The Literary Relationship Of Jude And 2 Peter

1326 words - 6 pages

The Letters of Jude and 2 Peter have traditionally been grouped together because they share a direct literary relationship. However, knowing what letter was based off of the other is very difficult to understand. Both letters belong to a collection of epistles at the end of the New Testament which are sometimes referred to as Catholic Epistles. These two epistles both offer practical advice and reflections on the nature of God, the nature of humanity’s relationship to God, and the response of a community when confronted with false teaching. The purpose of this paper is to detect the agreements in content or wording between the two letters and discuss whether the letter of Jude was dependent on 2 Peter as a source or if 2 Peter used Jude as a source.
Due to the several agreements between the two letters, one can be certain that either the author of Jude or 2 Peter used the other as a source, or both independently used a common source. Reese states that “one of the reasons that Jude has often been treated alongside the book of 2 Peter has been because the second chapter of 2 Peter and the main body of Jude share remarkable similarities in style, language, argument and examples. Both books refer to angels who sinned, to Sodom and Gomorrah, and to Balaam” (Reese 14). Both letters also remind the readers that people like the false teachers were expected by the apostles. Reese also brings it to her readers attention that “although these two epistles are quite short they make important contributions to our understanding of what it means to live the Christian life, particularly in circumstances that involve disagreements about who has the “true” teaching and knowledge of the Christian life or when young Christians are being tempted to return to the life they knew before Christ” (Reese 1). All of these similarities have led some scholars to believe that Jude was dependent on 2 Peter, while other scholars believe that 2 Peter was dependent on Jude. These next few paragraphs will contain scholarly arguments on whether 2 Peter was based on Jude or Jude was based on 2 Peter.
The extensive similarities between Jude 4-13, 16-18 and 2 Peter 2:1-18; 3:1-3 suggest a literary relationship of some kind. Donelson states that there are several options for the agreements between the two letters and that the most likely explanation is that 2 Peter used Jude. Leaney states that “2 Peter expanded Jude by the addition of further material, thus making Jude the main part of a new Letter” (Leaney 78). It is also brought to Leaney’s reader’s attention that when you compare the passages in the letters about God’s judgments in the past, the author of Jude makes the list in the wrong chronological order and above all omits the Flood passage (Leaney 78). With that being said it seems unlikely that Jude would alter 2 Peter. Leaney gives a specific example of how it is likely that 2 Peter used Jude. He states “2 Peter has drawn out the meaning of Jude’s...

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