Epistle of Jude

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A fragment of a copy of Jude, c. 300 CE.

The Epistle of Jude, often called simply, Jude, is a letter that was canonized into most Christian bibles. The author identifies himself as Jude, though the recipient is unknown.

Authorship and Dating

The author identifies himself as "Jude, a servant of Jesus Christ and brother of James." However, as early as the 2nd century, scholars have disagreed upon the identity of the author, and nobody has been able to give a definitive identity. There are several Judes in the New Testament and the descriptors, "servant of Jesus," and, "brother of James," are 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.

Content

The letter warns the unknown recipient to be on his guard because evil godless men have secretly infiltrated the ranks of his fellowship. He explains that the men are greedy selfish lawless blasphemers who grumble, complain, and brag, however, the recipient should still try and save them.

Interestingly, in 1:9 the author seems to allude 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 almost all branches of Christianity. The letter also appears to share text with the Second Epistle of Peter.

Status

I have several translations of this book from various bibles, and have read the NIV and KJV translations.

Review

Good

  • Nothing.

Bad

  • It's quite a dull read. The author says to be wary of bad people because they're bad, and to try to stop them from doing bad because it's good.
  • The author says that these horrible godless people have secretly infiltrated another man's fellowship. But if they're really as diabolically evil as the author writes, how can they possibly not be found out?

Ugly

  • Jude's canonical status only hurts Christianity.
    • There isn't much positive text worth quoting, so the epistle is mostly known for its problems.
    • The author is not only unknown, but, considering the date, most likely not contemporary of Jesus.
    • The author cites two different apocryphal works in a positive manner.
    • Parts of the writing are so similar to the Second Epistle of Peter that most scholars agree that one plagiarized off the other. This is especially bad because II Peter is viewed by most scholars to be fraudulent.

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