Saturday, May 20, 2006

Recent Studies on the Epistle of Jude

One of the most neglected NT books is of course Jude, but there have been a few decent studies on the book in the last ten years or so. These studies include the following:

Charles, J.D. 1993. Literary Strategy in the Epistle of Jude. Toronto: University of Scranton Press.

Traditionally, New Testament scholarship has subsumed examination of Jude under the study of 2 Peter, concentrating primarily on the question of literary dependence. The present work, however, with its focus on the unique features of the epistle, endeavors to penetrate the distinct literary and theological world of Jude and thus illuminate what for many has been an obscure part of the New Testament canon.

Winter, S.C."Jude 22-23: A Note on the Text and Translation," HTR 87.2 (1994): 215-222.

Knight, Jonathan. 1995. 2 Peter and Jude. NTG. London: T&T Clark.

These two small texts have often been outshone by other New Testament writings and have sometimes been regarded as of scant importance. Neither of them is easy to understand. Their language is sometimes difficult and the symbolism and biblical allusions are obscure to readers who do not know Jewish apocalyptic literature. Knight demonstrates that they do, however, repay careful study. They reveal a thought-world that is dominated by meditation on biblical literature, and they show how such material was interpreted to deal with problems in the life of certain unknown churches in the first century CE.

Landon, Charles. 1996. Text-Critical Study of the Epistle of Jude. LNTS 36; T&T Clark: Continuum.

The author writes in the tradition of C.H. Turner, G.D. Kilpatrick and J.K. Elliott, and attempts a reconstruction of the Greek text of Jude according to the rationale of thoroughgoing eclecticism. The aims of his study are to apply an eclectic approach to the resolution of textual problems in Jude, and to determine the extent to which the text of Jude published in the United Bible Societies' Greek New Testament (GNT4) is a product of the eclectic ideal. In this work, eclecticism is defined in detail, distinctions being made between eclectic generalism, rational criticism, and thoroughgoing eclecticism. Each of 95 variation units is analysed individually and the apparatus provided for each unit shows as much variation as possible in a compact form.

Lyle, K.R. 1998. Ethical Admonition in the Epistle of Jude. SBL 4; NY: Peter Lang.

Ethical Admonition in the Epistle of Jude examines the twofold ethical admonition found in this short and often neglected New Testament letter. Using a model suggested from the discipline of Christian Ethics, this study demonstrates how the author of Jude argues for the exercise of judgment and mercy in the early Christian community.

Allen, Joel S. ‘A New Possibility for the Three-Clause Format of Jude 22-3.’ NTS 44 (1998): 133-43.

Horrell, David. 1998. The Epistles of Peter and Jude. EpCom; Epworth: Petersborough.

The epistles of Peter and Jude offer an interesting insight into the character of early Christianity, but also raise questions about how contemporary Christians are to regard the Bible. Dr Horrell explains what the epistles have to say about God, Christ and the Spirit, and about Christian identity and hope, and considers their role in responsible community life today.

Reese, R.A. 2000. Writing Jude: The Reader, the Text, and the Author in Constructs of Power and Desire. BIS 51; Leiden: Brill.

Writing Jude is a practical application of literary theory to the Epistle of Jude. As such, it explores the nature of language, reading, and interpretation. This is the first such study to be undertaken with an Epistle.
Writing Jude contains a chapter on each of the elements that affect interpretation -- reader, text, and author. In these broad categories, the book examines various contemporary literary theories and their application to the Epistle of Jude.
The book provides a clear introduction to some of the most well known literary theories of the twentieth century and provides a demonstration of those theories in a particular text. This study breaks new ground in the understanding of both the Epistle of Jude and the application of literary theory to Epistles in general.

Gerdmar, A. 2001. Rethinking the Judaism-Hellenism Dichotomy: A Historiographical Case Study of Second Peter and Jude. ConBT 36; Stockholm: Almqvist & Wiksell.

