Don Bosco Center of StudiesAffiliate of the Salesian Pontifical University – Rome Letter of Jude 1:1 Final Examination Paper for the Partial fulfillment of the Subject Catholic Epistles Leonardo M. Guiang Jr. OSM March 22, 2011
Letter of Jude 1:1NAB1 Jude, a slave of Jesus Christ and brother of JamesExegesis Jude is the name in which he would like to use the two titles that he would like tobe known. He is Jude of two titles: first as ό δοῦλος of Jesus Christ and ό ἀδελφός ofJames. This letter was written around 90 to 100 AD as many scholars would embrace; afew place it in the 50‟s.1 However, it is for sure written in the first century of Christianity. Jude is which sometimes called Judas. The debate has continued over theauthors identity as the apostle, the brother of Jesus, both, or neither. Some scholarshave argued that since the author of that letter has not identified himself as an apostleand actually refers to the apostles as a third party, he cannot be identified with the Judewho is listed as one of the Twelve. (Luke 6:16, Acts 1:13, John 14:22). Others havedrawn the opposite conclusion, i.e., that as an apostle, he would not have made such aclaim on his own behalf.2 The many Judes, named in the gospels and among therelatives of Jesus, (Matthew 13:55, Mark 6:3) and his relationship to James the Justcalled the brother of Jesus has caused much confusion. Not a lot is known of Jude,which would explain the apparent need to identify him by reference to his better-knownbrother. It is agreed that he is not the Jude who betrayed Jesus, Judas Iscariot. How do we understand this ό δοῦλος of Jesus Christ? Being slave in the NewTestament understanding is one who gives himself up to anothers will those whose1 Brown, Raymond E. An Introduction to the New Testament. Doubleday: New York, 1997. p. 7492 Bauckham, RJ. Word Biblical Commentary, Vol.50, Word Ltd: United Kingdom, 1986. p.14f
service is used by Christ in extending and advancing his cause among men. It isdevoted to another to the disregard of ones own interests. It is being faithful agent ofJesus3 as He said in the gospel according to Matthew, “Go, therefore, and makedisciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and ofthe Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you.” (Mat 28:19-20). He considered himself as having at the service to Jesus Christ, the only one objectand only one desire in his life. The highest tribute to any Christian can be is to be „use‟to Jesus Christ for the establishment of the kingdom of God. The word- title “ό δοῦλος of Jesus Christ” in whom it is good to note that therewere three New Testament writers who used it beside Jude. It is good to note that Paulused in his letter to the Romans, “Paul, a slave of Christ Jesus, called to be an apostleand set apart for the gospel of God” (Rom 1:1 NAB) It is one of the most beautiful “of allthe letters of Paul, that to the Christians at Rome has long held pride of place. It is thelongest and most systematic unfolding of the apostles thought, expounding the gospelof Gods righteousness that saves all who believe (Romans 1:16-17); it reflects auniversal outlook, with special implications for Israels relation to the church (Rom 9-11).”4 He used it his letter to the Colossians, “Epaphras sends you greetings; he(Timothy) is one of you, a slave of Christ (Jesus)” (Col 4:12). It was used also by Jamesin his letter, “James, a slave of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ.” (Jam 1:1). Another isused by also by Peter in the second letter, “Symeon Peter, a slave and apostle of JesusChrist.” (2Pe 1:1).3 Brown, Raymond; Joseph Fitzmyer; Roland Murphy (Eds). The New Jerome Biblical Commentary. Bangalore: TPI,1999. p.9184 New American Bible, 1970. p.1261
How is the word-title, brother of James means to Jude? The word ό ἀδελφός hasmany meanings: a brother, whether born of the same two parents or only of the samefather or mother; having the same national ancestor, belonging to the same people, orcountryman; any fellow or man; a fellow believer, united to another by the bond ofaffection; an associate in employment; brethren in Christ -his brothers by blood, all men,apostles, Christians as those who are exalted to the same heavenly place. One thing issure James and Jude were related. However, there are many plausible reasons inwhich biblical references be seen. Let us respect as we read that he was contended tobe called „brother of James‟. It is good to note in our understanding who this Jude in theNew Testament accounts in which clearly manifested. In addition, Jude as brother ofJames in which he wants to be called and believe it so. W.G. Kummel explains: As ‘brother of James’ he is characterized clearly enough. There was only one eminent, well-known James, the brother