Book of Baruch

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The Book of Baruch, occasionally referred to as 1 Baruch, is a deuterocanonical book of the Bible in some Christian traditions. In Judaism and most forms of Protestant Christianity, it is considered not to be part of the Bible. It is named after Baruch ben Neriah, Jeremiah's scribe, its purported author.[1] It contains reflections on the theology and history of Israel, discussions of wisdom, and addresses to residents of Jerusalem and the Diaspora. Some scholars propose that it was written during or shortly after the period of the Maccabees.[2]

Although the earliest known manuscripts of Baruch are in Greek, there is linguistic evidence that the beginning of Baruch (1:1-3:8) was originally translated from a Semitic language.[3]

Although not in the Hebrew Bible, it is found in the Septuagint and in the Vulgate Bible, Eritrean/Ethiopian Orthodox Bible and also in Theodotion's version.[4] It is grouped with the prophetical books which also include Isaiah, Jeremiah, Lamentations, Ezekiel, Daniel, and the Twelve Minor Prophets. In the Vulgate, the King James Bible Apocrypha, and many other versions, the Letter of Jeremiah is appended to the end of the Book of Baruch as a sixth chapter; in the Septuagint and Orthodox Bibles chapter 6 is usually counted as a separate book, called the Letter or Epistle of Jeremiah.

Basic structure[edit]

  • 1:1–14 Introduction: "And these are the words...which Baruch...wrote in Babylonia.... And when they heard it they wept, and fasted, and prayed before the Lord."
  • 1:15–2:10 Confession of sins: "[T]he Lord hath watched over us for evil, and hath brought it upon us: for the Lord is just in all his works.... And we have not hearkened to his voice"....
  • 2:11–3:8 Prayer for mercy: "[F]or the dead that are in hell, whose spirit is taken away from their bowels, shall not give glory and justice to the Lord..." (cf. Psalms 6:6/5)
  • 3:9–4:14 Paean for Wisdom: "Where are the princes of the nations,... that hoard up silver and gold, wherein men trust? ... They are cut off, and are gone down to hell,..."
  • 4:5–5:9 Message to those in captivity: "You have been sold to the Gentiles, not for your destruction: but because you provoked God to wrath.... [F]or the sins of my children, he [the Eternal] hath brought a nation upon them from afar...who have neither reverenced the ancient, nor pitied children..."

Quotations from the New Revised Standard Version.

Use in the New Testament[edit]


Athanasius (367 AD),[6] Cyril of Jerusalem (c. 350 AD),[7] Epiphanius of Salamis (c. 385 AD)[8] and Pope Innocent I (405 AD)[9] listed the Book of Baruch as canonical.

The Synod of Laodicea (in 364) declared Baruch canonical.[10] The same happened with the Synod of Hippo (in 393),[11] followed by the Council of Carthage (397) and the Council of Carthage (419).[12] Later, Augustine of Hippo (C. 397 AD) would confirm in his book On Christian Doctrine (Book II, Chapter 8) the canonicity of the book of Baruch.[13]

The Decretum Gelasianum which is a work written by an anonymous scholar between 519 and 553 contains a list of books of Scripture presented as having been declared canonical by the Council of Rome (382 AD). This list mentions the book of Baruch as a part of the Old Testament Canon.[14]

Liturgical use[edit]


In the Catholic Church, Baruch 3:9–38 is used in the liturgy of Holy Saturday during Passiontide in the traditional lectionary of scriptural readings at Mass. A similar selection occurs during the revised liturgy for the Easter Vigil.[15]

Baruch 1:14 – 2:5; 3:1–8 is a liturgical reading within the revised Roman Catholic Breviary[16] for the Twenty-Ninth Week in Ordinary Time, Friday Office of Readings. The subject is the prayer and confession of sin of a penitent people:

Justice is with the Lord, our God; and we today are flushed with shame, we men of Judah and citizens of Jerusalem, that we, with our kings and rulers and priests and prophets, and with our fathers, have sinned in the Lord's sight and disobeyed him. ... And the Lord fulfilled the warning he had uttered against us.... Lord Almighty, ... Hear... and have mercy on us, who have sinned against you... (Baruch 1:15–18; 2:1; 3:1–2)

St. Augustine's reflection, which is paired with this reading, on this occasion speaks of prayer: "[S]ince this [that we pray for] is that peace that surpasses all understanding, even when we ask for it in prayer we do not know how to pray for what is right..."; from there he explains what it means that the Holy Spirit pleads for the saints.

Baruch 3:9–15, 24–4:4 is a liturgical reading for the Saturday of the same week. The theme is that the salvation of Israel is founded on wisdom: "Learn where prudence is, ... that you may know also where are length of days, and life, where light of the eyes, and peace. Who has found the place of wisdom, who has entered into her treasuries? ... She is the book of the precepts of God, ... All who cling to her will live... Turn, O Jacob, and receive her: ... Give not your glory to another, your privileges to an alien race." Paired with this on the same day is a reading from St. Peter Chrysologus,[17] d. AD 450, who quotes the Apostle: "let us also wear the likeness of the man of heaven".

It is listed in Article VI of the Thirty-Nine Articles of the Church of England.[18] In the Daily Office Lectionary for Christmas Eve, Baruch 4:21–29 is read; on Christmas day, Baruch 4:30–5:9. (Both of these are considered Messianic Prophecy in the Anglican tradition)[19]


In the Eastern Orthodox Church and those Eastern Catholic Churches which follow the Byzantine Rite, a selection from Baruch (which is considered an extension of the Book of Jeremiah, and is announced in the services as "Jeremiah") is read as one of the eight Paroemia (Old Testament readings) during the Vesperal Divine Liturgy on Christmas Eve.

