Re: James 2:18 WHo is the mysterious Mr. Tis?

From: Carl W. Conrad (
Date: Fri Apr 18 1997 - 07:42:25 EDT

At 4:17 AM -0500 4/18/97, Mike A Porter wrote:
>There is an old mystery I remember trying to figure out during my 2nd
>year greek a few years back. We had many debates theologically and
>grammatically, as to who is TIS referring to in James 2:18. We all
>agreed, for the sake of debate, to call him Mr. Tis.
>There are several theories out there as to who he is. My opinion is that
>many are not grammatically balanced. That is, they have seemingly solid
>grammatical arguments that eventually collapse.
>Some argue that ALLA must be a strong adversative, and therefore, negate
>TIS as an ally. Others soften ALLA to a rare confirmatory, and
>establish TIS as an ally. Still others offer an awkward use of "James
>meant this and recast TIS in his own words" .
>I seem to have landed on the TIS as ally, since, if ALLA can be softened,
>would do justice to the pronouns, TIS, and the wording of the verses.

Are all these same questions raised about 1 Cor 15:35 about some mysterious
Mr. Tis?


While I confess that I have not read what may be a voluminous literature on
this question, I would suggest that anyone who has read a bit of ancient
rhetoric will have seen ALLA EREI TIS more times than he/she can readily
count. It is the standard ploy of one who argues forcefully for any
proposition to answer in advance all expected hypothetical objections, and
ALLA EREI TIS is one common forumula for introducing the hypothetical
objection. Maybe I've read too much Cicero but I think I'd be rich if I had
a quarter for every "Quaeret quispiam ...", "Sed dicet aliquis ...",
"Attamen dicunt quidam ..." and such like phrases that I've seen over the
years. There's no need then to butt heads over whether James is referring
to Paul. He wouldn't need to go that far, even if Paul was in fact the
first to proclaim a doctrine that faith is what effects salvation. I have a
by-no-means hypothetical sister-in-law who honestly believes that a verbal
profession of faith without any serious commitment to transform a person's
existence toward faithful obedience to God's will is perfectly efficacious
to win a ticket of admission to the pearly gates, and I think James could
just as well have been predicting what she tells me. I have serious doubts
whether she's read enough of the Pauline letters to consider whether that's
really what he ever meant to imply. The last thing in the world I want to
get into is a theological discussion on the question of SOLA FIDE; my point
rather is that the rhetorical formula, ALLA EREI TIS, does not require at
all that one look for the hidden person that the formula's user has in mind.

Carl W. Conrad
Department of Classics, Washington University
One Brookings Drive, St. Louis, MO, USA 63130
(314) 935-4018 OR

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