The letter of James is not a haphazard collection of wisdom sayings, but a carefully assembled document with a unifying motif, according to Daniel K. Eng. By examining the structure and content of the epistle, he shows that James contains a coherent and consistent message of eschatological approval, that is, a favourable verdict at end-time judgment.
Eng establishes that James begins with a prologue (1:1-27), indicating the author’s concern for the hearers to receive eschatological approval. After that, Eng studies the document’s structure indicated by cohesive ties and bracketing, offering an informed outline for James 2–5.
With the outline in view, Eng shows how the content of each subsection refers to a favourable eschatological outcome. Discourse analysis plays a crucial role here, because the epistle’s author indicates the prominence of certain concepts through word order and dependent clauses.
Finally, Eng argues that James 1:12 serves as a thesis statement for the whole epistle, pointing the hearers to their route to a favourable end-time judgment. His resulting outline of James resembles a fish skeleton, with the unifying motif serving as a spine. Ultimately, this volume shows how the epistle’s structure and content alike point to its unifying theme: eschatological approval.
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