Baruch, Rest of the Words of
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 represented also by the Syriac and Greek Apocalypses of *Baruch, the Greek Book of *Baruch, the Epistle of *Jeremiah, as well as fragments from Qumran Cave 4.
Its story opens with the destruction of the Temple, which is announced by God to Jeremiah. At God's orders, Jeremiah buries the Temple vessels beneath the Temple, where they are to remain until the coming of the Messiah. He also enquires what is to be done with the slave Abimelech (Ebedmelech of Jer. 38, and one Armenian recension) and is instructed to send him to Agrippa's vineyard where he would be hidden until the return from exile. Jeremiah was to go with the exiles of Babylon (cf. Jer. 43, but see sor 26), while Baruch was to remain in Jerusalem.
The role played by Abimelech is unique to this book. He arrives in Agrippa's vineyard to pick some figs and, it being midday, lies down to rest and awakens only after 66 years. He examines his figs and finds them fresh. Going to Jerusalem, he does not recognize the city and, in his confusion, accosts an old man who tells him of what has happened while he slept. He is led to Baruch by an angel and they rejoice over the miracle of the figs in which they see a sign of redemption. Baruch prays for guidance in sending a letter to Jeremiah and the following morning a miraculous eagle appears and carries Baruch's letter and some of the figs to Jeremiah. To prove its genuineness, the eagle alights on the body of a dead man and he is restored to life. Jeremiah then reads the letter to the people in Babylon; they repent and weep, and the exiles set forth for Jerusalem. Before they depart, however, Jeremiah examines them to ensure that there are no uncircumcised among them and none married to foreign women. Those who are thus disqualified desire to return to Babylon, but are not permitted to do so by the Babylonians, and so they build themselves the city of Samaria. The story concludes with the offering of sacrifices in Jerusalem and Jeremiah's death in the Temple. The sequel is Christian and, as generally agreed, not part of the original work. This story is extant in Greek, various Slavonic, Ethiopic, Coptic (P. Morgan Ms. 601), and three different Armenian recensions. The problem of textual history and the relationship between the various text forms have not been adequately studied. Klausner (eiv, s.v.) defends the primacy of the Ethiopic but, like most previous students of the work, he was not familiar with the Armenian recensions. The Jewish nature of the original is apparent from many distinctive features. Thus the approval of sacrifice, the rejection of foreign women, and the attitude to circumcision, to mention the most prominent, clearly disprove the theory of a Christian original.
It is probable that the book was composed after the destruction of the Second Temple, and some would even suggest that the hatred displayed toward the Samaritans indicates a date in the reign of the emperor Hadrian. It depends at many points on the Syriac Apocalypse of *Baruch. Recent studies have emphasized the prominence of Jewish religious ideas and terminology in this work.
A. Dillmann, Chrestomathia Aethiopica (1866), 1–15; J.R. Harris, The Rest of the Words of Baruch (1889); J. Issaverdens, Uncanonical Writings of the Old Testament (1900); E. Kautzsch, Apokryphen und Pseudepigraphen des Alten Testaments, 2 (1900), 402ff.; dbi, suppl. 1 (1928), 454f. (incl. bibl.); J. Klausner, Meḥkarim Ḥadashim u-Mekorot Attikim (1957), 90–117; J. Licht, in: Bar Ilan, Sefer ha-Shanah, 1 (1963), 66–80; G. Delling, Juedische Lehre und Froemmigkeit in den Paralipomena Jeremiae (1967); W. Baars, in: vt, 17 (1967), 487ff.
[Michael E. Stone]
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