Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Mark Taylor on the Structure of James (Part 3)

Here's my third post on M. Taylor's, A Text-Linguistic Investigation into the Discourse Structure of James. This post is basically a summary of the remainder of Taylor's analysis of the relationship between the major sections in James. Given the detailed nature of this part of Taylor's study, I've tried to trace his general argument and concentrate on highlighting how Taylor sees the author linking the various units of thought.

* Relationships Between Discourse Units in James

* Suggests that James 1:26–27 plays an important role in the development of James 2:1–13
i. the poor man is welcomed with inappropriate speech
ii. note the lack of mercy shown to the poor man
iii. the external standard of judgment described in James 2:1–13 exhibits the worldly influence warned against in James 1:27
* Suggests that James 2:14–26 is loosely connected to James 1:22–25 through the use of key-words such as “doer,” “work,” “faith,” and words in the tel- word group. Taylor also suggests that James 2:14–26 is closely related to James 2:1–13 through the use of various parallels (eg. “My brothers . . . faith” – 2:1, 14; kalws poieite, 2:8// kalws poieis, 2:19) (92)
* Suggests James 3:1–12 is linked to James 1 through their identical opening address (“my brothers”), key-words (eg. teleios, dunatos), and similar descriptions of the tongue (cf. 1:13–14, 26–27; 3:6, 8). Taylor also suggests James 3:1–12 is linked to James 2:1–13 and 2:14–26 in various ways, including their similar opening addresses, use of words in the tel– word group (cf. 2:22; 3:2); references to stumbling (cf. 2:10; 3:2)
* Regarding James 3:13–18, Taylor suggests that it is best viewed as a transitional section (as is James 4:11–12). He thus places a break in topic at 4:1 and describes this as the “emotional climax” of the entire composition (93)
* Regarding the relationship between James 4:1–10 and James 1, Taylor notes that the problems and vices described in 4:1–10 build upon “the author’s discussion of temptation, lust and the ultimate outcome of death described in 1.14–15 and the issue of proper vs. improper ‘asking’ raised in 1.5–7” (93–94). Taylor also notes that the term dipsuchoi occurs in 1:8 and 4:8. Finally, Taylor proposes that several key-words link James 4:1–10 with 3:1–18 (melesin – 3:6, 4:1; kakws/ kakos – 3:8, 4:3; meizon/ meizona – 3:1, 4:6)
* Taylor suggests that James 4:13–5:6 is linked to James 1 by means of their common warning regarding improper speech (1:13, 19, 26; 4:13–16). Taylor also suggests these texts are linked by the contrast between the promised “crown of life” in 1:12 and the author’s description of the precariousness of life in 4:14. Taylor admits that this is a tenuous connection but argues that “there may be intentional thematic ties with 1.9–11 and the emphasis upon the future destiny of the ‘rich’ who will pass away in their pursuits” (94–95). He also suggests these texts are linked by means of key-words (eg. hamartia – 1:15, 4:17; kauchasthw/ kauchasthe – 1:9, 4:16). Regarding the relationship between James 4:13–5:6, Taylor notes that both address conceited attitudes (esp. 4:6, 13–16). Taylor again notes that various key-words establish a link between James 4:13–5:6 and James 4:1–10 (kardias – 4:8, 5:5; phoneuw/ ephoneusate – 4:2, 5:6). Taylor also notes the presence of an inclusion at 4:6 and 5:6. Finally, he notes the presence of distant hook words at 4:9 and 5:1
i. palaipwrhsate / klausate (4:9)
ii. klausate / palaipwriais (5:1)
* Taylor suggests James 5:7–20 is linked to James 1 by means of the “endurance” motif (cf. 1:3, 4, 12; 5: 7, 11). He also notes the conceptual similarity between the “prayer of faith” in 5:15 and the “asking in faith” in 1:6. Taylor also proposes that “the concern for recapturing the brother who has wandered from the truth appropriately ends the letter and indicates what the author has been attempting to do for the readers throughout the composition” (96). He then suggests that James 5:19–20 and 1:16–21 are linked through such key-words as planaw, alhtheia, thanatos, and hamartia.

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