JUDE, EPISTLE OF: One of the seven General Epistles. The title ascribes it to Jude the brother of James, and nowhere does the epistle claim to be by an apostle; on the contrary, verse 17 gives the impression that the author was not of the Twelve. The James who is mentioned can hardly be any other than James the brother of the Lord, one of the three pillars of the Jewish-Christian Church, while the Jude must be the Judas Juda) of Matt. xiii. 55; Mark vi. 3, a son of Mary and therefore not an apostle. It is noticeable that neither Jude nor his brother James in their epistles claims other than a spiritual relationship to Christ ("servant of Jesus Christ "--and in a subordinate sense solely the mark of a becoming modesty). Between the epistles of James and of Jude there are many points of contact. The titles are so similar that the first verse of Jude seems a reminiscence of Jas. i. 1; both lack personal greetings and neither is directed to a local community, but rather each is meant for a wide circle of the Church and has the character of an encyclical, though of the two the epistle of Jude seems to have the larger scope, not being directed to "the twelve tribes" (Jas. i. 1). With this large circle of readers ("them that are sanctified by God the Father, and preserved in Jesus Christ") everything in the epistle agrees. The matters discussed are those in which the whole Church has interest; while the occasion might he local, the theme is general--salvation (verse 3). The epistle, like that of James, is directed against a form of worldliness which might arise either from Jewish or heathen surroundings, and may have in mind a developed form of antinomianism. Jude has also in mind actual moral depravity against which he gives warning. The persons addressed live in carnal impurity, perhaps in unnatural sin, are sensual, behave unseemly at the love feasts, and are guided by their own lusts (verses 8, 10, 12, 16). While these are practical irregularities of life, false teaching is in view, and the hearers are exhorted to hold the faith (verses 3-4), against those who turn grace into lasciviousness and deny God and Jesus Christ. The evils are also of a speculative nature ("dreamers," verse 8), out of which ethical evils arise. The teaching here guarded against is neither the Gnosticism of the second century nor Carpocratianism, though a sort of dualism is evidently put forward (verse 19), but evidently of the same sort as that in Paul's mind in the distinction between spiritual and carnal expressed in I Cor. ii. 14-15. It is to be noted that the errors against which the writer speaks appear in the communities; they do not constitute a separate movement. They may be regarded as the incipient stages of what became types of Gnosticiam. The reports of Hegesippus of error which arose in the Christian Communities of Palestine, the heresy of the Epistle to the Colossians, of the pastoral letters, and the teaching of Cerinthus, having a tinge of libertinism with its spiritualistic-dualistic Jewish Christianity, all suggest a relationship with the errant teaching against which Jude speaks. While, then, error of a Jewish origin is suggested, there is also a reminder of a characteristically heathen form of sin as shown in the Corinthian libertinism denounced by Paul. And, once more, the error of the Nicolaitans (q.v.) is recalled by the deeds of the people against whom Jude gives warning. Such manifestations were a danger to the whole Church, and the epistle directs itself to this peril.

After the greeting (Jude 1-2) and the preface (Jude 3-4), follows the argument, which condemns teachers of error (5-19); three examples of gross sin are cited from history and the punishment recalled (5-7), the similarity of these historic cases with the present error is asserted (8), an example of moderation is given (910-13); punishment was predicted as long ago as Enoch's period and later by the Apostles (14-19). An exhortation follows and then a magnificent doxology (20-25). For the date of the epistle the employment of the Assumption of Moses (44 A.D.) and acquaintance with the Epistle to the Romans (cf. 24-25 with Rom. xvi. 25-27) set the higher limit. The terminus ad quem is not so easily fixed, but the time just prior to Domitian is the latest date to which it can be postponed, since according to Hegesippus Jude was not alive during Domitian's reign (Eusebius, Hist. eccl., III., xx.). This assumes the genuineness of the letter, which is not strongly attested. The Muratorian Canon names the epistle, but not as written by Jude; Origen knows that it has been questioned; the early Peschito did not receive it and Eusebius reckons it among the Antilegomena; Jerome notes that it was rejected by most on account of its citation of apocryphal books. Yet it is difficult to account for an ungenuine letter being put forth in the name of a man whose repute was so small as that of Jude, the brother of our Lord, and it is noteworthy that the writer makes no pretension of being an apostle.


BIBLIOGRAPHY: Possibly the best commentaries are by J, B. Mayor (with II Peter), London, 1907; and H. von Soden, Göttingen, 1899. Others are by: W. Jenkyn (1612-85), ed. J. Sherman, London, 1839; R. Stier, Berlin, 1850; M. F. Rampf, Sulzbach, 1854; F. Gardiner, Boston, 1856; J. T. Demarest (on the Catholic Epistles), New York, 1879; E. H. Plumptre (on Peter and Jude), in Cambridge Bible, Cambridge, 1879; K. F. Keil (Peter and Jude). Leipsic, 1883; F. Spitta (on Peter and Jude), Halle, 1885; A. F. Manoury (on the Catholic Epistles), Bar-le-Duc, 1888; A. Plummer, in Expositor's Bible, London, 1891; C. Bigg (on Peter and Jude), Edinburgh, 1901.

Questions of introduction are treated in the works on Biblical Introduction (q.v.) and on N. T. theology (e.g., W. Beyschlag, Edinburgh, 1896). Consult further: F. Maier, Des Judasbrief, seine Echtheit, Abfassungszeit und Leser, Freiburg, 1906; E. Arnaud, Recherches critiques sur l'epître de Jude, Strasburg, 1851; P, J. Gloag, Introduction to the Catholic Epistles, Edinburgh, 1887; A. C. McGiffert, Hist. of Christianity in the Apostolic Age, pp, 585-588, New York, 1897; Harnack, Litteratur, ii. 1, pp. 465.469; DR, ii. 799-806 (minute and searching); EB, ii. 2630-32.



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