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Daniel 3 and 6 in Early Christian Literature

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Chapter Summary

The dramatic episodes in the careers of Daniel and his three companions as royal administrators (Daniel 3 and 6) were popular among Christians of the first two centuries CE. There is a considerable number of early Christian uses of these tales in their Aramaic or Greek versions, which often focus upon just one motifs involved. King Nebuchadnezzar's erection of an enormous golden statue and his command to worship it are point of departure of the story in chapter 3. Several times an exhaustive list of officials is mentioned: these have to worship the statue as representatives of the various ethnic and language groups of the kingdom. The death penalty as sanction against the refusal to worship a state deity is emphasized in Daniel 3. Compared to other wisdom tales, Daniel 3 and 6 catch the eye, since the religion of the key persons is focal point in the narratives.

Keywords: Aramaic; Daniel 3 and 6; exhaustive list



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