Ever since the time of the Reformation the Epistle of
James has been a standing Rätsel to New Testament scholars.
Luther's objections, of course, were based on the supposed
conflict between James' doctrine of justification and that of
St. Paul. This is the most widely known problem in the Epistle,
but it is not the only one. There is no other book of
the New Testament which presents more unsolved problems: Is
it an epistle at all? If it is, it certainly is a very peculiar one. Who is the James who claims to be the author? Why
was it so late to be included in the official lists of the
canonical books? To whom is it addressed, i.e., who are meant
by the "twelve tribes in the dispersion"? At whet juncture in
the history of the early church was it written? Why are so
many seemingly unrelated subjects dealt with? "What a chaos!"
wrote Luther in the margin of his personal copy. Ever since
de Wette's time New Testament scholars have wrestled with these
problems but no unanimity has been achieved. It is the purpose
of this dissertation to re-examine the evidence and attempt to
unravel the persistent problems of the "right strawy Epistle."