In the Gospel of Thomas, Jesus names his successor:
The disciples said to Jesus, “We know that you are going to leave us. Who will be our leader?”
Jesus said to them, “No matter where you are you are to go to James the Just, for whose sake heaven and earth came into being.” (Gos. Thomas 12)
Quite a recommendation for James. But in the cannonical gospels, James … well, here’s the best description I’ve found:
James? James does…well…nothing. In the Gospels he is never listed as solely stating or performing an action—he is always linked with his brother John. (See Mark 10:35; Luke 9:54). He is never listed as a leader in the Church. Indeed, his solitary moment in the limelight (what we will be discussing) is the dubious distinction of being killed in a parenthetical statement within the introduction to a glorious story on another Disciple—Peter.
For those of you familiar with Star Trek: James was the red-shirted crewmember beamed down to the planet.
From DagoodS – atheist, lawyer and thinking sandwich.
(FWIW, I think James the Just was also the apostle James as well as James the brother of Jesus. But honestly, there could have been 47 different guys named James.)