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orion Eisenman's James, Part 3



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A LAYMANíS REVIEW OF EISENMANíS "JAMES"
Continued

 I also see Eisenmanís speculations over the identifications of the
various Jamesís,
Judasís, Theudas, Cleophas, Cephas, Simons, etc. hanging on very thin or
absent evidentiary
lines calling on similarities of metaphorical imagery.  Having said
this, however, I do not agree
with the opinion that this book is not worth reading.  The book does, in
my opinion, begin a
process that I believe is long overdue in NT scholarship, namely the
"search for the historical
James."  Such an enterprise can be very valuable to the "search for the
historical Jesus."

 Where I agree with Eisenman is that there was a deliberate effort by
Hellenic
Christian historians such as Eusebius and Origen to surgically remove
James and his company,
the disciples and family/siblings, from the record as embarrassments to
developing dogmas
in Hellenic Christianity such as "perpetual virginity" and the trinity.
I also agree with
Eisenman that the relationship between James and the Yeshuines and Paul
may not have
been as "chummy" as Acts alludes.

 Where does this place the DSS and the "people of the DSS" in
relationship to the
"Yeshuine Jews" which purportedly included James?

 This does not mean that there could have been no relationship between
James and
company and the DSS "people."  They shared self-descriptive terminology
and phrases
and even seem to have lived in close quarters together.  The
pre-Christian-gospel writings
of both groups would have been indistinguishable from each other.  Any
connection between
the two would be best determined by focussing on the wisdom and
testimentiary texts of the DSS
that both groups would have held dear, not attempting to see Matthew,
Mark, Luke or John
in clearly anachronistic scraps of the few Greek fragments.

 Although I remove myself from Eisenmanís perception of James as the
"Teacher
of Righteousness," an unidentified figure probably of Maccabaean times,
I do not discount
the possibility, given the intense focus of the DSS people on prophecy,
that IF there was
a close association between the DSS people and the "Yeshuines,"  James
and Paul could
have been considered a "here we go again" scenario under another
"kittim" (the Romans)
rather than the Greeks of former times.  It is this sense of deja vu
between the Hasmonean
times of the scrollsí composition and the Herodian times of Eisenmanís
James that should
be considered.

 The value of Eisenmanís book lies in his exegesis of the canonical and
extra-
canonical works, i.e. the Pseodoclementines, in a search for the
historical James.  To this end,
I find the book and itís background material useful, particularly in
that it may stimulate a more
intense scholarly effort in this direction.  Like myself, there are many
that are fascinated by the
figure of Yaíakov (bar Yosef?) ha Tsadik and his role as the successor
and heir to his older
brotherís messianic movement, a role apparantly obscured by Roman
Christianity with its
legendary, and perhaps mythological, obsession with Simon/Peter/Cephas
as the first "pope."
Eisenmanís book offers us much in helping to rescue James from that
ecclesiastically imposed
obscurity.

 A book is very much like a meal, merely two forms of consumption.  We
nibble
on the introduction/appetizer; consume the main course/entree; select
from the background
material/side dishes; and taste the dessert/conclusions.  Like any meal,
we do not have to eat
anything distasteful to us individually.  Eisenmanís "James" gives us
plenty to satisfy our
hunger without swallowing everything.  The most important part of this
meal is the
background material.  In any form of scholarship, it is not enough to
disagree with a
position but to go to the background sources and know WHY we disagree.
To a layman
such as myself, not tied to the rigorous schedules of professorial
duties, wading through
the thousand pages of the book and hundreds of pages of cited background
works was an
enjoyable and learning experience...and thatís what it is supposed to be
about.  Perhaps an
"expert" has no more need of learning, in which case, I remain the
perpetual lay student.
 Speaking only as a layman and for laymen, I conclude:

ITíS WORTH READING!

Jack Kilmon
Houston, Texas
jpman@accesscomm.net