The Similarity Between the Epistle of Jude and the Second Epistle of Peter

Rev. Frederic Gardiner, Bath Maine.


Many and various are the conjectures which, from time to time, have been put forth to account for the remarkable resemblance between the epistle of Jude and the second of Peter. One critic finds, in the fact of this resemblance, conclusive proof that neither Apostle could have seen the epistle of the other, or he would not have written his own; another thinks it equally clear that one of them must have had the epistle of the other before his eyes. This one cannot doubt that the epistle of Jude, being more terse and having greater concinnity, bears the plain mark of originality, and must have been the earlier of the two; but another is convinced that the epistle of Peter preceded that of Jude, by a period long enough to allow of his warning to have been forgotten and his prophecies fulfilled. It has been suggested, on the one hand, that Jude might have been in the habit of hearing Peter preach, and so have set down briefly, from memory, what Peter spoke, and afterwards himself wrote more fully; and, on the other hand, it has been imagined that both writers might have derived their ideas and their language from some other common source, of which we know nothing. And if there be any other possible theory, it has not wanted an advocate among the host of those who have sought to solve this interesting but most difficult question.

Amid this Babel of opinions among men of learning and sagacity, it may be doubted whether there really exist sufficient data for the establishment of any one view. Yet, in this doubt, the student of Scripture cannot willingly acquiesce, until such data as there are, have been fully presented to view, and all inferences drawn from them which they will legitimately bear. Arnold has justly remarked in regard to uncertainty in matters of history: “Scepticism must ever be a misfortune or a defect: a misfortune, if there be no means of arriving at truth; a defect, if, while there exist such means, we are unable or unwilling to use them.”1 The uncertainty in regard to the present question must be considered more as a defect than a misfortune, until a clear examination, and a more careful weighing of the evidence is made, than has hitherto been done, at least in out own language. This defect, Laurman, in his admirable work upon this epistle,2 proposed to remedy; but he abruptly left his task half-finished.3 There seems, therefore, the more necessity, that some one else should take up the work and carry it on to such conclusion as he may.

There is no reliable historical evidence bearing upon the subject, and the investigation must be conducted wholly on other grounds. To this end, the first thing is to place the epistles themselves fairly before the eye of the reader, arranged in parallel columns, a few transpositions being made in Jude, and portions of second Peter omitted for the sake of brevity.

2 Peter   Jude
    1. Jude, the servant of Jesus Christ, and brother of James, to them that are sanctified by god the Father, and preserved in Jesus Christ, and called:
1:2. Grace and peace be multiplied unto you, etc.   2. Mercy unto you, and peace, and love, be multiplied.

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12. Wherefore I will not be negligent to put you always in remembrance of these things, though ye know them, and be established in the present truth.    
13. Yea, I think it meet, as long as I am in this tabernacle, to stir you up, by putting you in remembrance:   3. Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort, you, that ye should earnestly contend for the faith
14. Knowing that shortly I must put off this my tabernacle, even as our Lord Jesus Christ hath showed me.    
15. Moreover, I will endeavor that ye may be able after my decease to have these things always in remembrance.    
16. For we have not followed cunningly-devised fables. When we made known unto you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eye-witnesses of his majesty.    
17. For he received from God the Father honor and glory, when there came suc a voice to him from the excellent glory, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.    
18. And this voice which came from him in the holly mount.   which was once delivered unto the saints.
19. We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day-star arise in your hearts;    
20. Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation.    

21. for the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man; but holy men of god spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.



2:1. But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction.    
2. And many shall follow their pernicious ways; by reason of whom the way of truth shall be evil spoken of.   4. For there are certain men crept in unawares, who were before of old ordained to this condemnation, ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness, and denying the only Lord god, and our Lord Jesus Christ.
3. And through covetousness shall they with feigned words make merchandise of you: whose judgment now of a long time lingereth not, and their damnation slumbereth not.    
    5. I will therefore put you in remembrance, though ye once knew this, how that the Lord, having saved the people out of the land of Egypt, afterwards destroyed them that believed not.
4. For if god spared not the angels that sinned, but cast them down to hell, and delivered them into chains of darkness, to be reserved unto judgment;   6. And the angels which kept not their first estate, but left their own habitation, he hath reserved in everlasting chains, under darkness, unto the judgment of the great day.
5. And spared not the old world, but saved Noah, the eighth person, a preacher of righteousness, bringing in the flood upon the world of the ungodly;    
6. And turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah into ashes, condemned them with an overthrow, making them an ensample unto those that after should live ungodly.   7. even as Sodom and Gomorrah, and the cities about them, in like manner, giving themselves over to fornication, and going after strange flesh, are set forth for an example, suffering the vengeance of eternal fire.

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10. But chiefly them that walk after the flesh in the lust of uncleanness, and despise government. Presumptuous are they, self-willed, they are not afraid to speak evil of dignities:   8. Likewise also these filthy dreamers defile the flesh, despise dominion, and speak evil of dignities.
11. Whereas angels, which are greater in power and might, bring not railing accusation against them before the Lord.   9. Yet Michael the archangel, when contending with the devil (he disputed about the body of Moses), durst not bring against him a railing accusation, but said, The Lord rebuke thee.
12. But these, as natural brute beasts, made to be taken and destroyed, speak evil of the things that they understand not, and shall utterly perish in their own corruption;   10. But these speak evil of those things which they know not: but what they know naturally, as brute beasts, in those things they corrupt themselves.
13. And shall receive the reward of unrighteousness, as they that count if pleasure to riot in the day-time. Spots they are and blemishes, sporting themselves with their own deceivings while they feast with you:   12. These are spots in your feasts of charity, when they feast with you,
14. Having eyes full of adultery, and that cannot cease from sin; beguiling unstable souls: a heart they have exercised with covetous practices; cursed children:   feeding themselves without fear:
15. Which have forsaken the right way, and are gone astray, following the way of Balaam the son of Bosor, who loved the wages of unrighteousness,   11. Woe unto them! for them have gone in the way of Cain, and ran greedily afer the error of Balaam for reward, and perished in the gainsaying of Core.
16. But was rebuked for his iniquity; the dumb ass, speaking with man's voice, forbade the madness of the prophet.    
17. These are wells without water, clouds that are carried with a tempest,   Clouds they are without water, carried about of winds; trees whose fruit withereth, without fruit, twice dead, plucked up by the roots;
to whom the mist of darkness is reserved for ever.   13. Raging waves of the sea, foaming out their own shame; wandering stars, to whom is reserved the blackness of darkness for ever.
18. For when they speak great swelling words of vanity, they allure through the lust of the flesh, through much wantonness, those that were clean escaped from them who live in error.   16. These are murmurers, complainers, walking after their own lusts; and their mouth speaketh great swelling words, having men's persons in admiration because of advantage.

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3:1. This second epistle, beloved, I now write unto you; in both which I stir up your pure minds by way of remembrance;    
2. That ye may be mindful of words which were before spoken by the holy prophets, and of the commandment of us the apostles of the Lord Saviour;   17. But, beloved, remember ye the words which were spoken before of the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ;
3. knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts.   18. How that they told you there should be mockers in the last time, who should walk after their own ungodly lusts.

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  19. These be they who separate themselves, sensual, having not the Spirit.
7. But the heavens and the earth which are now, by the same word are kept in store, reserved unto fire against    
the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men.    
8. But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.    
9. The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is long-suffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.   14. And Enoch also, the Seventh from Adam, prophesied of these, saying, Behold, the Lord cometh with ten thousand of his saints,
10. But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt withy fervent heat, the earth also, and the works that are therein, shall be burned up.   15. To execute judgment upon all, and to convince all that are ungodly among them of all their ungodly deeds which they have ungodly committed, and of all their hard speeches which ungodly sinners have spoken against him.

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14. Wherefore, beloved, seeing that ye look for such things, be diligent that ye may be found of him in peace, without spot, and blameless:   20. But ye, beloved, building up yourselves on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Ghost,
15. And account that the long-suffering of our Lord is salvation;   21. Keep yourselves in the love of god, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life.

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  22. And of some have compassion, making a difference:
    23. And others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire; hating even the ferment spotted by the flesh.
17. Ye therefore, beloved, seeing ye know these things before, beware lest ye also, being led away with the error of the wicked, fall from your own stedfastness:   24. Now unto him that I s able to keep you From falling, and to present your faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy,
18. But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and for ever. Amen.   25. To the only Wise God our Saviour, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and ever. Amen


It is impossible to suppose that such a resemblance, as is here presented to us, could have been accidental. The similarity consists, not merely in general design and argument, but extends to the order and arrangement of the two epistles; to the use of particular illustrations and comparisons, and even of the same words and phrases, and those sometimes of an unusual character. Such resemblance can hardly be accounted for by supposing that one of the writers had been in the habit of listening to the preaching of the other. The idea that both drew from some common, but now unknown, source, is destitute of any shadow of evidence; and, while it must be pressed to the utmost limit to account for the verbal coincidences of the epistles, could, in the end, only have the effect of doubling the present difficulty.

It may, therefore, be assumed, as the basis of the present inquiry, that one of the writers must in some way have been made acquainted, not only with the ideas, but with the language used by the other. It is believed that reasons abundantly sufficient to justify this assumption will appear in the course of the investigation.

It may not be amiss to remind the reader, at the outset, that among the writers of Scripture, quotations and imitations of one another without express acknowledgment, stand upon a very different footing from that occupied by the same act among uninspired authors. With the former, there could be no design of concealment, inasmuch as all earlier portions of Scripture were already familiar to those for whom they wrote. From the nature of their office, they could lay no claim to originality of idea; and, if only the truth were declared in the most effectual way, it mattered little whether the language were new or old. The Spirit of truth seems either to have required that the same things should be set forth, in the same way, at different times, and by different persons; or else, merely directing the same things to be taught, the inspired writer naturally found expression for them in language already familiar. No student of Scripture can need to be reminded how often, especially in the visions of prophecy, the same or very similar passages may be found in different books. Micah 4:1–3 compared with Isaiah 2:2–4; the former part of Obadiah with Jeremiah 49. (especially Obad. 1–4 with Jer. 49:14–16; Obad. 5-6, with Jer. 49:9, 10; Obad. 8-9, with Jer. 49:7-8), and the striking resemblances between parts of the Apocalypse and the writings of the ancient prophets, particularly Daniel, may be mentioned as a few among the many instances of this fact. Therefore, without insisting upon the reference of both Peter (3:2) and Jude (17-18,) to the words of others, the above considerations, if duly weighed, are sufficient to exempt the later writer from the suspicion of that moral obliquity which is now involved in the charge of plagiarism.

The resemblance between the epistles, although most strongly marked in the second chapter of Peter, is not altogether wanting in the first, and is very noticeable in some parts of the third chapter. It becomes more remarkable throughout when the language is carefully examined in the original.

Much weight of learned authority may be found on either side of the question: “Which of the epistles was first written?” Jessien (de αὐθεντιᾳ ep. Judae, c. iv. p. 83) alleges in favor of the priority of Peter: “Millius, Wolfius, Semlerus, Chr. F. Schmidius, Zachariae certe quoad partem, Michaelis, Storrius, Hanleinius, Stolgius, Pottius, Flattius, Dahlius, Planchius junior in praelectionibus.” In favor of the priority of Jude: “Her-derus, Gablerus, Vogel, Schmidtius, Hugius, Welckerus, Richtorus, Eichornius,” add Jessien. The list might easily be extended on either side of the question. In this division of authorities, the only reliance for a determination of the question is in a careful balancing of the arguments to be derived from an examination of the epistles themselves.

1. The prima facie evidence is unquestionably in favor of the priority of Jude. There is a certain terseness about it, a nervous brevity of expression, which ill accords with the idea of its being borrowed. It abounds in freshness and vigor both of thought and language, and shows in its composition the intense order of a powerful mind. It is, moreover, far more remarkable than the epistle of Peter for its close coherence throughout, its concinnity, a point of no small importance in the determination of this question.

2. The second epistle of Peter was addressed primarily to the same persons as the first (2 Peter 3:1), that is, “to the strangers scattered throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bythinia” (2 Peter 1:1). If the epistle of Jude was intended primarily for some single church or class of persons, we know nothing positively of any such design. It bears no mark of any particular address, and, perhaps, was from the first designed for the church at large. Which supposition is the more probable — that Jude, knowing of Peter’s epistle to the churches of Asia Minor, in which there was nothing peculiar to those churches but Which did contain several passages claiming especial authority for the Writer, should have thought it advisable to abridge it for the benefit of the church at large; or that Peter, having read the catholic epistle of Jude, should have thought fit to commend its substance, extended and enforced by his own especial authority, to churches to whom he was well known, and to whom he had written before? The balance of probabilities, to our mind, is decidedly in favor of the latter hypothesis.

3. There is not here room for the discussion of the question whether Jude be the same with the ᾿Λούδας ᾿Λακώβου of Luke 6:16 and Acts 1:13, one of the twelve disciples. On the supposition, however, that he was not — and this supposition accords well with his own silence upon the point — the argument above given acquires fresh force. And, even if he were one of the twelve, he was certainly less known, and his authority less widely reverenced than that of Peter. If Jude wrote first, it is easy to see that Peter’s repetition might have the object of adding weight to the instructions of the former; but if Peter’s epistle were the earlier, it does not appear with precisely what object Jude should have afterwards written the same things.

4. In their general object and design, these two epistles are absolutely identical. In view of the corrupting influence of evil men surreptitiously entered into the church, they seek to encourage in the faithful a firm adherence to the doctrine and practice of the true faith.

