Purity and Worldview in the Epistle of James
Purity and Worldview in the Epistle of James

Purity and Worldview in the Epistle of James

by Darian R. Lockett

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Pages 221 pages
Publisher T&T Clark
Published 2008
ISBN-13 9780567033116


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Darian Lockett’s study discusses the role of purity language in the Epistle of James and traces the connection between that language and the highly visible theme of perfection in that epistle. The presence of such a connection makes purity language a controlling idiom in the epistle’s rhetoric. The book consists of six chapters: (1) an introduction to purity language in James; (2) an overview of theories about purity laws in Jewish texts; (3) an outline of the proposed approach to the text; (4) a close reading of all the occurrences of purity language in James; (5) a synthesis of James’s discussion of purity and how it relates to the letter’s “cultural stance”; and (6) a concluding summary. It contains an index of passages cited and an index of modern authors. Lockett’s study rides on the confluence of two swelling tides: the study of the idea of purity; and the study of James in literary perspective. The merits of the book, however, far exceed its ability to capitalize on these trends in scholarship. Lockett does not allow the current state of research to determine all his options or to push him into a predetermined set of interests. (If anything, there is too little use of older [esp. pre-Neusner] research. Perhaps Lockett ignored older scholarship because of its inattention to those aspects of purity that interest him, but he does not say this. [Full Review]