Back to James

I have two — well, make that four or five — big assignments looming, one of which returns me to the Epistle of James to spruce up and flesh out the commentary on which I’ve been working. Last summer, I mentioned the oddity that English translations render the putative author’s name “James” rather than the more apposite “Jacob”; Now that I’m at home with my commentaries, I observe that few scholars do more than note that “James” stands in for the Greek form (actually, one of two attested Greek forms) — much less reflect on the appropriateness of rendering that name as “James.” The problem wouldn’t arise, of course, in a German context where both the apostle and the patriarch are identified as “Jakobus.” Is the solution to the mystery as simple as the power of custom (in English) reinforced by conformity to German-language standards?

2 comments / Add your comment below

  1. I’m glad at least someone is working on this problem, but I would think the only solution of any effectiveness would be correction of the name over a very long period of time, due to the fact that its been translated as “James” into English for over 400 years (dunno when that started, but I’m pretty sure it was before the AV in 1611).

    Of course, to make any headway, you’ll have to convince Bible translators and publishers as well. Good luck with that 🙂 If you need my help, I’d b happy to go to Zondervan or T Nelson and give some dirty looks to the appropriate people.

  2. I too am glad that you are working on this problem. Who better? I am not necessarily or usually a purest, or I haven’t been in previous years, but when it comes to the Bible, I think the more accurate the translation the greater the opportunity to correctly interpret the message.

    Based on your posts, the translation to James seems to lose some meaning. To the novice Christian, this news may be somewhat unsettling.

    What words would you have for them?

    Thank you for your blog.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *