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by Johann Peter Lange
EPISTLE GENERAL OF JUDE
G. F. C. FRONMÜLLER, Ph. D.
Pastor At Kemnath, Würtemberg
TRANSLATED FROM THE SECOND REVISED GERMAN EDITION, WITH ADDITIONS ORIGINAL AND SELECTED
J. ISIDOR MOMBERT, D. D.
Rector Of St. James’s Church, Lancaster, PA
THE EPISTLE GENERAL OF JUDE
§ 1. CONTENTS AND ARRANGEMENT
The salutation and prayer of blessing in Jude 1:1-2 is followed by a statement of the occasion and design of the Epistle, Jude 1:3. The author’s object is to exhort his readers to contend for the faith delivered unto them, against the daring perversions of deceivers, Jude 1:4.—Part 1., Jude 1:5-16. The first section calls to mind the punitive justice of God, as illustrated by three leading examples, the first in the judgment on Israel (Jude 1:5), the second in that on fallen angels (Jude 1:6), and the third in that on the Gentiles in Sodom and Gomorrah (Jude 1:7). The second section (Jude 1:8-16) gives a more particular account of the deceivers and evil-doers referred to in general terms in Jude 1:4; they exhibit the following characteristics: a. they defile the flesh; b. despise dominions; c. and blaspheme the majesties with fearful daring and blindness, Jude 1:8-10; they are compared to Cain, Balaam and Korah, and a woe is uttered on them, Jude 1:11; their traits, one ever exceeding the other in detestableness, are then enumerated, Jude 1:12; Jude 1:16. , with a parenthetical application to them of Enoch’s ancient prophecy of the judgment, Jude 1:14-15. Their voluptuousness, sensuality selfishness, discontent, flattery, their spirit of murmuring and pride, their separating from the faith of the Church, and their gross carnality are described in the next place.—Part II, from Jude 1:17, contains exhortations: a. to mindfulness of the words of the Apostles foretelling the appearance of such deceivers and scoffers, Jude 1:17-18; b. to a firm foundation and continuance in the love of God, with constant prayer, and confident hope of the coming of Christ, Jude 1:20-21; c. to loving compassion on the deceived, yet with hatred of evil, Jude 1:22-23; and concludes with a doxology to God, which includes a strong consolation.
§ 2. THE AUTHOR OF THE EPISTLE
1. As to ancient testimony, we find that the Epistle had been received into the Canon of Scripture in the fourth century. Jerome acknowledges its genuineness, but observes that in consequence of a quotation from the apocryphal book of Enoch, it was rejected by most—their rejection of it was consequently not on objective, historical grounds. [The words of Jerome in Catal., s. v. Judas are: “Judas, frater Jacobi, parvam quidam, quoe se septem catholicis est, epistolam reliquit. Et quia de Enocho, qui apocryphus est, in ea assumit testimonium, a plerisque rejicitur; tamen auctoritatem vetustate et jam usu meruit, et inter sanctas scripturas computatur.”—M.] Eusebius classes it with the Antilegomena, and adds that although many of the ancients did not mention it, it was nevertheless publicly used in most Churches. Origen refers to it in respectful terms [Comm. in Matthew 13:55-56, t. 10.,§17,“Jude wrote an Epistle of but few verses, yet fitted with vigorous words of heavenly grace”—M.], quotes it repeatedly, and only in one place implies doubts as to its genuineness. [Comm. in Matthew 22:23. t. 13,§30,“if indeed the Epistle of Jude be received.”—M.] It is mentioned in the old Muratorian fragment [circa A. D. 170, which reads: “Epistola sane Judæ et supercripti Johannis duœ in Catholicâ (Bunsen, Anal. Ante-Nic, I., 152, reads “Catholicis”) habentur.”—M.]. Clement of Alexandria commented on it, and expressly ascribed it to Jude. Tertullian says: “Enoch possesses a testimony in Jude the Apostle;” and Origen also calls him an Apostle in two places. Guerike, Neutest. Isagogik, p. 454. It is wanting in the old Syriac Peshito (but not in the MS. in the Bodleian Library at Oxford), Huther, p. 189. The testimony of the Fathers does not go further back. [“It is also quoted by Ephrem Syrus as Apostolic (Opp. Syr., I, p. 136); by Malchian, a presbyter of Antioch, in a letter to the bishops of Alexandria and Rome (Eus., H. E., vii. 30), and by Palladius, the friend of Chrysostom (Chrys., Opp., xii, Dial., cc. 18. 20), and is contained in the Laodicene (A. D. 363), Carthaginian (397), and so-called Apostolic Catalogues, as well as in those emanating from the Churches of the East and West, with the exception of the synopsis of Chrysostom, and those of Cassiodorus and Ebed Jesu.” Venables, in Smith’s Dictionary of the Bible, article, Ep. of Jude.—M.] The reason may lie in the shortness of the Epistle, in its affinity with 2 Peter, and as we shall convince ourselves, in its non-Apostolic origin. [To this must be added the quotation from an apocryphal book, which it contains.—M.] Summing up the testimony, we find that it preponderates in favour of the genuineness of the Epistle.
