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

Date and Place of Composition.

1.

About 100 BCE, the terminus ante quem, all three additions were incorporated into the Greek text of Daniel; determining actual dates of composition is much more difficult. Most scholars suppose that the Prayer of Azariah and the Song of the Three Jews are so typical in form and content that they are virtually impossible to date (Eissfeldt 1965: 590), but internal clues show that these psalms are post-exilic (as is the very similar Dan 9 ). It should be noted, however, that while the Prayer of Azariah supposes the destruction of the temple (v. 15 ), the Song of the Three may presuppose its existence (v. 31 ). If the description of the king in Prayer of Azariah 9b refers to Antiochus Epiphanes, then the Prayer may have been written during his persecution (167–164 BCE), when effectively there was no temple (v. 15 ) but a real need to pray for the destruction of one's enemies (v. 21 ). If Tob 8:5 is dependent on the Song of the Three Jews (Moore 1977: 47), then the Song cannot be later than the third century BCE; at least it was composed before being translated into Greek at the end of the second century BCE.

2.

Scholars are divided about the date and origin of Susanna. Those who see it as a Judaized folk-tale suggest that its outline is of Gentile origin and undatable (Eissfeldt 1965: 590). Many of those who see it as a Jewish composition have followed Brüll in locating the tale as a Pharisaic illustration of the dispute between Pharisees and Sadducees at the time of Alexander Jannaeus (103–76 BCE) concerning the application of Deut 19:16–19 (cf. m. Mak. 1:6 ; e.g. Kay 1913: 644). More recently a majority of scholars, while acknowledging that the story was probably translated at about 100 BCE, see the original Hebrew as belonging to any time in the Second Temple period, probably in Palestine (Collins 1993: 438).

3.

There is a historical notice at the start of Bel and the Dragon (see BEL 1–2) but it does not help in dating the story. According to Herodotus the temple of Bel was plundered by Xerxes I (485–465 BCE). The phrase ‘become a Jew’ (v. 28 ) reflects an attitude first prevalent in the second century BCE (Collins 1993: 415–16). The tales were part of an extensive Daniel literature.

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