Deuterocanonical Question


How can we as Catholics reconcile the passages of Baruch 1:1-2 and Jeremiah 43:5-7???

Baruch not really in Babylon 1:1,2 vs. Jer.43:5-7

A protestant is telling me that because there is an error in the deuterocanonical books, then that means the Church was wrong and Catholicism is false.

I am really really looking for help on this without anyone calling Baruch not real history or that Baruch can contain historical errors. Can someone please help me reconcile these passages without compromising scripture? :confused::confused::confused:


Most of the deutericanonicals are stories meant to convey a religious truth. They aren’t necessarily pure history although rooted in history.

Jonah and the whale and other such stories in the Protestant bible also can fall into this category.

Fundsmentslist look at the bible wrong. They see it as pure history when neither the writers nor ancient writers view it as such.

I can’t really comment on your specific question, but perhaps it is rooted as I described.

This link describes its “fictional setting” which means that your friend has placed it in the wrong genre of history when it is actually a religious story. Jesus used such stories called parables so hopefully your friends can understand that way the purpose of a religious fiction.


Would really need specifics. Is his problem that they aren’t “accurate” historical accounts by modern twentieth century standards of historical documentation? You might start with the fact that they are prophetic accounts so only parts of the story that serve the purpose of prophetic message are included. They aren’t a historical record with a prophetic leaning - they are prophetical works with a historical leaning. That may help. But then again if the persons you are talking with is dead set against all things Catholic, you’ll talk in circles. Get them to come here to CAF and ask all their questions. There are some pretty big guns here who would probably take them up on their troubles one by one.



Also, everyone acknowledges that the Bible has been transcribed over time. Even Protestant Bibles contain extra chapters of mark that aren’t found in earliest manuscripts.

So if a small error occurred in having too many chapters in mark or a wrong historical detail in Baruch, it doesn’t affect the spiritual truth presented.

Your friend could just as easily reject Mark since it’s unclear how many chapters it should have.


Baruch 1:1-2 This is the text of the book written in Babylon by Baruch son of Neraiah, son of Mahseiah, son of Zedekiah, son of Hasadiah, son of Hilkiah, in the fifth year, on the seventh day of the month, at the time when the Chaldaeans had captured Jerusalem and burned it down.

Jeremiah 43:5-7 Instead, Johanan son of Kareah and all the military leaders led off the entire remnant of Judah, those who had come back from all the nations where they had been driven to live in the country of Judah: men, women, children, the royal princesses too, and every single person that Nebuzaradan commander of the guard had left with Gedaliah son of Ahikam, son of Shaphan, including the prophet Jeremiah and Baruch son of Neriah. And so, in disobedience to the voice of Yahweh, they reached Egypt and arrived at Tahpanhes.

Sorry but what are you asking what is the problem?



No matter what you tell some people they will not listen. When a person is in attack mode it is best not to discuss such matters with them.

Calm dialogue is good, and needs prayer beforehand.


but Baruch the son of Neriah is inciting you against us to give us over into the hand of the Chaldeans, so they will put us to death or exile us to Babylon.” 4 So Johanan the son of Kareah and all the [a]commanders of the forces, and all the people, did not obey the voice of the Lord to stay in the land of Judah. 5 But Johanan the son of Kareah and all the **commanders of the forces took the entire remnant of Judah who had returned from all the nations to which they had been driven away, in order to reside in the land of Judah— 6 the men, the women, the [c]children, the king’s daughters and every person that Nebuzaradan the captain of the bodyguard had left with Gedaliah the son of Ahikam [d]and grandson of Shaphan, together with Jeremiah the prophet and Baruch the son of Neriah— 7 and they entered the land of Egypt (for they did not obey the voice of the Lord) and went in as far as Tahpanhes.

It appears that they weren’t in Babylon??? What the heck am I supposed to do… I know the bible doesn’t have errors, but this is really bugging me. :o:confused::eek::shrug::blush:**



Another point…why does your friend assume Baruch is wrong and Jeremiah is correct?

