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The sole purpose of the writing is to warn Christendom against a band of pseudo-Christians, whose doctrines are as frightful and anti-christian as is their moral conduct. Written in some anxiety regarding the spread of such tendencies within the church, the “ epistle” shows more goodwill than skill in its methods of controversy. More space is given to indignation at these shameless persons and to the description of the judgment awaiting them, than to a proof of what is base in their principles and behaviour. Only in one or two expressionsand even these merely hint in part at the subject—is any useful advice given regarding the individuals in question. The refutation proper consists entirely of the assertion that people were long ago prepared for such phenomena, by the predictions of prophets and apostles.
The style does not give evidence of any remarkable ability, but it is not lacking in a certain marked force. Leaving out the objectionable quotations from the apocryphal writings, the author of 2 Peter afterwards incorporated in his own epistle this tiny letter of Judas, which had fallen into oblivion, but whose bitter invectives seemed to him most serviceable.-Jülicher.
Judas, a slave of Jesus Christ and brother of James,
Jesus Christ : 2 mercy to you and peace and love be multiplied. 3 Beloved, in my great eagerness to write you concerning our common
salvation, I am obliged to write and appeal to you to contend for the faith 4 which was once for all delivered to the saints. For some men have slipped in by stealth, those who were predestined to this doom long ago
-"impious men, turning the grace of our God into sensuality, denying 5 also the only Master and our Lord Jesus Christ.”
Now I desire to remind you-knowing as you do all things once for allthat after the Lord saved a people out of the land of Egypt, he next
destroyed those who believed not : 6 and that the angels who kept not their office but abandoned their own
habitation, he has kept under the nether blackness in fetters
everlasting for the judgment of the great Day : 7 even as Sodom and Gomorra, with the surrounding cities, who (in a
way resembling these men) glutted themselves with fornication and went after strange flesh, are exhibited as a warning, under
going the penalty of fire eternal.
pollute the flesh,
and abuse Majesties. 9 Now when Michael the archangel was disputing with the devil in contro
versy over the body of Moses,
Nay, he said, “ The Lord rebuke thee."
And anything they do understand by nature, like the irrational
brutes, through that they are corrupted. 11 Woe to them!
For they went the road of Kain,
12 These are the men who are sunken rocks in your love-feasts,
feasting with you unafraid,
shepherding their own selves :
Fruitless autumn-trees, twice dead, uprooted,
Wandering stars, for whom the nether blackness of darkness has been
for ever kept. 14 Now Enoch, the seventh from Adam, prophesied of these also,
of all their impious deeds which impiously they wrought,
Walking after their own lusts —
Paying regard to men's appearances for their own advantage.
Jesus Christ, 18 How they told you : “At the end of the 1 time there shall be scoffers
who walk after their own impious lusts."
19 These are the men who make divisions,
who have not the Spirit. But as for you, beloved,
Building yourselves up on your most holy faith,
Praying in the holy Spirit,
Waiting for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to life eternal.
24 Now to him who is able to preserve you from stumbling, and to set 25 you with rejoicing faultless before his majesty—to the only God, our
Saviour through Jesus Christ our Lord, belong majesty, sovereignty, dominion, and authority, before all time and now and for all time : Amen.
1 Adding roữ.
THE EPISTLE OF SYMEON PETER (II.)
The coin position of this writing during the course of the second century, and probably in its first half, cannot be regarded any longer as one of the open questions in NT criticism. The epistle is notoriously weak in external attestation (DB, iii. pp. 799–806), but the security of the critical conclusion rests mainly upon internal evidence. Especially noteworthy are (a) the references to Paul's epistles 1 (316): these would appear to have acquired considerable prestige in the church, and to be ranked kat' é Foxýv side by side with the canonical scriptures, as well as numbered among that class of books which forms a subject of discussion and dispute. All this, especially the co-ordination of apostolic writings with the sacred codex of the OT, points to a late and ecclesiastical atmosphere. (b) The writer, who is not an apostle (32, rwv åttoorówv 'uôv), at the same time appeals intentionally and emphatically to the authority of Peter (112-19 31. 2. 15); he plainly uses 1 Peter, which he endeavours to imitate for his own purposes in spite of individual peculiarities of style and thought (cp. on the well-marked difference of language, Holtzmann, Einl. p. 322, and the moderate statement of Simcox : Writers of NT, pp. 63-69, besides the critical editors). (c) The literary relations of the epistle involve its dependence upon Clem. Rom., and even more markedly on the epistle of Judas, of which a large part is reproduced expanded in 2 Peter 2: probably also (in spite of Chase's scepticism) a similar connection with 4th Esdras and the Antiquities of Josephus,2 and apparently a set of similarities in thought and expression to the recently discovered Apocalypse of Peter (DB, iii. pp. 814–816 ; Harnack, TU, ix. 2. p. 90 f.), if not to Hebrews and James as well. (a) The general contour of the writing is late : we have the incipient ecclesiasticism of the church with its three authorities (32), the Lord, the apostles, the prophets; the corresponding identification of “apostolic” with "authoritative”; the subtle traces of Gnosticism with its subjectivity (120) and conceptions of the Divine essence (14), in view of which the writer emphasises the genuine Christian “knowledge” Gyvôols, ériyvwols) 3 with its correlative of steady faith in the second
1“ Das Christenthum ist hier schon ganz geworden, was zuvor das Judenthum war; Bibelglaube, Buchreligion, wie dem auch 120. 21 die Inspirationslehre in der Form des schroffsten Supernaturalismus vorgetragen wird” (Holtzmann, NTTh. ii. p. 397). On the analogous Hellenic belief in inspiration and reverence for antiquity, cp. Hatch, Hibbert Lectures, pp. 50, 51.
