The Importance of James the Just

Painting of Jesus, James and Peter.
Painting of Jesus, James and Peter.
Jesus, James and Peter

The above painting is by an unknown artist who was apparently influenced by Cimabue (1240-1302), the great Italian painter of Florence. It is a painting with Jesus in the center, flanked by Peter and James, the biological brother of Jesus.

“Notice how James is almost a “twin” of Jesus, both in expression, hair style, clothing, and general demeanor, whereas Peter is clearly “odd man out” in terms of the way he is portrayed. He even seems to be scowling over at James, perhaps jealous of his status and closeness to Jesus. This negative caricature of Peter is also found, as I have recently noted, in the Gospel of Mary Magdalene, see here, in which Peter is jealous of the intimacy and wisdom Mary apparently received from Jesus that seemed to put her above the traditional leaders among the Twelve Apostles. One has to wonder what this unknown artist knew or thought he knew about the complexities of early Christian leadership and any possible rivalry between Peter who is associated more with Rome and the West, and James the Brother of Jesus who receives great emphasis in the East–particularly among the Armenian Christians.” – Professor James D. Tabor, UNC Charlotte.

See Professor Tabor’s blog post about this painting here!

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