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    Appeal to Abraham and Paul's relationship to James 2:18-24

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    (1) How does the appeal to Abraham work?
    (2) What type of argument is this and if there is any logic to this argument, how does it proceed?
    (3) How does this appeal if there is one fit into the immediate context or even into the large context of the book of James.
    (4) Why is James making this argument anyway could the people the letter is written to cause this or prompt this argument.
    (5) How does this appeal to Abraham compare to Paul's appeals to the patriarch in Romans 4: and Gal 3-4? Do they have any commonalities,or differences?
    (6) Is the argument of James one that Paul would have approve why or why not?

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    I will answer your questions in the following progressive order:

    2 & 3) We are dealing with a rhetorical argument that confronts the interaction between faith and works/good deeds. All his arguments are now explained by the fact that the hearers of the word (those who have faith) should be doers (those who do good deeds) of the word (1:22-25; cf. 4:11). He uses the Greco-Roman diatribe creating an imaginative example which illustrates the terrible results of indifference to good works in the name of faith. In doing this, he portrays three types of faith: faith without works, devilish faith and faith with works. His conclusion is that the third one is the right one.

    1, 5 & 6) Actually because the passage speaks about faith and "to justify", and some argued that James stands in contrast to Paul (Rm 4:1-3). For Paul, salvation meant the state of a sinner who passes from death to life thanks to the salvation operated gratis by Jesus. A state of passage from a non-relationship to a relationship with God through Christ. James on the hand was trying to explain how one can show his faith within a community. If your work speak against you, you can't assume you have faith, because it is only through your deeds that one can surely see that you believe (Hartin, P.J. James, 2003:153-155).
    The progenitor of Israel came as a support for the thesis since he lived an exemplary life. He was not justified by faith alone but by his deeds especially because he sacrificed his beloved son, Isaac on the altar (Philo). For Jews Abraham was a hero of faith. It was his strong faith that made him sacrifice Isaac. The use that James made of him is more like that of Jewish tradition than Paul (cf. Sir 44:19-21; 1 Macc 2:52; Jubilees [an apocryphal writing] 19:9).
    Scholars have debated much on this apparent contrast between Paul's view and that of James (Rom 3:28-4; Gal 2:16 vs. Jam 2:17-24). Quoting the same person (Abraham) as an example for two opposite affirmations made matters worse (Rom 4:3 vs. Jam 2:23). There is no criticism of Paul's message here, though the writer appears to contradict Paul. The different points of view in James and Paul (Gal 3-4; Rom 3-4) are not actually contradictory, neither are they irreconcilable. Paul refuses the salvific values of works (of the mosaic law) while James refuses the insufficiency of faith without works (not about mosaic law). Paul was trying to explain that there is nothing like self-made salvation/sanctity which will be a contradiction when the sinful humanity is taken into consideration (Rom 1:18-3:20; Gal 3:22). But Paul does not deny that believers should make known their faith by loving which is also obeying the ...

    Solution Summary

    This solution deals with the problem of James appeal to Abraham in supporting his argument on faith. Paul made the same appeal to Abraham while making his own argument in the Letter to the Romans. Now, both arguments seem to be in contrast with each other. How can they be reconciled? on the contrary, are they in opposition with each other?