Relation To 4 Ezra

The affinities of this book and 4 Ezra are so numerous (see Charles, op. cit. 170-171) that Ewald and Ryle assumed identity of authorship. But their points of divergence are so weighty (see op. cit. pp. lxix.-lxxi.) that this view cannot be sustained. Three courses still remain open. If we assume that both works are composite, we shall perforce admit that some of the constituents of 4 Ezra are older than the latest of Baruch, and that other constituents of Baruch are decidedly older than the remaining ones of 4 Ezra. On the other hand, if we assume unity of authorship, it seems impossible to arrive at finality on the chronological relations of these two works. Langen, Hilgenfeld, Wieseler, Stähelin, Renan, Hausrath, Drummond, Dillmann, Rosenthal, Gunkel, have maintained on various grounds the priority of 4 Ezra; and Schürer, Bissell, Thomson, Deane, Kabisch, De Faye, Wellhausen, and Ryssel the priority of Baruch on grounds no less convincing.

Relation To Rabbinical Literature

A very close relation subsists between our book and rabbinical literature. Indeed in some instances the parallels are so close that they are almost word for word. The description of the destruction of Jerusalem by angels in vi.-viii. is found also in the Pesikta Rabbati 26 (ed. Friedmann 131a). By means of this passage we are, as Ginzberg has shown, able to correct the corrupt reading "the holy Ephod" (vi. 7), אפוד הקודש into "the holy Ark," i.e. ארון הקודש. What might be taken as poetic fancies in our text are recounted as historical facts in rabbinical literature. Thus the words (x. 18):

"And ye priests, take ye the keys of the sanctuary,

And cast them into the height of heaven,

And give them to the Lord and say:

'Guard Thine own house; for lo we are found unfaithful stewards,'"

are given in various accounts of the fall of Jerusalem. (See Ta'anith, 29a; Pesiḳt. R., loc. cit.; Yalquṭ Shim‛oni on Is. xxi; Aboth of Rabbi Nathan vii.). Even the statement that the bodies of Sennacherib's soldiers were burned while their garments and armour remained unconsumed has its parallel in Sanh. 94a.

Integrity Of The Book

In lxxvii. 19 it is said that Baruch wrote two epistles, one to the nine and a half tribes and the other to the two and a half at Babylon. The former is found in lxxviii.-lxxxvi.; the latter is lost, but is probably preserved either wholly or in part in the Book of Baruch, iii. 9-iv. 29 (see Charles, op. cit. pp. lxv.-lxvii). On the other hand, it is not necessary to infer from lxxv. that an account of Baruch's assumption was to be looked for in the book.

Authorities

The literature is fully cited in Schürer, Gesch. iii. 223-232, and R. H. Charles, Apocalypse of Baruch, pp. xxx.-xliii. Ginzberg's article in the Jewish Encyclopaedia, ii. 551-556, is a fresh and valuable contribution.

Rest of the Words of Baruch. This book was undoubtedly written originally by a Jew but was subsequently revised by a Christian, as has been shown by Kohler in the Jewish Quarterly Review (1893), pp. 407-409. It passed under a double name in the Abyssinian Church, where it was known both as "the Rest of the Words of Baruch" and "the Rest of the Words of Jeremiah." Its Greek name is the latter - τὰ παραλειπόμενα Ἱερεμίου προφήτου. It has been preserved in Greek, Ethiopic, Armenian and Slavonic. The Greek was first printed at Venice in 1609, next by Ceriani in 1868 in his Mon. Sacra, v. 11-18; by Harris, The Rest of the Words of Baruch, in 1889; and Bassiliev, Anec. Graeco-Byzantina, i. 308 sqq. (1893). The book begins like the Syriac Apocalypse of Baruch with an account of the removal of the sacred vessels of the Temple before its capture by the Chaldees. Baruch remains in Jerusalem and Jeremiah accompanies the Exiles to Babylon. After 66 years' exile Jeremiah brings back the Jews to Jerusalem, but refuses to admit such as had brought with them heathen wives.

Then follows a vision of Jeremiah which is Christian.

Harris regards the book in its present form as an eirenicon addressed to the Jews by a Christian after the rebellion of Bar Cochba (Barcochebas) and written about 136. Though the original work was dependent on the Apocalypse of Baruch it cannot have been written much before the close of the 1st cent. A.D. Its terminus ad quem is at present indeterminable.

(R. H. C.)

[1] Toy (Jewish Enc. ii. 556) thinks that the "them" in ii. 4, 5 may be a scribal slip and that we have here not the confession of the Palestinian remnant and that of the Exiles, but simply a juxtaposition of two forms of confession.

[2] In ii. 25 we have the word ἀποστολή with the extraordinary meaning of "plague" as in Jer. xxxix. (xxxii.) 36.

[3] Ryssel has adopted Charles's restoration of the text in these passages and practically also in xliv. 12. but without acknowledgment.