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But holy 1 men of God spoke as they were impelled by the holy


21 But false prophets also appeared among the People,

As among you also there shall be false teachers,
Men who shall stealthily introduce destructive heresies,
And by denying the Master who bought them bring speedy

destruction upon themselves.
And niany shall follow their sensuality,

Through whom the way of the truth shall be maligned.
And in covetousness shall they make gain out of you with feigned

Men whose doom from of old comes apace,

And their destruction slumbers not.
For if God spared not angels when they sinned,

But thrusting them down to Tartarus, to pits of nether blackness,

Delivered them to be kept for judgment :
And if he spared not the ancient world,
But preserved Noah, a herald of uprightness, along with seven

When he brought a deluge upon the world of the impious ;
And if he reduced the cities of Sodom and Gomorra to ashes, and

sentenced them to overthrow, Making an example of them for future impiety, And rescued upright Lot, weighed down by the sensual conduct

of the lawless
(For as that man of uprightness resided among them,
Through sight and hearing he tormented his upright soul with

their unlawful deeds from day to day) -
The Lord knows how to rescue the pious out of trial,

And to keep the unjust in punishment for the day of judgment,
But especially those who walk after the flesh in the lust of

pollution and despise the Lordship. 11 Daring, arrogant, they tremble not when they abuse Majesties! Whereas

angels, greater though they are in might and power, do not bring an 12 abusive accusation against them before the Lord. But these, like

irrational brutes, by nature born for capture and corruption, uttering

abuse about what they are ignorant of, shall also perish in their cor13 ruption, obtaining the wages of iniquity; men who reckon it a pleasure

to live luxuriously in open daylight, spots and blots, luxuriating in their 14 deceits as they feast with you, with eyes full of adultery and insatiable ?

in sin, beguiling unstable souls, with their heart trained in covetousness, 15 children to be cursed. Leaving the straight road, they erred as they

followed the road of Balaam the son of Bosor, who loved the wages of 16 iniquity but got rebuked for his own malpractice: a dumb beast of

burden spoke with human voice and prevented the infatuation of the 17 prophet." These men are waterless fountains and mists driven by a 18 squall, for whom the nether blackness of darkness has been kept. For,

uttering futile extravagances, they beguile in the lusts of the flesh, by

sensuality, those who are just escaping from men of erring conduct, 19 promising them freedom while they are slaves of corruption themselves ! 20 For whatever a man is worsted by, to that he is enslaved. For, after escaping the pollutions of the world through the full knowledge of our 3

1 Reading öylon. ? Reading «xzt6 TUTTEUS. 3 Adding pür.


Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, if they are once more entangled and 21 worsted by these, their last state turns out worse than their first. Better

had it been for them never to have known the way of uprightness than,

after knowing it, to turn back from the holy commandment delivered to 22 them. What has happened to them is what the true proverb says: a dog,

that has turned back to his own vomit; and, “a sow that had washed, to wallowing in the mud.” i This is now the second letter, beloved, that I write to you, and in 2 them I seek to stir up your sincere mind by way of reminder, that you remember the words which have been spoken beforehand by the holy

prophets, and the commandment of the apostles sent you from the Lord 3 and Saviour; as you know this first of all, that in the last days scoffers 4 shall come scotling, walking after their own lusts and saying, “Where is

the promise of his arrival ? For, from the day when the fathers fell

asleep, all things remain exactly as they were from the beginning of the 5 creation.” They forget, in this notion of theirs, that skies and earth

existed long ago, composed out of water and through water by the word 6 of God, through which (water and word) the then-existing world was 7 deluged and destroyed ; while the present skies and earth have been

reserved by the same word, kept for fire, for the day when impious men are judged and destroyed.

Now forget not this one thing, beloved :

With the Lord a single day is like a thousand years,

And a thousand years like a single day.
The Lord is not slow with the promise, as some reckon slowness:

Nay, he is longsuffering towards you,
Unwilling that any should perish, but that all should betake

them to repentance.
The day of the Lord will come, like a thief:
And in it the skies shall pass away with hurtling noise,
The elements shall be set aflame,
And the earth with the works therein shall be burned up.

