Wednesday, July 29, 2020

Jude 4-5 And The Deity Of Christ

[Jude 4] c Most later witnesses (P Ψ 𝔐 sy) have θεόν (theon, “God”) after δεσπότην (despotēn, “master”), which appears to be a motivated reading in that it explicitly links “Master” to “God” in keeping with the normal NT pattern (see Luke 2:29; Acts 4:24; 2 Tim 2:21; Rev 6:10). In patristic Greek, δεσπότης (despotēs) was used especially of God (cf. BDAG 220 s.v. 1.b.). The earlier and better witnesses (𝔓72, 78 א A B C 0251 33 81 323 1241 1739 al co) lack θεόν; the shorter reading is thus preferred on both internal and external grounds.

sn The Greek term for Master (δεσπότης, despotēs) is the same term the author of 2 Peter used (2 Pet 2:1) to describe his Lord when he prophesied about these false teachers. Since δεσπότης is used only ten times in the NT, the verbal connection between these two books at this juncture is striking. This is especially so since both Peter and Jude speak of these false teachers as denying the Master (both using the same verb). The basic difference is that Peter is looking to the future, while Jude is arguing that these false teachers are here now.

[Jude 5] "tc ‡ Some translations take ἅπαξ (hapax) with the following clause (thus, “[Jesus,] having saved the people once for all”). Such a translation presupposes that ἅπαξ is a part of the ὅτι (hoti) clause. The reading of NA, πάντα ὅτι [ὁ] κύριος ἅπαξ (panta hoti [ho] kurios hapax), suggests this interpretation (though with “Lord” instead of “Jesus”). This particle is found before λαόν (laon) in the ὅτι clause in א C* Ψ 630 1241 1243 1505 1739 1846 1881 pc co. But ἅπαξ is found before the ὅτι clause in most witnesses, including several important ones (P A B C 33 81 623 2344 M vg). What seems best able to explain the various placements of the adverb is that scribes were uncomfortable with ἅπαξ referring to the readers’ knowledge, feeling it was more appropriate to the theological significance of “saved” (σώσας, sōsas).

sn The construction our Master and Lord, Jesus Christ in v. 4 follows Granville Sharp’s rule (see note on Lord). The construction strongly implies the deity of Christ. This is followed by a statement that Jesus was involved in the salvation (and later judgment) of the Hebrews. He is thus to be identified with the Lord God, Yahweh. Verse 5, then, simply fleshes out what is implicit in v. 4.

tc ‡ The reading ᾿Ιησοῦς (Iēsous, “Jesus”) is deemed too hard by several scholars, since it involves the notion of Jesus acting in the early history of the nation Israel. However, not only does this reading enjoy the strongest support from a variety of early witnesses (e.g., A B 33 81 1241 1739 1881 2344 pc vg co Or), but the plethora of variants demonstrate that scribes were uncomfortable with it, for they seemed to exchange κύριος (kurios, “Lord”) or θεός (theos, “God”) for ᾿Ιησοῦς(though P has the intriguing reading θεὸς Χριστός [theos Christos, “God Christ”] for ᾿Ιησοῦς). In addition to the evidence supplied in NA for this reading, note also {88 322 323 424 665 915 2298 eth Cyr Hier Bede}. As difficult as the reading ᾿Ιησοῦςis, in light of v. 4 and in light of the progress of revelation (Jude being one of the last books in the NT to be composed), it is wholly appropriate."

Excerpts taken from the New English Translation

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