The only apparent dissimilarity in this respect is, that, while Jude speaks of a present and pressing danger, the words of Peter seem to have respect to the future. This difference has sometimes been much insisted upon; but it loses its importance when it is considered that, as the same corruption might now be described in both the past and the present tense, so it might then have been spoken of, at the same time, in terms both of the present and the future. This might suffice to say here; but it does not fully present the facts. The language of Peter, fairly interpreted and one part compared with another, is in truth by no means exclusively future.4 He does, indeed, speak in some places of a time which had not then arrived. This is shown, not merely by the use of the future tense in 2:1–3 (where the future is evidently put in contrast with the past ἐγένοντο, and might be fairly interpreted of the times of the Christian dispensation in opposition, to those of the law); but by other passages, in which express mention is made of a period subsequent to the death of the writer (1:12–15), described as “the last days” (3:3), and of which the readers of the epistle were thereby forewarned (3:17). On the other hand, however, in other passages the false teachers are described with equal clearness as already come, and busy in corrupting the church-Throughout the portion of the epistle extending from the tenth to the seventeenth verses of the second chapter, and in which the resemblance to the epistle of Jude is most strongly marked, the language plainly refers to a state of things already existing. The same may be said of all the following verses of this chapter and of the sixteenth verse of the third. Whatever differences, therefore, there may be between the two epistles, in this respect, is also found between the different parts of that of Peter itself. Hence, the argument often based upon this difference in favor of the priority of Peter’s epistle, is altogether without foundation; and, if any inference at all is to be drawn from the fact, that Peter speaks both of the present and the future, while Jude confines himself to the present, it must be in accordance with the general probability of the later date of the more extended composition.

5. Both writers have adopted the same plan of argument. Little difference would appear in the logical analysis of their epistles. Both speak of a fixed, unalterable standard of truth, to which the faithful ought carefully to cling; both describe the corrupters of the church in the same way, and in much the same words; both show the certainty of their punishment by appealing to a variety of examples in the history of the past, and to the warnings of prophecy looking forward to the far-distant future; both, in nervous language, describe their ungodliness in a series of comparisons; and both, having given counsel to the faithful, under the trying circumstances of the times, conclude with a doxology.

Some differences in the development of this plan were, of course, to be expected in epistles differing so much in length. Thus, the long and beautiful introduction in Peter (1:3–11), is wanting in Jude; yet this is, in fact, only the development of the idea contained in both salutations (v. 2). Some differences arise from the personal circumstances of the writer, as when Peter (1:17, etc.) appeals to his own presence at the transfiguration in proof of what he says; and, if it be admitted that Jude was not of the number of the original apostles, Peter’s claim and Jude’s omission of all claim to apostleship is explained in the same way. Other differences, however, remain. The express quotation of ancient prophecy in Jude (14, 15) becomes a bare allusion thereto in Peter (3:2); and the deviations of the former, in regard to the different courses to be pursued toward different classes of those tainted with corruption 3:12-13), find no place at all in the epistle of the latter. On the other hand, it is a part of Peter’s plan alone to speak of the deliverance of the righteous in the midst of the overthrow of the ungodly; and it is only in his epistle that we find mention made of the peculiar guilt of apostasy (2:19–22). On the whole, these differences can be more easily accounted for by assuming the priority of Jude than of second Peter. On this assumption, indeed, there seems to be no especial reason why Peter should have omitted the counsels given by Jude in verses 22 and 23; but, with this single exception, the other points of difference all accord well with the supposition of the priority of the epistle of Jude.

The allusion to ancient prophecy (2 Peter 3:2), and then the passing of it by, in the glow of the following description of the world’s destruction, is natural, and easy to be accounted for, if the epistle of Peter were the later written; but the omission of all that glowing description, and the introduction in its place of the prophecy of Enoch, are not so easily to be explained, if Jude wrote afterwards. So, also, Peter’s directing attention to the deliverance of the righteous in the midst of the overthrow of the ungodly, is a matter which might easily be introduced by one who had the epistle of Jude before him, but would not have been so likely to be omitted by one making use of the epistle of Peter. The same may be said of the mention of the peculiar guilt of apostasy (2 Peter 2:19–22); it is much easier to account for its introduction than for its omission.

It should be constantly borne in mind that what we here seek is not demonstrative truth, of which the case does not admit; but the balance of probabilities. However slight may be the preponderance of probability in favor of the priority of one epistle or the other, in each particular of the comparison, yet, if that preponderance be uniformly, or almost uniformly, on one side, it must, in the aggregate, be sufficient to turn the scale.

6. As matters of more minute detail come under review, there is the better basis for desired inferences. In the following table, the eye can at once detect both the similarity and the dissimilarity of the particular illustrations, comparisons, and prophecies of the two epistles.

2 Peter.



2:1. False Prophets of old.    
    5. The destruction of the unbelievers, although previously delivered from Egypt.
4. The reservation of the angels that sinned in durance unto judgment.   6. The reservation of the angels that sinned in durance unto judgment.
5. The flood and the deliverance of Noah.    
6. The destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah.   7. The destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah, and the cities about them.
7. The deliverance of Lot.    
11. The moderation of angels.   9. The moderation of the archangel.
12. The comparison to beasts.5   10. The comparison to beasts.

13. the disturbance of the “feasts of charity.”

Spots (οπῖλοι=rocks?)


12. The disturbance of the “feasts of charity.”

Sunken rocks (σπιλάδες).

15, 16. The example of Balaam.   11. The example of Cain.
The example of Balaam.
The example of Korah.
17. Wells without water,
Clouds carried with a tempest.

12. Clouds without water, carried about of winds.

Trees without fruit, etc.
Raging waves, etc.
Wandering stars.

To whom ὁ ζίφος τοῦ σκίτους is reserved for ever.   To whom ὁ ζόφος τοῦ σκὁτους is reserved for ever.
3:2. The words before spoken by the holy prophets,   14. 15. Enoch, the seventh from Adam, prophesied, etc.
2, 3. The prophecy of us, the Apostles,   17, 18. The prophecy of the Apostles.
5, 6. The flood.    


The first difference to be here noted, is the mention of “false prophets among the people” (sc. of Israel) by Peter (2:1), to which there is nothing corresponding in Jude. This is a matter of so little importance, that its introduction or omission would be of little consequence either way, were it not for the connection in which it stands, The last six verses of 2 Peter 1:(16–21) correspond to the last clause of Jude 3. At the end of so great an amplification (supposing Peter to have had the epistle of Jude before him), the writer found himself speaking of the holy prophets of old; how could he pass over thence to the evil men in the Christian church, spoken of in Jude 4? The transition is skilfully made — “but there were false prophets among the people, as also there shall be false teachers among you.” Yet, does not the allusion to the “false prophets” of old bear the appearance of having been introduced for the sake of the transition? And does not such and so abrupt a transition itself suggest the presumption, that the writer had the epistle of Jude before him, and wished to return to its course of thought?

