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Jude, Epistle of.

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The last in order of the catholic epistles.

I. Author. The writer of this epistle styles himself, 1 Corinthians 9:1, "Jude, the brother of James" (ἀδελφὸς Ι᾿ακώβου ), and has usually been identified with the apostle Judas Lebbaeus or Thaddeus, called by Luke (Luke 6:16) ἀδελφὸς Ι᾿ακώβου, A.V. "Judas, the brother of James." It has been seen above that this mode of supplying the ellipsis, though not altogether 'in accordance with the usus loquendi, is, nevertheless, quite justifiable, although there are strong reasons for rendering the words "Judas, the son of James." Jerome, Tertullian, and Origen among the ancients, and Calmet, Calvin, Hammond, Hä nlein, Lange, Vatablus, Arnaud, and Tregelles among the moderns, agree in assigning the epistle to the apostle. Whether it were the work of an apostle or not, it has from very early times been attributed to "the Lord's brother" of that name (Matthew 13:55; Mark 6:3): a view in which Origen, Jerome, and (if indeed the Adumbrationes be rightly assigned to him) Clemens Alexandrinus agree; which is implied in the words of Chrysostom (Hom. 48 in Joan.), confirmed by the epigraph of the Syriac versions, and is accepted by most modern commentators Arnaud, Bengel, Burton, Hug, Jessien, Olshausen, Tregelles, etc. The objection that has been felt by Neander (P1. and Tr. 1, 392) and others, that if he had been "the Lord's brother" he would have directly styled himself so, and not merely "the brother of James," has been anticipated by the author of the "Adumbrationes (Bunsen, Analect. Ante-Nicoen. 1, 330), who says, "Jude, who wrote the catholic Epistle, brother of the sons of Joseph, an extremely religious man, though he was aware of his relationship to the Lord, did not call himself his brother; but what said he? 'Jude, the servant of Jesus Christ' as his Lord, but 'brother of James.'" We may easily believe that it was through humility, and a true sense of the altered relations between them and him who had been "declared to be the Son of God with power.... by the resurrection from then dead" (comp. 2 Corinthians 5:16), that both Jude and James forbore to call themselves the brethren of Jesus. The arguments concerning the authorship of the epistle are ably summed up by Jessien (De Authent. Ep. Jud. Lips. 1821.) and Arnaud (Recher. Critiq. sur l'Epist. de Jude, Strasb. 1851, transl. in the Brit. and For. Ev. Rev. July 1869); and, though it is by no means clear of difficulty, the most probable conclusion is that the author was Jude, one of the brethren of Jesus, and brother of James, as also the apostle, the son of Alphaeus. (See BRETHREN OF OUR LORD).

II. Genuineness and Canonicity. Although the Epistle of Jude is one of the so called Antilegomena, and its canonicity was questioned in the earliest ages of the Church, there never was any doubt of its genuineness among those by whom it was known. It was too unimportant to be a forgery; few portions of holy Scripture could, with reverence be it spoken, have been more easily spared; and the question was never whether it was the work of an impostor, but whether its author was of sufficient weight to warrant its admission into the canon. This question was gradually decided in its favor, and the more widely it was known the more generally it was received as canonical, until it took its place without further dispute as a portion of the volume of holy Scripture. (See ANTILEGOMENA).

This epistle is not cited by any of the apostolic fathers; the passages which have been adduced as containing allusions to it (Hermas, Past. Vis. 4, 3; Clem. Rom., Ep. ad Corinthians ch. 11; Polycarp, Ep. ad Phil. ch. 3) presenting no certain evidence of being such. It is, however, formally quoted by Clement of Alexandria (Poedag. 3, 239, ed. Sylburg.; Strom. 3, 431), and Eusebius testifies (Hist. Eccles. 6, 14) that he treated it in his Hypotyposes; it is also treated in the Adumbrationes, ascribed to Clement, and preserved in a Latin version. Tertullian refers to the epistle as that of Jude the apostle (De Habit. Mulieb. ch. 3). It appears in the Muratori Fragment among the canonical books. Origen repeatedly refers to it, and occasionally as the work of the apostle Jude (Hom. in Matthew 13:55, in Opp., ed. De la Rue, 3, 403; Com. in Ep. ad Rom., in Opp. 4, 519; Hom. in Jos., in Opp. 2, 411; De Princip., in Opp. 1, 138, etc.); though in one place he speaks as if doubts were entertained by some as to its genuineness (in Matthew 22:23, in Opp. 3, 814). It is not in the Peshito, and does not appear to have been known to the Syrian churches before the 4th century, near the close of which it is quoted by Ephraem Syrus (Opp. Syr. 1, 136). Eusebius ranks it among the Antilegomena, but this rather because it was not universally known than because where known it was by any regarded with suspicion (Hist. Eccles. 2, 23; 3, 25). By Jerome it is referred to as the work of an apostle (in Titus 1; Ep. ad Paulin. 3), and he states that, though suspected by some, in consequence of containing a quotation from the apocryphal book of Enoch, it had obtained such authority as to be reckoned part of the canonical Scriptures (Catal. Script. Eccles.). From the 4th century onwards, the place thus conceded to it remained unquestioned (Westcott, Canon of the N. Test.). Thus the epistle is quoted by Malchian, a presbyter of Antioch, in a letter to the bishops of Alexandria and Rome (Eusebius, Hist. Eccles. 7, 30), and by Palladius, the friend of Chrysostom (Chrysostom, Opp. 13, Dial. cc, 18, 20), and is contained in the Laodicene (A.D. 363), Carthaginian (397), and so called Apostolic catalogues, as well as in those emanating from the churches of the East and West, with the exception of the Synopsis of Chrysostom, and those of Cassiodorus and Ebed Jesu.

Various reasons might be assigned for delay in receiving this epistle, and the doubts long prevalent respecting it. The uncertainty as to its author, and his standing in the Church; the unimportant nature of its contents, and their almost absolute identity with 2 Peter 2; and the supposed quotation of apocryphal books, would all tend to create a prejudice against it, which could only be overcome by time, and the gradual recognition by the leading churches of its genuineness and canonicity.

At the Reformation the doubts on the canonical authority on this epistle were revived, and have been shared in by modern commentators. They were more or less entertained by Grotius, Luther, Calvin, Bergen, Bolten, Dahl, Michaelis, and the Magdeburg Centuriators. It has been ably defended by Jessien, De Authentia Ep. Judoe, Lips. 1821.

There is nothing, however, in the epistle itself to cast suspicion on its genuineness; on the contrary, it rather impresses one with the conviction that it must have proceeded from the writer whose name it bears. Another, forging a work in his name, would hardly have omitted to make prominent the personality of Judas, and his relation to our Lord, neither of which comes before us in this epistle (Bleek, Einl. in. d. N. Test. p. 557). (See CANON).

III. Time and Place of Writing. There are few, if any, external grounds for deciding these points, and the internal evidence is but small.

1. The question of date is connected by many with that of its relation to 2 Peter (see below), and an earlier or later period has been assigned to it according as it has been considered to have been anterior or posterior to that epistle. Attempts have also been made to prove a late date for the epistle, from an alleged quotation in it from the apocryphal book of Enoch (2 Peter 2:13); but it is by no means certain that the passage is a quotation from the now extant book of Enoch, and scholars have yet to settle when the book of Enoch was written; so that from this nothing can be inferred as to the date of this epistle.

From the character of the errors against which it is directed, however, it cannot be placed very early; though I there is no sufficient ground for Schleiermacher's opinion that "in the last time" (ἐν έσχάτῳ χρόνῳ , 2 Peter 2:18; comp. 1 John 2:18, ἐν έσχάτῳ χρόνῳ ) forbids our placing it in the apostolic age at all. Lardner places it between A.D. 64 and 66, Davidson before A.D. 70, Credner A.D. 80, Calmet, Estius, Witsius, and Neander, after the death of all the apostles but John, and perhaps after the fall of Jerusalem; although considerable weight is to be given to the argument of De Wette (Einleit. in N.T. p. 300), that if the destruction of Jerusalem had already taken place, some warning would have been drawn from so signal an instance of God's vengeance on the "ungodly." From the allusion, however to the preaching of the apostles, we may infer that it was among the later productions of the apostolic age; for it was written while persons were still alive who had heard apostles preach, but when this preaching was beginning to become a thing of the past (1 John 2:17). On the other hand, again, if the author were really the brother of Jesus, especially an elder brother, we cannot well suppose him to have lived much beyond the middle of the first century. We may therefore conjecturally place it about A.D. 66.

