Re: GENESIS in James 3:6

From: Jim West (
Date: Wed May 20 1998 - 15:30:14 EDT

At 07:42 PM 5/20/98 +0000, you wrote:
>The discussion of GENESIS in James 1.23 has reminded me of something
>that's been nagging away quietly in the back of my mind for a couple
>of years now - can anyone suggest how to translate TON TROCON THS
>GENESEWS in James 3.6?.

Hort called this the hardest passage of the Bible. The noun trocon
originally meant 'wheel'. I would suggest that something like "the wheel of
life" or "the circle of life" or even "the cylce of life from birth to
death". I.E., the tongue wreaks havoc from the beginning of our lives to
the end.

> I have read a perfectly serious suggestion
>that it may suggest the influence of the Buddhist theory of dependent
>origination (which condemns all beings to an endless round of
>suffering until they realise the true nature of their predicament).

Such dependence by James on Buddhism is impossible to prove (and the most
unlikely suggestion ever made).

> as
>well as some much less well-informed ones that it proves that the
>early Christians believed in reincarnation!

Not at all. There is no evidence that the early church believed that!

>Common sense says firmly
>that James was really not very likely to have been influenced by ideas
>from the Indian subcontinent, but it seems an odd expression in the
>context and for someone with a lot of inter-faith contacts it is all
>too tempting to speculate. Can anyone put me out of my misery?

I think if you take the passage at face value and accept "circle of life"
while understanding the context (as I have sorted it out above) you will
have the great fortune of not only being right (as I always am): but you
will live totally without misery!!!!!!! :)

>Margaret Wilkins

Best, with all good humor.


Jim West, ThD
Quartz Hill School of Theology

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