By Jonathan Knight

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Example text

The author says that, although he had been eager to write about the salvation which he shared with the readers, he had now found a specific occasion to do this in the need to remind them to contend for the faith that had once and for all been entrusted to the saints. Some scholars have thought that he alludes here to another letter that he was about to write and that he changed his purpose on receiving news of the problems in the destination church which he addressed through this more pointed response.

G. 1). This form was echoed in the preaching of Jesus (Mt. 21) and it was used in Palestinian Jewish Christianity (see esp. Mt. 23). Here it introduces another triplet of references to biblical sinners 2. Reading Jude 47 which further censures the teachers' activity. They are said to have walked in the way of Cain, abandoned themselves for profit to Balaam's error, and to have perished in Korah's rebellion. Cain was notorious in Jewish tradition for being the first murderer (Gen. 8). Post-biblical Judaism developed this portrait by making him one who taught others to sin (see Josephus, Ant.

The material probably does have a history of exegesis behind it but it is difficult now to reconstruct this in detail. If there were such a background the author's skill would have lain especially in selecting and arranging the material to yield the letter's rhetorical effect. In this way Jude probably offers a badly-needed glance into the nature and contents of the early Christian exhortatory tradition (see further Charles, 1993). We can only guess now at how far such material featured in the teaching of early Christian churches but it probably exercised a prominent role there.

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