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Kitto's Popular Cyclopedia of Biblial Literature

Jude Epistle of

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Doubts have been thrown upon the genuineness of this Epistle from the fact of the writer having been supposed to have cited two Apocryphal books—Enoch and the Assumption of Moses. But notwithstanding the difficulties connected with this point, it was treated by the ancients with the highest respect, and regarded as the genuine work of an inspired writer. Although Origen on one occasion speaks doubtfully, calling it the 'reputed Epistle of Jude,' yet on another occasion, and in the same work, he says, 'Jude wrote an Epistle, of few lines indeed, but full of the powerful words of heavenly grace, who at the beginning says, “Jude, the servant of Jesus Christ and brother of James.”' The same writer calls it the writing of Jude the Apostle. The moderns are, however, divided in opinion between Jude the Apostle and Jude the Lord's brother, if indeed they be different persons. The author simply calls himself Jude, the brother of James, and a servant of Jesus Christ. This form of expression has given rise to various conjectures. Hug supposes that he intimates thereby a nearer degree of relationship than that of an Apostle. At the same time it must be acknowledged that the circumstance of his not naming himself an apostle is not of itself necessarily sufficient to militate against his being the Apostle of that name, inasmuch as St. Paul does not upon all occasions (as in Philippians, Thessalonians, and Philemon) use this title. From his calling himself the brother of James, rather than the brother of the Lord, Michælis deduces that he was the son of Joseph by a former wife, and not a full brother of our Lord's, as Herder contends [JAMES; JUDE]. From the great coincidence both in sentiment and subject which exists between this Epistle and the second of St. Peter, it has been thought by many critics that one of these writers had seen the other's work; but we shall reserve the discussion as to which was the earlier writing until we come to treat of St. Peter's Epistle. Dr. Lardner supposes that Jude's Epistle was written between the years 64 and 66, Beausobre and L'Enfant between 70 and 75 (from which Dodwell and Cave do not materially differ), and Dr. Mill fixes it to the year 90. If Jude has quoted the apocryphal book of Enoch, as seems to be agreed upon by most modern critics, and if this book was written, as Lucke thinks, after the destruction of Jerusalem, the age of our Epistle best accords with the date assigned to it by Mill.

It is difficult to decide who the persons were to whom this Epistle was addressed, some supposing that it was written to converted Jews, others to all Christians, without distinction. Many of the arguments seem best adapted to convince the Jewish Christians, as appeals are so strikingly made to their sacred books and traditions.

The design of this Epistle is to warn the Christians against the false teachers who had insinuated themselves among them and disseminated dangerous tenets of insubordination and licentiousness. The author reminds them, by the example of Sodom and Gomorrah, that God had punished the rebellious Jews; and that even the disobedient angels had shared the same fate. The false teachers to whom he alludes 'speak evil of dignities,' while the archangel Michael did not even revile Satan. He compares them to Balaam and Korah, to clouds without water, and to raging waves. Enoch, he says, foretold their wickedness; at the same time he consoles believers, and exhorts them to persevere in faith and love. The Epistle is remarkable for the vehemence, fervor, and energy of its composition and style.





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Kitto, John, ed. Entry for 'Jude Epistle of'. "Kitto's Popular Cyclopedia of Biblial Literature".

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Tuesday, October 22nd, 2019
the Week of Proper 24 / Ordinary 29
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