2. As to the internal grounds, the critics have been unable to establish any tenable objections. De Wette remarks that the authorship of Jude is neither affected by the use of the book of Enoch, nor by his probable acquaintance with the Epistle to the Romans, nor by his harsh diction, which, nevertheless, betrays familiarity with the Greek language. Huther justly meets Schwegler’s superficial assumption that Jude 1:17-18 assign to the Epistle a post-Apostolic date, by saying that those verses by no means point to post-Apostolic times, for they rather suppose the readers of the Epistle to have heard the preaching of the Apostles, and that if, as Schwegler farther assumes, the Epistle was designed to serve the interests of Judaism against Paulinism, it ought certainly to appear somehow in the Epistle; a forger, moreover, would hardly have ascribed his writing to a man of such little prominence as this Jude. Although we must not attach undue importance to the arguments drawn from the silence of the Epistle, the circumstance, brought forward by Bertholdt, Guerike, Stier and al., that the author of the Epistle does not refer to the destruction of Jerusalem, is certainly worthy of great consideration; “if,” says Stier, “the Epistle had not been written before the destruction of Jerusalem, this last, and next to the flood (which is only alluded to) most terrible of all the judgments and punitive examples of God, could not have been passed over in silence.” The objections of Hofmann and Huther to this inference do not amount to much; more important would be the objection that a forger who did make mention of the judgment passed on Jerusalem, would not have been an adept at his trade. The former reason, in conjunction with other reasons, is at all events of considerable weight. The Epistle breathes forth a strictly moral spirit, it glows with zeal against error and vice, with loving care for the salvation of souls, and a profound reverence of God and His word. It is, therefore, every way worthy to have originated with a primitive Christian man, who stood so nearly related to the Lord. Cf. Herzog’s Real Encycl, art. Judas.—[Alford, Greek Test., IV., 447, well characterizes the main body of the Epistle as an impassioned invective, in the impetuous whirlwind of which, the writer is hurried along, collecting example after example of Divine vengeance on the ungodly, heaping epithet upon epithet, and piling image upon image, and, as it were, labouring for words and images strong enough to depict the polluted character of the licentious apostates against whom he is warning the Church; returning again and again to the subject, as though all language were insufficient to give an adequate idea of their profligacy, and to express his burning hatred of their perversion of the doctrines of the Gospel.—M.].—We must not suffer our judgment to be affected by the use of the apocryphal book of Enoch, of the tradition of Enoch and the ascensio Mosis, seeing that Paul also names the Egyptian magicians Jannes and Jambres, although nothing is said of them in the historical books of the Old Testament, 2 Timothy 3:8; but rather admire the reserve with which the author of our Epistle uses the book of Enoch, which contains so much that is fantastic, and recognize in that reserve a leading of the Divine Spirit. Besides its decided dependence on the Second Epistle of Peter, the Epistle of Jude contains many original traits, striking comparisons, e.g., Jude 1:12-13, characteristic delineation in few words, Jude 1:19, wise and thoughtful exhortations, Jude 1:20-23. In proof of the author’s originality, it must be mentioned that the twenty-five verses of this Epistle contain not less than eighteen ἅπαξ λεγόμενα, Jude 1:3-4; Jude 1:7; Jude 1:10-13; Jude 1:15; Jude 1:17; Jude 1:19; Jude 1:23. The author calls himself, Jude 1:1, the servant of Jesus Christ and brother of James.