The Letter of St. Jude
This letter is attributed to “Jude, a slave of Jesus Christ and brother of James” (Jude 1). Since he is not identified as an apostle, the author is believed to be the Jude named in the gospels among the relatives of Jesus (Mt 13:55; Mk 6:3), and not the Jude or Judas listed among the twelve apostles. The James who is named as his brother is the one to whom the Letter of James is attributed. Nothing else is known of this Jude.
The letter is addressed to all Christians to warn against false teachers. The errors that Jude addresses seem to reflect an early form of gnosticism. There is so much similarity between Jude and 2 Peter, especially Jude 4–16 and 2 Pt 2:1–18, that there must be a literary relationship between them. Since there is no evidence for the view that both authors borrowed from the same source, it is usually supposed that one of them borrowed from the other. Most scholars believe that Jude is the earlier of the two, principally because he quotes two apocryphal Jewish works, the Assumption of Moses (Jude 9) and the Book of Enoch (Jude 14–15) as part of his structured argument, whereas 2 Peter omits both references. Since there was controversy in the early church in regards to citing noncanonical literature, it is more probable that a later writer would omit such references rather than add them.
Many interpreters today consider Jude a pseudonymous work dating from the end of the first century or even later. In support of this view they adduce the following arguments: (a) the apostles are referred to as belonging to an age that has receded into the past (Jude 17–18); (b) faith is understood as a body of doctrine handed down by a process of tradition (Jude 3); (c) the author’s competent Greek style shows that he must have had a Hellenistic cultural formation; (d) the gnostic character of the errors described suggests early second century.
Excerpts from Jude:
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The Letter of St. Jude:
Address and Greeting.
Occasion for Writing.
3 Beloved, although I was making every effort to write to you about our common salvation, I now feel a need to write to encourage you to contend for the faith that was once for all handed down to the holy ones.
The False Teachers.
 For this first example of divine punishment on those who had been saved but did not then keep faith, see Nm 14:28–29. Some manuscripts have the word “once” (hapax as at Jude 3) after “you know”; some commentators have suggested that it means “knowing one thing” or “you know all things once for all.”
 This second example draws on Gn 6:1–4 as elaborated in the apocryphal Book of Enoch (cf. Jude 14): heavenly beings came to earth and had sexual intercourse with women. God punished them by casting them out of heaven into darkness and bondage.
 Practiced unnatural vice: literally, “went after alien flesh.” This example derives from Gn 19:1–25, especially 4–11, when the townsmen of Sodom violated both hospitality and morality by demanding that Lot’s two visitors (really messengers of Yahweh) be handed over to them so that they could abuse them sexually. Unnatural vice: this refers to the desire for intimacies by human beings with angels (the reverse of the example in Jude 6). Sodom (whence “sodomy”) and Gomorrah became proverbial as object lessons for God’s punishment on sin (Is 1:9; Jer 50:40; Am 4:11; Mt 10:15; 2 Pt 2:6).
 The archangel Michael…judgment: a reference to an incident in the apocryphal Assumption of Moses. Dt 34:6 had said of Moses, literally in Greek, “they buried him”. The later account tells how Michael, who was sent to bury him, was challenged by the devil’s interest in the body. Our author draws out the point that if an archangel refrained from reviling even the devil, how wrong it is for mere human beings to revile glorious beings (angels).
 Cain…Balaam…Korah: examples of rebellious men and of the punishment their conduct incurred; cf. Gn 4:8–16; Nm 16:1–35; 31:16. See note on 2 Pt 2:15.
[14–15] Cited from the apocryphal Book of Enoch 1:9.