Is this James, the “brother of the Lord”? He is barely mentioned in the Gospel (Mk 6:3), and yet, a few years after Pentecost, appears as the leader, we might say the bishop of the Jerusalem community. Then, when the Gospel spread, it seems he was viewed as the one responsible for all Christian communities having a majority of Jews, which were established in Palestine, Syria and Cilicia (see Acts 15:13-29).
Of all the apostles, he was the most attached to Jewish traditions (the extreme opposite of Paul). In speaking to the faithful in Jerusalem, he taught them simple, practical things, inspired by the wisdom of the Old Testament. We hear the echo of his Sunday preaching in this letter addressed to the Christians of Jewish origin living in his huge diocese.
They are called “the twelve tribes scattered among the nations,” a name which was given to Jews who had settled outside their homeland. The letter was probably written between the years 50 and 60 after Christ.
Since the letter does not contain much doctrinal teaching, some people have looked down on it. It does in fact contain very valuable and relevant moral teaching, especially in reference to justice.