The Lost Apocrypha of the Old Testament/Baruch

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Baruch is the only other name in the lists which remains to be dealt with. We have plenty of books attributed to him besides that in our official Apocrypha: there is the Syriac Apocalypse and the Greek one (both of which are to be found in Dr. Charles's Pseudepigrapha), and also the Rest of the Words of Baruch or Paralipomena of Jeremiah, which has been edited by Dr. Rendel Harris: a translation of the Armenian version is in Issaverdens' collection. Justin the Gnostic—a heretic only known from the treatise of Hippolytus—had a book setting forth his peculiar system, in which an angelic being named Baruch figured, and the book bore his name; but that is hardly relevant here. There is an Ethiopic Apocalypse never printed (Brit. Mus., Add. MS. 16,223) which, Dillmann says, deals in part with the history of the Abyssinian Church.

There are also scattered quotations not traceable in the existing books of Baruch.

(a) Cyprian, Testimonia iii. 29 (not in all MSS,), has this citation from Baruch: "For the time shall come when ye and those that come after you shall seek me, desiring to hear a word of wisdom and understanding, and shall not find it. But nations shall desire to see a wise man, and it shall not happen to them. Not that the wisdom of this world shall be lacking or shall fail the earth, neither shall the word of the law be wanting to the world. For wisdom shall be among a few that keep watch and are silent and talk with one another in quiet, because some shall be afraid of them and fear them as evil men. But these shall not even believe the word of the law of the Most High, and others gaping with their mouths shall not believe and shall believe, and shall be contradicting and contrary, and obstructing the spirit of truth. And others shall be wise with the spirit of error and uttering their own words as the sayings of the Most High and the Mighty, and others shall be † personal of faith † (personales fidei): others capable and strong in the faith of the Most High and hateful to him that is strange thereto."

The corrupt words perhaps ought to have the meaning "weak in faith": I do not see how to mend them, unless personales is a too literal rendering of διαφωνοῦντεσ ("=failing"), which seems not unlikely. As Rendel Harris remarks, this is like a passage in Baruch (Syriac Apoc. xxxiii.): "For not many wise shall be found at that time, and they that understand shall be few, but they that know shall for the most part keep silence.

36. "And many shall say to many at that time: Where hath the multitude of understanding hidden itself, and whither hath the multitude of wisdom removed?"

(b) There is also a Baruch quotation in an old anti-Jewish dialogue, the Altercation of Simon and Theophilus. "How then did he, near the end of his book, prophesy concerning His birth, and the habit of His raiment, and His passion and resurrection, saying: This mine anointed, my chosen, is called the offspring of (lit. darted or thrown from: jaculatus) an undefiled womb, and was born and suffered?" The context of the passage suggests to me that this citation was to be understood as coming from the "deutero-canonical" Book of Baruch in our Apocrypha. It may have been a Christian addition to the end of Chapter iii., where words occur which are regularly quoted as a prophecy of the Incarnation.

(c) In Solomon of Basrah's Book of the Bee (ed. E. A. W. Budge, 1886: c. xxxvii. p. 81) we read, "The Prophecy of Zaradosht concerning our Lord. This Zaradosht is Baruch the scribe." The prophecy is uttered to the disciples of Zaradosht, the King Gushnasp (Hystaspes) and Sasan and Mahmad. The Virgin-birth, crucifixion, descent into hell, resurrection, ascension, and second coming are predicted, and in answer to a question of Gushnasp, Zaradosht says, "He shall descend from my family. I am he and he is I; he is in me and I am in him," and more to the same effect. I do not know any other source which identifies Baruch with Zoroaster.

Of these passages I think the first, from Cyprian, is the only one that can be counted as a possible fragment of a lost book.