A Rhetorical Construction of Masculinities in the Letter of Jude

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It seems that the author of the Letter of Jude’s honour and authority was challenged by certain men in the Christian faith community, and therefore the letter should be read as a retort to an honour challenge. In his defence, Jude claims a certain honour because of his blood ties to “James” and by being a “servant” of Jesus Christ. He also uses both the authoritative faith tradition entrusted to the apostles and the authoritative written tradition to position himself. Central to his claim of honour and authority is the exercise of power and dominance; these concepts are central to the notion of hegemonic masculinity, which guarantees the dominant position of particular men, and the subordination of women and other men. This identity of Jude derives from his participation in the faith community and from interactions with other men, based on competition. His opponents, as the other men, are forced into a position of subordination by offensive or derogatory language used to describe men whose behaviour, appearance, or speech is considered typical of that which is traditionally associated with women. Effeminate men represent the most fundamental failure of true or idealised masculinity. Yet Jude encourages the community to display behaviour of a conspicuously moral quality, which will give them a different identity. In this way, the text of Jude continuously constructs, deconstructs and reconstructs the masculine characteristics of the first-century Mediterranean world. The aim of this study is to investigate the rhetorical construction of multiple patterns of performative masculinities in the text of Jude.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)57-72
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Early Christian History
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2017


  • Jude
  • Letter of Jude
  • brotherly masculinity
  • effeminacy
  • hegemonic masculinity
  • subordinate masculinity
  • vilification

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Religious Studies
  • History


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