Genre, Composition and Hermeneutics of J
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James reflects both features of Hellenistic paraenesis and wisdom instruction, but its contents owe more to the latter. The work can be seen as a ‘counter cultural’ wisdom instruction containing various aphorisms, aiming to challenge the hearers’ world-view and to reorient them to the values acceptable to God.
The concern of perfection comes at the prologue and the epilogue, which forms the framework from which James is to be understood. The units 2:8-13, 3:13-18 and 4:11-12, which link the seemingly unrelated adjacent sections together, reflect similar arguments.
The perfect law of liberty and the wisdom from above, and ultimately God the Lawgiver and the Judge, are the yardsticks by which one’s speech and actions have to be measured and judged (1:19-25). The preeminent concern of our author is the importance of the perfect law with its fulfillment bringing about perfection, freeing one from the power of evil desire.