AND fVORK OF PAUL. [App. II.

religion, but must be considered as simply irreligion. The dead
knowledge of the law and the empty learning of the Scribes which
Neander cites is not a form of religion, but an utter want of the
true religious life. Now, even though SiKaiovaOai Ik Trlarea)^ were
a mere onesided development of Judaism, there must yet be some-
thing in it that might possibly become the principle of a definite
direction of religious life. But no man could ever propound it as
a principle to be seriously accepted and acted on, that mere know-
ledge is all that is wanted in order to satisfy the law. Where
mere knowledge is made to take the place of action, it is not that
a theory to this effect has been advanced or accepted ; it is merely
that there is a deficiency of practical conduct. In no case, how-
ever, could this mere knowledge, knowledge for its own sake
and regardless of action, be rationally called irurreveiv ; knowledge
and faith are not the same, and it would be hard to see what was
meant by faith in such a connexion. The chief aberration of the
religious life of Judaism is not to be sought on the side of the
theoretical; but it is distinctly to be found on the side of the
practical. The danger to which a religion that insists on legal
obedience is most exposed is that action may be dissociated from
disposition, that an action which is merely external and consists
in the external performance of works may come to claim for
itself a real religious value. In this regard there is no more
notorious phenomenon in the whole history of religion than the
legal formalism, the work-holiness, the opvs operatvm of the Jewish
religion. Neander seeks, very naturally, to introduce the notion
of the opus operatum as an element in this discussion. He finds
the opus operatum, however, in such a faith in the one Jehovah
and the Messiah as leaves the disposition unaffected; a notion
entirely untenable, and, indeed, self-contradictory. An optLS
operatum, where such exists, cannot be an inward thing such as
faith : it must be something outward, some work or performance.
If then the SiKaiovadat ck 7r/<rr€(»9, which James condemns, be a
product of Judaism, it would more aptly be called BcKacovaOac cf
€f)ya}v. But there can be no doubt that the SiKaiov<T0cu €k iriaTe<o^



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App. II.] PAUL AND JAMES COMPABED. 307

which Paul condemns is an error chargeable to the Jewish cast
of religion. Thus we should have the curious fact that the Jewish
religion is charged with two opposite errors, SiKaiovadaL €k Trwrrea)?
and StKaiovadat cf epyayv, by two writers who, on the hypothesis,
are at one on the nature of the Christian hucatovadai. This is
somewhat difficult to grasp ; and it is equally difficult to see how,
after James had denied Si/caiovaOai €K irurrecoq, Paul on the other
hand came to deny ZiKaiovaOai ef epyayv. To suppose that the
denial of Sixatova-Oai €k irloTea)^ preceded that of SiKaiovadat e^
epyayv is manifestly a perversion of the natural and logical order of
aflfairs. The element of the Jewish religion, which must have
excited the most lively repugnance in the fully formed Christian
consciousness, aa it appeared for the first time in Paul, was
undoubtedly its empty confidence in outward works. From this
it was necessary to appeal to the inner disposition, — ^to faith. Then,
when the inward, or faith, had come to be regarded as the most
important point, the suspicion might very naturally arise, that too
much importance was ascribed to this part, and that action and
practice were in danger of being neglected. And it is obvious how
naturally this suspicion would arise in the form of a reaction
against the Pauline doctrine of justification by faith in the minds
of men whose whole history and habits of thought disposed them
to place the essence of religion in the practical, or in works,
that is to say, in the Judaeo- Christians who could scarcely be said
to have left Judaism behind them. It is 'only in this way that
Paul's denial of BcKaiovadat if epyayv, and James's denial of SiKac-
ovaOai €K iritrreay; can appear in that natural relation to each other,
which they must have held in the course of the advance from
Judaism to Christianity, Christian polemic on the subject of
SiKaoovadai can have found the object of its attacks nowhere but
in Judaism, as Neander cannot but allow. Now if the first object
of attack in this controversy were ScKaiovaOai ck Tr/oreft)?, then
(not to mention that Neander's rendering of it as an element of
Judaism is utterly capricious and unwarranted) we should have
this curious and unnatural state of affairs before us : that James



