Andrew M. Bowden, «The Fruit of Righteousness in James: A Study in Discourse Analysis.», Vol. 26 (2013) 87-108
In this study, a discourse analysis of James is conducted with the goal of better understanding the structure, theme, and cohesion of the letter. By paying careful attention to the details of the text, James’ paragraphs are identified, as are the signals of transition between the various paragraphs. The conclusions reached based on a discourse analysis of James are illuminating. Far from being a randomly arranged work, James repeatedly uses present prohibitory imperatives in the overall organization of the Epistle. These imperatives are important in marking transitions between main sections. Furthermore, a discourse analysis reveals that James is a coherent epistle comprised of 16 paragraphs, with 3,13-18 providing the overarching macrostructure of the letter. Bearing the fruit of righteousness, a theme prominent in 3,13-18, is seen to be the letter’s overarching and unifying thought.
92 Andrew M. Bowden
is saying and how his message is arranged into sections and paragraphs.
As has already been mentioned, the body opening is clearly marked by
the first imperative of the letter, and continues to v. 27. We must now
turn our attention to 1,2-27 (the body-introduction) and ask, What are
the individual paragraphs, and which, if any, is prominent?
22.214.171.124 Temptations Reveal Believers’ Lack and Bring about Maturity
These verses are marked as a paragraph by three features: (1) The
inclusio between v. 2 and v. 12. In v. 2, James states χαρὰν … πειρασμοῖς
… ὑπομονήν, while a similar expression is found in v. 12, μακάριος …
ὑπομένει … πειρασμόν22. (2) Beyond this simple inclusio, it is crucial
that v. 2 is in the imperative and v. 12 in the indicative. By making an
indicative statement at the end of a long hortatory section, the paragraph
is rounded out and given a sense of completion. (3) The unity of the
paragraph is clear by the repetition of δέ followed by third person singular
imperatives, as is seen in the following:
v. 4 ἡ δὲ ὑπομονὴ ἔργον τέλειον ἐχέτω …
v. 5 Εἰ δέ … αἰτείτω …
v. 6 αἰτείτω δὲ ἐν πίστει …
v. 9 Καυχάσθω δὲ ὁ ἀδελφὸς …
Each of these functions semantically at the same level, developing the
original imperative related to joy in temptation23. In this case, James is
not using δέ in a contrastive sense, but rather as a means of both linking
sentences together under the main proposition and then adding further
information24. Thus, to summarize the thought of this first introductory
subunit, temptations25 are occasions for joy amongst believers because
Taylor (James, 103) and Penner (Eschatology, 145-46) argue for the presence of a
chiasm in 1,2-12. Crotty (“Literary Structure”, 47) and Francis (“Form and Function”)
understand πειρασμοῖς as a linking catchword. See also Taylor’s analysis of the inclusios in
James (James, 59-71).
Cf. F. Mußner, Der Jakobusbrief (Freiberg 1981) 91; C.B. Amphoux, “L’Emploi du
Coordonnant dans l’Épître de Jacques”, Bib 63 (1982) 90-101. Ampoux notes that in James,
δέ is sometimes equivalent with καί (p. 94) and often signifies a logical progression in the
discourse, as in 1,5-11.
Cheung provides an excellent discussion of James’ use of δέ and καί (Genre, 66).
Cheung notes that a preference for δέ over καί is a stylistic feature of James. In fact, δέ
is used 37 times in James, with at least seven of these uses being the continuative sense.
Furthermore, Cheung notes that δέ itself has no essential notion of antithesis or contrast,
but often simply denotes something new.
On the translation “temptation,” see my forthcoming article “Count What All Joy?
The Translation of πειρασμός in James 1,2 and 12” in The Bible Translator.