Re: Jude 14 and the age of the world

David Campbell (
Fri, 9 Apr 1999 15:55:49 -0400

>At the same time, if the phrase is interpreted within its historical context,
>Jude is certainly thinking of Enoch as being a person just seven generations
>removed from a literal Adam and, in fact, just seven generations from the
>creation of the world. Although we recognize, today that the biblical
>genealogies may have missing names, this was not recognized in NT times.
>Everyone used the genealogies at face value and everyone dated the creation
>of Adam and the world at c. 4000 (or following the LXX, 5000) BC. ( see
>Theophilus to Autolycus 3:28, The Ante-Nicene Fathers Vol.2, ed. A. Roberts
>and J. Donaldson, New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1899, p.120. Also,
>Josephus, Ant.1:1:13, "The things narrated in the sacred scriptures...embrace
>the history of 5000 years..." Cf. Ant. 1:3:82; 2Enoch 72:6 and The Assumption
>of Moses 1:2,3).

Not everyone among the early church believed in those dates. Origen
questioned whether days 1-3 could be 24 hour when the sun does not appear
until day 4. Also, there was at least recognition that Matthew omitted
some names in his genealogy to fit the 14 person per unit pattern.
Similar discrepancies occur in a number of passages, including the addition
in Luke 3 of a "grandson" of Shem omitted in Gen. 10 and 11. I do not know
one way or the other regarding early comments on such passages as these,
but it seems likely that expositors would have at least recognized that
perhaps a few folks were skipped in the Genesis genealogies.

David C.