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308 LIFE AND WOBK OF PAUL. [App. IL

calls the Jewish BiKaiovaOai a iiKaLovadai Ik irlcrreay;, while Paul
uses this expression of the Christian way of justification ; and that
James calls the Christian SiKcuova-Oai a iiKatovadaL e^ cfyytov, the
expression by which Paul denotes the Jewish. In this way the
Jewish ScKaiovaOai would be the Christian, and the Christian the
Jewish ; the two writers would be writing of the same thing, but
in each of the two expressions that had to be employed on the sub-
ject, each writer would mean the opposite of what the other writer
meant. The two expressions would thus exchange meanings,
without a word of explanation being added, and although one of
the two writers must have had the other before him. So unnatural
a theory of the relation between James and Paul could only have
been invented to serve some purpose. The reason why it was
denied that the Epistle of James contained any reference to the
Pauline doctrine of justification was that this was the evidence
that had been used to prove its later origin or its spuriousness.
Thus in this case also personal considerations were placed above
considerations of fact and substance. One would have supposed
that there was a sufficient contrast between the author of this
Epistle, a writer so much at home in the Greek language and in
Greek modes of thought, and a genuine Palestinian Judaeo-Chris-
tian like James, as we know him especially from the description
of Hegesippus ; and that this would have been enough, had there
been no other evidence, to preclude the idea that the latter could
have been the writer.-^

1 As the Epistle uadoubtedly presupposes the development of the Pauline
doctrine, its date cannot be placed very early. The Pauline doctrine must have
become generally known, and its opposition to Judaeo-Christianity perceived,
before this Epistle was written. But it is not only the doctrine of the apostle
Paul that we see to have been in existence at the time ; we find allusions to his
Epistles, which leave little room for doubt that the author was acquainted with
them. Compare i 2 with Kom. v. 3 sq. ; L 18 with Rom. viiL 23 ; i 21 with
Rom. xiii. 12 ; i. 22 with Rom. ii. 13 ; il 21 with Gal. iii. 6, Rom. iv. 3 ; iv. 1
with Rom. vii. 23 ; iv. 4 with Rom. viii. 7 ; iv. 12 with Rom. ii. 1, xiv. 4. As
for the use made of the example of Abraham, this, as De Wette remarks, Theol.
Stud. u. Krit. 1830, p. 349, cannot be held to prove that James was referring to
Paul's Epistles to the Galatians and Romans. Paul and his followers may have
used the argument frequently in their oral discourses. Yet iji view of such a



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App. II.] PAUL AND JAMES COMPARED. 309

The doctrine of this Epistle, then, must be considered as intended
to correct that of PauL But we should not do justice to the Epistle
uor understand its doctrinal position if we judged that this
correction of the Pauline doctrine was the chief end for^ which
it was written. What is devoted to this subject is manifestly
only a part of the contents of the Epistle, which are in general
eminently practical, and consist chiefly of admonitions and in-
structions. The main characteristic of the Epistle is its practical
tendency, and this can only be understood from the Judaeo-Chris-
tian standpoint from which it is written. What we have here is
no longer the original harsh and rigid opposition of Judaism to
Christianity, as we meet it in the Epistles of our apostle ; the
opposition has softened down, the harsher demands of the law are
now departed from. There is nothing here to remind us of the
Judaeo-Christianity of James, a man whom we know from Gal ii

series of analogoos passages it beoomes more probable that there was such a
reference. A curious circumstance is the appeal made both in this Epistle and
in that to the Hebrews to the example of Rahab ; James ii 25, Heb. zi 31. De
Wette observes very truly : — " It is very improbable that the idea of quoting
Bahab as an instance of faith occurred to any other mind than that of the writer
to the Hebrews ; it is not faith that she is celebrated for in the Old Testament,
and her character is not above suspicion. The peculiar train of thought, however,
which that writer was pursuing led him to exalt her as a heroine of faith. It is
therefore extremely probable that James made use of this Epistle, and this very
obvious fact could scarcely be denied on the evidence that properly belongs to the
subject. The reason for refusing to accept it must be drawn from some foreign
motive, or must consist in mere prejudice. Let each man lay his hand upon his
heart, and ask himself whether, if the deductions to be made from this fact were
such as suited him, he could continue to deny it.'' Neander*s reply to this consists
in the question whether the allusions are so obvious after all. It is always
possible to put such questions, but they do not conceal the underlying subjective
interest and motive, which Neander indeed almost acknowledges, to make the
Epistle of James earlier than Paul. Every unprejudiced person mast see that an
Epistle which contains references to that to the Hebrews must be post-Pauline.
Compare De Wette's EinL in d. N. T., p. 310, where the true verdict on the
subject is given : — *' The signs of later composition which the Epistle itself contains
are abundantly sufficient to prove that it was not written by James the brother
of the Lord, but by a later author who assumed his name. The fiction of which
he availed himself, and of which moreover the unepistolary form of address is an
^ditional feature, was one not uncommon in antiquity. This view is not new
to the church, and it is only narrowness and timidity that will be startled at it
now-a-days.**



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310 LIFE AND WOBK OF PAUL. [App. II.