2. There are still less data from which to determine the place of writing. Burton, however, is of opinion that inasmuch as the descendants of "Judas, the brother of the Lord," if we identify him with the author of the epistle, were found in Palestine, he probably "did not absent himself long from his native country," and that the epistle was published there, since he styles himself "the brother of James," an expression most likely to be used in a country where James was well known" (Eccles. Hist. 1, 334). With this locality will agree all the above considerations as to date.

IV. Persons to whom the Epistle is addressed. These are described by the writer as the called who are sanctified in God the Father, and kept for Jesus Christ." From the resemblance of some parts of this epistle to the second of Peter, it has been inferred that it was sent to the same parties in Asia Minor, and with a view to enforcing the apostle's admonitions; while others, from the strongly Jewish character of the writing, infer that it was addressed to somebody of Jewish Christians in Palestine. From the fact that the parties addressed seem to have been surrounded by a large and wicked population, some have supposed that they may have dwelt in Corinth, while others suggest one of the commercial cities of Syria. The supposition that the parties addressed dwelt in Egypt is mere conjecture. But the address (1 John 2:1) is applicable to Christians generally, and there is nothing in the body of the epistle to limit its reference and though it is not improbable that the author had a particular portion of the Church in view, and that the Christians of Palestine were the immediate objects of his warning, the dangers described were such as the whole Christian world was exposed to, and the adversaries the same which had everywhere to be guarded against.

V. Object, Contents, and Errors inveighed against. The purpose which the writer had in view is stated by himself. After the inscription, he says that, intending to write "of the common salvation," he found himself, as it were, compelled to utter a solemn warning in defense of the faith, imperiled by the evil conduct of corrupt men (1 John 2:3). Possibly there was some observed outbreak which gave the occasion. The evil for a while had been working in secret "certain men crept in unawares" (1 John 2:4) but now the canker showed itself. The crisis must be met promptly and resolutely. Therefore the writer denounces those who turned the grace of God "into lasciviousness," virtually denying God by disobeying his law. He alarms by holding out three examples of such sin and its punishment the Israelites that sinned in the wilderness; the angels that "kept not their first estate;" and the foul cities of Sodom and Gomorrah (1 John 2:5-7). He next describes minutely the character of those whom he censures, and shows how of old they had been prophetically marked out as objects of deserved vengeance (1 John 2:8-16). Then, turning to the faithful, he reminds them that the apostles had forewarned them that evil men would rise in the Church (1 John 2:17-19); exhorts them to maintain their own steadfastness (1 John 2:20-21), and to do their utmost in rescuing others from contamination (1 John 2:22-23); and concludes with an ascription of praise to him who alone could keep his people from falling (1 John 2:24-25). The whole was thoroughly applicable to a time when iniquity was abounding, and the love of many waxing cold (Matthew 24:12)..

The design of such a train of thought is obviously to put the believers to whom the epistle was addressed on their guard against the misleading efforts of certain persons to whose influence they were exposed. Who these persons were, or to what class of errorists they belonged, can only be matter of conjecture. Some, indeed (De Wette, Schwegler, Bleek), think the persons alluded to held no peculiar opinions, and were simply men of lax morals; but, from the manner in which the writer refers to them, it is evident that they were, to use the words of Dorner (Entwickelungsgesch. 1, 104, E.T. 1, 72), "'not merely practically corrupt, but teachers of error as well." Their opinions seem to have been of an antinomian character (vers. 4, 18, 19), but there is nothing to connect them, except in a very vague and distant way, with any of the later gnostic systems. The writer formally charges them with "denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ," language which De Wette admits usually applies to error of doctrine, but which here he, without any reason, would understand of feeling and conduct. The licentious courses in which they indulged led Clement of Alexandria to think that they were the prototypes of the Carpocratians and such like: "Of these, and such as these," he says," I think that Jude spoke prophetically in his epistle" (Strom. 3, 431, Sylb.); but this does not imply that they had formed a system like that of the Carpocratians, but only that the notions and usages of the one adumbrated those of the other. Perhaps there have been in all ages persons who have sought by perverted doctrine to gain a sanction for sensual indulgence. and such undoubtedly were found disturbing the peace and corrupting the purity of the churches of Christ in different places as early as the second half of the 1st century. The persons against whom Jude writes, were apparently of this class, but in their immorality the practical element was more prominent than the speculative.

