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Jude

12.29.2010

Here’s a canonicity conundrum.  Jude, writing an inspired and approved book of the Christian Bible cites two books that aren’t similarly recognized: The Testament of Moses and 1 Enoch.  Moreover, he cites them not as one would cite fiction but history, holding up the archangel Michael during his fight with Satan over Moses’ body as a positive example for confronting evil.  He also cites a prophecy of Enoch, who left no recorded words in the Bible.  Some possible interpretations, from most to least likely:

  1. Jude cites these books as cultural references for his Jewish or Judeo-literate audience without any claim that these works are inspired.
  2. Jude, led by the Spirit, lifts inspired elements from these otherwise uninspired works.
  3. Jude, incorrectly believed these books to be inspired and cited elements of them, under the direction of the Spirit, which ultimately are true.
  4. These books are inspired but are either excluded from the canon through a mistake or because they have been lost to us.
  5. Jude had regular visions of his brother, Jesus, wherein the Lord told him which parts of which non-Biblical books contained truth.
  6. There never was any Jude, and this book was written by John Lennon in 1968 and included by Biblical scholars in an attempt to be relevant.

Interpretation 4 is the most interesting to me, and the most ‘juicy’, but I have to concede that there are at least three explanations which are more likely.

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