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Original Research: Foundation subjects - Old and New Testament Studies

The Letter of Jude and Graeco-Roman Invective

Alicia J. Batten

HTS Teologiese Studies / Theological Studies; Vol 70, No 1 (2014), 9 pages. doi: 10.4102/hts.v70i1.2750

Submitted: 02 June 2014
Published:  20 November 2014


Many have attempted to identify the opponents in Jude and have addressed the manner in which the author characterises this group. Moreover, scholars have expended considerable energy on the analysis and explication of Jude’s rhetorical structure and style, and there is wide consensus that as a text, Jude is a sophisticated letter. However, less work has attended to the evaluation of Jude within the tradition of Graeco-Roman invective. In comparing verses from Jude to some examples from such literature, we find similar themes. In particular, the letter of Jude and some Graeco-Roman moralists engage in a particular tactic to undermine, even destroy, the character of their opponents. They both present them as effeminates, which, although a stereotype, is one of the worst insults a writer or orator could wage against an adversary. This article argues that Jude engages in such character assassination, invoking effeminacy in the manner that he describes his opponents’ behaviour, and placing them in a long line of debauched and condemned figures from ages past.

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Author affiliations

Alicia J. Batten, Conrad Grebel University College, University of Waterloo, Canada; Research Fellow, Department of Biblical and Ancient Studies, University of South Africa, South Africa



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ISSN: 0259-9422 (print) | ISSN: 2072-8050 (online)

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