BARUCH, BOOK OF (abbr. I Bar.), an apocryphal book which together with the Epistle of jeremiah is associated in the Septuagint with the writings attributed to the prophet Jeremiah and is regarded as canonical in both the Eastern and Latin churches. It purports to be a letter sent by baruch , Jeremiah's amanuensis, from Babylonia to Palestine after the destruction of the First Temple (1:1–4). It contains five chapters which fall into two or three sections. The first (1:1–3:8) opens with Baruch's reading of the book to the people assembled in Babylonia on the banks of the river Soud (LXX Σοῦδ, Syriac ṣwr; cf. 4Qp Jer swr) and the assembled multitude's repentance and mourning (1:1–14). This is followed by a penitential prayer which comprises the remainder of the prose section. The first part of this prayer strongly resembles the prayer in Daniel 9:4–19 and a comparison leads to the conclusion that the prayer in Baruch is based on that in Daniel. The continuation of the prayer (2:20–3:8) is composed of a mosaic of biblical verses and some original sections. Prayers of repentance associated with public fasts and lamentation are mentioned in the literature of the period (cf. I Macc. 3:46–54; Judith 4:8ff.; and Ta'an 2:1). In form, the prayers in Baruch and Daniel show a strong resemblance to the liturgical texts from Qumran called Divrei ha-Me'orot (Baillet, in RB, 58 (1961), 195–250). The second section (3:9–44) is sapiential in character. It is addressed to Israel (3:9) and in part reproaches Israel for abandoning wisdom and in part praises wisdom. This poem contrasts the true wisdom known to Israel with that of the peoples of the East, famed for their wisdom. The passage, in common with Ben Sira and later wisdom writing, identifies true wisdom with that revealed to Israel, i.e., with the Torah. The final section of the book is composed of two poems of lamentation and comfort. The first (4:9–29) is a message of solace addressed to Israel by a personified Jerusalem, seen as a mother bewailing her children (4:10, 12, etc.). In 4:30 the speaker changes and Jerusalem is herself comforted with the message of the eventual redemption of Israel. The book is extant in Greek, Syriac, Syro-Hexaplar, three Old Latin versions, as well as Armenian, Arabic, Ethiopic, and Coptic. It has been suggested that the translation of the first section into Greek was the work of the translator of the second part of Septuagint Jeremiah (Thackeray, in: JTS, 4 (1903), 261–6). The question of the original language is intimately related to that of the literary unity of the work. A number of scholars have proposed that the book is a compilation of two or three original documents: the prayers of confession, the wisdom poem, and the laments. In general,   all agree that the first section (1:1–3:8) was written in Hebrew, and most scholars who accept the documentary theory consider the third section (4:9–5:9) to be originally Greek and dependent on Wisdom of Solomon II (Charles, Apocrypha, 1 (1913), 572–3). This stance, modified by a vigorous defense of the coherence of the present form of the book as the work of a single "author-redactor" has been supported by Wambacq (Biblica, 47 (1966), 574–6), while A. Cahana in his Hebrew edition maintained the theory of literary unity and original Hebrew (Ha-Sefarim ha-Ḥiẓonim, 1 (1936), 350ff.). The book has been dated variously between the late Hasmonean period (ante quem non – dependence on Daniel) and the destruction of the Second Temple (the historical framework of the book). The existence of further Baruch-Jeremiah apocrypha at Qumran weakens this latter argument considerably. -BIBLIOGRAPHY: Charles, Apocrypha, 1 (1913), 569–95; J.J. Kneucker, Das Buch Baruch (1879); R. Harwell, The Principal Versions of Baruch (1915); B.N. Wambacq, in: Sacra Pagina, 1 (1959), 455–60; idem, in: Biblica, 40 (1959), 463–75; O. Eissfeldt, The Old Testament, an Introduction (1965), 592–4 (includes bibliography). (Michael E. Stone)

Encyclopedia Judaica. 1971.

Look at other dictionaries:

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  • Baruch, book of — A miscellaneous collection of prayers and narrative from the 2nd cent. BCE attributed to Jeremiah s scribe Baruch. It was contained in the Greek LXX (though it may have been originally composed in Hebrew) and is therefore classified as part of… …   Dictionary of the Bible

  • Baruch — • The disciple of Jeremiah, and the traditional author of the deuto canonical book, which bears his name Catholic Encyclopedia. Kevin Knight. 2006. Baruch     Baruch      …   Catholic encyclopedia

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  • BARUCH, REST OF THE WORDS OF — BARUCH, REST OF THE WORDS OF, apocryphal book, also called Paralipomena Jeremiae (Chronicles of Jeremiah) in its present form, a Christian reworking of a patently Jewish source. It is connected with the wider Baruch and Jeremiah literature… …   Encyclopedia of Judaism

  • Baruch ben Neriah — (c. 6th century BCE) was the scribe, disciple, secretary, and devoted friend of the Biblical prophet Jeremiah. According to Josephus, he was a Jewish aristocrat, a son of Neriah and brother of Seraiah ben Neriah, chamberlain of King Zedekiah of… …   Wikipedia

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  • BARUCH BEN ISAAC OF WORMS — (late 12th–early 13th century), German tosafist. Although Baruch lived in Worms, he probably came from France and is sometimes referred to as Ha Zarefati ( the Frenchman ). Baruch was a pupil of isaac b. samuel the Elder of Dampierre, and after… …   Encyclopedia of Judaism

  • BARUCH BEN SAMUEL OF MAINZ — (c. 1150–1221), scholar and paytan. Baruch was a pupil of Moses b. Solomon ha Kohen, whom he succeeded as a member of the bet din of Mainz. There is no basis for Aptowitzer s statement that a dispute for the position between him and his kinsman,… …   Encyclopedia of Judaism

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