Baruch, Book of
Baruch, Book Of (APOCRYPHAL), follows next after the Book of Jeremiah in the Septuagint printed text, but in MSS. it sometimes precedes and sometimes follows Lamentations. It stands between Ecclesiasticus and the Song of the Three Children in the Engl. Auth. Vers. SEE APOCRYPHA.
I. Contents. — It is remarkable as the only book in the Apocrypha which is formed on the model of the Prophets; and, though it is wanting in originality, it presents a vivid reflection of the ancient prophetic fire.
The subject of the book is
(1.) an exhortation to wisdom and a due observance of the law;
(2.) it then introduces Jerusalem as a widow, comforting her children with the hope of a return;
(3.) an answer follows in confirmation of this hope. A prologue is prefixed, stating that Baruch had read his book to Jeremiah and the people in Babylon by the river Sud (Euphrates), by which the people were brought to repentance, and sent the book with a letter and presents to Jerusalem.
It may be divided into two main parts, 1-3:8, and 3:9-end. The first part consists of an introduction (1:1-14), followed by a confession and prayer (1:15-2:8). The second part opens with an abrupt address to Israel (3:9- 4:30), pointing out the sin of the people in neglecting the divine teaching of wisdom (3:9-4:8), and introducing a noble lament of Jerusalem over her children, through which hope still gleams (4:9-30). After this the tone of the book again changes suddenly, and the writer addresses Jerusalem in words of triumphant joy, and paints in the glowing colors of Isaiah the return of God's chosen people and their abiding glory (4:30-5:9).
1. Greek. — The book at present exists in Greek, and in several translations which were made from the Greek. The two classes into which the Greek MSS. may be divided do not present any very remarkable variations (Fritzsche, Einl. § 7); but the Syro-Hexaplaric text of the Milan MS., of which a complete edition is at length announced, is said to contain references to the version of Theodotion (Eichhorn, Einl. in die Apoc. Schrift. p. 388 note), which must imply a distinct recension of the Greek, if not an independent rendering of an original Hebrew text. Of the two old Latin versions which remain, that which is incorporated in the Vulgate is generally literal; the other (Carus, Romans 1688) is more free. The vulgar Syriac and Arabic follow the Greek text closely (Fritzsche, l. c.).
2. Hebrew. — Considerable discussion has been raised as to the original language of the book. Those who advocated its authenticity generally supposed that it was first written in Hebrew (Huet, Dereser, etc.; but Jahn is undecided: Bertholdt, Einl. 1755), and this opinion found many supporters (Bendtsen, Gruneberg, Movers, Hitzig, De Wette, Einl. § 323). Others again have maintained that the Greek is the original text (Eichhorn, Einl. 388 sq.; Bertholdt, Einl. 1757; Havernick ap. De Wette, 1. c.) The truth appears to lie between these two extremes. The two divisions of the book are distinguished by marked peculiarities of style and language. The Hebraic character of the first part (1-3, 8) is such as to mark it as a translation, and not as the work of a Hebraizing Greek: e.g. 1:14, 15, 22; 2:4, 9, 25; 3:8; and several obscurities seem to be mistranslations: e.g. 1:2, 8, 2:18, 29. The second part, on the other hand, which is written with greater freedom and vigor, closely approaches the Alexandrine type. The imitations of Jeremiah and Daniel which occur throughout the first part (comp. 1:15-18 = Da 9:7-10; Da 2:1-2 = Da 9:12-13; Da 2:7-19 = Da 9:13-18) give place to the tone and imagery of the Psalms and Isaiah. The most probable explanation of this contrast is gained by supposing that someone thoroughly conversant with the Alexandrine translation of Jeremiah, perhaps the translator himself (Hitzig, Fritzsche), found the Hebrew fragment which forms the basis of the book already attached to the writings of that prophet, and wrought it up into its present form. The peculiarities of language common to the Sept. translation of Jeremiah and the first part of Baruch seem too great to be accounted for in any other way (for instance, the use of δεσμώτης, ἀποστολή, βόμβησες [βομβεῖν], ἀποικισμός, μάννα, ἀποστρέφειν [Zeut.], ἐργάζεσθαί τινι, ὄνομα ἐπικαλεῖσθαι ἐπί τινι); and the great discrepancy which exists between the Hebrew and Greek texts as to the arrangement of the later chapters of Jeremiah, increases the probability of such an addition having been made to the canonical prophecies. These verbal coincidences cease to exist in the second part, or become very rare; but this also is distinguished by characteristic words: e.g. ὁ αἰώνιος ὁ ἃγιος, ἐπάγειν. At the same time, the general unity (even in language, e.g. χαρμοσύνη) and coherence of the book in its present form point to the work of one man. (Fritzsche, Einl. § 5; Hitzig, Psalm. 2:119; Ewald, Gesch. d. Volkes Isr. 4:232 n.). Bertholdt appears to be quite in error (Einl. 1743, 1762) in assigning 3:1-8 to a separate writer (De Wette, Einl. § 322). (See Siebenberger's Hebrews Comm. Warsaw, 1840.)