—Jude, as was shown in the Introduction to the Second Epistle of Peter, makes use of Peter’s Epistle and acknowledges his entire dependence on him, cf. Jude 1:18. While Peter describes himself twice as an Apostle of Jesus Christ, and strengthens the weight of his exhortations by his Apostolic authority, Jude confines himself to the simple expression, “a servant of Jesus Christ.” While Peter writes,“be mindful of the commandment of us, the Apostles of the Lord and Saviour” (2 Peter 3:2), Jude says: “remember the words which were spoken before of the Apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ,” Jude 1:17. This affords striking proof that we must not look among the Apostles for the author of our Epistle.1 He is, therefore, not Judas Lebbæus or Thaddæus, who is mentioned Jno. 14:22; Matthew 10:3; Mark 3:18, and is called twice Judas Jacobi, Luke 6:16; Acts 1:13; Lebbœus, from לֵנ, and Thaddœus, תַּד=breast, are identical in meaning, and a comparison of the lists of the Apostles shows that Judas Jacobi is identical with Judas Lebbœus or Thaddœus. Although grammatically Judas Jacobi may also signify Judas, brother of James (Winer, pp. 218, 667), that construction is inadmissible in this connection, because in the Genitives used in the lists of the Apostles, we have invariably to supply son, not brother. Jude, the Apostle, was consequently a son of James, while our Jude was not an Apostle, and calls himself the brother of James. Ἀδελφός cannot well be taken here in another sense, there being no occasion whatever to render it cousin. But who are these two brothers Jude and James? James, the Apostle, the brother of John, cannot be meant here, for he was early martyred (Acts 12:2), and probably had no brother besides John (Matthew 4:21; Matthew 20:20; Matthew 26:37; Matthew 27:56; Mark 1:19-20); nor can it be James the son of Alphæus, called the Little, of whose person and work we have no certain data, cf. Mark 15:40. He must be a well-known individual, doubtless the much revered head of the Church at Jerusalem, besides whom history knows no other distinguished man of that name. According to Hegesippus (2d century), in Eusebius (H.E., 3, 19. 20), the emperor Domitian persecuted two grandsons of Jude, who was called a brother of Jesus according to the flesh, and had a brother named James. The same author mentions (Euseb., 2, 23) a James, a brother of the Lord, who along with the Apostles was the head of the Church at Jerusalem, and bore the surname “the Just,” cf. 1:12; 2:1. The passage 4:22 is exegetically difficult, and perhaps to be interpreted by 2:23. Josephus informs us that the high-priest Ananus caused James, a brother of the so-called Christ, to be stoned (A. D. 62) and describes him as an altogether just man. The Fathers call him straightway bishop of Jerusalem; so Eusebius, Jerome, Nicephorus. See Winer, p. 525. The ancient Church, therefore, considered the Jude and the James here referred to, to have been the brothers of the Lord according to the flesh. How does this agree with the New Testament? Paul, in Galatians 1:19, introduces James, the Lord’s brother, and evidently distinguishes him by that designation from the Apostle James the Less, and describes him as an Apostle in a wider sense, cf. 2 Corinthians 8:23; Romans 16:7; Philippians 2:25; Acts 14:14. Hence we need not be surprised that some of the Fathers, e.g., Jerome, Epiphanius and Augustine, call him also an Apostle. But may not ἀδελφός here bear the sense of cousin, and relate to James, the son of Alphæus? Winer justly remarks that he could not, without confusion, have been called ἀδελφός, because Jesus had a brother according to the flesh of the same name. For the brothers and sisters of the Lord are introduced in Matthew 13:55; Mark 6:3. The names of the former were James, Joses, Simon and Jude, cf. 1 Corinthians 9:5; Matthew 12:48; Jno. 2:12; Acts 1:14. They are mentioned in connection with the mother of Jesus and Joseph, and are doubtless His actual brothers. For ἀδελφός in forty-nine passages of the New Testament signifies actual brother, while the sense cousin cannot be proved in a single passage. At first they did not believe in Him as the Messiah, Jno. 7:5, but after the resurrection of Jesus, 1 Corinthians 15:7, and after the ascension, we find them forming part of the circle of believers, Acts 1:14. Among the brothers of the Lord, after they had become believers, James soon occupied a prominent position. He is introduced as the representative of the Jewish Christian tendency in the Mother Church, Acts 12:17. His near bodily relation to the Lord, his pious life and austere habits soon raised him to Apostolical dignity. At the Apostolical Council on the obligatoriness of the law, his judgment proved decisive, Acts 15:13. The council of elders gathered round him, Acts 21:18. Among the pillars