Thursday, December 27, 2012

Gender Dualism in the Book of Baruch

SARAH VEALE has an interesting essay at Invocatio on gender dualism in Justin the Gnostic's Book of Baruch: Gnostic Dualism and Gender in Baruch.
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.
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.

Cross-file under "Pseudepigrapha Watch" and "Lost Books."