James – an epistle of straw?

The Protestant reformer Martin Luther called the Letter of James an “epistle of straw.” While some claim he wanted to remove it completely from the Canon of New Testament scripture, that likely claims too much.  What is clear is that he held less importance than other NT books. He relegated James, as well as Hebrews, Jude, and Revelation to a second tier status. Why? Luther wrote: “Though this epistle of St. James was rejected by the ancients, I praise it and consider it a good book, because it sets up no doctrines of men but vigorously promulgates the law of God.” Luther never offers substantive proof of his rejection claim and in any case relies on two “ancients” (Origen and Eusebius) who don’t actually reject James but think of them as of lesser importance. A thought not shared among the whole of the patristic saints. Continue reading