Bishop Gregory (hgr) wrote,
Bishop Gregory

3 Baruch

нопесал длинно вот про эту книжку:

хоть и договаривался заранее, что рецензия будет длинной, и, вроде, уложился в размер, но еще не знаю, в каком виде опубликуют. энивей, мне все равно еще подробную статью на ту же тему писать...

Kulik, Alexander. 3 Baruch. Greek-Slavonic Apocalypse of Baruch


Electronic edition 2009-10-13

Hardcover edition March 2010


ISBN 978-3-11-021249-5    Series: Commentaries on Early Jewish Literature


3 Baruch still is one of the most important but most neglected pseudepigrapha. Bad luck stroked for it twice: its study is impossible without taking into account its Slavonic version, and the fate of the critical edition of the Slavonic version is hard. Slavonic is still not a language mastered by the most of students of Jewish pseudepigrapha. The late Harry E. Gaylord prepared the critical edition of the Slavonic text already in 1983 as his PhD thesis in the Hebrew University of Jerusalem but has never published it. There is only one monograph dedicated to 3 Baruch, that of Daniel C. Harlow, The Greek Apocalypse of Baruch (3 Baruch) in Hellenistic Judaism and Early Christianity (1996). The present Kulik’s Commentary is a step further from Harlow’s monograph, taking into account Gaylord’s edition.

In fact, Kulik’s work is not a mere commentary but also a monograph developing a new vision of the 3 Baruch and its evolution from the lost Urtext through the lost Greek common archetype of the Slavonic version (S) and the present Greek recension (G). Kulik confirms the intuitions of some previous scholars that the Slavonic text presents an earlier Greek recension than the existing one. However, some features peculiar to G are ancient as well, going back to the archetype common to S and G. Moreover, even this reconstructed archetype is already different from the Urtext. Therefore, in his analysis, Kulik deals with four textual layers: G, S [its lost Greek original], their common archetype, and the Urtext.

As to the original language of the 3 Baruch, Kulik stresses that there is no proof of Hebrew or Aramaic original. Greek as the original language is quite possible. In any case, however, it is clear that the milieu of origin is Jewish. The latter fact becomes evident due to the Slavonic version: “In the case of 3 Baruch we are delivered from the vicious circle of the assumptions that the Christian passages must be interpolations since the text is Jewish, and that the text must be Jewish, since all that is Christian is interpolated. Here we are lucky to have the Slavonic version, which serves as a witness to a pre-Christianized stage: the Slavonic version does not contain the Christian materials of the Greek reworking and preserves clues of an earlier redaction,” wrote Kulik (p. 13).

Kulik is rather elusive on the Sitz im Leben of 3 Baruch. Concerning the date he repeats some trivia without pronouncing for himself: Origen as a possible terminus ante quem, destruction of the Temple in 70 CE as possible terminus post quem. I think that the latter proposition (“Usually any reference to the destruction of the Temple serves as an argument for the post-destruction origin of a composition”, p. 12) contains a tacit assumption that 3 Baruch emerged in the milieu where the Herodian Temple was actual until 70 CE, which is not so obvious and needs to be demonstrated; there are quite a few other dates which could be took by some eschatologically-minded people as the second and final destruction of the Temple (establishment of the Hasmonean priesthood in the middle of the 2nd cent. BCE, Pompey’s intervention in 63 BCE, some date under Herod the Great...). Concerning the place of origin, Kulik is aware that there are strong reasons to opt for both alternatives, Egypt and Palestine. Nevertheless, he adds an interesting argument in favour of a greater probability of the Palestinian origin with Egyptian influence than vice versa: “One feature that might point toward a Palestinian provenance is the idea that only rain water can cause plants to be productive. This is plausible in Palestine, where the agriculture is based primarily on rain water, but could hardly be raised in countries with developed irrigation cultures” (p. 15).

As a renowned master of textual reconstruction, Kulik is especially helpful with the details of his analysis when he discerns between the four textual layers and tries to pose each of them in the proper historical and literary context. This is why his commentary is in fact a fresh scholarly study that is summarized in his relatively short introduction.

