Dr. Miller, Jude makes quotations from two different sources that are not in our Christian Bible. The material is stated in a factual manner, and seems to be considered by Jude to be truth that he is basing his examples on. So since he is quoting these sources, do they, or at least the quotations, become inspired Holy Scripture? Also what about other uses in the Bible of secular sources? Including but not limited to the use of the logos by John and Paul's quotations of philosopher's of his day.
Post by Mike Miller on Aug 2, 2012 15:37:35 GMT -5
Hey, Josh. Thanks for a really interesting question. What you are referring to is Jude's references to 1 Enoch and the Testament of Moses. Those two works are non-biblical writings from Jewish tradition that most Christians today would not be familiar with.
So, did Jude's use of those writings mean that he thought they were equivalent to the Bible? Not likely, but as you mentioned, many times biblical writers referenced other works or concepts (i.e., John's use of logos) to make their points. They could have done so in order to explain or counter errant beliefs (such as with Paul in Acts 17), or they could have simply borrowed factual information to further enhance their teachings. The latter is what Jude seems to have done. While all of 1 Enoch and the Testament of Moses were not accurate, that does not mean they did not contain some truth (just like a fictional work today can be based on actual events or contain true material). In fact, much of Jude is considered to be midrash, which is a form of Jewish instruction that was prevalent in Jude's day. To put it simply, midrash is an expansion or commentary on biblical truths or themes. In other words, a teacher would incorporate knowledge from other areas/sources in order to expound upon a biblical text or idea for the purpose of giving the fullest sense of meaning. It is really a form of biblical exegesis common in rabbinical tradition. While those other writings were not in themselves Scripture, the book of Jude is, so the truths he used from those writings are canonical only as they are used by Jude.