The Apocryphal Old Testament

By H. F. D. Sparks | Go to book overview

THE GREEK APOCALYPSE OF BARUCH

INTRODUCTION

There can be little doubt that this apocalypse is 'the book of Baruch the prophet' known in Origen's day and said by him to contain 'very clear information about the seven worlds or heavens'.1

The credit for its discovery in modern times belongs to Dom Cuthbert Butler, who found a Greek text of it in 1896 among a collection of apocryphal and ecclesiastical items in a late fifteenth century paper manuscript in the British Library (B.L. Addit. 10073). This Greek text was published by M. R. James in the following year. It mentions, however, only five heavens.

Ten years before Butler's discovery S. Novaković had published the text of a Slavonic version, preserved in a fifteenth century Serbian manuscript; and James printed an English translation of it, by W. R. Morfill, immediately after his own edition of the Greek. This Slavonic text would seem to be even less complete than the Greek, inasmuch as it mentions only two heavens.

Meanwhile, unknown to James, there had been published (in 1894) N. S. Tikhonravov's text of a second Slavonic version contained in a Moscow manuscript, also of the fifteenth century. Subsequently other MSS of both Slavonic versions have come to light, as well as another Greek manuscript. The complications arising from these discoveries, particularly so far as the Slavonic versions are concerned, both in their mutual relationship to one another and in their joint relationship to the Greek, have not been resolved; and it was for this reason that J.-C. Picard, in his edition of 1967, ignored the Slavonic versions altogether, except for several pages devoted to the statement and discussion of some of the problems in his Introduction. However, Picard did make full use of the other Greek MS ( Andros, Monastery of the Hagia, 46; 15th

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1
Orig. De princ. II. iii. 6.

-897-

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