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the title, instead of being content to call himself “the brother of James.” Regarding Jude personally we know little or nothing, but an interesting tradition concerning two of his grandsons has been preserved by Hegesippus. That historian (as quoted by Eusebius) tells how the Emperor Domitian, being moved with jealousy, sent for these two kinsmen of our Lord to inquire of them regarding the kingdom to which they aspired. When he learned from them that they were merely peasant proprietors farming a few acres of land in Palestine, and saw their hands horny with constant labour, and when they told him further that the kingdom to which they looked forward was not of this world, but to be revealed when Christ came to judge the quick and the dead, his alarm was removed, and he allowed them to depart in peace. Tradition tells that they lived to the reign of Trajan, honoured by the Church for their confession and for their relation to the Lord.
The obscurity of Jude himself is a strong argument for the genuineness of the epistle, as a forger would have chosen some more distinguished name to associate with his work. Its marked individuality also, exhibiting so many unusual features, by which it is distinguished from all the other books of the New Testament, except 2 Peter, is against the supposition of forgery. Although it is reckoned by Eusebius among the disputed” books, we find it expressly quoted by Clement of Alexandria in the end of the second century, and recognised as canonical by Tertullian a few years later. It has also a place in the Muratorian Canon ; but it is absent from the Syriac Version.
2. The Readers.—On this subject we are left to conjecture. Considering the Jewish features of the book and the Jewish character of its author, it would seem probable that it was written to Christians in Palestine,
but not to any particular Church, as it contains no special salutations or messages.1
3. Date and Place of Composition.-Regarding the place of writing we have no direct information, but all the circumstances point to Palestine as the source of the epistle. From the absence of any allusion to the destruction of Jerusalem we infer it was written prior to that event; but here, as in 2 Peter, the evils with which the epistle deals preclude us from giving it a much earlier date. As an approximation we may name 65-68 A.D.
4. Character and Contents.—This epistle, consisting of a single chapter, bears a very striking likeness to the second chapter of 2 Peter, so much so that we may conclude with confidence that the one was borrowed from the other. As this epistle has certain features of originality about it which the other lacks, we may infer that St. Peter and not Jude was the borrower. It is quite possible, however, that the Epistle of Jude may itself be the translation of an Aramaic original-judging, for example, from its fondness for threefold expressions.2
The epistle is remarkable for several allusions to matters of ancient history that are not recorded in the Old Testament. In ver. 14 we have a quotation from an apocryphal book of Enoch (of which several copies of an Ethiopic version were brought from Abyssinia by the traveller Bruce in 1773, while a large part of it in Greek has been recently discovered in Egypt); and ver. 9 seems to have been derived from a book called “The Assumption of Moses," only a small part of which has been preserved to us. These allusions are not more at variance with the doctrine of Inspiration than the quotations in the
i The designation which the writer gives himself — Judas, the “brother of James”—was well fitted to command the attention of Jewish converts owing to the deep reverence in which James was held by his countrymen.
2 Cf. vv. 1, 8, 11.
Old Testament from the “Book of Jasher,” and other such documents, or Paul's allusions to “Jannes and Jambres” (2 Tim. iii. 8), or his quotations from heathen writers. In 2 Peter, however, these quotations almost disappear, and there is also an omission of one or two references to Levitical uncleanness, as if the writer desired to adapt his epistle as far as possible for general use.
The epistle is full of sharp and stern denunciation, aimed at practical evils of a most heinous character, committed by men who were “turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness, and denying our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ.” These evils were founded upon a gross abuse of Christian liberty, and were somewhat similar to the terrible excesses which broke out among the Anabaptists after the Protestant Reformation, resulting from the abuse of the doctrine of Justification by Faith, when professing Christians combined the guilt of Cain (bloodshed), of Balaam (seduction), and of Korah (insubordination), ver. 11. In view of the corruption both of faith and manners that was thus beginning to infect the Church, Jude exhorts his readers to “contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered unto the saints,' and appeals to the past history of God's judgments for proof of the punishment in store for the present offenders, whom he commends nevertheless to the compassion and care of their believing brethren.
The epistle concludes with one of the most beautiful doxologies to be found in the New Testament.
1, 2, AND 3 JOHN
THE FIRST EPISTLE GENERAL OF JOHN
1. Authorship.—This epistle was used by two of the Fathers who had been disciples of the Apostle John, viz. Polycarp and Papias. It was recognised and quoted as John's by Irenæus who had been a disciple of Polycarp, and it was evidently known by the writer of the Letter to Diognetus. It is freely quoted by Clement of Alexandria and Tertullian, is referred to in the Muratorian Fragment, and is one of the books contained in the Syriac as well as in the old Latin Version.
Its internal character is such as to confirm us in the belief that it was written by the author of the fourth Gospel. Not only has it many verbal similarities, but it is dominated by the same Christian idealism which refers all things in human life to the ultimate principles of light and darkness, truth and error, good and evil, love and hatred, life and death, God and the devil. So intimate is the connection between the two books that
E.g. cf. i. 1, John i. 1, 14, xx. 27 ; i. 2, John iii. 11 ; i. 3, John xvii. 21 ; i. 4, John xvi. 24 ; i. 5, 6, John i. 5, iii. 21, viii. 12 ; ii. 11, John xii. 35; iii. 14, John v. 24 ; iv. 9, John i. 14, iii. 16 ; iv. 14, John iv. 42; v. 6, John xix. 34.
the epistle was regarded by the late Bishop Lightfoot and others as forming a postscript to the Gospel.1
2. The Readers.—In all probability it was addressed in the first instance to the Churches of Asia, among whom the Apostle John spent the latter part of his life. The exhortation in v. 21, "guard yourselves from idols," would have special significance in the neighbourhood of Ephesus, which was a great stronghold of idolatry; and the absence of allusions to the Old Testament bears out the supposition that the epistle was addressed to converts from heathenism. Although there is no salutation either at the beginning or the end, and no personal or historical allusions such as would have been likely to occur if it had been a letter addressed to an individual Church, yet the writer speaks in a quiet tone of authority as if he were well known to his readers and expected that his words would command respect. He addresses them in terms of affection, and writes as if he were well acquainted with their dangers and their needs.2
3. Date and Place of Composition.—It was probably written in the same city as tradition assigns to the Gospel, viz. Ephesus; and about the same time—85-90
It takes the Gospel for granted, and in certain passages (e.g. ii. 1, etc., “my little children”) the tone of its language is such as would befit an aged apostle addressing men of a later generation.
4. Character and Contents.—In this epistle-probably the last inspired utterance of the New Testament excepting the two brief missives that follow it—we have the
1 Professor Ramsay says : "No two works in the whole range of literature show clearer signs of the genius of one writer."
2 Augustine and other Latin writers speak of the epistle as addressed to the Parthians, but this was probably a mistake occasioned by the Greek term parthenos (“virgin ”), which was frequently applied to the Apostle John, in allusion to his supposed lifelong celibacy.