Barry Newman's Blog

December 4, 2011

The Agape [Feasts] (part VII)

Filed under: Agape meals,Christian Community Meals,Love Feasts — barrynewman @ 12:53 am

                    The Agape of Jude 12

Thus Jude 12a could be rendered in an expanded paraphrase: “These are the ones, in your so-called loving events, who should be recognised by you as dangerous shoals able to make shipwreck of your faith, feasting with one another, without any regard for you or for God, simply feeding themselves, satisfying their own sensuous desires.”

In this text what type of “agape” does Jude have in mind – the “agape” their meals should have displayed? There are seven uses of an “agape” or related term in the letter.  The recipients are described as loved (agapemenois) by/in God (v. 1).  Three times Jude uses the adjective “agapetos” (vv. 3, 17, 20) in addressing them, either a reference again to God’s love for them or Jude’s loving disposition towards them or both.  Three times the noun “agape” is used (vv. 2, 12, 21).  The first and last references relate to the love of or from God.  With so much emphasis on God’s love for them one might expect that in v 12, the reference again has to be in terms of that same love – God’s love.  Yet such an understanding at first glance, does not seem to fit the context.  Perhaps this is an additional feature that Jude has used to indicate that his reference to “agape” in v. 12 is ironic or even sarcastic.  The love that God has for them is uppermost in his thinking and perhaps his perspective is that the “agape” that is the subject of verse 12 should have been characterised by an appreciation of that love perhaps with the concomitant result that they genuinely deeply loved one another.  To the contrary, each individual member of a significant group, in a corrupt way, “loved” himself or herself immensely. The “agape” events are simply so-called “agape” events but holistically they are not the real thing! Overall, the events do not display an appreciation of God’s love for the participants nor do they display what should have followed – a genuine deep seated love for one another.

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