The books of Baruch and epistle of Jeremiah.
Counted among the apocrypha.
None on site.
Swete LXX (Greek only, 1 Baruch only).
Skeptik (Greek only, 3 Baruch only).
HTML Bible: 1 Baruch
(Latin Vulgate only).
Humanities Text Initiative:
1 Baruch and the
letter of Jeremiah (English only).
Online Critical Pseudepigrapha.
2 Baruch and
3 Baruch (English only).
2 Baruch, and
3 Baruch (English only).
2 Baruch, and
3 Baruch (English only).
CCAT: 4 Baruch (English only).
Kata Pi LXX: 1 Baruch ; epistle of Jeremiah (Greek and English).
Sacred Texts: 1 Baruch ; epistle of Jeremiah (polyglot).
1 Baruch, the
epistle of Jeremiah,
3 Baruch, and the
apocryphal books in the Jewish Encyclopedia.
Baruch and the
apocryphal books in the Catholic Encyclopedia.
EJW (Peter Kirby).
Baruch and the
epistle of Jeremiah
at Kata Pi (Oesterly and Robinson).
Possible Semitisms in 4 Baruch (Ann Elizabeth Purintun).
Bibliographie zu den Paralipomena Jeremiae
Jewish background texts
The first book of Baruch is counted among the apocryphal books
of the Old Testament. The other
three are counted among the pseudepigrapha.
The first book of Baruch (often called Baruch) was probably originally
written in Hebrew, but it is no longer extant in that language. The
original language of the epistle of Jeremiah is debated; was it Hebrew
or was it Greek? This epistle is sometimes tagged onto Baruch as a
sixth chapter and sometimes made to stand on its own, leaving Baruch
with only five chapters.
The second book of Baruch is also known as the Syriac apocalypse
of Baruch, though there are also Greek and Latin fragments. The
third book of Baruch is also known as the Greek apocalypse of
Baruch. The fourth book of Baruch is also known as the Remainder of Jeremiah, or
Peter Kirby (Early Jewish Writings).
Epistle of Jeremiah.
Peter Kirby surveys scholars writing on the book of 1 Baruch:
J. Alberto Soggin writes: "The mention of Jehoiachin and the fact that
temple worship appears to be functioning (2.26) has suggested to some scholars
that the exile mentioned is that of 597, so that the fifth year would be 593,
and therefore a little while after the events narrated in Jer. 27:28. Difficulties
begin when we try to see whether, and when, Baruch was in Babylon; there is
nothing to support this, and the information that we have tells against this
theory. In Jer. 43.5f. Baruch still appears at his master's side, even after
the fall of Jerusalem in 587, and it seems most probable that he was deported
with Jeremiah to Egypt. A rabbinic tradition, Seder 'olam rabba' 26,
reports that after conquering Egypt, Nebuchadnezzar freed Jeremiah and Baruch
and brought them back to their native land, but this is a legendary element
and therefore has no bearing on our narrative. Another strange feature is the
note contained in 1.6-11, that some of the sacred vessels were handed back in
Babylon and were sent to Jerusalem: this happened to the bulk of the material
brought back in the second half of the sixth century, but that was a result
of the edict of Cyrus and the liberation of Judah. In 1.1 Belshazzar again appears
as son of Nebuchadnezzar, an error which we already find in Dan. 5.2 (unless
we understand the word in the widest sense possible, as 'successor'). There
are also other elements than the two indicated which show links with Daniel
(cf. 1.15-20; 2.1-3, 7-14, 16-19 and Dan. 9.7-11.18). Now since Baruch is clearly
fragmentary, whereas Daniel is relatively a unity apart from the dichotomy between
1-6 and 7-12 and the difference in language, it is logical to suppose that the
former is dependent on the latter and that at least the first part of Baruch
is to be connected with Daniel rather than with Jeremiah and his Baruch."
(Introduction to the Old Testament, pp. 458-459)
Aloysius Fitzgerald comments on the ostensible date of 582 CE for Baruch: "There
are, however, good reasons for assigning a much later date to these various
parts. First, certain things indicate that the account it presents is not history
in the sense that the narratives of Kgs are history. Consequently, the indications
of the date of composition in the book itself must be viewed in this light.
The historical books know nothing of the return of the sacred vessels (1:8-9),
and the source of the accounts seems obvious enough. There is a contradiction
between the prayer itself, which presumes that the Temple is in ruins (2:26),
and the introduction, which presumes that the Temple is standing and that the
normal worship is carried on there (1:14). Belshazzar is not the son of Nebuchadnezzar
(1:11-12), who destroyed Jerusalem, but of Nabonidus, the last Chaldean king.
This confusion could not have existed at the time when the prayer is said to
have been written, although this telescoping of history, also found in Dn 5:1,
seems to have been a commonplace in later Jewish tradition. The letter of Jeremiah
is clearly post-exilic. The Babylon described in the prayer is not the great
city of Nebuchadnezzar (6:14, 48-49). The idolatry against which the Jews are
warned seems to be that of the Gk period. In any case, if the letter were really
written by Jeremiah to the Jews going to Babylon in 587, it would be difficult
to explain why it was not included in the definitive edition of Jer that itself
dates from the post-exilic period. Perhaps a more precise indication of the
date of composition is contained in 6:2, where Jeremiah's prediction of a 70-year
exile (Jer 25:12; 29:10) has become a prediction of seven generations of exile.
If 40 years or so (Num 32:13) are assigned to a generation, a writer of the
Gk period would be holding out to his fellow Jews, for whom the conditions of
the Exile still existed, the promise of speedy assistance from God. Some older
exegetes tended to see in Nebuchadnezzar and Belshazzar pseudonyms for Vespasian
and Titus, and they regarded the destruction of Jerusalem described in 1:2 as
the destruction of AD 70. On this basis, they variously dated Bar sometime after
that date. But it is impossible to imagine a pious Israelite urging his fellow
Jews to pray for Vespasian and Titus (1:11)." (The Jerome Biblical Commentary,
David A. deSilva writes: "As with several other texts of the Apocrypha,
we cannot be precise about the date of Baruch nor about the history of its compilation.
If originally written in Hebrew, most of its constituent parts could easily
predate the Hellenization crisis of 175-166 B.C.E. and would derive from Palestine
or perhaps a Jewish community in the eastern Diaspora. If 1:1-14 was written
as an introduction to an earlier prayer (1:15-3:8), the historical error of
1:11 probably would best be explained as a datum learned from Daniel, thus dating
that introduction to a time after 164 B.C.E. If 1:1-3:8 was all part of a single
work, then the whole would then postdate Daniel. The different hands responsible
for the Greek translation of Baruch between 1:1-3:8 and 3:9-5:9 suggest that,
whatever the origin of 3:9-5:9, it was not actually added to Baruch until the
late second century or early first century B.C.E." (Introducing the
Apocrypha, p. 205)
Daniel J. Harrington writes: "Most likely, the narrative framework and
the three major parts were composed in Hebrew. The evidence for this hypothesis
was laid out by J. J. Kneucker in Das Buch Baruch (1879), in which a
reconstruction of the original Hebrew text was attempted and explained in great
detail. Although Kneucker convinced most scholars that 1:1-3:8 reflected a Hebrew
original, there was resistance to the idea that the last two parts (3:9-4:4;
4:5-5:9) were written in Hebrew. But D. G. Burke's Poetry of Baruch (1982)
seems to have established that those two sections also were composed in Hebrew.
The criteria used in establishing Hebrew as the original language include the
poetic style, the reliance on parallelism, the clarity gained by retroversion
(i.e., retranslation) into Hebrew, and the occasional instances where the Greek
translator may have misunderstood the Hebrew original." (Harper's Bible
Commentary, p. 855)
James King West writes: "There is some evidence that the work actually
comes from at least three authors. The most obvious division occurs between
the propse of 1:1-3:8 and the poetry in 3:9-5:9, but there appear also to be
two distinct poems in this latter section: a celebration of Wisdom in 3:9-4:4
and a promise of restoration to Jerusalem in 4:5-5:9. The changes in style and
the striking difference in the names for God ("Lord," "Lord God,"
"Lord Almighty, God of Israel" in 1:1-3:8; and "God," "the
Holy One," "the Everlasting," "Everlasting Savior"
in 3:9-5:9), along with subtle changes in point-of-view, makes the separate
authorship of these two parts fairly certain. Between the two poems, however,
there is also reflected a difference in circumstance and interest which suggests
that the poem on Wisdom, 3:9-4:4, may have been interpolated at a later time.
Although the prose section, especially 1:14-3:8, shows considerable dependence
on Jeremiah, the final poem of encouragement, 4:5-5:9, is highly reminiscent
of II Isaiah. There is little to go on in attempting to fix a date for any of
the material in this work. It could have been written in any of several periods
during the last three centuries of our era." (Introduction to the Old
Testament, p. 454)
Daniel J. Harrington writes: "The question of originality is associated
with the obvious use of biblical sources in each main part. The prayer echoes
the language found in Daniel 9, while the poem about wisdom is based on Job
28, and the poem of consolation uses material from Isaiah 40-66. The language,
images, and ideas are deeply rooted in the Hebrew Bible. What did the author(s)
or editor(s) hope to achieve by reformulating these biblical models? Are we
to dismiss the work as lacking originality? Or does the very combination of
classic themes—sin, exile, repentance, and return—in several different
genres and from several different perspectives itself constitute an original
contribution?" (Invitation to the Apocrypha, pp. 100-101)
Peter Kirby also surveys scholars writing on the epistle of Jeremiah:
Daniel J. Harrington writes: "The statement of v. 3 that the Babylonian
exile would last 'up to seven generations' (cf. Jer. 29:10, where it is supposed
to last only seventy years) is sometimes taken as indicating composition late
in the fourth century B.C. Since one generation lasts about forty years (see
Judg. 3:11, 30), subtracting 280 years from 597 B.C. would give a date of 317
B.C. The allusion to the work in 2 Macc. 2:1-3 and the discovery of a fragment
of the Greek version in a Qumran Cave 7 manuscript dated about 100 B.C. suggest
the second century B.C. as the latest possible date of composition. If it was
composed in Hebrew, a setting in the land of Israel and a time in which attitudes
toward foreign cults were hostile (perhaps during the crisis under Antiochus
IV Epiphanes) seem likely. The writer, however, is quite familiar with Babylonian
customs and may have written in Babylon at an earlier time." (Harper's
Bible Commentary, p. 861)
David A. deSilva writes: "Jeremiah is the 'author' of this text only insofar
as Jeremiah provided the primary resource (Jer. 10:2-15) that the actual, anonymous
author developed into a lengthier variation on the theme. With regard to the
date of composition, Moore's caveat concerning the Additions to Daniel that
one must distinguish this carefully from the time of translation into Greek
is valid for the Additions to Jeremiah as well (Moore 1977: 128). The translation
was accomplished before the end of the second century B.C.E., given the discovery
of a Greek fragment of the Letter of Jeremiah at Qumran (7QLXXEpJer). The time
of composition is less certain. Several scholars lay great stress on the peculiar
internal indication of date: the prediction that the Jews would be in Babylon
'for a long time, up to seven generations' (v. 3) before God will bring them
back to their ancestral land, which represents an alteration of Jeremiah's seventy
years (Jer. 25:11; 29:10; an alteration also occurs in Daniel's 'seventy weeks
of years' [Dan. 9:24; cf. 9:2]). (Ball 1913: 596; Moore 1977: 328; Mendels 1992:
722; Metzger 1957: 96). These scholars argue that the author must be writing
before this period of time had elapsed, for it is difficult to imagine an author
deliberately altering Jeremiah's prophecy in such a way that would already have
proven false. A date between 317 and 306 B.C.E., or 280 years after either the
first or second deportation to Babylon (597 and 586 B.C.E.), is taken as the
latest date for the composition of the original Hebrew version. There is in
fact no internal evidence to necessitate a later date, although the ambiguity
of the length of time covered by a 'generation' should make us cautious about
being overly precise about the range of dates." (Introducing the Apocrypha,
James King West writes: "Probably the inspiration for this short tract
was the letter preserved in Jeremiah 29:1-23 which Jeremiah had sent to the
exiles in Babylon. Because of its association with Jeremiah it is included int
he Vulgate as chapter 6 in the book of Baruch. It is, nevertheless, a separate
work having no real connection with the latter and is so placed in the LXX.
Although it opens with an announcement that God will end the Exile in the 'seventh
generation' (6:3; cf. Jer. 29:10-14), the writing is concerned with the apostasy
of idol worship. It may be that, as R. H. Pfeiffer suggests, the author is attempting
to correct what he regards as the dangerous implications in Jeremiah's advice
that the exiles make themselves at home in Babylon (cf. Jer. 29:5-7). Following
the lead in Deutero-Isaiah's satire on idols (Isa. 44:9-20), he cautions in
the name of Jeremiah against the danger that while making their home in Babylon
the exiles may take up the worship of the lifeless, powerless, useless creations
of human hands. Later readers of Jeremiah are thus protected from the erroneous
conclusion that his letter may have given tacit approval to the Babylonian religions,
and, at the same time, the author has had his say about the vanity of all other
worship than that addressed to Israel's God." (Introduction to the Old
Testament, p. 455)
J. Alberto Soggin writes: "The book is not a letter, nor can it be derived
from Jeremiah. In the preface to his commentary on Jeremiah (Migne, PL 24, 706),
Jerome already called the work 'pseudepigraphical'. It is impossible to establish
the date and the circumstances of composition exactly, but the calculation of
generations brings us down to the fourth century, while other elements in the
text suggest an even later date. The problem to which the question about the
generations seeks to give an answer is the same as in Daniel. How is it that
the divine curse continues for so long after the exile? Here, too, no reply
is given." (Introduction to the Old Testament, p. 460)
Marjorie L. Kimbrough writes: "The Letter of Jeremiah was written during
the first-century Hellenistic period, when idol worship and Greek philosophies
were competing with the Jewish Law. There is, however, no comparison in the
letter between the God of Israel and the idol gods. Although the focus of the
letter is an attack on idols and false prophets, praise of God is not presented.
The reader is urged to logically consider the fact that the idols are lifeless,
helpless, and created by human beings. Therefore people, being more powerful
than the idols, certainly do not need them." (Stories Between the Testaments,
Daniel J. Harrington writes: "The Letter of Jeremiah is not an objective
report written by a professor of comparative religion. Rather, it is partisan
polemic against other peoples' religious beliefs and practices. It is written
from the perspective of a Jew whose religion forbade physical representation
of God (see Exod. 20:4-5; Deut. 5:8-9). Whether the author had direct experience
of 'idol worship' or derived his descriptions of idols and their temples from
biblical texts and popular rumors, he shows no sympathy for religions that represented
their gods with statues. For him, the God of Israel is the only true God, and
what other people worship as gods are human creations. There is no indication
from the author that the devotees of these idols may have regarded them simply
as signs or representations of their deities." (Invitation to the Apocrypha,
Peter Kirby also surveys scholars writing on the book of 2 Baruch:
A. F. J. Klijn writes: "Until recently the Apocalypse of Baruch was only
known from a Syriac manuscript dating from the sixth or seventh century AD.
Since the beginning of this century two fragments have come to light in Greek
(12:1-13:2 and 13:11-14:3) from the fourth or fifth century. Small fragments
of the text, again in Syriac, have been discovered in lectionaries of the Jacobite
Church. However, no fewer than thirty-six manuscripts of the letter at the end
of this work (78:1 till the end) are known because it once belonged to the canon
of Scriptures in the Syriac speaking Church. Not long ago the entire work was
discovered in an Arabic manuscript on Mount Sinai. This text differs in many
details from the Syriac which we already knew before. Nevertheless the Arabic
translation appears to be a free rendering of an original Syriac version. This
means that the contents are not very helpful in determining the original text
of the somewhat corrupt Syriac translation." (Outside the Old Testament,
James Charlesworth writes: "Most scholars have divided the book into seven
sections, with some disagreement regarding borderline verses: an account of
the destruction of Jerusalem (1-12); the impending judgment (13-20); the time
of retribution and the subsequent messianic era (21-34); Baruch's lament and
an allegory of the vine and the cedar (35-46); terrors of the last time, nature
of the resurrected body, and teh features of Paradise and Sheol (47-52); Baruch's
vision of a cloud (53-76); Baruch's letters to the nine and a half tribes and
to the two and a half tribes (77-87). The pseudepigraphon is important for numerous
theological concepts, e.g. the explanation that Jerusalem was destroyed not
by enemies but by angels (7:1-8:5); the preoccupation with the origin of sin
(15:5f., 23:4f., 48:42, 54:15, 19; cf. 4Ezra 7:116-31); pessimism for the present
(85:10); the contention that the end will not come until the number of those
to be born is fulfilled (23:4-7; cf. 4Ezra 4:35-37); the description of the
resurrected body (49:1-51:6); and the varied messianic concepts." (The
Pseudepigrapha and Modern Research, p. 84)
Raymond F. Surburg writes: "The book divides itself into seven sections.
It begins with the model of prophecy: 'The word of the Lord came to Baruch,
the son of Neraiah, saying.' In the first section the fall of Jerusalem is announced,
but Baruch is comforted by the promise that the overthrow of Isarel will only
be 'for a season.' In the second section Baruch has a vision in which he is
told to fast for seven days after which he is permitted to pour out his complaint
before the Lord. Baruch is informed of the judgments which will come over the
Gentiles and of the glory of the world to come, which is to exist especially
for the righteous. The destruction of Jerusalem is described as the work of
angels instead of the Chaldeans. In the third section Baruch raises the problem
of the nature of evil, which is also the theme of 2 Esdras. In the fourth section
the reader is assured that the future world is made for the righteous. In the
fifth section Baruch complains about the delay of God's kingdom and is assured
that first the number of the elect must be fulfilled. When this has happened,
the Messiah will come. Section six gives the vision of the cedar and the vine,
which symbolizes the Roman Empire and the triumph of the Messiah. Baruch asks
who will share in the glory to come and is told, 'Those that believe.' The six
'black waters' described represent six evil periods in world history, and the
'six clear waters' denote the number of good periods. It is in this section
that the doctrine of the resurrection of the body is set forth by the author."
(Introduction to the Intertestamental Period, pp. 140-141)
Martin McNamara writes: "Baruch announces the destruction of Jerusalem
and, in chap. 4 (which some regard as interpolated) is shown the heavenly Jerusalem.
Like Ezra, Baruch is made to see that God's ways are incomprehensible. He is
told that the holy city of Zion has been taken away so that God might hasten
the day of judgment (20). God's final judgment will come in God's own time,
that is when all the souls destined to be born have been born." (Intertestamental
Literature, p. 79)
Emil Schürer writes: "My own opinion is that it is quite the converse
of this, and that it would be nearer the truth to say that it is precisely in
the case of Baruch that this problem is uppermost, viz. How is the calamity
of Israel and the impunity of its oppressors possible and conceivable? while
in the case of Ezra, though this problem concerns him too, still there is a
question that almost lies yet nearer his heart, viz. Why is it that so many
perish and so few are saved? The subordination of the former of these questions
to the other, which is a purely theological one, appears to me rather to indicate
that Ezra is of a later date than Baruch. Not only so, but it is decidedly of
a more finished character, and is distinguished by greater maturity of thought
and a greater degree of lucidity than the last-mentioned book. But this is a
point in regard to which it is scarcely possible to arrive at a definite conclusion.
And hence we are equally unable to say whether our book was written shortly
after the destruction of Jerusalem (so Hilgenfeld, Fritzsche, Drummond), or
during the reign of Domitian (so Ewald), or in the time of Trajan (so Langen,
Wieseler, Renan, Dillmann). Undoubtedly the most probable supposition of all
is that it was composed not long after the destruction of the holy city, when
the question 'How could God permit such a disaster?' was still a burning one.
It is older at all events than the time of Papias, whose chimerical fancies
about the millennial kingdom (Irenaeus, v. 33. 3) are borrowed from our Apocalypse
(xxix. 5)." (The Literature of the Jewish People in the Time of Jesus,
Leonhard Rost writes: "There is a reasonable consensus among scholars
that the book was written around A.D. 90; the author looks back on the destruction
of the Temple and the city in the year 70, but knows nothing of the revolt under
Bar Kochba. This argument does not rule out R. H. Charles' theory: he views
the three apocalypses 27-30:1; 36-40; 53-74 as earlier sections, written before
A.D. 70. It still remains a matter of debate, however, in view of the many points
of contact between the Apocalypse of Baruch and IV Ezra, whether the former
or the latter is earlier. At present, the scales are tipped in favor of an earlier
origin for IV Ezra. It is reasonably certain that the book was composed in Jerusalem.
The author has points of contact with the Pharisees." (Judaism Outside
the Hebrew Canon, pp. 128-129)
A. F. J. Klijn writes: "The work appears to have been written after the
fall of Jerusalem in AD 70, like 4 Ezra, an apocalypse with which it has a number
of points in common, and the Paraleipomena Jeremiou in which Baruch also
is an important figure. The work tries to give an answer to the burning question
why God allowed his temple to be destroyed. The answer is that God himself sent
his angels to destroy his sanctuary and that the time of this tribulation will
be short. In other words, the destruction of the temple is God's final act before
the day of judgment on which the enemies of Israel will be punished and God's
people will be vindicated. Although, as the Apocalypse indicates, nothing is
left but God and the Law, Israel may expect to be rescued from its enemies."
(Outside the Old Testament, p. 194)
Peter Kirby also surveys scholars writing on the book of 3 Baruch:
Leonhard Rost writes: "Baruch, alongside the Kidron, laments the destruction
of Jerusalem by Nebuchadnezzar. He is comforted by an angel, who promises to
show him the secrets of God. The angel thereupon conducts Baruch through five
heavens, telling him the dimensions of each and pointing out and explaining
their inhabitants. These include (in the third heaven) the sun chariot, accompanied
by the phoenix that captures the rays of the sun with its wings, and (in the
fifth heaven) the archangel Michael, who bears the works of the righteous into
the presence of God. Then the angel accompanies Baruch back to earth. There
is no trace of eschatological exaggeration or messianic expectation in the book."
(Judaism Outside the Hebrew Canon, pp. 116-117)
James Charlesworth writes: "Except for the existence of two Slavonic versions
(see J.-C. Picard, no. 659, pp. 69-71), 3 Baruch is extant in only two Greek
manuscripts that have been edited recently by J.-C. Picard (no. 659). English
translations were published from the Slavonic by W. R. Morfill (Apocrpyha
Anecdota II, ed. M. R. James [T&S 5.1] Cambridge: CUP, 1987. Pp. 95-102)
and from the Slavonic and Greek by H. M. Hughes (APOT 2. Pp. 533-41).
The pseudepigraphon was composed in the beginning of the second century A.D.,
but it is difficult to discover whether it was written in Greek, Hebrew, or
Aramaic." (The Pseudepigrapha and Modern Research, p. 86)
Leonhard Rost writes: "We can hardly be dealing with the work in its original
form. In the first place, 4:9-15 is undoubtedly a Christian interpolation intended
to annul the curse on the grape as a plant secretly planted by Satan in Paradise
by referring to the significance of wine as an element of the Eucharist. In
the second place, the original conclusion is missing. If the passage from Origen
cited above does indeed refer to this Apocaylpse [De principiis ii. 3.
6], it spoke originally of seven heavens; whereas now it mentions only five.