In the parallel passages occupying the 5th, 6th and 7th verses of Jude, and the 4th, 5th, 6th and 7th of 2 Peter 2., are found three examples, two of which are common to both, while each supplies one additional example. There is also the further difference, that to the example of Sodom and Gomorrah is added in 2 Peter 2:7-8, the deliverance of Lot — in pursuance of his design, peculiar to himself, of showing the safety of the righteous amidst the overthrow of the ungodly. The example added by Peter, but omitted by Jude, is the overthrow of the world by the flood and the deliverance of Noah; the one found in Jude, but not mentioned in Peter, is the destruction of the unbelieving Israelites after they had been delivered from Egypt. With the assumed priority, with which of the epistles will this difference best accord? We do not know that any strong inference can be drawn from it in favor of the priority of either of the epistles; yet such force as the inference has, it lies in the same direction with those that have gone before. If second Peter had been already written, there seems no reason why Jude should have omitted the pertinent and striking example, ready to his hands, and twice cited in the epistle before him (2:5 and 3:5); nor is there any apparent reason, beyond the excellence of the example itself, for his introducing the destruction of the Israelites in the wilderness, and especially for his making it the first of his illustrations, thereby disturbing the chronological order strictly observed by Peter. On the other hand, if Peter had the epistle of Jude before him, it is easy to see why he should have omitted the mention of the destruction of the Israelites, partly, because it did not afford, without extension, any proof of the deliverance of the righteous, and was, therefore, not so pertinent to his purpose as the mention of the flood and Noah; and, partly, because its place, according to his chronological arrangement, would have been at the close of the eighth verse, where the sense was in danger of being obscured by the long and artificial period, and where this example was easily passed by in the glow of composition. It is more natural, also, to suppose that the several examples should have been reduced to chronological order by the later writer, than that this order should have been disturbed by him when found in his exemplar. It may be remarked, that the flood, besides being a peculiarly pertinent example to this passage of Peter, seems to have been a favorite illustration with him. We find it again in the following chapter (3:5-6), and also in his former epistle (3:20).

In the illustration drawn from the conduct of angels (Jude 9, 2 Peter 2:11), there is this difference: Jude cites a particular instance; Peter makes a general declaration. It can hardly be doubted that both had the same facts in mind. If any inference can be drawn from the analogy of the inductive sciences, we must believe the record of the particular fact to be prior to the enunciation of the general principle based thereon. There was, indeed, in this case no discovery of either fact or principle; yet the fact is more likely to have suggested the principle, than the principle the fact.

In Jude 10 and 2 Peter 2:12, there is the same comparison toἄλογα ζῶα, but for different purposes. In the former, as already remarked in a note, it is used to indicate the knowledge derived from natural instincts. The comparison is apt, the illustration clear, and the whole verse graceful. In the parallel passage of Peter there is much obscurity. The object of the comparison seems to be, to set forth the ignorant brutality of insubordination. The addition of the words “made to be taken and destroyed,” although in harmony with the general design of the epistle, yet makes this particular comparison still more involved. The language of Jude has the running clearness of the fountain; that of Peter, the fulness and also the comparative turbidness of the lake fed by it. This passage will come again under review.

Jude has given very briefly three examples (11), where Peter (2:15-16,) has only one, but that one much more fully developed. The additional examples of Jude are not those of an epitomist., but are new matter thought out by the author himself. On the supposition that Jude was the later writer, it is hard to account for his having preserved no trace of all that Peter has said concerning Balaam. On the other hand, if Peter had the epistle of Jude before him, it is easy to see why, having just spoken (v. 14) of “covetous practices,” he should have seized upon the example of Balaam, and have dilated upon it, to the exclusion of the others.

That Jude should have retained no trace of the whole 14th verse of Peter, is only to be accounted for on the supposition that it had never been seen by him.

The word σπῖλοι, with the addition καὶ μῶμοι, in 2 Peter 2:13, seems not so much required by the context, as suggested by the word of similar sound, but of different import, σπιλάδες, in Jude 12. The comparison, by the latter, of the evil men who had crept unobserved into the ἀγάπη of the faithful, to sunken rocks at sea (for such, unquestionably, is the true sense of σπιλάδες), is pertinent and beautiful. The description of the same persons under the same circumstances by Peter, as “spots and blemishes,” does not appear so natural, nor is the figure a clear one, unless we suppose that his σπῖλοι was suggested by the σπιλάδες in Jude. The word ἀπάταις has also the appearance of having been suggested by the ἀγάπαις of Jude.

The remainder of the 12th and the 13th verses of Jude are occupied with a series of comparisons of which little appears in Peter. Suffice it here to say, that, while a later writer can easily be supposed to have selected an illustration or two from a number before him, it is hardly supposable that he should have introduced all the richness of illustration we find in Jude. A writer, having the epistle of Peter before him, and wishing to amplify this passage, would naturally have done so, by expanding the comparisons before him, and not by introducing wholly new matter. Moreover, the last clause, which is word for word the same in both epistles, although pertinent enough to its connection in 2 Peter 2:17, is yet introduced with far greater force and beauty in Jude 12. Everlasting imprisonment in infernal darkness is a far more fitting termination to the career of “wandering stars,” than to that of “clouds borne with a tempest.” But, however this may be, the whole of this striking passage in Jude bears indubitable marks of originality. It evidently comes fresh from a mind highly wrought up with the subject. Instead of the calmness of ordinary forms of expression, there is in it that glow and fervor, that heaping of figure upon figure, each rising above the other in intensity of meaning, which marks the creative power of the poet.

On a comparison of Jude 14, 15, 17 and 18 with 2 Peter 3:2-3, it appears that mention is made in both of ancient as well as of apostolic prophecy; but the former is only mentioned by Peter, while by Jude an express quotation is made of the remarkable prophecy of Enoch. We leave all inference from these facts to be made by more competent critics. For ourselves, we are not able to discover the bearing they may have upon the question of the relative priority of the epistles.

7. The general arrangement of the matter in both the epistles is precisely the same. In the details, also, the same order is, for the most part, observed, with only a few trifling variations, too slight to be of consequence in the present inquiry. Such a coincidence, in the arrangement of previously coincident thoughts and illustrations, is altogether beyond the range of accident, and gives warrant for the assumption, that one of the writers had the epistle of the other before his eyes, or at least strongly imprinted on his memory. Nevertheless, it may be said, in general, that the epistle of Jude has the compactness, the clearness of arrangement, and the close coherence of the various parts, which indicate an original; while, in the second epistle of Peter, the proportion of the parts is changed, and in several instances their connection more or less obscured, as if the writer had enlarged particular illustrations in an earlier document.

8. In comparing particular words and expressions in the two epistles, it will again be convenient to use a tabular form, setting down the more remarkable expressions of each in the original.

2 Peter.



1:2. χάρις ὑμῖν καὶ εἰρήνη πληθυνθείη.6   2. ἔλεος ὑμῖν καὶ εἰρήνη καὶ ἀγάπη πληθυν.11
5. σπουδὴν πᾶσαν παρειςενέγκαντες.7  

3. πᾶσαν σπουδήν ποιοὐμενος κοινῆς σωτηρίας τῇ ἅπαξ παραδοθείοῃ τοῖς ἁγ. πίστει.

1. ποῖς ἰσότιμον 8 ἡμῖν λαχοῦσι πίστιν.16–21.  