of the Lord (Jas 1:1, Gal 1:19, 2:9, 1 Cor 15:7). Then Jude is one of the brothers of Jesus, the third named in Mark 6:3, the fourth in Matthew 13:55.5Reflection - Pastoral Aspect Why it needs to use those two titles that attached with two names? Is it enoughto have the title as servant of Jesus Christ? Pointed out already that it was written in thefirst century of Christianity and that time was the time of persecution. Let us rememberthe legislation of the Christian persecution promulgated by Emperor Nero in the year 63AD. Basically there was on going purification, in positive sense, in the early period of thefollowers of Christ. At the same time some followers doubted the authority of some5 Kummel W.G. Introduction to the New Testament. Fletcher and Sons LTD: Norwich, 1970. p. 300
letters that was circulating. Moreover, scholars would say that the first century style ofwriting was that let the person be known first and then the content of his writing. And inthis time papers were not abundant as of now. Looking the style of Jude‟s epistle ishomiletic style of writing. It exhorts the people. Even now a day when you quotesomeone in a speech or in a talk, you will say first the name of the source person thenthe exact quoted words. Jude has two titles, as slave of Jesus Christ and brother of James. He calledhimself a slave in whom he affirms the Lordship and being Master of Jesus Christ.Being a slave of the Lord is always a privilege to every Christians; although, manywould claim that being slave in which some translation was servant. It was James,Peter, and Paul who used it in their letters also. Peter (Kephas) and James includingJohn in the early Church in which Paul said who were believed to be pillars. (cf. Gal 2:9)that is why Jude connects himself to the one of the pillars in his second title as brotherof James. James was the leader of the Christian community in Jerusalem in which oftenbe called the first bishop of Jerusalem community. Jude connects himself to him inwhich have the authorities in Palestinian areas. He claimed also his brotherhood inJames. He was claiming that his authority came from or equal like his brother.Somehow he did not claim as an apostle but it is clearly enough that his being a brotherto James connotes already his apostleship in connection to his first title as slave ofJesus Christ. Therefore, being slave of Jesus Christ and being the brother of Jamesconnotes his being in the authority. It pertains also his being one of the twelve andbeing part of the Jerusalem community to be headed by James. Yes they belong infraternity but one Lord they would claim, Jesus Christ.
We are followers of Christ that is why we are called Christians. By virtue of ourbaptismal consecration we are called to be servants or slave in Jesus Christ. It meansthat we must follow the teachings of Jesus trough the Church. It is good to note that St.Paul said, “You should know how to behave in the household of God, which is thechurch of the living God, the pillar and foundation of truth.” (1Ti 3:15) Being a Christianis being faithful to the teachings. We are servants or slaves of one another because wehave one Lord, Jesus Christ. God, who is the father of the Lord, is also those whocommitted in service in love to the Christian community. Slave we are, yet brothers andsisters in the family of God. I hope that many pastors of the Church would think as Judethinks especially for being leader in the community. It is treating others as slave of theLord at the same time brothers in the community. Most of the time priest or even somebrothers treat the parish workers as slaves in degrading way without thinking the dignityof the human person. I hope and I pray that even I would apply the title of Jude beingslave of Jesus and to the others yet treating others as my brothers and sisters in onefamily of God.
References:Bauckham, RJ. Word Biblical Commentary, Vol.50. (Word Ltd: United Kingdom,1986).Blenkinsopp, Joseph. A Sketchbook of Biblical Theology. (Herder and Herder: New York, 1968.)Brown, Raymond E. An Introduction to the New Testament. (Doubleday: New York, 1997).Brown, Raymond; Joseph Fitzmyer; Roland Murphy (Eds). The New Jerome Biblical Commentary.( Bangalore: TPI, 1999).Charpentier, Etiene. How to Read the New Testament. (Claretian Publ: Quezon City, 1997).Farmer, William (Ed). The International Bible Commentary: A Catholic and Ecumenical Commentary for the 21st Century. Claretian Publ: Quezon City, 2001).Kee, Howard Clark. The Origins of Christianity: Sources and Documents. (Printice–Hall Inc: New Jersey, 1973).Kummel W.G. Introduction to the New Testament. (Fletcher and Sons LTD: Norwich, 1970).Leon –Dufour, Xavier (Ed). Dictionary of Biblical Theology (Reprinted). (Geoffrey Chapman: London, 1995).