3. The Epistle of Jeremiah, which, according to the authority of some Greek MSS., stands in the English version as the 6th chapter of Baruch, is probably the work of a later period. It consists of a rhetorical declamation against idols (comp. Jer 10:25) in the form of a letter addressed by Jeremiah "to them which were to be led captive to Babylon." The letter is divided into clauses by the repetition of a common burden: they are no gods; fear them not (vv. 16, 23, 29, 66): how can a man think or say that they are gods? (vv. 40, 44, 56, 64). The condition of the text is closely analogous to that of Baruch; and the letter found the same partial reception in the Church. The author shows an intimate acquaintance with idolatrous worship; and this circumstance, combined with the purity of the Hellenistic dialect, points to Egypt as the country in which the epistle was written. — Smith, s.v.
4. A Syriac first Epistle of Baruch "to the nine and a half tribes" (comp. 4 Esdras 13:40, Arab. Vers.) is found in the London and Paris Polyglots. This is made up of commonplaces of warning, encouragement, and exhortation. Fritzsche (Einl. § 8) considers it to be the production of a Syrian monk. It is not found in any other language. Whiston (A Collection of Authentick Records, etc., London, 1727, 1:1 sq., 25 sq.) endeavored to maintain its authenticity. For this, and the '"Apocalypse of Baruch," SEE REVELATIONS, SPURIOUS.
III. Writer. — The assumed author of the book is undoubtedly the companion of Jeremiah, but the de. tails are inconsistent with the assumption. If Baruch be the author of this book, he must have removed from Egypt to Babylon immediately after the death of Jeremiah, inasmuch as the author of the book lived in Babylon in the fifth year after that event, unless we suppose, with Eichhorn, Arnold, and others, that the reference (Baruch 1:1) is to the fifth year from the captivity of Jehoiachim. Jahn (Introductio in Epitomen redacta, § 217, etc.) considers this latter opinion at variance with the passage in question, since the destruction of Jerusalem is there spoken of as having already taken place. De Wette (Lehrbuch zur Einleitung in das A. und N.T.) ingeniously conjectures that ἔτει (year) is a mistake or correction of some transcriber for μηνί (month); and there is no question that the present reading, which mentions the year, and the day of the month, without naming the month itself, is quite unaccountable. If the reading in 1:1, be correct (comp, 2Ki 25:8), it is impossible to fix "the fifth year" in such a way as to suit the contents of the book, which exhibits not only historical inaccuracies, but also evident traces of a later date than the beginning of the captivity (3, 9 sq.; 4:22 sq.; 1:3 sq. Comp. 2Ki 25:27). Its so-called Epistle of Jeremiah, however, is confessedly more ancient than the second book of Maccabees, for it is there referred to (2 Maccabees 2:2, comp. with Baruch 6:4) as an ancient document. In the absence of any certain data by which to fix the time of the composition of Baruch, Ewald (1. c. p. 230) assigns it to the close of the Persian period; and this may be true as far as the Hebrew portion is concerned; but the present book must be placed considerably later, probably about the time of the war of liberation (B.C. cir. 160), or somewhat earlier.
IV. Canonicity. — The book was held in little esteem among the Jews (Jerome, Praef. in Jerem. p. 834 . . . nec habetur apud Hebraeos; Epiphanius, de mens. οὐ κεῖν ται ἐπιστολαὶ [Βαροὺχ] παῤ ῾Εβραίοις), though it is stated in the Greek text of the Apostolical Constitutions (v. 20, 1) that it was read, together with the Lamentations, "on the tenth of the month Gorpiseus" (i.e. the day of Atonement). But this reference is wanting in the Syriac version (Bunsen, Anal. Ante-Nic. 2:187), and the assertion is unsupported by any other authority. There is no trace of the use of the book in the New Testament, or in the Apostolic Fathers, or in Justin. But from the time of Irenaeus it was frequently quoted both in the East and in the West, and generally as the work of Jeremiah (Irenaeus,
Haer. v. 35, 1, "significavit Jeremias, Bar. 4:36-v;" Tertullian, Gnost. 8, "Hieremiae, Bar. [Epist.] 6:3;" Clement, Paed. 1:10, § 91, ῾διὰ Ι᾿ερεμίου, Bar. 4:4;" id. Paed. 2:3, § 36, ῾θειὰ γραφή, Bar. 3, 16, 19;" Origen, ap. Euseb. H. E. 6:25, ῾Ιερεμίας σὺν θρήνοις καὶ τῇ ἐπιστολῇ [?];" Cyprian, Test. Lib. 2:6, "apud Hieremiam, Bar. 3, 35," etc.). It was, however, "obelized" throughout in the Sept. as deficient in the Hebrew (Cod. Chis. ap. Daniel, etc., Romae, 1772, p. 21). On the other hand, it is contained as a separate book in the pseudo-Laodicene Catalogue, and in the Catalogues of Cyril of Jerusalem, Athanasius, and Nicephorus; but it is not specially mentioned in the Conciliar catalogues of Carthage and Hippo, probably as being included under the title Jeremiah. (Comp. Athanasii Syn. S. Script. ap. Credner, Zur Gesch. des Kan. 138; Hilary, Prol. in Psalm. 15). It is omitted by those writers who reproduced in the main the Hebrew Canon (e.g. Melito, Gregory Nazianzen, Epiphanius). Augustine quotes the words of Baruch (3:16)as attributed "more commonly to Jeremiah" (de Civ. 18:33), and elsewhere uses them as such (Faust. 12:43). At the Council of Trent Baruch was admitted into the Romish Canon; but the Protestant churches have unanimously placed it among the apocryphal books, though Whiston maintained its authenticity (Authent. Records, 1:1, sq.). Calmet observes that its "canonicity had been denied not only by the Protestants, but by several Catholics," among whom he instances Driedo, Lyranus, and Dionysius of Carthage. He considers that Jerome treats the book with harshness when (Preface to Jeremiah) that father observes, "I have not thought it worth while to translate the book of Baruch, which is generally joined in the Septuagint version to Jeremiah, and which is not found among the Hebrews, nor the pseudepigraphal epistle of Jeremiah." This is the epistle forming the sixth chapter of Baruch, the genuineness of which is questioned by several who acknowledge that of the former part of the book. Most modern writers of the Roman Church, among whom are Du Pin (Canon of Scripture), Calmet (Commentary), and Allber (Hermeneutica Generalis), reckon this a genuine epistle of Jeremiah's. Jahn, however, after Jerome, maintains its spurious and pseudepigraphal character. This he conceives sufficiently attested by the difference of style and its freedom from Hebraisms. He considers it to be an imitation of the Epistle of Jeremiah (ch. 29). Grotius, Eichhorn, and most of the German writers favor the idea of a Greek original. They conceive that the writer was some unknown person in the reign of Ptolemy Lagos, who, wishing to confirm in the true religion the Jews then residing in Egypt, attributed his own ideas to Baruch the scribe. There appears, however, no reason, on this latter hypothesis, why the author should speak of the return from Babylon. Grotius conceives that the book abounds not only in Jewish, but even in Christian interpolations (see Eichhorn's Einleitung in die Apokryph. Schriften).
See generally (in addition to the literature above referred to), Gruneberg, De libro Baruchi apocrypho (Gott. 1796); Whiston, A Dissertation to prove the Apocryphal Book of Baruch canonical (Lond. 1727); Bendsten, Specimen exercitationum crit. in V. T. libros apocryphos (Gott. 1789); Movers, in the Bonner Zeitschr. 1835, p. 31 sq.; Havernick, De libro Baruchi commentatio critica (Regiom. 1843); Capellus, Commentarii et notae crit. in V. T. (Amst. 1689), p. 564: Ghisler, Catenae (Lugd. 1623); Davidson, in Horne's Introduction (1856), 2:1033 sq.; Kneucker, Erklarung (Leips. 1879, 8vo).
2. The son of Col-hozeh and father of Maaseiah, of the descendants of Perez, son of Judah (Ne 11:5). B.C. ante 536.
3. The son of Zabdai; he repaired (B.C. 446) that part of the walls of Jerusalem between the north-east angle of Zion and Eliashib's house (Ne 3:20), and joined in Nehemiah's covenant (10. 6). B.C. 410.