of the Church, he is mentioned first (Galatians 2:9), while otherwise Peter is the Prince of the Apostles. He is probably the author of the Epistle of James in the Canon; for the principles contained therein are in exact keeping with the notices of his life, reported by the Fathers, and he, like Jude, describes himself, not as an Apostle, but only as a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ (James 1:1). If it be objected that Luke does not clearly distinguish the non-Apostolic James from the Apostle James, who is mentioned in Acts 1:13, we may answer with Huther that the then familiarity with all the circumstances of the case did not require such a distinction to be specially marked, and that the same holds good in the case of the two Philips, Acts 1:13; Acts 8:5. Wieseler’s assertion that the Church at Jerusalem would not have recognized as its head any other than an Apostle, cannot be substantiated by any reasons. Our Jude was then the brother of that revered head at Jerusalem, and with him sustained the same family relation to the Lord. His not describing himself as the Lord’s brother, like James in his Epistle, may have been the effect of modesty, or his sense of the spiritual relation in which he stood to Christ may have predominated over that of his physical relation, even as it was the case with our Lord Himself, Matthew 12:48-50. Winer, Stier, Neander and al. hold that Jesus had actual brothers; for the opposite view, see Lange, in Herzog’s Real-Encyclopädie, Article Jacobus.—We have no reliable data concerning the life and work of Jude. He has generally been confounded with Judas Lebbæus, as James the Just with James, the son of Alphæus, cf. Cave, Lives, Acts and Martyrdoms of the Holy Apostles, p. 600, etc. [See note in Introduction to the Epistle of James, at the close of §1, the Introduction to James and Jude in Alford’s Greek Testament, Prolegomena, pp. 87, 188, and on the whole subject, my article,“Are James, the Son of Alphæus, and James, the Brother of the Lord, identical?” in the Princeton Review for January, 1865.—M.]
§ 3. READERS AND DATE OF THE EPISTLE
It is singular that the readers are referred to only in very general terms, as the called who are sanctified in God the Father and preserved for Jesus Christ. No residence, no country, no particular account of the readers is given. Considering the dependence of this Epistle on the Second of Peter (see Introd. to 2d Ep. of Peter), it is probable that it was addressed to the same readers in Asia Minor, with a view to support and strengthen the exhortations and warnings of Peter. Others suppose that it was addressed to readers in Palestine, on account of the examples, comparisons and allusions used by our author; so Credner, Augusti, Arnaud. The adversaries whom Jude opposes are identical with those mentioned in 2 Peter; they are daring intruders, who abused the liberty of the Gospel to a fearful extent, and indulged in enormous excesses. De Wette supposes them to have been, not false teachers, but practical unbelievers, Jude 1:4. Jude 1:8, scoffers, threatening to destroy the Church, on the one hand, by sensuality and dissoluteness, Jude 1:8; Jude 1:10; Jude 1:12, and on the other, by discontent, opposition and separatism, Jude 1:11; Jude 1:16; Jude 1:19. But the Epistle contains certain intimations of false doctrines by which they sought to excuse their false, immoral principles (Jude 1:4; Jude 1:12), which rendered them so much the more dangerous. Dorner rightly observes that “the adversaries of Jude are not only practical perverts, but also false teachers.” This is also the view of Huther, who says that Jude 1:4; Jude 1:8; Jude 1:18-19 intimate that they held Gnostico-antinomian views. Thiersch:—“Peter warns his readers against deceivers that should come; Jude, writing not long after Peter, warns his readers against the same deceivers, after they had come, with a distinct reference to the warnings and predictions of the Apostles.” It must not be overlooked that Clement of Alexandria (Strom., 3, p. 431) supposes Jude in his Epistle to have prophetically referred to the Carpocratians and similar sects; see Guerike, p. 455.—The beginnings of such a demoniac Gnosis, which sanctioned pagan licentiousness, stirred during the second half of the first century in the Churches of Ephesus, Pergamos and Thyatira. See Thiersch, p. 239.
