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The Oxford Bible Commentary Line-by-line commentary for the New Revised Standard Version Bible.

Text and Language.

1.

No fragments of Baruch in any language were found at Qumran, nor does the NT cite it. The earliest preserved text of the book is in Greek: it exists in the Septuagint MSS Alexandrinus and Vaticanus: it may have been part of the missing portion of Sinaiticus. The Latin, Syriac, Coptic, Armenian, Arabic, Bohairic, and Ethiopic versions of Baruch are all translated from the Greek. As for the original language of the book, Origen knew of no Hebrew text of Baruch in the mid-third century CE. Although at Bar 1:17 and 2:3 the Syriac translation of Origen's Hexapla notes in the margin that a certain phrase is not found ‘in the Hebrew’, this must refer back to the biblical sources Baruch is quoting, not to a Hebrew version of Baruch itself. However, there are occasional phrases that must arise from a mistranslation of a Semitic original. For instance, at 3:4 the strange expression in the Greek text, ‘hear then the prayer of the dead of Israel’ must arise from a misreading of the Hebrew mětê yiśrā᾽ēl ‘(people of Israel) as mētê yiśrā᾽ēl’ (dead of Israel) (vowels were not represented in ancient Heb. script). Such mistranslations occur mainly in the first part of the book ( 1:1–3:8 ). The second and third parts are more generally thought to have been written in Greek (but see Burke 1982 ).

2.

2 Baruch (Syriac) and 3 Baruch (Greek) are later compositions, also pseudonymous.

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