VI. Style. The main body of the epistle is well characterized by Alford (Gk. Test. 4, 147) as an impassioned invective, in the impetuous whirlwind of which the writer is harried along, collecting example after example of divine vengeance on the ungodly; heaping epithet upon epithet, and piling image upon image, and, as it were laboring for words and images strong enough to depict the polluted character of the licentious apostates against whom he is warning the Church; returning again and again to the subject, as though all language was insufficient to give an adequate idea of their profligacy, and to express his burning hatred of their perversion of the doctrines of the Gospel.

The epistle is said by De Wette (Einleit. ins. N.T. p. 300) to be tolerably good Greek, though there are some peculiarities of diction which have led Schmid (Einleit. 1, 314) and Bertholdt (6, 3194) to imagine an Aramaic original. VII. Relation between the Epistle of Jude and 2 Peter. The larger portion of this epistle (Matthew 24:3-16) closely resembles in language and subject a part of the second Epistle of Peter (2 Peter 2:1-19). In both the heretical enemies of the Gospel are described in terms so similar as to preclude all idea of entire independence. Jude's known habit of quotation would seem to render the supposition most probable that he has borrowed from Peter. Dr. Davidson, however (Introd. to the N. Test. 3, 607), maintains the priority of Jude. As Jude's Epistle apparently emanated from Palestine, and (if the above date be correct) from Jerusalem, it may in some sort be regarded as an echo of Peter's admonitions uttered not long before at the Roman capital. This question will be more fully examined under (See PETER, SECOND EPISTLE OF).

VIII. Apocryphal Quotations. This epistle presents one peculiarity, which, as we learn from Jerome, caused its authority to be impugned in very early times the supposed citation of apocryphal writings (2 Peter 2:9; 2 Peter 2:14-15);

1. The former of these passages, containing the reference to the contest of the archangel Michael and the devil "about the body of Moses," was supposed by Origen to have been founded on a Jewish work called the "Assumption of Moses" (Ἀνάληψις Μωσέως ), quoted also by OEcumenius (2, 629). Origen's words are express, "Which little work the apostle Jude has made mention of in his epistle" (De Princip. 2, 2; vol. 1, p. 138); and some have sought to identify the book with the פְּטַירִת משֶׁה"The Demise of Moses," which is, however, proved by Michaelis (4, 382) to be a modern composition. Attempts have also been made by Lardner, Macknight, Vitringa, and others, to interpret the passage in a mystical sense, by reference to Zechariah 3:1-2; but the similarity is too distant to afford any weight to the idea. There is, on the whole, little question that the writer is here making use of a Jewish tradition, based on Deuteronomy 34:6, just as facts unrecorded in Scripture are referred to by Paul (2 Timothy 3:8; Galatians 3:19), by the writer of the Epistle to the Hebrews (Hebrews 2:2; Hebrews 11:24); by James (James 5:17), and Stephen (Acts 7:22-23; Acts 7:30). (See further, Zirkel, De Mosis ad Superos translatio, Wirceb. 1798.) (See MOSES, ASSUMPTION OF).