As to the date of this Epistle, it must have been written during the interval between the death of Peter, who wrote his second Epistle, which was used by Jude, shortly before his death, and the destruction of Jerusalem, because it contains no reference to that event (see above). Jude saw the impudent libertinism, the appearance of which had been foretold by Peter, in its full development. “It is not credible,” says Huther,“that Jude should have referred to the preaching of the Apostles, as past, if these were still in the prime of their Apostolical activity.” The place where the Epistle was written cannot be determined.
The closer we draw to the last times of the Church, the more we ought to lay to heart this Epistle, which, as Meyer says, is a key-stone and an admonition of the most dangerous sins of the Church, and which, like the 2d Ep. of Peter, furnishes us with important disclosures relating to judgment and eternity. Capital applications of it to our own time are contained in Stier’s Exposition.
§ 4. LITERATURE
Stier, the Epistle of Jude, Berlin, 1850.
E. Arnaud, récherches crit. sur l’Epitre de Jude, Strasb. and Paris, 1851.
Huther, Exposition of the Epistles of Peter and Jude.
De Wette, Brief Exposition of the Epistles of Peter, Jude and James.—Starke, Rieger, Richter.
Laurmann, Not. Crit. et Comment, in Ep. Jud., Groningæ,1818.
Scharling, Jacob. et Jud. Ep. Cathol. Comment., Havniæ, 1841.
Herder, Briefe Zweener Brüder Jesu, Lemgo, 1775.
Augusti, Welcker, Benson, and Macknight, on the Catholic Epistles.
Hænlein, Ep. Jud. Grœce, Comm. Critico et Annot. perpet. illustr. Erlangen, 1804.
Hasse, Brief Judœ, etc., Jena, 1786.
Schmid, Observatt. Sup. Ep. Cath. S. Jud. Hist. Grit. Theol, Lips., 1768.
Witsius, Comment, in Metelemata Leidensia, Basil, 1739, p. 359, 299.
Pricæus, Johannes Comment, in Judœ Ep. in Comment. Crit. Sacr.
For isagogical purposes consult, besides, E. Arnaud (above), A. Jessien, de Authentia Ep. Jud., Lips., 1821.
L. A. Arnaud, Essai Crit, sur l’Ant. cet., Strasb., 1835.
F. Brun, Introd. crit. à l’Ep. de Jude, Strasb., 1842, and al.—M.]
[§ 5. SYNOPSIS OF PARALLEL PASSAGES IN THE SECOND EP. OF PETER AND THE EPISTLE OF JUDE
Jude 1:3. πᾶσαν σπουδὴν ποιούμενος.
2 Peter 1:5. πᾶσαν σπουδὴν παρεισενέγκαντες, cf. 1:15.
Jude 1:4. παρεισέδυσαν γὰρ τινες,οἱ πάλαι προγεγραμμένοι εἰς τοῦτο τὸ κρῖμα,ἀσεβεῖς,τὴν τοῦ Θεοῦ ἡμῶν χάριν μετατιθέντες εἰς�,καὶ τὸν μόνον δεσπότην καὶ Κύριον ἡμῶν Ἰησοῦν Χριστὸν�.
2 Peter 2:1. παρεισάξουσιν αἱρέσεις�,καὶ τὸνἀγοράσαντα αὐτοὺς δεσπότην� … καί πολλοὶ ἐξακολουθήσουσιν αὐτῶν ταῖς�.… οἶς τὸ κρῖμα ἔκπαλαι οὐκ�.
Jude 1:6. ἀγγέλους τοὺς μὴ τηρήσαντες τὴν ἑαυτῶν�.… εἰς κρίσινμεγάλης ἡμέρας δεσμοῖς�
2 Peter 2:4. ὁ Θεὸς�,ἀλλὰ σειραῖς ζόφου ταρταρώσας παρέδωκεν εἰς κρίσιν τηρουμένους.
Jude 1:7. Σόδομα καὶ Τόμοῤῥα καὶ αἱ περὶ αὐτὰς πόλεις ….ἀπελθοῦσαι ὀπίσω σαρκὸς ἑτέρας πρόκεινται δεῖγμα
2 Peter 2:6-10. πόλεις Σοδόμων καὶ Τομόπῤῥας καταστροφῇ κατέκρινεν,ὑπόδειγμα μελλόςνων�.… τοὺς ὀπίσω σαρκὸς ἐν ἐπιθυμίᾳ πορευομένους..