The main area of the reconstruction is what Kulik calls “ouranology,” that is, the whole structure of the heavens with their gates, their landscapes, their inhabitants, and, of course, Baruch’s journeys between all of them. This “ouranology” describes the structure of the world within which the whole plot is evolving, and so, it is the main concern of the commentator. He dedicates to the “Ouranology” a large section in the commentary to the ch. 11, at the very end of his work, but this section contains a good deal of conclusions from observations made throughout the book. Being crucial to understanding of 3 Baruch, the ouranology is especially relevant to the identification of the two earliest textual layers, the Urtext and the common archetype of G and S. Both G and S mention the fifth heaven as that with the highest ordinal number, but both do not describe each of these five heavens; the fourth heaven is not mentioned at all. The extant texts are obviously corrupt. The problem is even more complicated because, as some parallels suggest, the possibility that 3 Baruch describes an interrupted ascent without reaching the highest heaven (which could be either seventh or higher) is not to be excluded a priori. All these possibilities Kulik examines in minute details. I think Kulik is convincing here.

Kulik believes that the Urtext presupposed three-heaven scheme, and that the five-heaven scheme of the extant recensions is a later reworking. I consider this conclusion as fundamental and opening way to further studies of 3 Baruch as a cosmological work, which is depending – I would add to Kulik’s analysis – on the three-heaven scheme of Babylonian origin. Presently, there are only two detailed comparative studies of some Jewish apocalyptic cosmologies against their Babylonian background, that of Matthias Albani on 1 Enoch [Astronomie und Schöpfungsglaube. Untersuchungen zum Astronomischen Henochbuch (WUNT, 68; Neukirchen/Vluyn, 1994); unfortunately, not used by Kulik] and that of Jonathan Ben-Dov on the DSS calendars [Head Of All Years: Astronomy And Calendars At Qumran In Their Ancient Context (STDJ, 78; Leiden, 2008); too recent to be taken into account, either]. Apparently, 3 Baruch deserves to be studied against its Babylonian antecedents, too. For instance, the three-heaven scheme seems to be an avatar of the Babylonian heaven divided into three sections (“paths”), those of Enlil, Anu, and Ea. This is especially probable because Baruch’s “ascent” to the heavens with higher ordinal numbers seems to be horizontal, according to an observation of Jean-Claude Picard (1970) supported by Kulik (p. 130). I believe that the whole picture is a bit more complicated because the individual paths of the luminaries within the “paths” of Enlil, Anu, and Ea presuppose a linear varying of the height, and so, this might be true also for Baruch’s trajectory.

Kulik subtly remarks (p. 246) that Baruch seems to go from west to east because, according to many Jewish traditions, the Hades, which is the first place visited by him in the heavens, is located in the west. Kulik’s hesitating intonation in this assertion is unnecessary. It results from an apparent connection between Baruch’s path and that of the Sun, while the latter Kulik understands as a movement from east to west, according to Sun’s daily motion. However, Kulik ignores the fact that Sun’s yearly motion along the ecliptic (Sun’s trajectory around the Earth in the geocentric systems) is in the opposite direction, from west to east, and it is this Sun’s path that is especially relevant to Baruch (see below), with the only exception of the sunrise and sunset scenes in the chapters from 6 to 8 where Baruch is observing precisely the daily motion of the Sun. Thus, there is no contradiction between Baruch’s direction from the west to the east and a connection between Baruch’s path and that of the Sun. Here I would stress that both solar ecliptic in the Babylonian astronomy and Baruch’s path in 3 Baruch are traversing from west to east the three sections of the tripartite heaven.

Kulik’s commentary contains some other cosmological sketches, e.g., on the cosmic rivers or the gigantic bird called in 3 Baruch (as well as in 2 Enoch) Phoenix, which is—as Kulik rightly states—rather a “pure inter-cultural translation” (p. 230) of the name of the rabbinic gigantic bird Ziz than the result of a Jewish taming of the genuine Hellenistic Phoenix.

