James provides an important qualification to the type of faith he is referring to with the phrase ἐὰν μὴ ἔχῃ ἔργα (if it does not have works). Though one could argue that this qualification is unnecessary—since he goes on to say "faith … by itself"—the nature of the content is not completely redundant: it adds more precision and leaves no room for mistaking which type of faith he is talking about. It is important to note—and though perhaps often overlooked—that James does not compare faith and works. He compares two different types of faith: on the one hand "a faith with works", and, on the other "a faith without works."<idle musing>
An often overlooked fact...I know I'm guilty!
No, I can't link to the book right now because it doesn't have one!