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The Preface to Old Greek Daniel 5: A Formal Approach

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image of Vetus Testamentum

Prefixed to the Old Greek version of Daniel 5 is a brief Preface that recounts some of the plot lines of the narrative. This article clarifies the nature of the Preface and discusses its significance for understanding the legend’s development. It is argued that the Preface must have derived from a longer version of the narrative, because it lacks elements intrinsic to the OG and MT versions. These elements are isolated with the help of the typology of story forms developed in folklore studies. The unique variants preserved in the Preface suggest that it derives from a third, parallel version of the legend. This third version lacked a reference to the temple vessels from Jerusalem, which allows us to appreciate the role of the vessels in the OG and MT traditions, especially how they integrate this story into a larger discourse about the fate of the vessels in post-exilic literature.

Affiliations: 1: Emory University


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