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The Oxford Bible Commentary Line-by-line commentary for the New Revised Standard Version Bible.

Text and Language.

1.

The Greek versions of Daniel are usually divided into two groups. On the one hand the OG is attested in the late second-century CE Papyrus 967 (which places Bel and the Dragon before Susanna), in Origen's Hexapla (which survives in a very literal Syriac translation made in the early 7th cent. CE, known as Syh), and in the ninth-eleventh century MS 88 (Codex Chisianus). On the other hand there is the text linked with the name of Theodotion (2nd cent. CE) which very early became dominant in the churches. It is widely agreed that this text predates Theodotion himself (Schmitt 1966 ). Both Greek versions contain three passages not found in the Hebrew and Aramaic Daniel. Whether the Theodotion text of these additions is a revision of the OG, perhaps in the light of a Semitic text (Moore 1977 ), or a fresh translation from a Semitic original (Schmitt 1966 ) is still unclear. There is nothing in the two traditions that distinguishes the Greek of the additions from that of the rest of Daniel.

2.

In both Greek traditions the Prayer of Azariah and the Song of the Three Jews occurs between Dan 3:23 and 3:24 (not extant in Papyrus 967). This addition has three parts: the Prayer of Azariah, a narrative link, and the Song of the Three Jews. In Theodotion (and Papyrus 967) Bel and the Dragon form Dan 13 and Susanna comes before Dan 1 . In Papyrus 967 Susanna follows Bel and the Dragon but in MS 88, Syh, and Vg Susanna is Dan 13 , and Bel and the Dragon Dan 14 . The NRSV gives a translation of Theodotion's version of the additions, but they are printed in the order of the OG. The standard edition of the Greek texts is that of Ziegler (1954 ) which must be supplemented by the work of Geissen (1968 ).

3.

Most scholars suppose that the Prayer of Azariah and the Song of the Three Jews were originally composed in Hebrew (cf. Kuhl 1940: 111–59). If the narrative interlude was original to the text of Daniel it would have been in Aramaic, but if it was composed to introduce the Song of the Three, then it would have been originally in Hebrew. Nothing can be deduced from the Aramaic forms of these additions in the eleventh-century Chronicles of Jerahmeel (Gaster 1895; 1896 ), which are versions produced independently from the Greek versions, probably to make a Hebrew original fit its Aramaic context. The two Greek versions are in close agreement with one another.

4.

The differences between the OG and Theodotion are most significant in Susanna. They can be seen in English in some parallel presentations (Kay 1913; Collins 1993 ) and have been discussed extensively (Moore 1977: 78–80; Steussy 1993 ). Most scholars suppose that Theodotion supplements the OG either on the basis of oral tradition (Delcor 1971: 260), through redactional activity (Engel 1985: 56–7), or through using a Semitic source (Moore 1977: 83). For the story as a whole a Hebrew original is likely (kai egeneto = wayyěhî: vv. 7, 15, 19, 28, 64), though the extant medieval Hebrew forms of the story are probably secondary. Since Julius Africanus in the third century CE (Letter to Origen, PG 11.41–8) some have argued for a Greek original because of the puns in vv. 54–5 and 58–9 , but the Syh represents the puns easily enough so a Semitic original remains quite possible. Milik (1981: 355–7) has tentatively proposed that a three-part Aramaic fragment from Qumran (4Q551) reflects the story of Susanna. It talks of the appointment of a judge but there are no clear overlaps and the proper names found in the Aramaic fragment nowhere occur in the story of Susanna.

5.

For Bel and the Dragon OG and Theodotion are close, though some argue that Bel is told more effectively in the OG, whilst the Dragon is stylistically better in Theodotion (Moore 1977: 119). The greater number of Hebraisms in Theodotion suggests that the OG may have been based on an Aramaic original, which Theodotion reworked on the basis of a Hebrew text. The Theodotion version seems to be somewhat assimilated to Dan 6 while its OG counterpart may be older than Dan 6 (Wills 1990 ). The story of the Dragon is known in Aramaic in the Chronicles of Jerahmeel, which possibly reflects an early version independent from both Greek and Syriac versions.

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