Use by theologians, Church Fathers, the Second Vatican Council[edit]

In Summa Theologiae. III 4 4, Doctor of the Church Thomas Aquinas quotes Baruch 3:38 to affirm that "the Son of God assumed human nature in order to show Himself in men's sight, according to Baruch 3:38: 'Afterwards He was seen upon earth, and conversed with men.'" This is part of his discussion of "the mode of union on the part of the human nature" III 4. He quotes the same passage of Baruch in III 40 1 to help answer "whether Christ should have associated with men, or led a solitary life" III 40.

Church Father St. Clement of Alexandria,[20] d. AD 217, quoted Baruch 3:16–19, referring to the passage thus: "Divine Scripture, addressing itself to those who love themselves and to the boastful, somewhere says most excellently: 'Where are the princes of the nations...'" (see "Paean for Wisdom" example infra) (Jurgens §410a).

St. Hilary of Poitiers,[21] d. AD 368, also a Church Father, quoted the same passage as St. Thomas, supra, (3:36–38), citing "Jeremias", about which Jurgens states: "Baruch was secretary to Jeremias, and is cited by the Fathers mostly under the name of Jeremias" (§864n). St. Hilary states: "Besides Moses and Isaias, listen now a third time, and to Jeremias, who teaches the same thing, when He says:..." (Jurgens §864).

Baruch 3:38(37) is referenced in the Dogmatic Constitution on Divine Revelation of the Second Vatican Council.[22]

Use in the current Catechism of the Catholic Church[edit]

Baruch 6 is quoted in the Catechism of the Catholic Church[23] as part of an exposition against idolatry. During the Diaspora the Jews lamented their lapse into idolatry, and their repentance is captured in the Book of Baruch.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Cp. Jeremiah 36:9-10 and Baruch 1:1-5.
  2. ^ Reginald C. Fuller, ed. (1975) [1953]. A New Catholic Commentary on Holy Scripture. Thomas Nelson. , §504h. Also, "late Babylonian"; "alluded to, seemingly, in 2 Mac 2:1–3" in The Jerusalem Bible, 1966, p. 1128.
  3. ^ John Barton; John Muddiman (25 January 2007). The Oxford Bible Commentary. Oxford University Press. p. 699. ISBN 978-0-19-927718-6. 
  4. ^ "Baruch" by P. P. Saydon, revised by T. Hanlon, in A New Catholic Commentary on Holy Scripture, ed. Reginald C. Fuller, Thomas Nelson, Inc. Publishers, 1953, 1975, §504j. The same source states that "[t]here is also evidence that Baruch was read in Jewish synagogues on certain festivals during the early centuries of the Christian era (Thackeray, 107-11)", i.e. Henry St. John Thackeray, The Septuagint and Jewish Worship, 1923.
  5. ^ "Deuterocanonical Books In The New Testament". Scripture Catholic. Archived from the original on 1 August 2014. Retrieved 25 August 2014. 
  6. ^ of Alexandria, Athansius. CHURCH FATHERS: Letter 39 (Athanasius). newadvent. Retrieved 14 October 2016. 
  7. ^ of Jerusalem, Cyril. Catechetical Lecture 4 Chapter 35. newadvent. Retrieved 12 October 2016. 
  8. ^ Williams, translated by Frank (1987). The Panarion of Epiphanius of Salamis 8:6:1-3 (2. impression. ed.). Leiden: E.J. Brill. ISBN 9004079262. Archived from the original on 6 September 2015. Retrieved 11 October 2016. 
  9. ^ Westcott, Brooke Foss (2005). A general survey of the history of the canon of the New Testament Page 570 (6th ed.). Eugene, Oregon: Wipf & Stock. ISBN 1597522392. 
  10. ^ of Laodicea, Synod. Synod of Laodicea Canon 60. newadvent. Retrieved 12 October 2016. 
  11. ^ "Canon XXIV. (Greek xxvii.)", The Canons of the 217 Blessed Fathers who assembled at Carthage, Christian Classics Ethereal Library 
  12. ^ Council of Carthage (A.D. 419) Canon 24
  13. ^ of Hippo, Augustine. On Christian Doctrine Book II Chapter 8:2. newadvent. Retrieved 12 October 2016. 
  14. ^
  15. ^ Catholic Calendar web page
  16. ^ Laudis canticumLatin text — Paul VI, 1 November 1970
  17. ^ [1] Archived 5 April 2004 at the Wayback Machine.
  18. ^ "The Thirty-Nine Articles". Anglicans Online. 15 April 2007. Archived from the original on 25 June 2007. Retrieved 2014-08-25. 
  19. ^ "Lectionary for Anglican Church at". Retrieved 2014-08-25. 
  20. ^ [2] Archived 6 June 2004 at the Wayback Machine.
  21. ^ [3] Archived 6 April 2004 at the Wayback Machine.
  22. ^ "Dogmatic Constitution on Divine Revelation – Dei verbum". Archived from the original on 31 May 2014. Retrieved 2014-08-25. 
  23. ^ "§2112". Retrieved 2014-08-25. 

External links[edit]


Preceded by
R. Catholic
Books of the Bible
Baruch includes the Letter of Jeremiah
Succeeded by
Eastern Orthodox
Books of the Bible
Succeeded by
Letter of Jeremiah