2:1. παρειςάξουσιν 9 ψευδοδιδάσκαλοι 10


4. παρειςέδυσαν 12 τινες ἄνθρωποι

ἐπάγοντες ἑαυτοῖς ταχινὴν ἀπώλειαν.   οι πάλαι προγεγραμμένοι εῖς τοῦτο τὸ κρῖμα
3. οἷς τὸ κρῖμα ἔκπαλαι 13 οὐκ ἀργεῖ 14 καὶ ἡ ἀπώλεια αὐτῶν νυστδζει.    
2. αὐτῶν ταῖς ἀσελγείαις δἰ οὓς ἡ ὁδὸς τῆς ἀληθείας βλασφημηθήσεται.   χάριν μετατιθέντες εἰς ἀσέλγειαν
1. τὸν ἀγοράσαντα αὐτ. δεσπότην ἀρνοὑμενοι.   τὸν μόνον δεσπότην κ. Κ. ἡμ. Λ. Χ. ἀρνούμενοι.

4. ἀγγέλων ἁμαρτησἁντων παρέδωκεν εἰς κρίσιν τηρουμένους 15 (conf. ἡμέραν κρίσεως ver.9.) σειραῖς ζόφου.


6. ἀγγέλους τε τοὺς μὴ τηρήσαντες τὴν ἑαυτῶν ἀρχὴν, ἀλλὰἀπολιπ.τὸ ἴδιον οἰκ. εἰς κρίσιν μεγάλης ἡμέρας . . . . τετήρηκεν.23 δεσμοῖς ἀῒδίοις ὑπὸ ζίφον.

6 and 13. ζόφος.24

4. and 17. ζόφος.16  
4. ταρταρώσας. 17  

10. τοὺς ὀπίσω σαρκὸς ἐν ἐπιθυμίᾳ μιασμοῦ πορευομένους.

6. ὑπόδειγμα.

  7. ἑκπορνεύσασαι, 25 καὶ ἀπελθοῦσαι ὀπίσω σαρκὸς ἑτέρας δεῖγμα. 26
10. κυριότητος καταφρονοῦντας δόξας οὐ τρέμουσι βλασφημοῦντες.   8. κυριότητα δὲ ἀθετοῦσι δόξας δὲ βλασφημοῦσιν.
11. οὐ φέρουσι κατ᾿ αὐτ. π. Κ. βλάσφημον κρίσιν.18   9. οὐκ ἐτόλμησε κρίσιν 27 ἐπενεγκ. βλασφημίας.
12. 17, repetition of οὗτοι.   10. 12, 16, 19, repetition of οὗτοι.
12. ἐν οἷς ἀγνοοῦσι βλασφημοῦντες ὡς ἄλογα 19 ζῶα, φυσικὰ, ἐν τῇ φθορᾷ αὐτῶν καταφθαρήσονται.   10. ὅσα μὲν οὐκ οἴδασι βλασφημοῖσιν φυσικῶς, 28 ὡς τὰ ἄλογα 29 ζῶα, ἐν τούτοις φθείρονται.
10. πορευομένους 20 (of the manner of life).   11. ἐπορεύθησαν.30
13. ἐν ταῖς ἀπάταις σπῖλοι και μῶμοι 21
συνευωχούμενοι 22
  12. ἐν ταῖς ἀγάπαις σπιλάδες 31 συνευωχούμενοι

17. πηγαὶ ἄνυδροι, ὀμίχλαι [νεφέλαι] ὑπὸ λοαίλαπος ἐλαυνόμεναι. οἷς ὁ ζόφος τοῦ σκότ. εἰς αἰῶνα τετήρηται.


νεφέλαι ἄνυδροι ὑπὸ

ἀνέμων παραφερόμεναι.

  13. οἷς ὁ ζόφος τοῦ σκότ. εἰς αἰῶνα τετήρηται.
6. ἀσεβεῖν.32   15. ἠσέβησαν.37
10. ἔν ἐπιθυμίᾳ μιασμοῦ πορευομένους 33   16. κατὰ τὰς ἐπιθυμίας αὐτ. πορευόμενοι 38 καὶ τὸ στόμα αὐτ. δαλεῖ ὑπέρογκα. 39
18. ὑπέρογκα 34 γάρ ματαιότητος φθεγγ.  
3:2. μνησθῆναι τ. προειρημένων ῥημάτων ὑπὸ τ. ἁγ. Προφ., καὶ τ. τ. ἀποστ. ἡμ. ἐντολῆς τοῦ Κυρίου καὶ Σωτῆρος.   17. μνήσθητε τ. ῥημἀτων τ. προειθημένων ὑπὸ τῶν ἀποστόλων τοῦ Κυρίου.
3. ἐλεύσονται ἐπ᾿ ἐσχάτου τῶν ἡμερῶν ἐμπαῖκται 35 καταὶ τὰς ἰδίας ἐπιθυμίας αὐτ. πορευ.36   18. ἐν ἐσχάτῳ χρόνῳ ἔσονται ἐμπαῖκται 40 κατὰ τὰς ἑαυτῶν ἐπιθυμίας πορευομ.41
14. σπουδάσατε ἄσπιλοι καὶ ἀμώμητοι αὐτῷ εὑρηθῆναι ἐν εἰρήνῃ and ν. 17.   24. φυλάξαι ὑμας ἀπταίστους, καὶ στῆσαι κατεν. τ. δόξης αὐτ. ἀμώμους ἐν ἀγαλ.


These resemblances, it will be observed, consist, for the most part, in the use of the same, or nearly the same, words, to express the same thing; in a few instances, the similarity is in sense only; and in several, words are used alike in sound, but differing more or less widely in meaning; as παρειςάξουσιν and παρειςέθυσαν, ἀπάταις and ἀγάπαις, σπῖλοι and σπιλαδες, πηγαὶ ἄνυδροι and νεφέλαι ἄνυδροι. To bring out the full force of the verbal similarity between the epistles, it must be remembered that the style of the two is widely different. The resemblance is not such as would arise from one writer’s having been accustomed to hear the discourse of another until he gradually fell into the same way of thinking and speaking himself; but, on the contrary, each preserves throughout his own characteristic manner, while a large number of words and phrases, in several instances, of quite an unusual character, are common to them both. Such similarity, taken in connection with the other points of resemblance pointed out above, could not have been the result of accident.

Comparisons have been instituted between the language of Jude and several other books of Scripture, but with too little result to be here detailed. The following table, however, of words used by Jude, and not found more than once elsewhere, may be acceptable.

  Jude. 2 Peter. Other Books.
αΐδίος 6.   Rom. 1:20.
ἀσεβέω 15. 2:6.  
ἀρχάγγελος 9.   1 Thess. 4:16.
ἐμπαίκτης 18. 2:3.  
ἐνυπνιαζόμενοι. 8.   Acts 2:17.
ζόφος 6, 13. 2:4, 17.  
οἰκητήριον 6.   2 Cor. 5:2.
σπιλέω 3.   James 3:6.
συνευωχουμαι 12. 2:3.  
ὑπέρογκος 16. 2:18.  
ὠφέλεια 16.   Rom. 3:1.
To these should be added in the peculiar sense it here bears,
κρίσις 9. 2:2.  


From this it appears that of these twelve words there are as many common to Jude with second Peter only, as to Jude with all the rest of the New Testament together. There still remain in Jude fifteen words, and in second Peter fifty-four, not found at all elsewhere.

The consideration of the more minute resemblances between the two writers, has a most important bearing upon the question of the relative priority of the epistles. One can hardly select, at random, any half dozen of the expressions used by one writer, and modified by the other, without feeling that Jude, if we may so speak, furnished the raw material, Peter the finished product. To write in detail of every instance, would be a long and unnecessary labor; the more striking and important passages may well serve for examples of the whole.