8. κυριότητα�,δόξας δὲ βλασφημοῦσι.
2 Peter 2:10. κυριότητος καταφρονοῖντας.… δόξας οὐ τρέμουσι βλασφημοῦντες.
Jude 1:9. ὁ δὲ Μιχαὴλ ὁ�,ὅτε τῷ διαβόλῳ διακρινόμενος διελέγετο περὶ τοῦ Μωσέως σώματος οὐκ ἐτόλμησε κρίσιν ἐπενεγκεῖν βλασφημίας,ἀλλ̓ εἶπεν, Ἐπιτιμήσαι σοι Κύριος.
2 Peter 2:11. ἄγγελοι ἰσχῦι καὶ δυνάμει μείζονες ὄντες οὐ φέρουσι κατ’ αὐτῶν παρὰ Κυρίῳ βλάσφημον κρίσιν
Jude 1:10. ἄλογα ζῶα κ. τ. λ.
2 Peter 2:12. ἄλογα ζῶα.
Compare also, Jude 1:11 with 2 Peter 2:15.
Jude 1:12-13 with 2 Peter 2:13-17.
Jude 1:16 with 2 Peter 2:18.
Jude 1:17-18 with 2 Peter 3:1-3.—M.]
§ 6. THE BOOK OF ENOCH
As this book is generally supposed to be referred to in Jude 1:14, a brief account of it, compiled from Westcott’s article in Smith’s Dictionary of the Bible, and notices of Volkmar’s article in the “Zeitsschrift der Deutschen Morgenländischen Gesellschaft” for 1860, will be found useful to the readers of this Commentary.
1. The history of the Book of Enoch.—The Book was known to Justin Martyr, Irenæus, Anatolius, Clement of Alexandria and Origen; numerous references to it are found in the “Testaments of the XII. Patriarchs.”—Tertullian quotes it as “not received by some, nor admitted into the Jewish canon (“in armarium Judaicum”), but defends it on account of its reference to Christ (“legimus omnem scripturam œdificationi habilem divinitus inspirari”). Augustine and an anonymous writer, whose work is printed with Jerome’s, were acquainted with it; but from their time until the revival of letters, it was known in the Western Church only by the quotations in Jude, in the Eastern Church, some centuries later; considerable fragments of it are preserved in the Chronographia of Georgius Syncellus (circa, 792 A. D.); meanwhile, a report was current that the entire book was preserved in Abyssinia; in 1773, the traveller Bruce, on his return from Egypt, brought with him the complete Æthiopic translation of the entire book, the first detailed notice of which was not given until 1800, by Silvestre de Sacy, and the book itself was not published until 1821 in English, and in 1838 in Æthiopic, by Archbishop Lawrence, whose translation formed the basis of the German editions of Hoffmann (1833–38), and Gfroerer (1840) gave a Latin translation constructed from those of Lawrence and Hoffmann; but all these editions have been superseded by those of Dillmann, who edited the Æthiopic text from five MSS. (Liber Henoch,Æthiapice, Lipsiæ, 1851), and afterwards gave a German translation of the book, with a good introduction and commentary (Das Buch Henoch … von Dr. A. Dillmann, Leipzig, 1853), which has called forth a number of Essays, the most important of which are those of Ewald and Hilgenfeld.
2. The Æthiopic translation is supposed to have been made from the Greek, as, with the exception of one passage quoted by Syncellus, it agrees in the main with the patristic quotations. But it is doubtful whether the Greek text was original, or itself a translation from the Hebrew. A Hebrew book of Enoch was known and used by Jewish writers till the thirteenth century, and the names of angels and winds are derived from Aramaic roots.
3. The book, in its present shape, consists of a series of revelations, supposed to have been given to Enoch and Noah, which extended to the most varied aspects of nature and life, and are designed to offer a comprehensive vindication of the action of Providence.
