Personal speech-ethics : a study of the Epistle of James against its background
The term "personal speech-ethics" sounds foreign to contemporary man. Not only is the term unfamiliar, but the concern which it describes is far removed from what people today associate with their endeavor to be ethical. Time and again during my course of study, upon announcing the title of my thesis I have been met with looks of bewilderment from academics and non-academics alike. I doubt this would have happened in the ancient Mediterranean world. People in that time understood that morality in speaking is intrinsic to the fabric of society, essential for friendship, vital for learning, and, indeed, plays a part in most beneficial aspects of human existence. It is hoped that this thesis will not only be beneficial academically, but also that it will motivate the reader-as the author of James and the authors of the ancient Mediterranean literature were trying to do for their readers-to speak truly, with integrity, with grace, with benefit to others, and with all honesty to God. Any work of this kind puts the author in debt to many people, not only for academic assistance but also for practical help and for personal support and friendship. In the first category, I would like to thank Professor Robin S. Barbour, Professor I. Howard Marshall, and Dr. Ruth Edwards of the Department of NT Exegesis in the Divinity Faculty at King's College, University of Aberdeen. In the second category, I would like to thank Teresa Clark, the Divinity secretary, and also the library personnel at the now closed King's College Library, especially the always cheerful and efficient Jennifer at the information desk. In the third category, I would like to thank my mother, friends at the Christian Church of Hoffman Estates (Illinois), friends at Bridge of Don Baptist Church (Aberdeen), and these in the Aberdeen postgraduate community: Rolando and Aida Aranzamendez, Doug and Donna Barranger, Hans and Susan Bayer, Barry and Kathy Blackburn, Craig and Fran Blomberg, Gary and Carol Burge, Danny and Linda Clymer, Dean Fleming, Conrad and Shanesse Gempf, Russ and Linda Glessner, Skip and Micky Heard, Pi Shun and Yun Li Kang, Henry and Lois Lazenby, Bob and Marilyn Lowery, Mike and Krystal Nola, Eckart and Barbara Schnabel, Gary and Karen Shogren, and Phil and Anne Towner. Finally, I would like to thank my wife, Joni, whose help is of all three types mentioned above and much, much, more. The thesis includes quotations from numerous kinds of literature. In order to keep some uniformity and to facilitate understanding, quotations from all background literature (including the NT) are in English. When relevant, discussion of Hebrew and Greek words occurs in footnotes. Normally, I rely on standard translations. In some instances no standard translation exists, and then I use whatever is available. In using English translations, I often smooth out the language--especially if archaic language is employed--and sometimes supply my own translation based on the original language. Notation of translations employed for each kind of background literature and the mechanical peculiarities involved in citing some of them are detailed in the "Specialized Introduction." Exegesis of James, of course, is conducted in Greek. It may be helpful to note here as well that standard lexicons used when supplying meanings of words are: for Hebrew, Francis Brown, S. R. Driver, Charles A. Briggs, A Hebrew and English Lexicon of the Old Testament and William L. Holladay, A Concise Hebrew and Aramaic Lexicon of the Old Testament, which is based upon the lexical work of Ludwig Koehler and Walter Baumgartner; for Hellenistic Greek, H. G. Liddell and R. Scott, A Greek-English Lexicon, ninth ed., edited by Henry Stuart Jones and Roderick McKenzie; for NT Greek, W. Bauer, A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and other Early Christian Literature, translated and edited by W. F. Arndt and F. W. Gingrich. The NT Greek text used is the United Bible Society's Third Edition.