From: Ward Powers (
Date: Tue Mar 10 1998 - 20:59:19 EST

After the b-greek blackout, a second attempt to post this to the list:

Fellow b-greekers:

Last night my Greek class and I worked our way through Jude's Epistle. We
had an interesting discussion on the meaning and use of SARX in this
epistle. It occurs in verses 7, 8, and 23.

Verse 7b speaks literally of those "committing fornication/sexual
immorality and going off after different flesh" [APELQOUSAI OPISW SARKOS
hETERAS]. The usual rendering in the standard versions is along the lines
of "gave themselves up to sexual immorality and perversion" (NIV),
"indulged in sexual immorality and pursued unnatural lust" (NRSV).

Then verse 8 speaks of "dreamers who defile the flesh".

We considered the possibility that Jude wrote his letter against the
background of the teaching of Jesus, known both to him and his readers, so
that he had in mind the citation by Jesus (Matthew 19:5) of Genesis 2:24,
that the man and the woman "shall become one flesh", to which (Matthew
19:6) Jesus appends his own comment that "they are no longer two but one
flesh". On this basis the "different" flesh of Jude 7 means "different from
that laid down in the OT and endorsed by the Lord Jesus", i.e., the
one-flesh relationship of marriage. Thus the "different flesh" would be a
reference to homosexuality (the first part of this verse refers to Sodom
and Gomorrah) and could possibly extend even to bestiality (verse 10 refers
to these people as acting as "irrational animals"). That is, different from
the God-given provision of a spouse for the fulfilment of one's sexual
nature, in the one-flesh of marriage.

Verse 8 would thus link with this. The flesh that these dreamers defile (by
their immoral behaviour) is not their own bodies (NIV translation) but the
one-flesh marriage relationship. And the authority which they reject (verse
8, KURIOTHTA DE AQETOUSIN) would be the authority of the Lord in what he
taught was the right and undefiled fulfilment of the "flesh" in the
"one-flesh" relationship of marriage (notice the MEN ... DE construction in
verse 8 linking these two clauses).

I am not sure how "flesh" in verse 23 would fit in with this. But, in
relation to verses 7 and 8, this approach definitely appeals to me.
However: would Jude and his readers have had such a familiarity with the
teaching of Jesus, and his use of "flesh" in reference to marriage, that it
would come naturally to Jude to use SARX with the one-flesh of marriage in
mind, and would Jude's readers have seen SARX in Jude as a reflection of
Christ's usage?

Any comments?



Rev Dr B. Ward Powers Phone (International): 61-2-9799-7501
10 Grosvenor Crescent Phone (Australia): (02) 9799-7501
SUMMER HILL NSW 2130 email:

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