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Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament

Jude, the Lord's Brother

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The list of the Lord’s brothers is given in Mark 6:3 as ‘James, and Joses, and Judas [Authorized Version ‘Juda’], and Simon,’ in Matthew 13:55 as ‘James, and Joseph, and Simon, and Judas.’ It would be precarious, even apart from the variation in order, to infer that Judas was one of the younger brothers of Jesus; still, this is not improbable, especially if, as the present writer believes, ‘the brethren of the Lord’ were sons of Joseph and Mary. We know practically nothing of his history. If the statement in John 7:5 can be trusted, that at that time the brethren of Jesus did not believe in Him, he cannot be identified with ‘Judas, the son of James,’ who is mentioned in Luke’s list of the apostles (Luke 6:16, Acts 1:13), and described in John 14:22 as ‘Judas (not Iscariot).’ We may assume from Acts 1:14 that in the interval between the incident, recorded in John 7:3-10 and the Ascension, Jude and his brothers had recognized the Messiahship of Jesus. We gather from 1 Corinthians 9:5 that ‘the brethren of the Lord’ were married to Christian wives, by whom they were accompanied on missionary journeys. Presumably these references included Jude. He seems to have taken no very prominent position in the Church, being overshadowed, like Joses and Simon, by James. The date of his death is uncertain, but the evidence of Hegesippus, quoted in Historia Ecclesiastica (Eusebius, etc.)iii. xx., suggests that he died before Domitian came to the throne. Eusebius informs us that the grandchildren of Jude were brought before Domitian, as descendants of David, but released when the Emperor discovered that they were horny-handed husbandmen, who were expecting a heavenly kingdom at Christ’s Second Coming. They survived till the reign of Trajan. The last statement suggests that a considerable interval elapsed between the interview with the Emperor and their death; and, inasmuch as the reign of Domitian (a.d. 81-96) was separated from that of Trajan (a.d. 98-117) only by Nerva’s short reign of two years (a.d. 96-98), we should probably place the interview quite early in Domitian’s reign. Since not Jude alone but presumably the father of these grandsons was apparently dead at the time, it is hardly likely that the death of Jude occurred at a later date than the decade a.d. 70-80, when he would be well advanced in years. This has an important though not decisive bearing on the question whether the Epistle of Jude is rightly assigned to him (see following article).

A. S. Peake.

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Bibliography Information
Hastings, James. Entry for 'Jude, the Lord's Brother'. Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament. 1906-1918.

Lectionary Calendar
Monday, November 11th, 2019
the Week of Proper 27 / Ordinary 32
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