Since the beginning of modern New Testament exegesis, the Judaism-Hellenism dichotomy has been influential as a heuristic tool. However, the concept of Hellenism is ambiguous and its historiographical foundation needs rethinking, having been formed out of Hegelian idealism with a Christian bias. Current historiography urges reconsideration of Hellenism, Hellenisation and Hellenistic Judaism. In exegetical methodology, the dichotomy assumes a paradigmatic function. Hence, 2Peter and Jude, though closely related from a literary standpoint, are often contrasted as emanating from different backgrounds. Jude is considered 'more Jewish' than 2Peter, which is classified as 'Hellenistic' or 'Hellenistic Jewish'. Applying reversed heuristics, viz., looking for 'Jewish' features where 'Hellenistic' are expected and vice versa, brings about a new picture. An analysis of textual, ideological and historical factors shows that data considered 'Hellenistic' are slighted in Jude, whereas 'Jewish' features are neglected in 2Peter. Thereby the traditional picture is turned upside down. 2Peter probably uses a Hebrew Bible version, has numerous Semitisms and has a distinct Jewish apocalyptic theology. Jude is closer to the Septuagint, may have a calque from Hesiod and has better Greek than 2Peter. Ideological and historical analyses bring the letters together, situating both in a Jewish Christian apocalyptic current. Methodological consequences are that constructs built an the dichotomy need reconsideration, whereas new discoveries may be seen through reversed heuristics in the well-researched New Testament corpus. The concept of Hellenism should be reserved for the time period and not used for any other description without specifying the level and nature of Greek influence.

Brosend, William F. 2004. Letters of James and Jude. NCBC; Cambridge: CUP.

This is the first commentary to focus exclusively on the two letters written by the ‘brothers of the Lord’, James and Jude. Each letter is discussed on its own merits, and interpreted as having been written early in the life of the Church - it is posited that the letter of James may be one of the oldest Christian writings as well as an early witness to the teachings of Jesus. Particular attention is devoted to understanding the social worlds of James and Jude and to interpreting the significance of their message for our day. Of special interest is the focus on the ‘ideological texture’ of James, in particular on James’ working out of the ethical implications of the teachings of Jesus on poverty and wealth.

Davids, Peter H. 2006 (June). Letters of 2 Peter and Jude. PNTC; Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans.

Tackling these two historically underappreciated books, Peter Davids artfully reveals two fascinating epistles that deal with the confrontation between the Greco-Roman world and the burgeoning first-century Jesus communities. Davids takes on a number of thorny issues in this Pillar commentary, from Jude's overzealous condemnation of his opponents to the reality of the final judgment. He firmly grasps the overall structure of these oft-maligned epistles and presents a strong case for 2 Peter and Jude as coherent, consistent documents. Marked by exceptional xegesis, sharp, independent judgments, and timely application to the concerns of the local church, Davids's work not only connects with the latest scholarship but also transforms these scholarly insights into helpful conclusions that benefit all believers. Informed, astute, and evangelical, The Letters of 2 Peter and Jude displays a careful balance between scholarship and pastoral concern and is readily accessible for both teachers and students, pastors and thoughtful members of their churches.

Mention should also be made of Robert L. Webb's 2 Peter & Jude commentary forthcoming in the NICNT series.


tony siew said...

Dear Michael,

Great to have these references for Jude and 2 Peters. I agree. I love the book of Jude and is somewhat neglected. My favourite is still Richard Bauckham's commentary in WBC (early 80s). That commentary created a desire in my for academic study of the Bible in general and Jewish apocalyptic in particular. I'll check out some recent books as listed. Thanks again.

Tony Siew.

Michael F. Bird said...

Tony, I concur on both counts. Jude is a great book (I've just finished a sermon series on the book) and I think Bauckham's commentary in the best to date (though Bob Webb's may well rival that one).

Corn on the Robb said...

Thanks for that useful post. I think Davids's sounds the most alluring to me right now.

Jim Hamilton said...


See also Tom Schreiner's 2003 commentary on 1-2 Peter and Jude in the New American Commentary series. It's excellent: