The books of Baruch and epistle of Jeremiah.

Counted among the apocrypha.

Attributed author(s).
Baruch, Jeremiah.

Text(s) available.
None on site.
Swete LXX (Greek only, 1 Baruch only).
Skeptik (Greek only, 3 Baruch only).
HTML Bible: 1 Baruch 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 (Latin Vulgate only).
Humanities Text Initiative: 1 Baruch and the letter of Jeremiah (English only).
Online Critical Pseudepigrapha.
Wesley Noncanonical: 2 Baruch and 3 Baruch (English only).
Pseudepigrapha: 1 Baruch, 2 Baruch, and 3 Baruch (English only).
OT Pseudepigrapha: 1 Baruch, 2 Baruch, and 3 Baruch (English only).
CCAT: 4 Baruch (English only).
Kata Pi LXX: 1 Baruch 1, 2, 3, 4, 5; epistle of Jeremiah 1 (Greek and English).
Sacred Texts: 1 Baruch 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6; epistle of Jeremiah 1 (polyglot).

Useful links.
1 Baruch, the epistle of Jeremiah, 2 Baruch, 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 (Jens Herzer).

Jewish background texts (Jim Davila).

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 paraleipomena Ieremiou.

Peter Kirby (Early Jewish Writings).

1 Baruch.
Epistle of Jeremiah.
2 Baruch.
3 Baruch.
4 Baruch.

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, pp. 614-615)

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, p. 216)

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, pp. 61-62)

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, p. 104)

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, p. 193)

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, pp. 90-91)

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 Paul—whether 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 repeatedly—eighty times in all—and 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 sacrifice—probably that of Yom Kippur (Day of Atonement), exclusive prerogative of the High Priest—and 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. 88-89):

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 [1910] 255-74, 398-409; 16 [1911] 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. 215-216)