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 themessin, exile, repentance, and returnin several different genres and from several different perspectives itself constitute an original contribution?" (Invitation to the Apocrypha, pp. 100-101)
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