Epistle of Jude
The Epistle of Jude, often called simply, Jude, is a letter that was canonized into most Christian bibles.
Church tradition cannot agree upon the identity of the author, who calls himself "Jude, a servant of Jesus Christ and brother of James."
Throughout history, even as early as the 2nd century, scholars have disagreed upon the author, and nobody has been able to give a definitive identity. There are several Judes in the New Testament and the title, "servant of Jesus," is too generic to point to any one in particular. Several New Testament scholars believe the work is pseudonymous, though various branches of Christianity pick their favorite Jude among those found in the earlier scriptures.
Conservative scholars date the manuscript from 66-90 CE (which would be necessary if they wanted to attribute it to one of Jesus' followers), but the general consensus among modern scholars is a later date, around 90-120 CE, suggesting a pseudonymous author.
Interestingly, in 1:9 the author alludes to a passage from the Assumption of Moses a Jewish apocryphal book, and later in 1:14-15, he quotes directly from the Book of Enoch, which is considered non-canonical by most branches of Christianity. This raises the question, why would a canonical author be quoting non-canonical books in a positive light?
The letter also appears to be part of the source material for the Second Epistle of Peter, only with the apocryphal references removed.
I have several translations of this book from various bibles, and have read the NIV translation.
- It's quite a dull read. The author just includes the usual, don't do bad things like the bad people of the bible, instead do good things. Little stands out.
- Jude's canonical status only hurts Christianity.
- There isn't much positive text worth quoting, so the epistle has become best known because of its problems.
- The author is not only unknown, but, considering the date, most likely not an eye-witness.
- The author cites two different apocryphal works in a positive manner.