4. “In doctrine the book of Enoch exhibits a great advance of thought within the limits of revelation in each of the great divisions of knowledge. The teaching on nature is a curious attempt to reduce the scattered images of the O. T. to a physical system. The view of society and man, of the temporary triumph and final discomfiture of the oppressors of God’s people, carries out into elaborate detail the pregnant images of Daniel. The figure of the Messiah is invested with the majestic dignity as “the Son of God,” “whose name was named before the sun was made,” and “who existed aforetime in the presence of God.” And at the same time His human attributes as “the Son of man,” “the Son of woman,” “the Elect One,” “the Righteous One,” “the Anointed,” are brought into conspicuous notice. The mysteries of the spiritual world, the connection of angels and men, the classes and the ministries of the hosts of heaven, the power of Satan and the legions of darkness, the doctrines of resurrection, retribution and eternal punishment are dwelt upon with growing earnestness, as the horizon of speculation was extended by intercourse with Greece. But the message of the book is emphatically one of “faith and truth,” and while the writer combines and repeats the thoughts of Scripture, he adds no new element to the teaching of the prophets. His errors spring from an undisciplined attempt to explain their words, and from a proud exultation in present success. For the great characteristic by which the book is distinguished from the later Apocalypse of Esdras (2d book), is the tone of triumphant expectation by which it is pervaded. It seems to repeat in every form, the great principle that the world, natural, moral and spiritual, is under the immediate government of God. Hence it follows that there is a terrible retribution reserved for sinners, and a glorious kingdom prepared for the righteous, and Messiah is regarded as the Divine Mediator of this double issue. Nor is it without a striking fitness that a patriarch, translated from earth, and admitted to look upon the Divine Majesty, is chosen as “the herald of wisdom, righteousness and judgment to a people who, even in suffering, saw in their tyrants only the victims of a coming vengeance.” (Westcott, l. c.).
5. On the date of the Book the most conflicting views prevail. Lawrence, Hoffmann, Gfroerer, Wieseler and Gieseler suppose it to have been completed in the reign of Herod the Great; Lücke distinguishes two great parts, an older, written early in the time of the Maccabees, and a later, composed in the time of Herod the Great. Dillmann maintains the unity of the book, and assigns the chief part of it to an Aramæan writer of the time of John Hyrcanus (circa, 110 B. C.). Hilgenfeld places the original book about the beginning of the first century before Christ, which he supposes to have passed through the hands of a Christian writer, who lived between the times “of Saturninus and Marcion,” who added the chief remaining portions, including the great Messianic section (cc. 37–71).—Volkmar (l. c.) tries to prove that the book is a production of the time of the sedition of Barchochebas (A. D. circa 132), and to have been written by one of the followers of Rabbi Akiba, the great upholder of that impostor. In that case, the book of Enoch was not only of Jewish, but of distinctly antichristian origin; which point, however, is not yet fully established. (See Alford, Prolegg., p. 196). Westcott (l. c.) reaches the conclusion that, as a whole, the book “may be regarded as describing an important phase of Jewish opinion shortly before the coming of Christ.”
6. The apocryphal character of the Book has never been doubted in the Church; Tertullian alone maintains its authority; Origen (c. Cels., V. 54), Augustine (de Civitate Dei, XV., 23, 4), and Jerome (Catalog. Script. Ecclesiastes , 4) describe it as apocryphal, and it is reckoned among the apocryphal books in the Apostolical Constitutions (VI., 16).—M.]
Note of Dr. Lange:—Having presented the opposite view in Comm. on Matthew, p. 255 (American edition), in the article, Jacobus, in Herzog’s Real-Encyclopædie, and in the work Apostol. Zeitalter, I, p. 189, we take here occasion to observe that we consider differences of this kind in historical questions unavoidable in a Protestant Commentary on the Bible, and quite compatible with the unity in spirit and the unity on essential questions of faith, which is assumed to belong to the respective contributors to this work. Without giving rise to dogmatical scruples, such differences have the tendency of more strongly confirming even the more practical theologian in his opinion. We rejoice that the highly esteemed author of this section of the Commentary, besides the general blessed vocation of a beloved co-labourer, has throughout exhibited a desirable exegetical tact on many questions of this kind, e.g., on Christ’s preaching among the dead, in the First Epistle of Peter, on the fall of angels in the Second Epistle of Peter, Jude 1:2, and in this Epistle; and we are aware that he has recently found powerful support of his views in Riggenbach’s Leben Jesu, and in our dear friend Van Oosterzee’s Comm. on Luke, without shaking the firmness with which we hold a conviction, for which the reasons are given on to [respective passages.
the Fifth Week after Epiphany