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3 Baruch

First to Third Century A.D.

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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)

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