to have been impregnated with all the obstinacy of traditionary
Judaism, and to have been the uncompromising upholder of every
Jewish institution, even of circumcision. Christianity is indeed
regarded as a vofio^, but it is a i/o/io? which has cast off the
yoke of ceremonial Judaism ; all that the expression is meant to
convey is the idea of religion as moral action, as practical conduct.
It can never cease to be considered an essential element of religion
that it is a practical thing and must go forth in moral and religious
action or works : and this, the main substance of the religion of
the Old Testament, is asserted to belong to Christianity as well.
This suggests to us that though Christianity was at first identical
with Judaism in the eyes of the Judaeo-Christians, it had by the
time when this Epistle was written passed through a certain pro-
cess of development, and had thus reached a stage much later in
time than that of Gal. ii. And when the writer calls the law the
vdfjbo<: Tek6io<: t^9 eKevdepia^, we see plainly enough the influence
£hat Pauline Christianity had been exerting in this quarter. The
Judaeo-Christian writer of the Epistle has come to entertain the
idea of freedom, an idea which can have signified nothing but the
liberation of the consciousness from everything which appeared
from the Christian point of view to be the yoke of Jewish bond-
age : and it was the apostle Paul who first introduced this idea
into Christian thought. This standpoint, belonging as it did to the
more educated Christian consciousness, was one which James was
far from having made his own, for we must not form our estimate
of his position from the Paulinizing account of him given in the
Acts. Nor can any one who has conceived even a tolerably rational
view of the history possibly consent to regard that Judaeo-Chris-
tianity which had passed through the Pauline process of develop-
ment, and the original Judaeo-Christianity which rejected the
root-principle of Paulinism, as belonging to the same group or
epoch, or to disregard the wide gulf that lies between the two. It
is urged by Neander that the readers of the Epistle were none but
Judaeo-Christians and as such neither inclined nor able to attach
themselves to Paul or to assimilate the Pauline system. This may



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App. IL] PAUL AND JAMES COMPARED. 311

be so ; yet they are not by any means unaffected by the Pauline
view of the law : the great concession is an accomplished fact, that
Judaism is to dispense with several of its most important institu-
tions for the sake of the alliance with Christianity, The main
point is now to maintain Judaism on its spiritued side, as
the religion of practical conduct or moral action. Eegarded in this
wayHhe Epistle of James presents to us that form of Christianity
in which it was based upon Judaism indeed, but Judaism spiritual-
ized and released from its positive forms, and was conceived as
mainly a practical religiousness. Pauline Christianity devotes its
energies to the discovery of, and engrossment in, what is deepest in
the Christian consciousness ; it is aware of a certain tendency to
speculation ; it seeks to become a comprehensive theory, and to
grasp the contents of Christianity in the light of its absolute idea,
as represented in the person of Christ. It is not content with a
simple declaration of the forgiveness of sins as a Christian truth, it
seeks to explain how the fact is possible, and by what ways and
means it is brought home to the consciousness. It recognises and
asserts that the true essence of Christianity is found only in the
history and the person of Christ ; but it does not rest in this as a
fact declared ; it seeks to apprehend the person of Christ in its
highest, its absolute significance. The standpoint of the Epistle of
James is an entirely different one. Here the peculiar Pauline
ideas of the death of Christ and its atoning virtue, of the Holy
Spirit as the principle of Christian consciousness, and the subjective
appropriation of salvation, and of the person of Christ, are left out
of sight, not merely because they do not happen to come in the
writer's way (being however presupposed, as it is said), but because
they lie entirely outside of his sphere of vision. The higher
dignity of Christ is but barely hinted at in the expression Xpi<no^
T^9 So^9, ii. 1. This is the only passage in the Epistle where
Christ is named, so different is it in this respect from those of
Paul. N0/A09 and Kvpio^ are no more than mentioned, and the
latter in so indefinite a way that Kvpui<; may be understood of God
as well as of Christ. We see here what an Old Testament and



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312 LIFE AND WOBK OF PAUL. [App. II.

deistical thing, so to speak, Christianity would have become, if this
had been the only channel of its development. There is no living
impulse here to develop organically the specific Christian element
as it is contained in the idea of the person of Christ : what is
specifically Christian fades away into general religion, of which
the practical is the substantial element Christianity is indeed
the word of truth (L 18) ; not however as the eternal Logos, in
the absolute idea of whom the Christology of Paul finds its satis-
faction, but as the principle of a new moral creatiou and regenera-
tion, through which it is to operate practically in moral conduct
and action. As then Pauline Christianity, following up its theoreti-
cal tendency and going back to the inner principle of Christian con-
sciousness, reaches a point where it seems directly to conflict with
this mainly practical interest, it is inevitable that these two ten-



Online LibraryFerdinand Christian BaurPaul, the apostle of Jesus Christ: his life and work, his epistles ..., Volume 2 → online text (page 30 of 35)