2 Elaborated in three articles by Dr. E. A. Abbott (Exp.? iii. pp. 49-63, 139–153, 204-219), which are not deprived of their substantial force by the adverse discussions of Professor Warfield (South. Presbyterian Review, 1882, p. 45f., 1883, p. 390 f.), Dr. Salmon (INT, p. 497 f.), and Zahn (Einl. ii. p. 109); cp. the more impartial investigations of Farrar (Exp. iii. pp. 401-423; Early Days, bk. ii. chap. ix. ; Exp,3 viii. pp. 58–69) and Krenkel (Josephus u. Lucas, p. 350 f.). ** 3 Knowledge has displaced the “hope” of 1 Peter, and by a corresponding change the sufferings of Christ and Christians have fallen into the background contrast 1 P 51 with 2 P 116-18).
advent, according to the original and apostolic tradition, and as opposed to current spiritualisations; the fact of errorists being able for their own ends to pervert the scripture (316), and to make use, as it is known the Marcionites did, of Paul's epistles (passages like 1 Thess 51f., 2 Thess 213, Rom 29, are much more likely than Gal 211, if any special reference is to be thought of); the general impression that the early Christian age is far behind the writer and his readers, an era to be looked back upon (e.g. 3*, ảo hs yap oi Tarẻpes exotun ngay). These form a cumulative argument for the second-century date, which is final. It is accepted even by writers like Beyschlag (NTTh, ii. pp. 490-498), who finds 2 Peter is critically disputed with evident reason, based upon the epistle of Judas —which he puts into the first century-and a product of the second century; as also by Bovon (NTTh, ii. pp. 485 f.). Generally c. 150 A.D. or the years preceding that time form the period 1 adopted by a very numerous and weighty league of scholars, including Reuss (275-277), Hilgenfeld, Hausrath, Bleek, Mangold, Renan, S. Davidson (INT, ii. pp. 523-559), Holtzmann, Krüger, von Soden, Ramsay (before 130 A.D.), McGiffert, Adeney, and most recently Chase (DB, iii. pp. 796-818) in an article of exceptional brilliance and research. After Keim (iv. p. 312, etc.), Pfleiderer puts the date further down into the century (Urc. pp. 838-843), and Jülicher chooses 150–175 A.D.; but Simcox rightly demurs to such a late period, on the ground that the book contains an indisputably Hebraistic element, and it is probably safer to place the writing not subsequent to the seventh or eighth decade of the second century. At any rate it is the latest writing in the NT (cf. Brückner, Chron. pp. 296–307). Harnack's wellknown theory would imply that about this time, i.e. 150–175, the Petrine title was added to 1 Peter, probably by the author of 2 Peter (Chron. pp. 450-470).
This date involves the pseudonymity of the epistle. Of course, were the title to be interpreted literally and logically, the writing would be the testament of Peter. It must then have been composed, as the author intended his readers to believe, shortly before the death of Peter and subsequently to the first epistle, i.e. between 65 and 67 (Salmon, Lumby, etc.). Weiss (followed by Kühl), with his theory of the extremely early date of 1 Peter, has little difficulty in supposing that this writing might have followed some ten years later (INT, ii. pp. 154-169), and Spitta, on grounds of his own, arrives at a similar result; while Zahn actually dates the writing before 63, addressed by Peter to churches ? in or near Palestine (Einl. ii. pp. 42–110). But the contents of the epistle are in hopeless contradiction with this hypothesis, the case for which is largely made up of assertions and assumptions. It may be said with perfect moderation and justice that the whole available evidence, positive and negative, internal and external, points away from such a period of composition. Calvin's excellent sense made him very dubious of the Petrine authorship, and finally suggested to him that the epistle might have been composed
i When the bubbling, many-coloured theosophies of Gnosticism were fronted by a movement of the church towards organisation and a canon. 2 Peter thus forms (cp. Renan's testimony, L'Église Chrét. chap. vii.) the most worthy member of the series of Petrine pseudepigrapha ; it is an attempt to conserve the faith against Gnostic errors and the moral and mental snares which they set. Still, the actual environment of the book is dim. All we can see is that eschatological doubts have risen, since Judas wrote. Scepticism upon the last things has been revived and added to the heresies already prevalent.
2 Jewish-Christian, upon the whole, and indebted for their Christianity to Peter or to other early disciples and apostles of Jesus.