There are many strong similarities in word choice, style, theme, and structure between Jude and 2 Peter 2. For instance:

Jude 6  And  the  angels  who  did  not  keep  their  proper  domain,  but  left  their  own   abode,  He  has  reserved  in  everlasting  chains  under  darkness  for  the   judgment  of  the  great  day;
2 Pet 2:4  For  if  God  did  not  spare  the  angels  who  sinned,  but  cast  them  down  to  hell  and  delivered   them  into  chains  of  darkness,  to  be  reserved  for  judgment;

It seems likely that either 2 Pet 2 borrowed from Jude, or Jude borrowed from 2 Pet 2. Which is it?

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    If the other question answers this question, let me know and we can close this one as a duplicate. I know the questions are not identical, but the accepted answer may actually answer this question in which case we could just forward users to that question. But if not, we should definitely keep this question. Just let me know. Great question BTW
    – Dan
    Dec 3, 2013 at 14:14
  • @Dan Thanks! The answer you refer to does apply to my question, but does not fully answer it (at least as I understand it). Moreover, several of the arguments cited in the answer seem weak and superficial (which is not to say it's a bad answer - just that it doesn't answer my question well).
    – Niobius
    Dec 3, 2013 at 17:46
  • no problem. Sounds good. If I get a chance I will try to answer this one. I purchased and read a book by Tommy Wasserman which deals with this - he even stopped by here one time but didn't have time to contribute. He's probably the world expert on Jude. I just am short on time for writing a quality answer right now.
    – Dan
    Dec 3, 2013 at 18:15

1 Answer 1


Most readers notice the connection between Jude 6 and 2 Peter 2.4, but the similarities go beyond that. Second Peter has a lot more material in between some of the parallels, but the two epistles actually touch on much of the same subject matter, in the same order:

  • Jude 1 = 2 Peter 1.2
  • Jude 4-5 = 2 Peter 2.1
  • Jude 6-10 = 2 Peter 2.4-12
  • Jude 12-13 = 2 Peter 2.17
  • Jude 17-18 = 2 Peter 3.1-3
  • Jude 20-23 = 2 Peter 3.11-12
  • Jude 25 = 2 Peter 3.18

I think the key point in helping determine which came first, Jude or 2 Peter, lies in Jude's attribution of a quote to Enoch, in Jude 14-15. This is universally recognized to be a direct quotation from the apocryphal book 1 Enoch, verse 1.9.

What is less noticed is that Jude shares several key words and phrases with the Greek version of 1 Enoch, and further thematic parallels with the Aramaic and Ge'ez versions of 1 Enoch.

Jude 1

1 Enoch 1.8: verbal parallels of 'called /select' (κλητοις /εκλετους), 'kept /belong' (τετηρημενοις /συντηρησει), 'mercy' (ελεος), and 'peace' (ειρηνη)

Jude 4

1 Enoch 1.9: verbal parallels of 'judgment' (κριμα), and 'irreverent' (ασεβεις)

1 Enoch 48.10: verbal parallels of 'deny', 'Lord', and 'Christ/Messiah'

1 Enoch 67.10: verbal parallels of 'judgment', 'deny', and 'Christ/Messiah', and thematic parallel of sexual sin ('perverted into sensuality' in Jude, 'the lust of their flesh' in 1 Enoch)

Jude 6-7

1 Enoch 10.4-6: verbal parallels of 'chains /bind' (δεσμοις /δησον), 'gloomy darkness /darkness' (ζοφον /σκοτος), and 'the great day of judgment /the day of great judgment' (κρισιν μεγαλης ημερας /τη ημερα της μεγαλης της κρισεως), and thematic parallel of angels being punished by fire

1 Enoch 12.4: verbal parallel of 'abandoned' (απολιποντας /απολιποντες), and thematic parallels of angels leaving heaven, and committing sexual sin

Jude 14-15

1 Enoch 70.8: contain the unique identification of Enoch as 'the seventh from Adam'

1 Enoch 1.9: a direct quotation from 1 Enoch, with only minor verbal differences

While books with similar subject matter may be expected to use similar vocabulary, textual criticism highlights when such similarities are too overt and highly-concentrated to have been written by mere coincidence. And given that Jude specifically names his source as 1 Enoch, offering a direct quote from the apocryphal book, it becomes clear that the epistle of Jude borrowed extensively from 1 Enoch.

We notice that most of the parallels between Jude and 1 Enoch occur in the sections where there are parallels between Jude and 2 Peter. However, 2 Peter does not contain the direct quotation from 1 Enoch 1.9 that Jude 14-15 has, and lacks several of the other verbal parallels Jude has with 1 Enoch.

For example, while Jude 1 and 1 Enoch 1.8 and 2 Peter 1.2 all three share the word 'peace', 2 Peter lacks the words 'mercy', 'called /select', or 'kept /belong' as shared by Jude and 1 Enoch. Or another example, while Jude 4 and 1 Enoch 48.10 and 2 Peter 2.1 all three share the verb 'deny', 2 Peter lacks the words 'Lord' and 'Christ/Messiah' as shared by Jude and 1 Enoch; instead, 2 Peter 2.1 keeps the word 'Master', also found in Jude 4.

The parallels with Jude and 1 Enoch are clear, and the parallels with Jude and 2 Peter are clear, and several of those parallels directly overlap. But the parallels between 2 Peter and 1 Enoch are very vague and indirect. If we assume 2 Peter came first and purposely diluted his references to 1 Enoch, we would have to then assume something rather unlikely: that Jude borrowed from 2 Peter, noticed that 2 Peter scrubbed out all direct references to 1 Enoch, and then restored them.

A far more likely scenario has 2 Peter's hazy verbal and thematic parallels with 1 Enoch explained by 2 Peter being one-stepped removed from the apocryphal book, that 2 Peter was borrowing from 1 Enoch indirectly. The author of Jude made extensive use of 1 Enoch, so that the whole epistle is permeated by Enochic language and ideas. Then the author of 2 Peter borrowed from Jude, adding new material and altering the original Enochic sections to suit his purposes.

Jude came first.

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    Thanks for an interesting answer! Looking forward to studying the parallels you point out.
    – Niobius
    Dec 3, 2013 at 23:35
  • That was an answer that kicks butt! Kudos.
    – Ruminator
    Aug 10, 2022 at 3:09

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