2. As regards the supposed quotation from the book of Enoch, the question is not so clear whether Jude is making a citation from a work already in the hands of his readers which is the opinion of Jerome (1.c.) and Tertullian (who was, in consequence, inclined to receive the book of Enoch as canonical Scripture), and has been held by many modern critics or is employing a traditionary prophecy not at that time committed to writing (a theory which the words used, "Enoch prophesied, saying," ἐπροφητευσεν ... Ε᾿νὼχ λἐγων, seem rather to favor), but afterwards embodied in the apocryphal work already named. This is maintained by Tregelles (Horne's Introd. 10th edit., 4, 621), and has been held by Cave, Hofmann (Schriftbeweis, 1, 420), Lightfoot (2, 117),Witsius, and Calvin (comp. Jerome, Comm. in Jph. c. 5, p. 647, 8; in Tit. c. 1, p. 708). The present book of Enoch actually contains (ch. 2 of The Book of Enoch, in AEthiopic and English, by Dr. Laurence, 3d ed. Lond. 1838) the very words cited by Jude; but some modern critics maintain that they were inserted in that book out of Jude's epistle. (See ENOCH, BOOK OF).

But why should not an inspired author appropriate a piece of an apocryphal writing? If it contained elements of truth, or was simply apposite to his purpose, why should he not use it? He does not (as some allege) attribute to it any inspired authority, nor ever vouch for its accuracy. It is never objected in derogation of the apostle Paul that, both in speech and writing, he cited heathen authors, sometimes with a special reference (Acts 17:28; 1 Corinthians 15:33; Galatians 5:23; Titus 1:12). It has also been asserted that in various parts of the New Testament there are allusions (if not formal citations) to several of the books commonly called apocryphal, and to other Jewish productions (see Gough's N. Test. Quotations, p. 276-296). Common proverbs, we know, have been introduced into Scripture (1 Samuel 24:13; 2 Peter 2:22, where the former part only of the proverb cited is from the Old Testament).

But there is no decisive proof that Jude could have seen the so called book of Enoch. For, though this has been ascribed in part to the Maccabaean times, and is said to have assumed its present shape prior to our Lord's advent (see Westcott, Introduct. p. 93, note), yet this is a theory on which critics are by no means agreed. One of the latest who has investigated the question, Prof. Volkmar, of Zurich (Zeitschrift der deutsch. morgenl. Gesellschaft, 1860), maintains that it was composed by one of the disciples of Rabbi Akiba, in the time of the sedition of Barchochebas, about A.D. 132. Dr. Alford is convinced by Volkmar's arguments, and infers hence that "the book of Enoch was not only of Jewish, but of distinctly antichristian origin" (Proleg. to Jude, p. 196). We are authorized, then, in believing that Jude merely incorporated into his epistle the tradition of Enoch's prophecy, which was afterwards embodied in the book as we now have it. (See TRADITION).

