Introduction to the Additions of Daniel
IN ANCIENT TIMES different versions of a book might circulate even within the same community. Greek manuscripts of Daniel both in the Septuagint version and in the revision of the Septuagint attributed to the second‐century CE scholar Theodotion have three Additions to the twelve origi‐nal Hebrew and Aramaic chapters: “The Prayer of Azariah and the Song of the Three Jews,” “Susanna,” and “Bel and the Dragon.” Behind the Greek may lie Hebrew or Aramaic originals, although no such versions of the three stories have been found even among the Dead Sea Scrolls, and there is no undisputable reference to them in the Talmud. Like the folktales in Dan 1–6 , the Additions in all probability were written prior to the Maccabean revolt in the mid‐second century BCE; they may have been originally composed as early as the Persian period (fifth‐fourth century BCE). Scholars debate the place of composition: a Semitic (Hebrew or Aramaic) original would strengthen the argument for Israel or the Eastern Diaspora; a Greek original would suggest Alexandria in Egypt. The Additions, which do not cite each other, likely circulated independently and only later, perhaps ca. 100 BCE when the book of Daniel was translated into Greek, were they attached to the book of Daniel. The first independent citations of the Additions date from the church fathers of the second century CE.
The Prayer of Azariah and the Song of the Three Jews are found in all Greek versions between Dan 3.23 and 3.24 . The Septuagint locates the other two Additions at the end of the book of Daniel, after 12.13 ; Theodotion's version places Susanna at the opening of the book of Daniel, and Bel and the Dragon at the conclusion of ch 6 . Other ancient versions follow Theodotion's order. The NRSV follows Theodotion's text but places the Additions by themselves in the Apocrypha rather than integrating them into the text.