For the further study of 3 Baruch as a whole are especially important Kulik’s commentaries on the liturgical overtones of the narration. Kulik discusses, where appropriate, possible parallels from liturgical rites, and goes as far as to interpret the final scenes of the apocalypse (ch. 14 and 15) as two closely connected feasts of New Year (in Tishri) and Day of Atonement. His intuition goes even further, recognizing possible motifs of the festival of New Oil (known from the Temple Scroll) in the proliferating imagery of oil in 3 Baruch (p. 363, n. 553). However, Kulik failed to recognize the fact that not only the final chapters but the whole text of 3 Baruch is patterned after liturgical calendar known mostly from the Temple Scroll, with its peculiar structure of three pentecontad cycles between the Passover and the Day of Atonement. Namely, 3 Baruch contains a chain of scenes whose liturgical contents is recognizable as Pentecost—New Wine—New Oil—New Year—Day of Atonement. Here I elaborate on this only briefly, hoping to publish a detailed reconstruction in near future.

The theme of wine is of great importance (esp. in ch. 4), not less than that of oil (in ch. 14). Therefore, the peculiar chain of feasts known from the Temple Scroll (New Wine—New Oil—New Year—Day of Atonement) is obvious. Probably, Kulik failed to recognize this fact being influenced by his idea that 3 Baruch presupposes the 365-day year and not a 364-day calendar. Indeed, “365” is the only almost explicit statement of the number of days in the year that is preserved in the text (6:13G), while only in Greek (that is, according to Kulik himself, in the latest recension). Kulik refers to many parallels demonstrating that the 365-day year was used in the Jewish world, and so, 365-day calendar could be genuine (p. 356-359). Here I beg to differ, and not only on the ground of the parallel with the 364-day liturgical calendar of the Temple Scroll. First of all, any not 364-day calendar is unlikely, given that the whole calendaric construction of 3 Baruch is based on the Babylonian astronomical tradition (represented in such treatises as, e.g., MUL.APIN) presupposing the 364-day year. Kulik himself notifies many parallels between 3 Baruch and the Babylonian cosmology, and his observations could be enlarged in the field pertinent to the calendar (cf. “three paths” of heaven above and other parallels below). However, Kulik’s 365-day parallels are irrelevant because they have no such Babylonian astronomical background and, unlike the Temple Scroll, do not presuppose any systematical coincidence with 3 Baruch’s liturgical data. The erroneous idea of the 365-day calendar is also affecting Kulik’s attempt to establish the chronology of Baruch’s trip (p. 364-365), which seems to be realisable given that the date of the end of Baruch’s journey is known (Day of Atonement). This is not a task for one page digression, though. Even recognizing the Temple Scroll basic liturgical scheme, we still have to ponder between different readings of the Slavonic manuscripts and to match all this together with the construction of heavens...

The reference to the Pentecost needs to be explained in more details. Kulik, of course, notifies (p. 140, n. 47) the parallel between the story of the Tower of Babel (ch. 2–3) and the Christian understanding of the Pentecost (Act 2:1-11 and the whole Christian tradition, not only Gregory of Nazianze quoted by Kulik); moreover, he adds as a probable parallel the vision of Michael (4Q529 1.9). However, he does not see that the targumic parallel to 3 Baruch 3:5-8 (story of a pregnant woman delivering when making bricks) recognized already by Picard, Tg. Ps.-Jonathan Ex 24:10 (p. 153) points out the liturgy of the feast of Pentecost. On this, see especially J. Potin, La fête juive de la Pentecôte. Étude des textes liturgiques. T. I. Commentaire (Lectio divina, 65a; Paris, 1971), p. 155-162, but also the very context of Ex 24 dealing with liturgical prescriptions to the Pentecost. By the way, 7 days in 3 Baruch 3:2S (second part of Baruch’s journey) could correspond to the seven days in Ex 24:16 (staying of Moses on Sinai attending the revelation). The story of the woman, known as a part of the Pentecost exegesis, in 3 Baruch is detached from its genuine Egyptian context and placed in Babylon where it becomes the rationale of the wrath of God against the builders of the Tower—obviously, to mark the Tower account as relating to the Pentecost.

(à suivre)


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