The twelve tribes in the Diaspora (James 1.1)
Copyright © Cambridge University Press 2014. Dale Allison is right to assert that 'the twelve tribes in the Diaspora' invokes Jewish ideas about the Ten Lost Tribes, but wrong to disassociate this thesis from the scholarly consensus that the pseudepigraphal author sees the church as Israel. For James, rather, the restored Israel consists of members of the Two Tribes of Judah and Benjamin (= Jewish Christians) plus members of the Ten Tribes. The latter, rather than being far away in some mythical, inaccessible realm, have been living since the Assyrian invasion in known Diaspora realms, where they lost their Israelite identity until it was reawakened by their recent encounter with the Gospel. Gentiles who respond positively to the Christian message, then, are for James the Ten Lost Tribes.
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