James the brother of Jesus

After the crucifixion of Jesus, James, who is traditionally identified as the brother of Jesus, became a prominent leader in the early Christian movement in Jerusalem.

James continued to participate in the Jewish Temple and observed Jewish laws and customs. He is described in the New Testament and other early Christian writings as being very devout and zealous for the Jewish law.

It’s important to note that the early followers of Jesus saw themselves as Jews who believed that Jesus was the Messiah. They continued to participate in Jewish religious practices while also following the teachings of Jesus. The complete separation between Christianity and Judaism took several centuries to develop.

Was the Jerusalem church of James different than the sacrificial cult of the Jewish Temple?

The Jerusalem church led by James and the sacrificial cult of the Jewish Temple were distinct in their practices and beliefs, although they shared some common roots.

The Jerusalem church, under the leadership of James, was a community of Jewish followers of Jesus who believed that he was the Messiah. They continued to observe Jewish laws and customs but also incorporated the teachings of Jesus into their faith. Their worship centered on Jesus as the risen Lord and the fulfillment of Jewish prophecies.

On the other hand, the sacrificial cult of the Jewish Temple was centered around the rituals and sacrifices prescribed by the Mosaic Law. This included animal sacrifices, offerings, and other ceremonies performed by the priests in the Temple.

While James and the Jerusalem church continued to participate in Jewish religious practices, they placed greater emphasis on the teachings of Jesus and the new covenant he established. The Temple cult, however, did not recognize Jesus as the Messiah and continued to operate under the traditional Jewish sacrificial system.

Over time, as the early Christian movement spread and developed its own distinct identity, the practices and beliefs of the Jerusalem church and the Jewish Temple became increasingly divergent.

Can it be said that the Jerusalem Church of James was against the animal sacrifices of the Jewish Temple?

The New Testament and early Christian writings do not explicitly state that the Jerusalem church, led by James, show there are indications that the early Jewish followers of Jesus, including James and the Jerusalem church, placed greater emphasis on the teachings of Jesus and the new covenant he established, which they believed fulfilled and superseded the old covenant.

Some scholars argue that as the early Christian movement developed, there was a shift away from the emphasis on Temple sacrifices. The Book of Hebrews in the New Testament, for example, presents Jesus as the ultimate high priest and his sacrifice on the cross as the final and perfect sacrifice, making the Temple sacrifices obsolete.

James and the Jerusalem church continued to participate in Jewish religious practices, including Temple worship, while also incorporating the teachings of Jesus. It’s possible that they viewed the Temple sacrifices in a new light in light of their belief in Jesus as the Messiah and his sacrificial death.

James and the Ebionites

James is often associated with the Ebionites, a Jewish Christian sect that rejected the divinity of Jesus and adhered to Jewish law, including the rejection of the sacrificial system of the Temple.

The Ebionites believed that Jesus was the Messiah but considered him to be a human prophet rather than divine. They maintained strict adherence to the Mosaic Law and rejected the Apostle Paul’s teachings, emphasizing instead the importance of Jewish practices and the teachings of Jesus.

Given this context, it is plausible to say that the Ebionites, including those led by James, were against the animal sacrifices of the Jewish Temple. They likely viewed these sacrifices as no longer necessary or valid in light of their understanding of Jesus’ teachings and his role as the Messiah.

For further reading and research on this topic read the book “James the Brother of Jesus” by Professor Robert Eisenman.

Here’s some reviews of the book :


“A passionate quest for the historical James refigures Christian origins, … can be enjoyed as a thrilling essay in historical detection.” —The Guardian

James was a vegetarian, wore only linen clothing, bathed daily at dawn in cold water, and was a life-long Nazirite. In this profound and provocative work of scholarly detection, eminent biblical scholar Robert Eisenman introduces a startling theory about the identity of James—the brother of Jesus, who was almost entirely marginalized in the New Testament.Drawing on long-overlooked early Church texts and the Dead Sea Scrolls, Eisenman reveals in this groundbreaking exploration that James, not Peter, was the real successor to the movement we now call “Christianity.” In an argument with enormous implications, Eisenman identifies Paul as deeply compromised by Roman contacts. James is presented as not simply the leader of Christianity of his day, but the popular Jewish leader of his time, whose death triggered the Uprising against Rome—a fact that creative rewriting of early Church documents has obscured.
Eisenman reveals that characters such as “Judas Iscariot” and “the Apostle James” did not exist as such. In delineating the deliberate falsifications in New Testament dcouments, Eisenman shows how—as James was written out—anti-Semitism was written in. By rescuing James from the oblivion into which he was cast, the final conclusion of James the Brother of Jesus is, in the words of The Jerusalem Post, “apocalyptic” —who and whatever James was, so was Jesus.

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