As these things are all thus to be dissolved,
What must you be in holy conduct and piety,
Expecting and yearning for the arrival of the day of God,

By which the skies shall be set on fire and dissolved,

And the elements shall be set aflame and melt?
But it is new skies and a new earth that we expect, according to his

promise :

And in them uprightness dwells. 14 Wherefore, beloved, as you are expecting these things, endeavour eagerly 15 to be found in peace, unstained and unblamable before him; and reckon

the longsuffering of our Lord as salvation-just as our beloved brother 16 Paul also wrote to you by the wisdom given him, speaking of these

matters, as indeed he did, in all his letters; letters containing some

things hard to understand, which the ignorant and unstable distort (as 17 they do the rest of the scriptures) to their own destruction.

As for you then, beloved, knowing these things beforehand, be on your guard that

you may not be carried away by the error of the lawless and fall from 18 your own steadfastness; but grow in the grace and knowledge of our

Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him be the majesty both now and to the day of eternity.

APPENDIX The critical study of ancient documents means nothing else than the careful sifting of their origin and meaning in the light of history. The first principle of criticism is that every book bears the stamp of the time and circumstances in which it was produced. An ancient book is, so to speak, a fragment of ancient life; and to understand it aright we must treat it as a living thing, as a bit of the life of the author and his time, which we shall not fully understand without putting ourselves back into the age in which it was written. People talk much of destructive criticism, as if the critic's one delight were to prove that things which men have long believed are not true, and that books were not written by the authors whose names they bear. But the true critic has for his business, not to destroy, but to build up. ... He must review doubtful titles, purge out interpolations, expose forgeries ; but he does so only to manifest the truth, and to exhibit the genuine remains of antiquity in their real character. . . . In a word, it is the business of the critic to trace back the steps by which any ancient book has been transmitted to us, to find where it came from and who wrote it, to examine the occasion of its composition, and to search out every link that connects it with the history of the ancient world and with the personal life of the author.-W. Robertson Smith,




Any discussion of the NT writings, especially with reference to their date, must include some attempt to appreciate the literary customs and conditions among which these writings took their earliest or final shape. The first and most obvious question is that of translation. It is introductory to the others, and scarcely as vital; but it cannot be passed over without some notice at least of its existence.

The question is, are all the NT writings extant in the language in which their authors originally wrote them? Or have any been subsequently translated from Hebrew and Aramaic (that “most concrete and unmetaphysical of languages,” M. Arnold) into Greek? The bearing of this upon the problem of a book's date may be illustrated by the case of Ecclesiasticus. The Greek version of this book is a translation of the Hebrew original, prepared some fifty years later by the grandson of the author. Here translation implies a notable gap between the earlier and the final form of the book. When the translator is identical with the author of the original, the matter is comparatively speaking of less importance : as in the case of Josephus, who composed his history of the Jewish war in the Aramaic vernacular, intending it for the Jews resident across the Euphrates (Tois ävw Bapßápois), but afterwards, to gain access for his work to the wider circles of the Roman Empire, rendered it into Greek. Still, apart altogether from the personality of the translator, the question of translation affects to some degree the date of a writing. The earlier instances in all departments of Jewish literature (e.g. 1 Maccabees, Judith, Seirach, Psalt. Sol., Enoch, Book of Jubilees, etc.) prove the abstract possibility of translation in regard to a NT writing, while the bi-lingual nature of the Roman Empire and the use of Aramaic and Greek in Palestine indicate that such a practice must have been necessary for the extensive circulation of literature. The hypothesis therefore has a legitimate claim to be at least tested. Whether it explains in a satisfactory fashion any or all of the NT records in connection with which it has been raised, is a question that depends upon the further examination of the particular case and its evidence.

1 In the case of this writing it is still a moot point whether the original was Aramaic or Hebrew..

2 Dalman (Die Worte Jesu, 1899, i. pp. 10-13) extends the practice further among the pseudepigrapha; he even conjectures an Aramaic original for the Hebrew of Dan 1-6, as Marshall (DB, i. p. 253) does for Baruch, 39-44. Similarly for 4th Esdras, Wellhausen (Skizen u. Vorarbeiten, vi. p. 235 f.).

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