Re: Love feasts in Jude 12 (a bit long)

From: Paul Zellmer (
Date: Tue Feb 17 1998 - 23:05:39 EST

Clayton wrote:

>Paul Zellmer wrote:
>> Jude has been giving me problems. And just when I think I get to a
>> phrase I understand, all other translations take a unique jog and
>> me behind.
>> Could someone please explain to me why AGAPAIS in Jude 12 is
>> translated, "love feasts" by many if not all the common versions? I
>> looked in vain for a textual variant here.


>There is a textual variant, but it does not solve your problem.
>found in A C(vid) and 1243, as well as in the parallel passage in 2Pet

Actually, this variant *would* solve the problem, especially if the
variant also has the same pronoun as the Petrine passage. EN TAIS
APATAIS AUTWN makes sense to me, but EN TAIS AGAPAIS hUMWN doesn't. My
text shows some variants in 2 Peter, but not here in Jude. Anybody
know how these manuscripts actually read?

>>Or is there something in
>> the way the Fathers use AGAPE in the plural to refer to love feasts?
>According to BAGD p.6, the semantic domain of AGAPE includes a
>meal". Numerous references from the fathers (to many to list here)
>quoted supporting this use including the works of Clem. Alex. and

So this would support a premise that, by the time Jude was written,
AGAPAI had been accepted as a term referring to a love feast, right?
One wonders how early that secondary meaning came into being.

>> Is the plural form changing
>> the noun to "+counting" and the English word "love", when used to
>> translate AGAPE, is considered "-counting"?
>I don't understand this part of your question. What is +\- counting
all about?

Clay, your response has been helpful, even though it's apparent I
didn't explain my question well enough. I was running into a problem
supporting the sole Scriptural case (or, if you take the variants of
2Pet, cases) of interpreting AGAPH as "love feast" rather than "love."
As normal, I would have been better off simply stating the question
rather than trying to put forward my guesses. My "counting" comments
was an attempt to understand why the translators varied from a fairly
consistent translation of AGAPH. AGAPH tends to be treated as an
abstract concept, but putting it in the plural does tend to change it
 from a quality to something that can be quatified, right? I assumed
this was the change that resulted in a different translation.

I realize we probably don't have the tools to demonstrate this either
way, but I am trying to hold hard to a first century date for Jude.
(Before anyone screams, this is a "faith" statement for me, not a
provable fact ;^>) I am not convince that "love feasts" was a common
possibility for this word this early in the Christian community. So
can I get your reactions to this thought: If an abstract concept,
normally expressed in the singular, is put into the plural, would it be
acceptable to interpret it a simple "expressions of" that concept? In
this case, "your expressions of AGAPH."

>Jude is a fun book. Very short and packed with difficult problems.
It's fun as a puzzle or mental exercise. It's a different situation
when the task is to attempt to understand the original message and
bring that message across in a translation that will be read for years
by people without the tools to join in the fun of interpreting it for

Thanks much,



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