Jude 3, as compared with 2 Peter 1:5, shows, as Jessien has remarked, far more elegance in the latter, both in the arrangement of the words, and in the choice of the participle.

For the simple κοινῆς σωτηρίας in the same verse of Jude, we have the same idea in the longer expression of 2 Peter 1:1; and for τῇ ἅπαξ παραδοθείσῃ τοῖς ἁγίοις πίστει, the whole six verses at the close of 2 Peter 1. It would have been difficult, indeed, thus to abridge Peter’s language; it is far more easy to suppose that he has thus beautifully developed and enforced the idea suggested by Jude.

The words οἱ πάλαι προγεγ. εἰς τ. τ. κρῖμα in Jude 4, are much amplified in 2 Peter 2:1 and 3. First, is the strong expression in verse 1, ἐπάγοντες ἑαυτ.ταχ. ἀπώλειαν; then verse 3, the words οἷς τὸ κρῖμα ἔκπαλαι οὐκ ἀργεῖ, corresponding in sense with the language of Jude, but altered in form, as if for the express purpose of removing any possible ambiguity in their meaning; then, without the introduction of any new thought, apparently for the sake simply of fulness and emphasis, the expression is further amplified by the words καὶ ἡ ἀπώλεια αὐτ. οὐ νυστάζει. These changes look like amplification on the part of Peter rather than abridgment on that of Jude.

The expression in the same verse, χάριν μετατιθέντες εἰς ἀσέλγειαν, is replaced in 2 Peter 2:2, by something to the same purpose, but much more full. In this change may be observed, not only the substitution of the requisite ὁδὸς τῆς ἀληθείας in place of the more common τὴν τοῦ Θεοῦ χάριν, a change which would hardly have been made the other way, but also the popularity of the false teachers (πολλοὶ ἐξακολουθήσουσιν αὐτ. τ. ἀσέλ.), and, if we may so speak, the commentary upon μεταιθτέντες. As the expression stands in Jude, its meaning is ambiguous, and may be explained either of the act of perverting the gracious doctrines of the Gospel, or of the effect of that act in making the Gospel, in the opinion of many, a system of licentiousness. Peter has chosen and clearly expressed the latter sense.

Still, in the same verse, we have a singular instance of a longer expression (τὸν μόνον δεσπότην κ. τ. λ.) in Jude, replaced by one more brief in Peter. Nevertheless, even this passage argues against the priority of second Peter; for it is hardly supposable that Jude, having it before him, should purposely have omitted the volume of argument bound up in the word ἀγοράσαντα.

On a review of this verse, the remarks of Jessien (ubi sup. cap. iv, p. 94) are in place: “If one carefully examine the whole passage in both writers, he will find in Jude the greatest brevity and closeness of connection; in Peter, his interpretation; in Jude, wonderful simplicity; in Peter, almost oratorical skill in the arrangement of words.” Hence he argues that Jude was the earlier writer.

Passing on to Jude 6 and 2 Peter 2:4, several striking differences between the two writers occur. In Jude there is a considerable description — the most full in Scripture — of the sin of the evil angels; in Peter, the matter is despatched in a word: “the angels that sinned.” The greater fulness of Jude here, is a fulness of matter, not of mere words or ornament. In the remainder of the verse, however, the matter is essentially the same, and several of the words are the same in both writers; but the polish of the language, and the skill in the arrangement of the words, especially of the participles, is far greater in Peter. He begins with the graceful expression οὐκ ἐφείσατο; then, for the simple δεσμοῖς ἀῒδίοις, he puts the more elegant phrase σειραῖς ζόφου; and, where Jude writes plainly εἰς κρίσιν μεγ. ἡμ. . . . . ὑπὸ ζόφον τετήρηκεν, Peter expresses the same idea more artistically, ταρταρώσας παρέδωκεν εἰς κρ. τηρουμένους. Surely the ordinary laws of composition indicate Peter as the later writer.

The expression ἐκπορν. καὶ ἀπέλθοῦσαι ὀπ. σαρκὸς ἑτέρας, in Jude 7, is omitted in 2 Peter 2:6, but subsequently introduced in an altered and more elegant form in verse 10. The last clause, too, of Jude 7, compared with 2 Peter 2:6, exhibits a striking difference. In the former, we read simply and briefly πρόκεινται δεῖγμα πυρὸς αἰωνίου, δίκην ὑπέχουσαι. Peter, like one working up this idea placed before him, says, much more rhetorically,τεφρώσας καταστροφῇ κατέκρινεν, ὑπόδειγμα μελλόντων ἀσεβεῖν τεθεικώς.

For κυριότητα δὲ ἀθετοῦσι, in Jude 8, we read in 2 Peter 2:10, κυριότητος καταφρονοῦντας. Immediately, however, the writer changes to the nominative, inserting the words τολμηταί, αὐθάδεις, and for the simple δόξ. βλασφημοῦσι of Jude, substituting the more artificial expression δόξ. οὐ τρέμουσι βλασφημοῦντες. The change of case admits of easy explanation, if the writer had the δοξ.βλασφ. of Jude before him; and the whole passage gives the impression of having been modified from the straightforward language of Jude by one skilled in the use of participles,

The chief point of difference in the illustration which occupies Jude 9 and 2 Peter 2:11, has already been noticed. In the language may be observed, here as everywhere, Peter’s verbal polishing and amplification. Instead of “Michael the archangel,” he says “angels which are greater in power and might;” for the κρίσιν βλασφημίας of Jude, he has the more elegant βλάσφημον κρίσιν, and adds thereto, paraphrastically, “against them before the Lord.” For the “did not dare to bring” of Jude, Peter, indeed, writes more simply, “do not bring;” but the change is not so much a verbal one as a designed softening of the sentiment.

In the following verse, there is a clearness and closeness of connection in Jude, which is lost in the artistic construction and added epithets of Peter. This is apparent to any one who carefully compares the two passages together. Particularly striking are the expressions ἐν οἷς ἀγνοοῦσι βλασφημοῦντες, and ἐν τῇ φθορᾷαὐτῶν καταφθαρήσονται, in place of the much simpler language in Jude. The whole is still further amplified by the addition of the words κομιούμενοι μισθὸν ἀδικίας, which properly belong to this verse.

Comparing Jude 11 and 2 Peter 2:15, the words in the latter καταλιπόντες εὐθεῖαν ὁδὸν ἐπλανήθησαν, have the air of a paraphrase; and the expression ἐξακολουθήσαντες τῇ ὁδῷ τοῦ Βαλ. μισθὸν ἀδικίας ἠγάπησεν seems like a diffuse rendering of Jude’s concise τῇ πλάνῃ τ. Βαλ. μισθοῦ ἐξεχύθησαν.

The verbal differences between Jude 12 and 2 Peter 2:13 are very remarkable, but have been already mentioned. In regard to those observable between the latter part of the same verse and 2 Peter 2:17, Jessien has well remarked (ubi sup. p. 102), that Jude could hardly have compiled his one verse from Peter’s 13th and 17th, and then have added the original matter it contains, particularly when the connection with the preceding and following verses is taken into consideration; while Peter could easily have recurred as he pleased to Jude 12. When the two passages are compared together, it is almost impossible to resist the impression, that one of them was taken from the other. Peter introduces a new figure by the word πηγαί, yet, as he thereby withdraws ἄνυδοι from νεφέλαι, he thereby greatly weakens the force of Jude’s comparison, which he still retains. One cannot fail to notice the similarity in sound between νεφέλαι ἄνυδροι and πηγαὶ ἄνυδροι. In what follows, the general character of the illustration is the same; but each word (supposing ὁμίχλαι to be, as Griesbach adjudges, the true reading) is so changed as to create a slight difference in the whole figure. Jude brings before the mind light clouds of the air, borne about hither and thither by every varying breeze; Peter, the dark mist of the sea. driven impetuously before the tempest, ending with that terrible ζόφος τοῦ σκότους εἰς αἰῶνα, which Jude, a little further on, had assigned as the portion of the wandering stars. In this figure, the words used in Jude are the more common, those in second Peter, the more recondite. The most natural way of accounting for the difference between the two, is, by supposing the πηγ. ἄν. to have been suggested by the νεφ. ἄν., and, after adopting it, Peter still wished to retain the figure of the νεφ. παραφερ. which he has done in its general scope, but with different language, and not caring to use all the comparisons furnished by Jude, he has closed the figure with the last words of Jude’s succession of figures —οἷς ὁ ζόφος κ. τ. λ.

The clause in Jude 16, τὸ στόμα αὐτῶν ὑπέρογκα λαλεῖ, is far more artistically expressed in 2 Peter 2:18, ὑπέρ. γὰρ ματαιότητος φθεγγόμενοι. And the simple expression θαυμάζοντες πρόςωπα ἀφελείας χάριν, is greatly amplified and repeated in 2 Peter 2:14 and 18, in the clauses beginning with δελεάζοντες and δελεάζουσι.

The difference between Jude 17 and 2 Peter 3:2, is quite remarkable. The words τῶν ἁγίων προφητῶν are inserted in the midst of the clause by Peter, precisely as if he had Jude’s epistle before him, and, wishing to omit the prophecy of Enoch given in Jude 14, 16, would yet retain a trace of the argument to be drawn therefrom. In Jude, the verse is compact and its connection close; in second Peter, this clause is almost parenthetical. The καὶ τῆς ἐντολῆς is added in the latter, and also the word ἠμῶν is inserted, with a construction so harsh as by itself to suggest the probability of its having been thrust into a sentence already written. At the close of the verse, Peter adds Σωτῆρος, which, from 1:1, 11; 2:20; 3:18 and this passage, seems to have been a favorite title with him, although it does not occur in the first epistle at all.

The simple ἐν ἐσχάτῳ χρόνῳ in Jude 18, Peter, with his accustomed skill in the moulding of words, changes (3:3) toἐπ᾿ ἐσχάτου τῶν ἡμερῶν; and the ἔσονται ἐμπαῖκται to ἐλεύσονται ἐν ἐμπαιγμονῇ ἐμπαῖκται; and for his τὰς ἑαυτ. ἐπιθ. writes more emphatically τὰς ἰδίας ἐπιθ. αὐτ.

Beyond this point, the coincidence between the two epistles is less close, although a distinct parallel is still observable between Jude 21 and 24 and 2 Peter 3:14, 17-18,. The closing doxology of Jude is much more rich and full than that of Peter.

The result of this comparison of the verbal resemblances and differences between the two writers, is, that, while here and there a point is found on which, taken separately, it would be possible to base a feeble inference for the priority of Peter’s epistle, almost every verse presents some indication, more or less strong, that Peter wrote with the epistle of Jude before him.

The same result has been reached independently by the consideration of the other elements in the remarkable likeness between the two epistles, of the probable authority of the two writers, of their different address, and of the general character of their epistles. The inference in each case may not be decisive in itself; but there is strength in the combination. When it is once admitted that the two epistles could not have been written independently of each other, an admission to which we are irresistibly forced, it is, of course, admitted at the same time, either that they were written conjointly, or else that one must have been written after the other, and with reference to the other. The former theory no one appears to advocate, and the question is thus brought within narrow limits. Neither epistle refers directly to the other; there is no reliable historic evidence; and the greatest possible interval between them is altogether too short to have wrought any perceptible change in the language. The question of priority must depend, therefore, for its solution, upon such indications of originality as may be observed in the one, and such appearances of an opposite character as may be found in the other.

These points have now been discussed at length. In conclusion, it may suffice to say, that the style of Peter is ornate, and at times almost artificial; that of Jude is simple, compact and direct. The style of Peter is well suited to paraphrase and amplification, while that of Jude has too much nerve and vigor for an epitome. In the language of the rhetoricians, Jude’s skill is conspicuous in invention, Peter’s in composition. Fulness of thought and rapidity of illustration are peculiarly characteristic of the epistle of the former, The epistle of Jude, on its face, bears no appearance of having been wrought out from the epistle of Peter; on the other hand, there are indications of Peter’s having written with the epistle of Jude before him. There are many matters in second Peter of which there is not the slightest trace in Jude; but, with the exception of a few passages for the omission of which a reason can easily be imagined, there is nothing in Jude which is not also found substantially in second Peter. The illustrations throughout favor the supposition that those of Jude were first written, those of Peter formed from them. The connection of the parts is clear and compact in Jude; in second Peter the language often becomes involved, as if the writer were moulding his epistle upon the former work of Jude; and, as often as he wandered away in paraphrase and amplification, sought to return to the point at which he had departed from his model. Finally, the details of the language, almost everywhere, present Peter as polishing, ornamenting and amplifying the straightforward, inartificial language of Jude.

These facts are believed to be the result of a fair comparison of the epistles. Any one can test them for himself. It must be left to the judgment of the reader to decide to how much weight they are entitled. To the mind of the writer they are quite sufficient to establish the priority of the epistle of Jude.

In concluding this Article, however, it may not be amiss to allude to some of the consequences which flow from the admission of the priority of the epistle of Jude; consequences of sufficient importance to justify the labor of the investigation.

In the first place, we obtain, at once, a fixed limit below which the date of this epistle cannot be carried. The time of Peter’s death is known with sufficient certainty, and, as his second epistle (of course, assuming its genuineness) must have been written before then, its date cannot be later than A. D. 67 or 68, and must be placed several years earlier still, if Cave’s determination of the death of Peter to A. D. 64 be admitted. Taking the latest date, however, it follows that the epistle of Jude must have been written before A. D. 68. As its matter shows it to have been written sometime after the general diffusion of the Gospel, we thus obtain such narrow limits within which to fix its date, that, by assigning it to the year of our Lord 65, we cannot be very far wrong.

