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Epistle of Jude

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Estimated Range of Dating: 90-120 A.D.

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Information on the Epistle of Jude

Kummel presents the reasons that most scholars suspect Jude to be a pseudepigraph (Introduction to the New Testament, pp. 428):

The author was presumably a Jewish Christian, since he knews such Jewish-apocalyptic writings as the Ascension of Moses (9) and the Enoch Apocalypse (14), and the Jewish legends (9, 11). But the author "speaks of the apostles like a pupil from a time long afterward" (17). Not only does he assume a concept of "a faith once for all delivered to the saints" (3), but against the statements of the false teachers of the End-tim, he adduces in similar manner Jewish and early Christian predictions (14 f, 17). All this points to a late phase of primitive Christianity, and the cultivated Greek language as well as the citations from a Greek translation of the Enoch Apocalypse do not well suit a Galilean. The supposition repeatedly presented that Jude really does come from a brother of the Lord is accordingly extremely improbable, and Jude must be considered a pseudonymous writing. That is all the more fitting if Jude 1 contains a reference to a pseudonymous James (see 27.4).

Norman Perrin writes the following on Jude (The New Testament: An Introduction, p. 260):

The letter is pseudonymous, as is all the literature of emergent catholicism in the New Testament.

The most interesting features of this letter are the characteristics of emergent Catholocism it exhibits. The letter speaks of "the faith once for all delivered to the saints"; faith is the acceptance of authoritative tradition, and the writer denounces the heretics and admonishes the faithful on the authority of that tradition. There is also evidence of a developing Christian liturgy. In verses 20-21, "pray in the Holy Spirit; keep yourselves in the love of God; wait for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ" testifies to the liturgical development of a trinitarian formula. The closing benediction is a magnificent piece of liturgical language, so different in style and tone from the remainder of the letter that the writer has probably taken it from the liturgy of his church.

Jude is dependent on James, and II Peter is dependent on Jude, setting the terminus a quo and the terminus ad quem for this epistle. It would be fair to date it to the turn of the second century.

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Kirby, Peter. "Epistle of Jude." Early Christian Writings. <>.