The Epistle of James, the Letter of James, or simply James, is a General epistle and one of the 21 epistles (didactic letters) in the New Testament.
The author identifies himself as "James, a servant (or slave) of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ" who is writing to "the twelve tribes scattered abroad". The epistle is traditionally attributed to James the brother of Jesus (James the Just), and the audience is generally considered to be Jewish Christians, who were dispersed outside Israel.
Framing his letter within an overall theme of patient perseverance during trials and temptations, James writes in order to encourage his readers to live consistently with what they have learned in Christ. He wants his readers to mature in their faith in Christ by living what they say they believe. He condemns various sins, including pride, hypocrisy, favouritism, and slander. He encourages and implores believers to humbly live by godly, rather than worldly wisdom and to pray in all situations.
For the most part, until the late 20th century, the epistle of James was relegated to benign disregard - though it was shunned by many early theologians and scholars due to its advocacy of Torah observance and good works. Famously, Luther considered the epistle to be among the disputed books, and sidelined it to an appendix.
The epistle aims to reach a wide Jewish audience. During the last decades, the epistle of James has attracted increasing scholarly interest due to a surge in the quest for the historical James, his role within the Jesus movement, his beliefs, and his relationships and views. This James revival is also associated with an increasing level of awareness of the Jewish grounding of both the epistle and the early Jesus movement.