Additions to Daniel - Will the real book of Daniel please stand up!
Why is Daniel longer in Roman Catholic Bibles?

Roman Catholics formally added several books and passages to Scriptures at the Council of Trent (1545-1563 A.D.), solely based on their own authority. Though considered important and well know historical documents, each of those works had not been an accepted part of Scriptures. As part of this unparalleled attempted wholesale alteration of Scriptures, three passages were added to the book of Daniel. In so doing, the Roman Catholic Church was repeating an error that had been attempted by some in the early church, yet had been tested and rejected.

Jerome (lived 340-420 A.D.), an early translator of Scriptures, acknowledged a problem with some copies given to him of the book of Daniel...

Therefore, I have shown these things to you as a difficulty of Daniel, which among the Hebrews has neither the history of Susanna, nor the hymn of the three young men, nor the fables of Bel and the dragon...

Notice the final term he applied to these unwarranted additions - "fables". Even though they were in circulation very early, he rejected them as fables because they were not in the Jewish Scriptures. In fact, it is quite likely that some of them were composed many hundreds of years after the time of the true book of Daniel. While this makes them old, from at least a century before the time of Christ, the Jews (to whom Old Testament scriptures were given) never had accepted these passages. Numerous Dead Sea manuscripts of the book of Daniel testify to the accuracy of the Hebrew/Aramaic text of Daniel as utilized by Jews and Protestants.6 These Dead Sea scrolls date to at least a couple centuries before the time of Jesus and do not have the "fables" as a part of them. Jerome was right.

Simply put, these Daniel additions are works of religious fiction that some erroneously tried to add to Scriptures at a later time. The decision of the Roman Catholic Church, at the Council of Trent, to add to Scriptures was, and is, unjustifiable and, in fact, went against Jerome who they celebrate as an early church father and noted translator of the Latin Vulgate. The church (or any group) cannot decree something to be Scriptures; God alone determined what writings would comprise Him word. He then enabled His people to be able to recognize, by test, the Word He gave - all given through His Prophets and Apostles.1

2 Peter 3:2 I want you to recall the words spoken in the past by the holy prophets and the command given by our Lord and Savior through your apostles. (NIV)

For the record, the three spurious additions to Daniel are as follows:

The Prayer of Azariah and Song of the Three Holy Children (alt. ... and Song of the Three Young Men)5: Added into Daniel chapter three, in the Roman Catholic and some Orthodox Bibles. This story appears as verses 24-90 inserted between what is truly verses 23 and 24 in the Hebrew and Protestant Canon.

Susanna and the Elders4: Appears as chapter 13 in the Roman Catholic text, whereas the book normally ends with chapter 12 in the Hebrew and Protestant texts.2

Bel and the Dragon3: Appears as chapter 14 in the Roman Catholic text, whereas the book normally ends with chapter 12 in the Hebrew and Protestant texts.2

Daniel 1:1 to Daniel 12:13, without these fables, is God's Word given to man and fully to be trusted and believed as truth! As for the extra passages, if you like works of religious fiction they make a good read, but don't base your faith and doctrine on them.


End Notes

1. The pope in Rome does not meet the test of being a true Apostle either, as all were directly appointed, "sent (the meaning of the word Apostle)" by the resurrected Lord. The decree of a false apostle is still a false decree no matter how many follow it. Indeed the true apostles of Christ never added to the Old Testament Scriptures, that canon had been entrusted to the Jewish people and was fully recognized and complete before the time of Jesus.

Romans 3:1-2 What advantage, then, is there in being a Jew, or what value is there in circumcision? 2 Much in every way! First of all, they have been entrusted with the very words of God. (NIV)

To some of the apostles, God gave the task of adding a new body of work to Scriptures; the New Testament. Again, it was not to revise or add to the Old, it was completely new. Rome's adding to the Old Testament is without precedent or merit, the act of an apostate religion, unchanged to this day.

