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Watson's Biblical & Theological Dictionary


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EPISTLE OF, a canonical book of the New Testament, written against the heretics, who, by their impious doctrines and disorderly lives, corrupted the faith and good morals of Christians. The author of this epistle, called Judas, and also Thaddeus and Lebbeus, was one of the twelve Apostles; he was the son of Alpheus, brother of James the less, and one of those who were called our Lord's brethren. We are not informed when, or how, he was called to be an Apostle; but it has been conjectured, that, before his vocation to the Apostleship, he was a husbandman, that he was married, and that he had children. The only account we have of him in particular, is that which occurs in John 14:21-23 . It is not unreasonable to suppose that, after having received, in common with other Apostles, extraordinary gifts at the pentecost, he preached the Gospel for some time in several parts of the land of Israel, and wrought miracles in the name of Christ. And, as his life seems to have been prolonged, it is probable that he afterward left Judea, and went abroad preaching the Gospel to Jews and Gentiles in other countries. Some have said that he preached in Arabia, Syria, Mesopotamia, and Persia; and that he suffered martyrdom in the last mentioned country. But we have no account of his travels upon which we can rely; and it may be questioned whether he was a martyr.

In the early ages of Christianity, several rejected the Epistle of St. Jude, because the apocryphal books of Enoch, and the ascension of Moses, are quoted in it. Nevertheless, it is to be found in all the ancient catalogues of the sacred writings; and Clement, of Alexandria, Tertullian, and Origen quote it as written by Jude, and reckon it among the books of sacred Scripture. In the time of Eusebius it was generally received. As to the objections that have been urged against its authority, Dr. Lardner suggests that there is no necessity for supposing that St. Jude quoted a book called Enoch or Enoch's prophecies; and even allowing that he did quote it, he gives it no authority; it was no canonical book of the Jews; and if such a book existed among the Jews, it was apocryphal, and yet there might be in it some right things. Instead of referring to a book called the "Assumption or Ascension of Christ," which probably was a forgery much later than his time, it is much more credible that St. Jude refers to the vision in Zechariah 3:1-3 . It has been the opinion of several writers, and, among others, of Hammond and Benson, that St. Jude addressed his epistle to the Jewish Christians; but Dr. Lardner infers, from the words of the inscription of the epistle, verses, 1, 3, that it was designed for the use of all in general who had embraced the Christian religion. The last mentioned author supposes that this epistle was written A.D. 64, 65, or 66.

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Bibliography Information
Watson, Richard. Entry for 'Jude'. Richard Watson's Biblical & Theological Dictionary. 1831-2.

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the Week of Proper 4 / Ordinary 9
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