The step thus gained is important in many ways. It is a help to the solution of the much vexed question concerning the prophecy of Enoch contained in verses 14 and 15. For the “Book of Enoch,” from which Jude has been often supposed to have quoted, is assigned by many, perhaps most, critics, to a later date. It would not be difficult, indeed, to prove that this apocryphal book is a composition of a period later than any possible date of the epistle of Jude; but it is satisfactory to know that, even if we admit the arguments of those who refer its publication to the close of the first century, we are still safe in maintaining that it cannot possibly have been quoted by Jude.

Passing by other uses to be made of the determination of this question, such as its bearing upon the genuineness and authority of the epistle of Jude, we are struck with the insight hereby given into the state of the Christian church within less than two-score years of its foundation. From the other epistles of the same period we learn, it is true, essentially the same facts; but here we look upon them from a different point of view, and, as it were, through the mind of another inspired writer. We find here the full verification of our Saviour’s parables of the wheat and the tares, of the net gathering fish, good and bad; and we are certain that the church must have made great progress, before it could have been exposed to the dangers here mentioned, and before wicked men could have thought it worth their while surreptitiously to enter the Christian fold. We learn, too, how very short a time was necessary for the growth of corruptions in Christian doctrine, and how, from the earliest period, a certain fixed body of truth had been established, a “faith once delivered to the saints,” to be earnestly contended for, as it is, without improvement and without change.

In a word, the whole epistle appears in quite a different light, if it be considered as belonging to A. D. 90, or as having been published A. D. 65. And, although its direct teaching is in either case the same, yet the information to be incidentally gained from it depends very much upon whether it was written five-and-twenty years earlier or later.

The earlier date is nearer than the later to what may be called the balance of the various dates adopted by the learned.


1) Arnold, History of Rome, Introduction, pp. 13, 14.

2) Collectanea, sive notae criticae et commentarius in epistolam Judae. Accedunt de fonte doctrinae, et dictionis Judae genere et colore, disputationes duae. Auctore M. T. Laurman, Groningae. 1818.

3) “Priorem tantum Disputationis partem dare malui, quam binas reliquas addere, nondum ea quae par erat diligentia elaboratas; memor etiam moniti cl. Praeceptoris Wassenberghii, ‘Mirificem quandam convenientiam esse inter hanc Judae epistolam et caput illud secundum alterius Petri; in ejus rei caussas inquirere licere, reddere tamen illas difficulter posse.’” P. 233 not. in loc. de fonte doctr. (31).

4) Compare A. Jessien de αὐθεντίᾳ epist. Judac. Leipsiae. 1821. cap. iv. pp. 90-92. This is a treatise, of little reverence enough, but valuable in this discussion.

5) The comparison is the same, but used for different purposes; in Jude, to mark the knowledge derived from natural instincts, in Peter more obscurely,to express the ignorant brutality of insubordination.

6) An unusual word in relation to spiritual things (yet see Matt. 24:12). In apostolic salutations occurring only in the epistle of Jude and the two of Peter.

7) These words are ἁπ. λεγ.

8) These words are ἁπ. λεγ.

9) These words are ἁπ. λεγ.

10) These words are ἁπ. λεγ.

11) An unusual word in relation to spiritual things (yet see Matt. 24:12). In apostolic salutations occurring only in the epistle of Jude and the two of Peter.

12) These words are ἁπ. λεγ.

13) These words are ἁπ. λεγ.

14) These words are ἁπ. λεγ.

15) Very observable is this signification of τηρεῖν — carcere asservare.

16) This Homeric word, so peculiarly appropriate to the darkness of the infernal regions, in the New Testament occurs only in these two epistles, and is not found in the LXX.

17) These words are ἁπ. λεγ.

18) κρίσις does not elsewhere in the New Testament occur in this sense, and but rarely in the LXX., although the signification is established by classical usage.

19) This peculiarly expressive word occurs elsewhere in the New Testament only in Acts 25:27.

20) πορεύεσθαι is frequently used in this sense in the LXX. = ַָחלך (e. g. Lev. 26:3, 23, 27, 40; 2 Chron. 6:16, bis; Ps. 26:[25:] 1, etc.), and occasionally in the New Testament (see Luke 1:6); but very seldom, if indeed ever, in the classics.

21) Very observable is this signification of τηρεῖν — carcere asservare.

22) Occurring only in these places in the New Testament, and not found in the LXX.

23) Very observable is this signification of τηρεῖν — carcere asservare.

24) This Homeric word, so peculiarly appropriate to the darkness of the infernal regions, in the New Testament occurs only in these two epistles, and is not found in the LXX.

25) These words are ἁπ. λεγ.

26) These words are ἁπ. λεγ.

27) κρίσις does not elsewhere in the New Testament occur in this sense, and but rarely in the LXX., although the signification is established by classical usage.

28) These words are ἁπ. λεγ.

29) This peculiarly expressive word occurs elsewhere in the New Testament only in Acts 25:27.

30) πορεύεσθαι is frequently used in this sense in the LXX. = ַָחלך (e. g. Lev. 26:3, 23, 27, 40; 2 Chron. 6:16, bis; Ps. 26:[25:] 1, etc.), and occasionally in the New Testament (see Luke 1:6); but very seldom, if indeed ever, in the classics.

31) These words are ἁπ. λεγ.

32) The verb is found only in these places. The noun ἀσεβής occurs three times in Jude, three times in Peter (one of them 1 Peter 4:18) and thrice only elsewhere (Rom. 4:5; 5:6; 1 Tim. 1:9).

33) πορεύεσθαι is frequently used in this sense in the LXX. = ַָחלך (e. g. Lev. 26:3, 23, 27, 40; 2 Chron. 6:16, bis; Ps. 26:[25:] 1, etc.), and occasionally in the New Testament (see Luke 1:6); but very seldom, if indeed ever, in the classics.

34) Found only in these places in the New Testament, and somewhat rare in the LXX.

35) Found only in these places in the New Testament. In the LXX. occurs Isa. 3:4, and (in var. lec.) 66:4.

36) πορεύεσθαι is frequently used in this sense in the LXX. = ַָחלך (e. g. Lev. 26:3, 23, 27, 40; 2 Chron. 6:16, bis; Ps. 26:[25:] 1, etc.), and occasionally in the New Testament (see Luke 1:6); but very seldom, if indeed ever, in the classics.

37) The verb is found only in these places. The noun ἀσεβής occurs three times in Jude, three times in Peter (one of them 1 Peter 4:18) and thrice only elsewhere (Rom. 4:5; 5:6; 1 Tim. 1:9).

38) πορεύεσθαι is frequently used in this sense in the LXX. = ַָחלך (e. g. Lev. 26:3, 23, 27, 40; 2 Chron. 6:16, bis; Ps. 26:[25:] 1, etc.), and occasionally in the New Testament (see Luke 1:6); but very seldom, if indeed ever, in the classics.

39) Found only in these places in the New Testament, and somewhat rare in the LXX.

40) Found only in these places in the New Testament. In the LXX. occurs Isa. 3:4, and (in var. lec.) 66:4.

41) πορεύεσθαι is frequently used in this sense in the LXX. = ַָחלך (e. g. Lev. 26:3, 23, 27, 40; 2 Chron. 6:16, bis; Ps. 26:[25:] 1, etc.), and occasionally in the New Testament (see Luke 1:6); but very seldom, if indeed ever, in the classics.