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Jude and 1 Enoch: From Tertullian to Augustine on the 'Apostle Judes' citation of 1 Enoch'

Hultin, J.F. (2007) Jude and 1 Enoch: From Tertullian to Augustine on the 'Apostle Judes' citation of 1 Enoch'. In: Annual Meeting. Society of Biblical Literature, 17 - 20 November 2007, San Diego, CA


There is perhaps no richer cite in early Christianity for exploring the complicated and uneasy relationship between the concepts of "canon," revelation, authority, and tradition than in the case of Jude's reliance upon 1 Enoch (and, to a lesser extent, the Assumption of Moses). Not only does Jude cite 1 Enoch verbatim (his only "scriptural" citation), but the language, imagery, and eschatology of the entire epistle is heavily indebted to this great (and once quite popular) apocryphon. What is the meaning of a "canon" that includes the Epistle of Jude, but rejects that text to which Jude so reverentially refers? Is Jude not to be trusted when it says that Enoch authored the words from 1 Enoch? The problem is not made any easier by the way Jude cites 1 Enoch. In fact, the language of Jude, and of other early Christians, belies the claim of some modern scholarship that the practice of pseudepigraphy, especially in testamentary or apocalyptic genres, was so common as to be transparent. In fact, ancients were often quite credulous. Jude identified the author of 1 Enoch as the antediluvian "seventh from Adam," and Tertullian addressed such concrete problems as how Enoch's teachings could have survived the flood. Such serious and literal commitment to Enochic authorship left no easy out for those who would receive Jude but not 1 Enoch. From the author of 2 Peter, who used most of Jude but omitted reference to Enoch or the Assumption of Moses, to Augustine, who granted that Enoch must have written something divine, I explore the various strategies early Christians adopted for dealing with Jude's use of an apocryphon. This survey illuminates the distinctions various early Christians were making—and were forced to make by Jude's citation— between inspiration and canonicity.

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