Book Plunge Part 8: Politely Rejecting The Bible

What of Jude’s use of Enoch? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

In the next few chapters, we will look at the biggest objections that Kapr has to the doctrine of inerrancy. This is in the book of Jude when the author, presumably Jude and we will assume him for the sake of this article, gives a prophecy that comes from Enoch. It’s not the prophecy that is being called into question but that Jude references Enoch as the source of this prophecy.

There are a few points to consider.

First, Kapr considers it difficult to think that an oral tradition would last this long and be referenced just around the time when 1 Enoch itself shows up and then starts being quoted, but is this really that unthinkable? Oral tradition lasts a long time in the ancient world and it could be that this was an oral tradition and it was written down around this time. I’m not saying it was and I don’t see how you could make a case, but it would be interesting to have done. Either way, just saying you don’t find it plausible does not mean it is implausible.

Second, we don’t really know what Jude believed about the book. We do know that he certainly found the prophecy useful. I don’t even think we could say he certainly agreed with the prophecy, but he found it worthwhile to quote. Now why would he do this?

It could be that the opponents he is dealing with in this book do think Enoch came from Enoch and do view it as authoritative and do use it. Thus, Jude could be saying “So you know, Enoch, the seventh from Adam Enoch, yeah. That one. The one that you read and cite regularly? He himself condemned what is going on and the people who are doing what is going on.”

If so, then this is kind of like Paul on Mars Hill quoting various poets and saying “See? Even your guys accept my viewpoint.” Enoch could have agreed with what Enoch said. He could have thought the author of Enoch was smoking mushrooms. Either way, he found the quote useful.

In reality, we don’t know enough about what Jude believed about Enoch. The same could be said about the Assumption of Moses? Did Jude believe the story? Maybe. Maybe not. He could again be using material his audience accepts to make the point. All we have is one quote of each of these and we don’t know enough based on that.

Some might think not enough has been said here to solidly answer the charge, but keep in mind as the one in the defensive position in this as Kapr is making the charges, I just have to show a possible solution to a problem. Again, the reality is we don’t know in this case and that’s okay to say. Maybe we will learn more in future research. Maybe we won’t. Either way, I do not see a hard defeater here.

In Christ,
Nick Peters
(And I affirm the virgin birth)

%d bloggers like this: