James 1:14

New Testament

13 Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am tempted by God,” for God cannot be tempted by evil, and he himself tempts no one. 14 But each one is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desires. 15 Then when desire conceives, it gives birth to sin, and when sin is full grown, it gives birth to death. 16 Do not be led astray, my dear brothers and sisters. 17 All generous giving and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or the slightest hint of change. 18 By his sovereign plan he gave us birth through the message of truth, that we would be a kind of firstfruits of all he created.

Sukkah 52b

Babylonian Talmud

Rava said: Initially, the verse called the evil inclination a traveler coming from afar. Subsequently, the verse calls it a guest, as one welcomes it. Ultimately, the verse calls it man, indicating significance, as it became the homeowner. As it is stated in the parable of the poor man’s lamb that Nathan the prophet said to David: “And there came a traveler to the rich man, and he was reluctant to take of his own flock and of his own herd, to prepare for the guest” (II Samuel 12:4). And it is written in the same verse: “And he took the poor man’s lamb, and prepared it for the man that was come to him.” In other words, the evil inclination that began as a traveler gradually rose in prominence.

 Notes and References

"... All this accumulative evidence of James’ acquaintance with a Platonic discourse demonstrates that, like Philo, James partook in Jewish and Greek discourses at the same time. It is no wonder then that, if James were familiar with the Jewish concept of the two yeṣarim, he transferred this notion not into the Greek terminology of double-heartedness (διπλοκαρδία), but into that of double-mindedness (διψυχία). A Jewish anthropology of two yeṣarim proved compatible with the Greek reflections on a divided self. Particular Jewish and Greek anthropological traditions turn out to be far from incompatible, and the frequent claims of a fundamental opposition between Jewish anthropological holism versus Greek anthropological dualism seem unjustified. Finally, a note on what this dichotomic doctrine of two inclinations (yeṣarim) or a double-minded (δίψυχος) human condition means for the question of the extent of the sinfulness of the human condition. In the description of the theme of the conference out of which this book emerged it was stated that in rabbinic thought the explanation of the existence of sin in the world by the existence of an Evil Inclination implies that “nobody is sinful by nature, but all are led to sin by the Evil Inclination” (emphasis mine). This implication also holds true for the anthropology of double-mindedness that characterizes the Letter of James, as James is very careful not to identify the double-minded (δίψυχος) human condition with sin as such. As he explains, human beings only sin when they actively give way to their desire by allowing it to conceive: “one is tempted by one’s own desire, being lured and enticed by it; then, when that desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin, and that sin, when it is fully grown, gives birth to death” (James 1:14–15) ..."

van Kooten, George "The 'Two Inclinations' and the Double-Minded Human Condition in the Letter of James" in Patmore, Hector M., et al. (eds.) The Evil Inclination in Early Judaism and Christianity (pp. 143-158) Cambridge University Press, 2021

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