2. Even Jerome kept these ancient stories attached loosely to Scriptures but he directly noted them to be apocryphal. This problem of keeping ancient important works, that were not Scriptures, together with Scriptures, led to confusion over time. It's easy for age and tradition to try and ascribe additional and unwarranted importance to the stories merely because they were kept with Scriptures.

Initially even Protestants (who were concerned about teaching only what was in God's word, apart from traditions) kept these apocryphal additions together with Scriptures, as a separate section called the Apocrypha - as did the first edition of the King James Bible in 1611 A.D. Later Protestants found it wise to remove them completely from being added on to Scriptures because of the propensity of people to ascribe some extra value to these non canonical works.

Even in ancient times, among some of the Greek manuscripts, the account of Susanna and the Elders is found as a separate section before Daniel 1:1 as a prologue. Bel and the Dragon appeared after the conclusion of the real book in chapter 12 verse 13, as a separate section or epilogue. It's this type of inclusion that likely led to, or encouraged, later acceptance as being Scriptures itself. Again, with the Old Testament being entrusted to the Jews, a comparison with the Jewish (Hebrew and Aramaic) canon, as used by Jesus and the Apostles, shows that these works were not part of the original.

3. Details on Bel and the Dragon:

&ldots; Bel and the Dragon is preserved in two Greek versions, running to 40 and 42 verses, respectively (Septuagint and Theodotion), in the uncanonized Additions to the Book of Daniel. Daniel sets out to combat idol worship. First he proves to the king of Babylon (Cyrus in Theodotion) that it is the priests and their families and not the god Bel who deceitfully consume the sacrifices brought to the idol. The king then allows Daniel to shatter the idol. Next Daniel overcomes a living dragon worshiped as a god by feeding it a cake made with pitch, fat, and hair that causes its stomach to burst. This time the Babylonians force the king to throw Daniel into a lion's den, but he remains unharmed and after six days is brought food to sustain him by the prophet Habakkuk at the command of an angel of the Lord. When the king sees that Daniel has survived he releases him and hurls his accusers into the den. (The New Encyclopedia of Judaism, edited by Geoffrey Wigoder, G.G., The Jerusalem Publishing House, Ltd.)

4. Details on Susanna:

The story is set in Babylon and concerns two Jewish elders appointed as judges who become enamored of the beautiful and pious Susanna, wife of the wealthy Joakim. After watching her bathe in the privacy of her garden they accost her, but she rejects their advances. To get back at her they accuse her of adultery with a young man in her garden, and on the basis of their false testimony she is condemned to death. At this point the young Daniel intervenes, claiming that the two accusers have not been cross-examined properly. Under his examination, they become confused, one stating that the alleged transgression occurred beneath a mastic tree, the other under an oak, and Susanna is thus exonerated and the two elders are put to death.

The brief Book of Susanna and the Elders has been preserved in two Greek versions, in the Septuagint (48 verses) and in Theodotion (64 verses), the latter giving a more graphic account of the garden scene. The book is part of the uncanonized Additions to the Book of Daniel. (The New Encyclopedia of Judaism, edited by Geoffrey Wigoder, G.G., The Jerusalem Publishing House, Ltd.)

5. Details on The Prayer of Azariah and Song of the Three Holy Children:

An apocryphal addition to the ancient versions of the canonical text of the Book of Daniel. It was inserted into the Greek version of Daniel between 3:23 and 3:24, at the point where Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-Nego fall down bound in the midst of the burning furnace. The date of writing is the 2nd or 1st century B.C. It contains a penitential prayer of Abed-Nego (Azariah) and a song of praise of the Three Young Men. A problem taken up by Jewish thinkers of the Greco-Roman period was the contradiction between Israel's covenant with God and its own existential misfortune. This idea is taken up in the prayer of Azariah (vs. 3-5), as it is in the Book of Baruch and the Psalms of Solomon. Although the prayer is uttered at a time when the speaker's life was in danger, it is not so much a plea for salvation from immediate threat as a confession of the nation's sins and a prayer for its deliverance. (The New Encyclopedia of Judaism, edited by Geoffrey Wigoder, G.G., The Jerusalem Publishing House, Ltd.)

