John Kloppenborg: James and Temptations from God

John S. Kloppenborg, “James 1:2-15 and Hellenistic Psychology,” Novum Testamentum 52 (2010), 66.

The claim that God is not the author of temptation is striking, since it so obviously conflicts with a string of assertions in Judaean literature to the opposite effect. Although James cites Job as an example of endurance under suffering, he dramatically parts company with the Job tradition, which attributes the ultimate agency in evil to God. As Dibelius observed, later wisdom literature sometimes took issue with the attribution to temptation to God, probably under the influence of Hellenistic philosophy. Sirach advises: “Do not say that I have left the right way because of God; for what he hates he will not do. Do not say that he caused me to go astray; for he has no need of a sinful man” (Sir 15:1112). The strongest statements, however, are found in such authors as Philo, who in Fug. 79 argues, ἐν ἡμι̑ν γὰρ αὐτοι̑ς, ὡς ἔφην, οἱ τω̑ ν κακω̑ ν εἰσι θησαυροί, παρὰ θεῷ δὲ οἱ μόνων ἀγαθω̑ν, “the treasuries of evils, as I have said, are in ourselves; with God there are good things only.”

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