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Gnostic Baruch gender dualism

December 30, 2012

I wish to bring to our reader’s attention the following interesting blog post by Sarah Veale:  Gnostic Dualism and Gender in Baruch.  It is a well done blog post, although it is heretical and contains some vulgarity. 

Jim Davila mentioned Veale’s post and quoted the following brief passage from it:

But Baruch does not portray the female or the material world as a holy thing. In all cases, it is something to be subdued by masculine power and separated from higher, transcendent principles. When the female does have power, it is corrupt, evil, embodied and uncontrollable. It’s hard not to see the dualism and its implications on gender at work in this text.

10 Comments leave one →
  1. Suzanne McCarthy permalink*
    December 30, 2012 11:26 pm

    Here is a post on the Kabbalah from the same blog, emphasizing its masculine nature.

    “This reading of the Bahir suggests that, despite the presence of female imagery in the Kabbalah, the feminine lacks any creative agency. The creative power of the Shekinah is not her own, but rather is instigated by a masculine being. Any power she has, derives from an outside masculine source. Any divinity of the feminine is strictly contained within the referential of the masculine. In other words, the Shekinah, despite her exaltation, lacks any meaningful agency.”

    That was certainly my impression after reading the Sefer Yetsira.

  2. December 30, 2012 11:33 pm

    All sorts of interesting stuff in her blog — the Canadian connection, no doubt.

  3. December 31, 2012 12:39 am

    Thanks, Theophrastus; very interesting.

  4. December 31, 2012 10:30 am

    Last night, I bought Willis Barnstone’s The Other Bible, and look forward to reading Baruch in light of Veale’s post. Thanks.

  5. December 31, 2012 12:38 pm

    The Other Bible is pretty interesting (but I still recommend Charlesworth’s Old Testament Pseudepigrapha.)

    The work in The Other Bible is the Apocalypse of Baruch (or 2 Baruch), different than The Book of Baruch.; I’ll let Jim Davila explain:

    This Book of Baruch is a lost Gnostic text known to us only in a summary by Hippolytus and, unlike 1-3 Baruch, the title character is not the prophet Jeremiah’s scribe, but rather an angel of the same name who figures in Justin’s retelling of the biblical narrative. You can read about Justin and his book in Hippolytus’s Refutation of All Heresies, 5.18-23. The surviving fragments of this Book of Baruch are being translated by Todd Klutz for volume 2 of the More Old Testament Pseudepigrapha Project.

  6. December 31, 2012 12:46 pm

    Thanks to you (and to Jim) for clarifying. Saved me some time. And I also appreciate your recommendation of Charlesworth’s Old Testament Pseudepigrapha!

  7. December 31, 2012 3:08 pm


    Justin’s Baruch along with Baruch 2 are included in “The Other Bible” so you should be fine. In fact you wouldn’t get Justin’s Baruch if you bought the “Old Testament Apocrypha” (it is New Testament apocrypha), although it is a great recommendation, but spendy.

  8. December 31, 2012 3:29 pm

    Whoops, M, I stand corrected — I should have looked further in the table of contents.

    You can get the Charlesworth for $40 here (I can always find a free shipping coupon for them online).

    And apparently, as mentioned above, the surviving fragments will appear in the sequel to Charlesworth, More Old Testament Pseudepigrapha.

  9. December 31, 2012 4:10 pm


    $40 is not bad, I remember drooling over that two volume set some years back and they where close to $100 each.

    As to More Old Testament Pseudepigrapha, I should read the comments fully before I reply. My bad.

  10. January 1, 2013 9:16 am

    Thanks M (and Theophrastus)! Helpful clarifications.

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