6. The Dead Sea Scroll evidence is overwhelmingly in support of the Book of Daniel being canonical from an early date, the work being composed in the timeframe represented within it, and that the so-called additions to Daniel do not belong with the work.

Daniel is one work that had multiple copies at Qumran (including on Papyrus such as 6QDana, alt. 6Q7, versus most on leather parchment). This multitude of manuscripts shows that it was well accepted, on par with other books such as Isaiah, Deuteronomy, and Psalms. This was surprising for textual critics and Biblical minimalists who had long maintain that Daniel could not have been written until very late, because its prophecies were so clearly fulfilled. They, of course, dismiss any possibility that there could be supernatural origin to these prophecies. The widespread use of Daniel at Qumran shows that Daniel was well established as Scriptures from considerably before the mid second century B.C.[LINK: http://www.bibleistrue.com/qna/qna63.htm] In fact, scholars who have tried to date the oldest fragments of Daniel, from Qumran, to merely the mid second century B.C. have much evidence against that late of date.

Consider that the book itself claims to originate during the Babylonian exile, from the first deportation of the Jews into captivity (605 B.C., i.e. Daniel 1:1-2) up to the early days of the Persian Empire (circa 537 B.C., i.e. Daniel 10:1). Again, it is the accurately fulfilled prophecies regarding subsequent empires that cause scholars to have to date the work after 332 B.C. and, for many, in the Maccabean period (circa 167 B.C.). If they can accept God as the source of these prophecies, there is other evidence for the much earlier date of composition. Take, for example, one manuscript fragment, 4QDanc (4 = Cave 4, Q=Qumran, Dan = Daniel, C=Fragment Designation, also known as 4Q114): Still trying to hold a second century date for this fragment, they must ignore linguistic evidence. The Aramaic used in Daniel, at Qumran, testifies to a much earlier date of composition than the second century B.C. Word usage also reveals that the book was authored in a region other than Judea. For example, the Genesis Apocryphon, found in cave #1, is truly a second century B.C. document written in Aramaic during the same period they try to argue for Daniel's composition. But, in comparison, the linguistic features and Aramaic are very dissimilar. Linguists acknowledge that Daniel reflects Aramaic with Eastern characteristics and not Western forms as it would if it was composed in Israel. In fact, the Hebrew portions of the book also reflect a much earlier usage of that language too, in contrast to Hebrew compositions dating later and pertaining specifically to the Qumranic community. The evidence points to an author in eastern exile at a much earlier date than some later nameless "Jewish patriot in Judea" that minimalists claim as an author.

Manuscript fragments of the Book of Daniel provide the entire book except chapter 12, but this is not to say that the last chapter never existed at Qumran. It is quite common for the last portion of a manuscript to be damaged first when rolled up as a scroll. In the case of the final chapter of Daniel, another work found at Qumran (4Q174) quotes from chapter 12 and specifically ascribes it as being written in "the Book of Daniel the Prophet". This reference to Daniel is similar to how Jesus refers to "Daniel the prophet" in Matthew 24:15. What is missing, in all fragments of Daniel and other commentaries is any mention or reference to the three apocryphal additions. Simply put, they were never accepted as Scriptures. Manuscript fragment 1QDanb (1Q72) spans Daniel 3:22-30 and specifically shows the absence of the "Prayer of Azariah and Song of the Three Men."

The Book of Daniel has a portion in Aramaic, which led some scholars to speculate that the entire book was composed in Aramaic, with some of it being translated back into Hebrew at a later date. This, of course, was appealing to their theory of a late composition date, assuming it was composed at a time where Aramaic was in widespread common usage. Qumran manuscripts, 1QDana (1Q71), 4QDana (4Q112), and 4QDanb (4Q113), all verify that the ancient work included both Hebrew and Aramaic as it has been transmitted to us in Hebrew Scriptures.