Publisher's description: The letter of James has enjoyed a colorful history, with its background and significance widely debated over the centuries. In this book an outstanding scholar of the New Testament offers new and selected studies of James that show its roots in antiquity and its importance for Christian history and theology. Luke Timothy Johnson explores the letter of James from a variety of perspectives. After a general introduction to James, he looks at its history of interpretation. Johnson then examines James's social and historical situation, its place within Scripture, and its use of the sayings of Jesus. Several exegetical studies take care to place James in the context of Hellenistic moral discourse. Two concluding essays look at the themes of friendship and gender in James. While seemingly of interest only to professionals, Johnson's Brother of Jesus, Friend of God will also be accessible to general readers serious about Bible study, and church groups will find this volume to be a fruitful entry into an important portion of the New Testament.