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Review of Biblical Literature Blog

James in Postcolonial Perspective: The Letter as Nativist Discourse
Coker, K. Jason

Minneapolis: Fortress, 2015 pp. ix + 315. $44.00

Description: James confronts the exploitive wealthy; it also opposes Pauline hybridity. K. Jason Coker argues that postcolonial theory and the theoretical perspectives of Aimé Césaire, Frantz Fanon, and Ngugi wa Thiong’o allow us to understand how these themes converge in the letter. The emphasis in James, which Coker argues is a genuine, early letter from Jerusalem, upon purity and moral perfection functions as nativist discourse that constructs a pious identity by simultaneously opposing the exploitation of the Roman Empire and a peculiar Pauline form of hybridity that compromises with it. James refutes Roman cultural practices such as the patronage system and economic practices that threaten the identity of the letter’s recipients. At the same time, James condemns those who would transgress the boundaries between purity and impurity, God and “world,” as “whores,” “sinners,” and “two-faced.”

Subjects: Bible, New Testament, Hebrews and Catholic Epistles, James, Literature, Methods, Ideological Critique, Postcolonial Approaches

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Review by Darian R. Lockett
Published 8/23/2018
Citation: Darian R. Lockett, review of K. Jason Coker, James in Postcolonial Perspective: The Letter as Nativist Discourse, Review of Biblical Literature [] (2018).

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