3 Baruch or the Greek Apocalypse of Baruch is a visionary, Jewish
pseudepigraphic text thought to have been written in the first to
third centuries AD, probably after the fall of
Jerusalem to the
Romans in 70 AD.[page needed] It is one of the Pseudepigrapha,
attributed to the 6th-century BC scribe of Jeremiah, Baruch ben
Neriah, and does not form part of the biblical canon of either Jews or
Christians. It survives in certain Greek manuscripts, and also in a
Old Church Slavonic
Old Church Slavonic ones.
Like 2 Baruch, this Greek Apocalypse of Baruch describes the state of
Jerusalem after the sack by
Nebuchadnezzar in 587 BC and discusses how
Judaism can survive when the temple is no longer in existence. It
frames this discussion as a mystical vision granted to Baruch ben
Neriah. Also like 2 Baruch,
3 Baruch argues that the Temple has been
preserved in heaven and is presented as fully functional and attended
by angels; thus there is no need for the temple to be rebuilt on
earth. This third book of Baruch addresses the question of why God
permits good people to suffer, and answering with a vision of the
afterlife in which sinners and the righteous get their just
During the vision, Baruch is shown various
heavens,[page needed] there witnessing the punishment of the
builders of the "tower of strife against God" (perhaps the Tower of
Babel); a serpent named
Hades who drinks from the sea; and other such
marvels, until he is finally stopped by a locked gate at the fifth
heaven, which only the archangel Michael has the ability to open.
The builders of the "tower of strife" are described in terms that
could be regarded as demonic – with the faces of cattle, horns of
sheep, and feet of goats; while those who commanded them to build it
are punished eternally in a separate heaven where they are
reincarnated in the forms of dogs, bears or apes. Baruch also
witnesses a phoenix, which the text portrays as a massive singular
bird that protects the earth from the rays of the sun.
It is significant that the
Old Church Slavonic
Old Church Slavonic versions do not contain
the Christian overtones of the Greek text, which suggests that the
Greek text represents a rewriting in the Christian age.
Book of Baruch
^ 1, edited by James H. Charlesworth. Vol.; literature, Apocalyptic;
testaments (2007). The Old Testament pseudepigrapha (1st Yale Univ.
Press imp. ed.). New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Press.
ISBN 0300140193. CS1 maint: Extra text: authors list (link)
^ a b Harris, Stephen L., Understanding the Bible. Palo Alto:
^ This litrerary trope of
Apocalyptic literature is discussed by Mary
Dean-Otting, Heavenly Journeys: A Study of the Motif in Hellenistic
Jewish Literature, 1984.
3 Baruch at earlyjewishwritings.com
Bibliography and Slavonic Manuscripts of 3 Baruc