IX. Commentaries. Special exegetical helps on the whole Epistle of Jude exclusively are the following, of which we designate the most important by an asterisk prefixed: Didymus Alexandrinus, In Ep. Judoe (in Bibl. Max. Patr. 5; and Bibl. Patr. Gallandii, 6); Bede, Expositio (in Opp. 5); Luther, Auslegung (Wittenb. 1524, 4to and 8vo; etc.); Maffe, Explanatio (Ven. 1576, 8vo); Ridley, Exposition (Lond. n. d. 16mo); De Bree, Enarratio (Sagunt. 1582; 4to); Radeus, In Judoe ep. (Antw. 1584, Gen. 1599, 8vo); Danaeus, Commentarius [includ. Ep. John] (Geneva, 1585, 8vo); Feuardent, Commentarius (Colon. 1595, 8vo); Junius, Notoe (Lugd. Bat. 1599, 8vo; also in Opp. 1, 1654); Willet, Commentarius (Lond. 1603, Cambr. 1614, fol.; also Catholicon, in "Harmonie," etc.); Turnbull, Sermons (London, 1606, 4to); Lancelott, Exegesis (Antw. 1613, 1626, 8vo); Boulduc, Commentaria (Paris, 1620, 4to); Pareus, Commentarius. (Francof. 1626, 4to); Rost, Commentarius (Rostock, 1627, 4to); Stumpf, Explicatio (Coburg; 1627, 8vo);. Otes, Sermons (London, 1633, 4to); Gerhard, Adnotationes (Jen. 1641, 1660, 1665, 4to); Du Bois, Explicatio (Paris, 1644, 8vo); Jenkyn, Exposition (Lond. 1652-54, 2 pts. in 1 vol. 4to; Glasgow, 1783; Lond. 1839, 8vo); Calovius, Explicatio (Vitemb. 1654, 1719, 4to) Manton, Lectures (London, 1658, 4to); Broughton, Exposition (Lond. 1662, fol.; also in Works, p. 402); Wandalin, Prodromus (Hafniae, 1663, 4to); Rappolt, Observationes (Lipsiae, 1675, 4to); Grelot. Commentarius (L.B. 1676, 4to); Verryn, Commentarius (L. Bat. 1677, 4to); Visscher, Verklaaring (Amst. 1681, 4to; also in German, Bremen, 1744, 4to); Titelmann [Schenck], Commentarius (Marp. 1693, 8vo); Antonio, Verklaaring [includ. 1 Peter] (Leoward. 1693, 1697, 4to; also in German, Brem. 1700, fol.); Martin, Commentarius (Lipsiae, 1694, 1727, 4to); Fecht, Expositio (Rost. 1696, 4to); Nemeth, Explicatio (1700, 4to); Dorsche, Commentarius (fragment. in Gerhard's Commentatio. Francf. et Lips. 1700 4to) Perkins, Exposition (in Works, Cambridge, 1701, etc. 3, 479); Szattmar, Explicatio (Franec. 1702, 4to); Witsius. Commentarius (L.B. 1703, 4to; also in Meletemata, p. 323); Feustking, Commentarius (Vitemb. 1707, fol.); Quade, In Epistolam et vitam Judoe (Gryph. 1709, 4to); Creyghton, Ontleeding. (Haarlem, 1719, 4to); Weiss, Commentatio (Helmstadt, 1723, 4to); Walther, Exegesis (Guelpherb. 1724, 4to); Buckner, Erklä rung (Erfurt, 1727, 4to); Reimmann, Entsiegelung (Brunsw. 1731, 4to); Van Seelen, Judas antifanaticus (Lub. 1732, 4to); Semler, Commentatio [on var. read.] (Hal. 1747, 1784, 4to); Schmidt, Observationes (Lipsiae, 1768, 4to); Herder, Briefe zweener Brü der Jesu (Lemgo, 1775, 8vo); Pomarius, Commentarius (Vitemb. 1784, 8vo); Hasse, Erlä uterung (Jen. 1786, 8vo); Hartmann, Commentatio (Cothen, 1793, 4to); Kahler, Anmerkungen (Rint. 1798, 8vo); *Hanlein, Commentarius (Erlangen, 1799, 1801, 1804, 8vo); Harenberg, Expositio (in Miscell. Lips. nov. 3, 379 sq.); Elias, Dissertatio (Ultraj. 1803, 8vo); Dahl, De αὐθεντίᾷ, etc. [including 2 Peter] (Rost. 1807, 8vo); Laurmann, Notoe (Gron. 1818, 8vo); *Jessien, Commentatio. [introductory] (Lipsiae, 1820, 8vo); Muir, Discourses (Glasg. 1822, 8vo); *Arnaud, Sur l'authenticite, etc. (Strasb. 1835, 8vo); Scharling, Commentarius [includ. Jaines] (Havn. 1841, 8vo); Brun, Introduction (in French, Strasb. 1842, 8vo); Bickersteth, Exposition (London, 1846, 12mo); Macgillivray, Lectures (Lond. 1846. 8vo); *Stier, Auslegung (Berl. 1850, 8vo); *Rampf, Betrachtung (Salzburg, 1854, 8vo); Gardiner, Commentary (Boston, 1856, 12mo); Ritschl, Antinomisten, etc. (in the Stud. u. Krit. 1861, p. 103 sq.); Schott, Erlä uterung (Erlang. 1863, 8vo). (See EPISTLES, CATHOLIC).


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Bibliography Information
McClintock, John. Strong, James. Entry for 'Jude, Epistle of.'. Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature. https://www.studylight.org/encyclopedias/tce/j/jude-epistle-of.html. Harper & Brothers. New York. 1870.

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