Decoding Daniel - an in depth Bible study of the book of Daniel

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Introduction to Daniel

Why Study the Book of Daniel?

Purpose of Daniel

Great Conflicts Unveiled

Daniel the Prophet

Structure and Themes

Style and Interpretation

Ancient Translations

Daniel In the Critics' Den

Historical Background

The City of Babylon

Ancient Translations

In the third century B.C., the entire OT as well as the deuterocanonical books were translated into Greek and often were revised by later Greek translators. This Greek translation is known as the Septuagint (LXX). It differs radically from the Masoretic text in the Aramaic section of the book of Daniel. The Septuagint is plainly based on another line of textual tradition, one that we now sometimes find supported by the Hebrew manuscripts of Daniel discovered at Qumran.

In the Septuagint, several additions to Daniel are considered apocryphal. The first set of additions in the LXX is 3:23-90; verse 91 is
verse 24 in the Hebrew text. The first twenty-two verses consist of Azariah’s prayer in the fiery furnace. Azariah praises God and requests
deliverance from Israel’s enemies and for their punishment. The next six verses tell of the special heating of the furnace and the descent of the Angel of the Lord, who put out the fire. The final forty verses are a prayer and praise offered by the three Hebrews for deliverance by the Angel of the Lord. The prayer and praise takes place within the fiery furnace.

The second set is usually counted as three additions, but five different compositions actually are involved. Easily the most popular of these additions is the story of Susanna. It is appended to the book as chapter 13 in the Vulgate, a translation of the Bible into Latin, by Jerome, around the turn of the fifth century A.D. Conversely, Susanna appears at the beginning of the book in Theodotion, a later Greek translation of the OT published under Emperor Commodus (A.D. 180-182). The translations contain somewhat different versions of this story. In addition, the Vulgate adds as chapter 14, “Bel and the Dragon,” which is really two separate stories as the title suggests. The apocryphal additions are not covered in this commentary.

Peshitta, the Syriac or Aramaic version of the Bible, was translated by Christians in Syria in the second century A.D. Its readings sometimes support the Hebrew text and sometimes support the Septuagint.

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