Jude, Epistle of
JUDE, EPISTLE OF
One of the Catholic Epistles of the New Testament. This brief letter of 25 verses is an exhortation to the faithful to remain firm in the face of wicked men who deny Christ. The author tells his readers that the punishment of these men is foreshadowed in the Old Testament (v. 5–7); he illustrates their wickedness by examples drawn from scriptural and other sources (v. 8–13), saying that their judgment was predicted by Henoch (v. 14–16), and their coming, by the Apostles (v. 17–19). He exhorts them to wait for the Lord and to help others (v. 20–23), concluding with a doxology (v. 24–25).
Author and Date. "Jude, a servant of Jesus Christ and brother of James" (v. 1), is almost certainly to be identified with the Jude listed among the "brothers of the Lord" in Mk 6.3. Although this "Jude, brother of James," has, in ecclesiastical tradition, often been identified with the Apostle St. jude thaddeus (Lk 6.16; Acts1.13; Mt 10.3; Mk 3.18; Jn 14.22), exegetes today, including many Catholics, are inclined to deny this identity for the same reasons that apply in the case of "James, the brother of the Lord" (see james, epistle of st.). Furthermore, the reference in Jude verse 17 to the Apostles seems to imply that the author did not reckon himself among them. Eusebius (Ecclesiastical History 3.19.20;32.5) quotes Hegesippus as saying that two grandchildren of Jude were arrested under Domitian on the charge of being descendants of David. The cultivated Greek style and certain indications of a relatively late date (e.g., v.17) lead certain scholars to question (as does the Catholic K. H. Schelkle) or deny the authenticity of the attribution to Jude. However, the literary dependence of 2 Peter on this letter (see peter, epistles of st.) cautions against assigning too late a date and, consequently, against too ready a questioning of its authenticity. The destination and place of writing are unknown. Although its canonical status in the early Church is well attested, doubts were occasioned in some quarters by reason of Jude's quoting (in v. 14–15) the apocryphal Book of Henoch. see bible.
Occasion and Doctrine. Although the descriptions in the letter are too vague to permit identification of the errors of the wicked intruders, they seem to represent an embryonic form of Antinomian Christian gnosticism, perhaps similar to that underlying Church troubles alluded to in Galatians, Colossians, and the Pastoral Epistles. The author's chief concern in this short epistle is obviously to warn the recipients of the pressing dangers to faith and morals and thus to protect them from being corrupted. Nevertheless, various points of doctrine are raised or mentioned: the Persons of the Trinity (v. 1, 20, 25), the deposit of faith (v. 3), the existence of good and bad angels (v. 6, 9), the destiny of eternal life (v. 21), and zeal for others' salvation (v. 22–23).
Bibliography: c. bigg, Epistles of St. Peter and St. Jude (International Critical Commentary ; 2d ed. Edinburgh 1910). g. h. boobyer, "Jude," Peake's Commentary on the Bible, ed. m. black and h. h. rowley (New York 1962) 1041–42. j. chaine, Les Épîtres catholiques (2d ed. Étude bibliques Paris 1939). r. leconte, Les Épîtres catholiques (Bible de Jérusalem ; 42; 2d ed. Paris 1961). j. b. mayor, The Epistle of St. Jude and the Second Epistle of St. Peter (London 1907). k. h. schelkle, Die Petrusbriefe, Der Judasbrief (Herders theologischer Kommentar zum N.T.13.2; Freiburg 1961). j. cantinat, "L'Épître de s. Jude," a. robert and a. feuillet, eds., Introduction à la Bible (Tournai 1959) 2:602–610. p. feine et al., "Der Judasbrief," Einleitung in das N.T. (13th ed. Heidelberg 1964) 310–313. j. blinzler, Lexikon für Theologie und Kirche, ed. j. hofer and k. rahner (Freiberg 1957–65) 5:1155–56. e. fascher, Die Religion in Geschichte und Gegenwart (Tübingen 1957–65) 3: 966–967. j. b. colon, Dictionnaire de théologie catholique, ed. a. vacant et al., (Paris 1903–50) 8.2:1668–81. Encyclopedic Dictionary of the Bible, tr. and adap. by l. hartman (New York 1963) 1235–36.
[t. w. leahy]
The Letter of Jude is one of the Catholic epistles of the New Testament.
St Jude is the patron saint of hopeless causes. He may be shown holding a club, as the instrument of his martyrdom; otherwise he is seen holding a fish (while St Simon has a ship). His feast day (with St Simon) is 28 October.