Remembering Jesus in James, Peter, Jude : the function of Jesus traditions in epistolary argumentation

  • Benjamin Castaneda

Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis (PhD)


In this thesis I examine how Jesus is remembered in the epistles of James, 1–2 Peter, and Jude. Working along reception-historical lines and drawing on insights from social memory theory, I investigate how the authors serve as tradents and interpreters of Jesus’s words and works. This study particularly focuses on the question of function: what do the authors do with Jesus traditions (JT), and how does using JT further the authors’ rhetorical goals? I demonstrate that each text reformulates JT in service of a variety of theological, polemical, and pastoral goals. In James, the author uses JT to portray Jesus implicitly as the messianic king whose interpretation of the Mosaic Torah constitutes the recipient communities as the first fruits of the eschatologically renewed Israel. JT is further used in James to portray Jesus as the coming eschatological judge. In 1 Peter, Jesus’s teaching and example function as a grammar for the Christian life and are repeatedly used to reorient the recipients to their new identity in union with Christ. In 2 Peter and Jude, the authors draw on JT to undermine the appeal of the false teachers and their eschatological skepticism, and to support the apostolic interpretation of the Jewish scriptures regarding the parousia of Jesus. Finally, throughout this thesis I demonstrate that JT also serve a hermeneutical function, being used repeatedly by the authors as an interpretive lens through which Jewish scriptural traditions are re-read.
Date of Award16 Jun 2023
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • University of St Andrews
SupervisorT.J. Lang (Supervisor)


  • Catholic Epistles
  • Jesus traditions
  • Social memory
  • Reception history
  • James
  • 1 Peter
  • 2 Peter
  • Jude

Access Status

  • Full text embargoed until
  • 12 January 2028

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