IreneY wrote:I think you are right (although I'd go for "deeds" or "actions" maybe for "erga" )
To be honest, I just cheated and copied another translation and made changes to what was in front of "faith."
I've read here (I don't know how reliable this site is mind you since it just came up in a google search and I didn't browse through it) that there are other reasons for the alternative translations.
The way I read it theexplanation they give is wrong. I don't really know if it goes against Paul's teachings but James writes well enough that, if he wanted to talk about "such a faith" he would have mentioned it either in 14 or at least at 17.
The link you gave seems to be dead but google has a cached version and I read something similar -- a lot of the discussion on this passage is obviously theologically motivated, but I can only assume that there is some grammatical justification. The only thing I can find is that this is an example of the anaphoric use of the definite article, and this is even claimed by Daniel Wallace, who I gather is a respected scholar of Greek. But if the article is being used this way I don't see why it wouldn't then be translated
What use is it, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but he has no deeds? Can the faith [that he has] save him?
which reads the way you read verse 17, which in context seems to be recapping and giving the answer to the rhetorical question in 14. I still don't see how it's possible that á¼¡ Ï€Î¯ÏƒÏ„Î¹Ï‚ if it's being used anaphorically to refer to the "aforementioned" faith, how it suddenly changes to mean "that kind of faith"? That's why I was hoping somebody else knew of similar examples in the NT, since my searching didn't find anything.
Although I think I was wrong that even Î±á½•Ï„Î· á¼¡ Ï€Î¯ÏƒÏ„Î¹Ï‚ would give "that kind of faith" here. Like you say, why wouldn't the author just come out and say "such a faith" if that's what he meant.