Elaboration of the passage about Michael as the mediator of the good deeds performed
by the devout probably accounts for the change in ending. A similar passage
occurs in the Apocalypse of Paulwhether this latter Apocalypse or an antecedent
tradition was borrowed by the Apocalypse of Baruch cannot be determined."
(Judaism Outside the Hebrew Canon, p. 117)
Peter Kirby also surveys scholars writing on the book of 4 Baruch:
J. Riaud writes: "Harris named his edition after the Ethiopic version:
The Rest of the Words of Baruch (4Bar). Nowadays, what is commonly being
used is the title of the Greek version (Paraleipomena Jeremiou, i.e.,
'The Things Omitted from Jeremiah'); and with good reason: Jeremiah is of foremost
importance in this captivating work. His name is mentioned repeatedlyeighty
times in alland the titles bestowed upon him are among the most prestigious:
'chosen of God' (1:4; 2:4, 5; 7:15), 'servant' (pais) (6:22), 'father'
(2:2, 4, 6, 8; 5:5; 9:8), 'priest' (5:18). But Jeremiah himself merely lays
claim to being a 'servant' (doulos) (1:4; 3:9). He comes forth as the
priveleged intermediary between man and God (1:3; 8:1-3), with whom he unceasingly
intercedes for the benefit of his people (cp. 1; 3; 9:3-6). By God's command
(3:11) he accompanies his compatriots into exile, after having committed the
sacred vessels 'to the earth and to the alter' (3:8, 14), and after having cast
away the keys of the temple in the direction of the sun (4:3-4). When in Babylon,
following God's commands, he announces to his wretched companions the consolation
that lies in the prophecies and teaches them the word (3:11; 5:21); and, like
Moses with Pharaoh, he negotiates with Nebuchadnezzar (7:14). When the moment
of the return to Jerusalem draws near, God commands him to organize this (8:1-3),
as in former days he had instructed Moses to lead the exodus from Egypt. But,
and this is something Moses had not done, he makes the exiles cross the Jordan
(8:3-4; cp. Josh. 3), and allows those who have listened to him to enter Jerusalem,
where together they offer sacrifices for nine days. On the tenth day Jeremiah
is the only one to make a sacrificeprobably that of Yom Kippur (Day of
Atonement), exclusive prerogative of the High Priestand he pronounces
a procedure of liturgical thanksgiving. At its conclusion, Jeremiah 'becomes
like one of those who have expired' (9:1-7). Incontestably, the author of the
Paraleipomena made Jeremiah the focal point of his work: in his eyes
Jeremiah was 'the prophet', the 'super-Moses', whose coming had been predicted
by Deuteronomy (18:15)." (Outside the Old Testament, p. 214)
James Charlesworth writes (The Pseudepigrapha and Modern Research, pp.
The original composition dates from the first half of the second century
A.D., perhaps after the destruction of Jerusalem following the Simeon bar
Kosiba (Kochba) revolt . . . 4 Baruch is dependent upon 2 Baruch and may be
influenced by 4 Ezra. . . .
Related to 4 Baruch and indicating the extent of the Jeremiah (Baruch) cycle
are three dissimilar Jeremiah apocrypha. A later modification of 4 Baruch
is found in 'A Jeremiah Apocryphon,' that was edited and translated from two
Karshuni manuscripts by A. Mingana and discussed by J. R. Harris (Woodbrooke
Studies. Cambridge: Heffer, 1927. Vol. 1, pp. 125-38, 148-233; see the
facsimiles on pp. 192-233; cf. L. Leroy and P. Dib, 'Un apocryphe carchouni
sur la captivité de Babylone,' Revue de l'orient chrétien
15  255-74, 398-409; 16  128-54). Second, also influenced by,
but more independent of, 4 Baruch is the Coptic text recently edited and translated
by K. H. Kuhn (no. 671).
Third, W. Leslau draws attention to a work which he calls 5 Baruch or the
Ethiopic Apocalypse of Baruch (Falasha Anthology, p. 58). This writing
is extant only in Ethiopic, was edited by J. Halévy (Te'ezaza Sanbat.
Paris: [Leroux], 1902), and translated into English by Leslau (pp. 64-76).
The pseudepigraphon appears to be a medieval reworking of 4 Baruch with significant
influence from the Hebrew Apocalypse of Elijah (2 Elijah), and the Apocalypse
of the Virgin. The composition has two divisions: the angel Sutu'el takes
Baruch to the heavenly Jerusalem from which he sees rewards and punishments
(64:1-75:8); the future is revealed with the times of the Messiah, the false
Messiah (Antichrist), and the resurrection of the righteous (75:9-76:31).
For additional information on the Jeremiah (Baruch) cycle, see M. R. James'
LAOT (pp. 62-64); L. Ginzberg's Legends (see esp. vol. 4, pp.
294-326 and vol. 6, pp. 384-413); and the works cited in A.-M. Denis' Introduction
(no. 24, esp. pp. 74-76).
To be distinguished from these jewish and Jewish-Christian compositions is
the so-called Book of Baruch written by the gnostic Justin near the end of
the second century A.D. It is preserved only in quotations by Hippolytus (Refutation
of All Heresies 5.24-27; see the bibliography and English translations
in R. M. Grant's Gnosticism (New York: Harper, 1961; pp. 93-100]).
In this gnostic text Baruch is not the scribe of Jeremiah but one of the paternal
angels and the tree of life.
Raymond F. Surburg writes: "In the first part (chapters 1-4) Jeremiah
is told by Jehovah that the Chaldeans will destroy Jerusalem and that he should
bury the sacred vessels from the temple. After that he is to go into the Babylonian
captivity. Before the destruction of Jerusalem, Jeremiah sends Abimelech, a
eunuch, to obtain figs from the orchard of Agrippa. The eunuch falls asleep
in the orchard and awakes 66 years later. It is an old man who informs him what
has transpired (ch. 5). Jeremiah receives a letter from Baruch, who was instructed
by God to tell Jeremiah that the Jews in Babylonia were to remove all foreigners
from the midst of God's people, otherwise Jehovah would not bring His people
back to Jerusalem. Baruch's letter, together with figs that were fresh though
plucked 66 years before, was conveyed to Babylonia by an eagle (ch. 6). The
eagle then did some remarkable things in raising a dead man to life and in persuading
Jeremiah to bring the children of Judah back. Those Jews, however, who would
not permanently separate from their heathen wives, were not allowed to return
to Zion, but instead they founded the city of Samaria and the sect of the Samaritans
(ch. 7-8). The last part of the Paralipomena of Jeremiah records that Jeremiah
fainted while offering sacrifices in Jerusalem but after three days became alive
again, proceeding to praise God for the redemption made possible through Jesus
Christ. It was only after Jeremiah had given the Jewish populace permission,
that they were able to stone the prophet to death (ch. 9)." (Introduction
to the Intertestamental Period, p. 134)
J. Riaud writes: "The author of this consolatory writing, which was probably
drawn up in Hebrew, was very probably a Jew from Jerusalem; he was well acquainted
with the topography of this city, and his Judaism is notably manifest in the
prohibition of marriages to foreign women (8:5-8). It is far from easy to determine
the date of its composition. The one proposed by Harris, viz. AD 136
(that is to say: the year 70, plus the 66 years of Abimelech's sleep), is, perhaps,
too precise. It is, moreover, one of the arguments for his hypothesis on the
composition: namely that, after Hadrian's edict expelling the Jews from Jerusalem
(AD 132), a Jewish-Christian would have wanted to make the banned Jews elude
the edict by becoming Christians. Yet Harris' explanation should not be rejected
entirely: it would seem that the Paraleipomena were written during the
period of that generation which lived in the expectation of a speedy reconstruction
of the temple, destroyed in 70, and which could reasonably hope that the second
exile would not outlast the first, because the span of sixty-six years was approaching
(cp. J. Licht, art. cit., p. 70)." (Outside the Old Testament, pp.