Online Encyclopedia

ADDITIONS TO DANIEL

Online Encyclopedia
Originally appearing in Volume V07, Page 807 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
Spread the word: del.icio.us del.icio.us it!
ADDITIONS TO DANIEL.—The " additions to Daniel " are three in number: Susannah and the Elders, Bel and the Dragon, and The Song of the Three Children. Of these the two former have no organic connexion with the text. The case is otherwise with regard to the last. In some respects it helps to fill up a gap in the canonical text between verses 23 and 24 of chapter iii. And yet we find Polychronius, early in the 5th century, stating that this song was not found in the Syriac version. Susannah.—This addition was placed by Theodotion before chap. i., and Bel and the Dragon at its close, whereas by the Septuagint and the Vulgate it was reckoned as chap. xiii. after the twelve canonical chapters, Bel and the Dragon as xiv. Theodotion's version is the source of the Peshitto and the Vulgate, for all three additions, and the Septuagint is the source of the Syro-Hexaplaric which has been published by Ceriani (Mon. Sacr. vii.). The legend recounts how that in the early days of the Captivity Susannah, the beautiful and pious wife of the rich Joakim, was walking in her garden and was there seen by two elders who were also judges. Inflamed with lust, they made infamous proposals to her, and when repulsed they brought against her a false charge of adultery. When brought before the tribunal she was condemned to death and was on the way to execution, when Daniel interposed and, by cross-questioning the accusers apart, convinced the people of the falsity of the charge. The source of the story may, according to Ewald (Gesch 3 iv. 636), have been suggested by the Babylonian legend of the seduction of two old men by the goddess of love (see also Koran, Sur. ii. 96). Another and much more probable origin of the work is that given by Brull (Das apocr. Susanna-Buch, 1877) and Ball (Speaker's A pocr. ii. 323-331). The first half of the story is based on a tradition—originating possibly in Jer. xxix. 21-32 and found in the Talmud and Midrash—of two elders Ahab and Zedekiah, who in the Captivity led certain women astray under the delusion that they should thereby become the mother of the Messiah. But the most interesting part of the investigation is concerned with the latter half of the story, which deals with the trial. The characteristics of this section point to its composition about 1oo-90 B.C., when Simon ben Shetab was president of the Sanhedrin. Its object was to support the attempts of the Pharisees to bring about a reform in the administration of the law courts. According to Sadducean principles the man who was convicted of falsely accusing another of a capital offence was not put to death unless his victim was already executed. The Pharisees held that the intention of the accusers was equivalent to murder. Our apocryph upholds the Pharisaic contention. As Simon ben Shetah insisted on a rigorous examination of the witnesses; so does our writer: as he and his party required that the perjurer should suffer the same penalty he sought to inflict on another, so our writer represents the death penalty as inflicted on the perjured elders. The language was in all probability Semitic-Hebrew or Aramaic. The paronomasiae in the Greek in verses 54-55 (157ro o'Xivov . . . o-xiia) and 58-59 (viro 7rpivov . . . apio'ee) present no cogent difficulty against this view; for they may be accidental and have arisen for the first time in the translation. But as B1-till and Ball have shown (see Speaker's Apocr. ii. 324), the same paronomasiae are possible either in Hebrew or Aramaic. Bel and the Dragon.—We have here two independent narratives, in both of which Daniel appears as the destroyer of heathenism. The latter had a much wider circulation than the former, and is most probably a judaized form of the old Semitic myth of the destruction of the old dragon, which represents primeval chaos (see Ball, Speaker's Apocr. ii. 346-348; Gunkel, Schopfung and Chaos, 320-323). Marduk destroys Tiamat in a similar manner to that in which Daniel destroys the dragon (Delitzsch, Dos babylonische Weltschopfung Epos), by driving a storm-wind into the dragon which rends it asunder. Marshall (Hastings' Bib. Dict. i. 267) suggests that the " pitch " of the Greek (Aramaic RD,i) arose from the original term for storm-wind *in).
End of Article: ADDITIONS TO DANIEL
[back]
ADDITIONS TO BOOK OF ESTHER
[next]
ADELAER, or ADELER (Norwegian for " eagle ")

Additional information and Comments

There are no comments yet for this article.
» Add information or comments to this article.
Please link directly to this article:
Highlight the code below, right click and select "copy." Paste it into a website, email, or other HTML document.