They both are books of the Christian Tradition, They are both in the Septuagint, they are both found in the fragments at Qumran, They are both ancient writings, they are both attributed to historical figures.

So why does he assume Baruch is wrong? Perhaps Jeremiah is wrong? Perhaps details like this don’t need to be perfect in order for the Bible to accurately tell its message, a message of religious truth not history.


Hello??? Has it occurred to anyone but me that maybe, just maybe there is more than one Baruch? Um, there is more than one John, more than one James, more than one Sam, more than one Ted. more than one Tom, Dick and Harry. It really isn’t one prophet against another, so calm down. There is a reasonable explanation for e-v-e-r-y-t-h-i-n-g. Honestly, there really is.



Hello all.

I think some of the answer is found in the Introductions to both books that I found at the USCCB’s on-line Bible. First the Introduction to Jeremiah, then Baruch, his secretary.

The Book of Jeremiah combines history, biography, and prophecy. It portrays a nation in crisis and introduces the reader to an extraordinary person whom the Lord called to prophesy under the trying circumstances of the final days of the kingdom of Judah. Jeremiah was born, perhaps about 650 B.C., of a priestly family from the village of Anathoth, two and a half miles northeast of Jerusalem. He was called to his task in the thirteenth year of King Josiah (Jer 1:2). Josiah’s reform, begun with enthusiasm and hope, ended with his death on the battlefield of Megiddo (609 B.C.) as he attempted to stop the northward march of the Egyptian Pharaoh Neco, who was going to provide assistance to the Assyrians who were in retreat before the Babylonians.
Nineveh, the capital of Assyria, fell in 612 B.C., preparing the way for the new colossus, Babylon, which was soon to put an end to the independence of Judah.
The prophet supported the reform of King Josiah (2 Kgs 22–23), but after the death of Josiah the old idolatry returned. Jeremiah opposed this as well as royal policy toward Babylon. Arrest, imprisonment, and public disgrace were his lot. In the nation’s apostasy Jeremiah saw the sealing of its doom. Nebuchadnezzar captured Jerusalem (598 B.C.) and carried King Jehoiachin into exile (Jer 22:24).
During the years 598–587, Jeremiah counseled Zedekiah in the face of bitter opposition. The false prophet Hananiah proclaimed that the yoke of Babylon was broken and a strong pro-Egyptian party in Jerusalem induced Zedekiah to revolt. Nebuchadnezzar took swift vengeance; Jerusalem was destroyed in 587 and its leading citizens sent into exile.
The prophet remained in Jerusalem, but was later forced into Egyptian exile. We do not know the details of his death. The influence of Jeremiah was greater after his death than before. The exiled community read and meditated on the lessons of the prophet; his influence is evident in Ezekiel, some of the psalms, Is 40–66, and Daniel. In the postexilic period, the Book of Jeremiah circulated in various editions.

Continued on the next post.



Here is the Introduction to Baruch from the same source:

The opening verses ascribe the book to the well-known assistant to Jeremiah (Jer 32:12; 36:4, 32; 45:1). It is a collection of four very different compositions, ending with a work entitled “The Letter of Jeremiah,” which circulated separately in major manuscripts of the Greek tradition. The original language may have been Hebrew, but only the Greek and other versions have been preserved. The fictional setting is Babylon, where Baruch reads his scroll to King Jechoniah (Jehoiachin) and the exiles; they react by sending gifts and the scroll to Jerusalem (1:1–14), presumably by the hand of Baruch (1:7). No certain date can be given for the book, but it may have been edited in final form during the last two centuries B.C. The work attempts to explain the trauma of the exile in terms of a Deuteronomic cycle: sin (of Israel), punishment, repentance, and return (cf. Jgs 2; also Dt 28–33).
The prayer of the exiles (2:11–3:8) is a confession of sin and a request for mercy, and has remarkable similarities to Dn 9 and to parts of Jeremiah. The poem on personified Wisdom is concerned with three themes: the importance of Wisdom, the elusive character of Wisdom (cf. Jb 28), and the identification of Wisdom with Torah (cf. Sir 24:23). Baruch’s Poem of Consolation resembles parts of Is 40–66, and it offers encouragement to the exiles in view of their eventual return; there are two addresses by personified Zion. The Letter of Jeremiah, unlike the letter in Jer 29, is a polemic against idolatry, a well-known theme (cf. Jer 10:2–11; Ps 115:4–8; 135:15–18; Is 44:9–20; Wis 13:10–15:17). It contains ten warnings that end in a kind of refrain that the idols are not gods and are not to be feared (vv. 14, 22, 28, 39, 44, 51, 56, 64, 68).

So there ya have it. Happy comparisons.



P.S. I think the map is most helpful too. Put it all together and you friend is going to have to ignore something obvious.



This is the first time hearing a Protestant using this reason for omitting the deuterocanonical books. I didn’t read the Reformer Fathers quoting this at all. Is this a recent discovery ? Then all the Jews during Jesus time must have been using a defective Septuagint Scriptures then. Do you think that likely?


Just a few thoughts. Ask your friend which gospel does not belong in the story of the good thief. Should Luke be thrown out, since Matthew and Mark do not have one of the thieves repenting?

Ask your friend if they know what the Septuagint is. If yes, then your friend knows that the Septuagint contained those same disputed books. I have provided a link to the numerous quotes twhere the New Testament writers used the Septuagint.



I just want to add that the Talmud said of Ezra:

As the primary disciple of Baruch the son of Neriah (who had been the primary disciple of Jeremiah), he remained by the side of his great teacher in Babylon until his passing, the Talmud says (Megillah 16b).

indicating that Baruch is indeed in Babylon.


Hello Ericc.

I’m not trying to be difficult so don’t take what I’m about to say wrongly, but from the map you can see that the Babylonian Empire was pretty large and if you got “taken” to Babylon, you may have never left your own backyard because the land on which you lived was now part of another country. See what I mean? I’m NOT saying that is the explanation of the OP’s friend’s difficulty, but that is it possible for an OT author to be speaking about going into exile and leaving Jerusalem figuratively for a conquered state and never actually traveling anywhere. This is more likely via the Romans than the Babylonians for it is true that there were actual deportations and shipments of persons to places, but then there were those left behind who were still living in conquered lands and expected to live a different way in their own land, which wasn’t theirs anymore. Kinda like a different bank taking over your mortgage, and restructuring you whole life via ownership of you home. You become a guest in your own home. See what mean? You could be living in a conquered land and writing about it and you’d naturally say you were IN Babylon because that is who own all the lands because they conquered it. Think in more modern times. If you were say French living during the Occupation, you’d be a second class German citizen because Germany was occupying your land. You never moved anywhere, but your citizenship changed and if it had stayed that way for a few generations, you’d naturally say you were German when writing even though you were actually writing from an occupied French territory. Does this make any sense? I hope so. Most certainly NOT any scholarly explanation as I’m no expert on anything except apple muffins and Starbuck’s but it is food for thought.



Hi Glenda,

I do see where you are coming from. However, I think the context was that Babylon refers to the city and not the empire. If you were in conquered lands and became part of the empire, you won’t need to be taken anyway. But that wasn’t the context in Jeremiah or Baruch. These Jewish captives in the thousands were taken to the city of Babylon and lived there for a long time. Jer 52:28-30. Anyway, the Talmud quote sort of pinned down Baruch in the city of Babylon. The Protestant objection therefore can not be relied on.

Enjoy your apple muffin and Starbuck! Blessings!


Hello Ericc.

The Introduction to Baruch provides all the answer I needed. Baruch was Jeremiah’s secretary, so he’d be wherever Jeremiah was. That is simple logic. It really becomes a non-issue at that point.


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