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Susanna (Hebrew : שׁוֹשַׁנָּה, Modern: Šošana, Tiberian: Šôšannâ: "lily"), also called Susanna and the Elders, is included in the Book of Daniel (as chapter 13) by the Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox churches. It is one of the additions to Daniel, considered apocryphal by Protestants. It is listed in Article VI of the 39 Articles of the Church of England among the books which are read "for example of life and instruction of manners", but not for the formation of doctrine. It is not included in the Jewish Tanakh and is not mentioned in early Jewish literature, although the text does appear to have been part of the original Septuagint [ citation needed ] (2nd century BC) and was revised by Theodotion, Hellenistic Jewish redactor of the Septuagint text (c. 150 AD).
As the story goes, a fair Hebrew wife named Susanna was falsely accused by lecherous voyeurs. As she bathes in her garden, having sent her attendants away, two lustful elders secretly observe the lovely Susanna. When she makes her way back to her house, they accost her, threatening to claim that she was meeting a young man in the garden unless she agrees to have sex with them.
|Chapters of the Book of Daniel|
She refuses to be blackmailed and is arrested and about to be put to death for promiscuity when the young Daniel interrupts the proceedings, shouting that the elders should be questioned to prevent the death of an innocent. After being separated, the two men are cross-examined about details of what they saw but disagree about the tree under which Susanna supposedly met her lover. In the Greek text, the names of the trees cited by the elders form puns with the sentence given by Daniel. The first says they were under a mastic tree (ὑπο σχίνον, hypo schinon), and Daniel says that an angel stands ready to cut (σχίσει, schisei) him in two. The second says they were under an evergreen oak tree (ὑπο πρίνον, hypo prinon), and Daniel says that an angel stands ready to saw (πρίσαι, prisai) him in two. The great difference in size between a mastic and an oak makes the elders' lie plain to all the observers. The false accusers are put to death, and virtue triumphs.
The Greek puns in the texts have been cited by someas proof that the text never existed in Hebrew or Aramaic, but other researchers have suggested pairs of words for trees and cutting that sound similar enough to suppose that they could have been used in an original. The Anchor Bible uses "yew" and "hew" and "clove" and "cleave" to get this effect in English.
The Greek text survives in two versions. The received version is due to Theodotion; this has superseded the original Septuagint version, which now survives only in Syriac translation, in Papyrus 967 (3rd century), and exceptionally in a single medieval manuscript, known as Codex Chisianus 88.
Sextus Julius Africanus did not regard the story as canonical. Jerome (347–420), while translating the Vulgate, treated this section as a non-canonical fable.In his introduction, he indicated that Susanna was an apocryphal addition because it was not present in the Hebrew text of Daniel. Origen received the story as part of the 'divine books' and censured 'wicked presbyters' who did not recognize its authenticity (Hom Lev 1.3.,) and remarks that the story was commonly read in the early Church (Letter to Africanus) but also noted the story's absence in the Hebrew text, observing (in Epistola ad Africanum) that it was "hidden" by the Jews in some fashion. Origen's claim is reminiscent of Justin Martyr's charge that Jewish scribes 'removed' certain verses from their Scriptures (Dialogue with Trypho: C.71-3). There are no known early Jewish references to the Susanna story.
The story was frequently painted from about 1470. Susanna is the subject of paintings by many artists, including (but not limited to) Lorenzo Lotto ( Susanna and the Elders , 1517), Guido Reni, Rubens, Van Dyck ( Susanna and the Elders ), Tintoretto, Rembrandt, Tiepolo, and Artemisia Gentileschi. Some treatments, especially in the Baroque period, emphasize the drama, others concentrate on the nude; a 19th-century version by Francesco Hayez (National Gallery, London) has no elders visible at all.The Uruguayan painter, Juan Manuel Blanes also painted two versions of the story, most notably one where the two voyeurs are not in sight, and Susanna looks to her right with a concerned expression on her face.
The story is portrayed on the Lothair Crystal, an engraved rock crystal made in the Lotharingia region of northwest Europe in the mid 9th century, now in the British Museum.
In 1681 Alessandro Stradella wrote an oratorio in two parts La Susanna for Francesco II, Duke of Modena, based upon the story.
In 1749, George Frideric Handel wrote an English-language oratorio Susanna .
Susanna (and not Peter Quince) is the subject of the 1915 poem Peter Quince at the Clavier by Wallace Stevens, which has been set to music by the American composer Dominic Argento and by the Canadian Gerald Berg.
American artist Thomas Hart Benton (1889–1975) painted a modern Susanna in 1938, now at the de Young Museum in San Francisco. He consciously included pubic hair, unlike the statue-like images of classical art. The fable was set during the Great Depression, and Benton included himself as one of the voyeurs.
The Belgian writer Marnix Gijsen borrows elements of the story in his first novel Het boek van Joachim van Babylon, 1947.
Pablo Picasso, too, rendered the subject in the mid-twentieth century, depicting Susanna much as he depicts his other less abstract reclining nudes. The elders are depicted as paintings hanging on the wall behind her. The picture, painted in 1955, is part of the permanent collection at the Museo Picasso Málaga.
The American opera Susannah by Carlisle Floyd, which takes place in the American South of the 20th century, is also inspired by this story, but with a less-than-happy ending and with the elders replaced by a hypocritical traveling preacher who rapes Susannah.
Shakespeare refers to this biblical episode in the trial scene of The Merchant of Venice , where first Shylock and then Gratiano praise Portia as being "A second Daniel" because of her sound judgments. Shakespeare is assumed to have named his eldest daughter after the biblical character.
The story is also repeated in the One Thousand and One Nights under the name The Devout Woman and the Two Wicked Elders.
The Bible is a collection of sacred texts or scriptures. Varying parts of the Bible are considered to be a product of divine inspiration and a record of the relationship between God and humans by Christians, Jews, Samaritans, and Rastafarians. The Bible appears in the form of an anthology, compiling texts of a variety of forms that are all linked by the belief that they collectively contain the word of God. These texts include theologically-embellished historical accounts, hymns, allegorical erotica, parables, and didactic letters.
Different religious groups include different books in their biblical canons, in varying orders, and sometimes divide or combine books. The Jewish Tanakh contains 24 books divided into three parts: the five books of the Torah ("teaching"); the eight books of the Nevi'im ("prophets"); and the eleven books of Ketuvim ("writings"). It is composed mainly in Biblical Hebrew, and its Septuagint is the main textual source for the Christian Greek Old Testament.
The Book of Daniel is a 2nd-century BC biblical apocalypse combining a prophecy of history with an eschatology which is both cosmic in scope and political in its focus. In more mundane language, it is "an account of the activities and visions of Daniel, a noble Jew exiled at Babylon," its message being that just as the God of Israel saved Daniel and his friends from their enemies, so he would save all of Israel in their present oppression.
The Book of Esther, also known in Hebrew as "the Scroll" (Megillah), is a book in the third section of the Jewish Tanakh and in the Christian Old Testament. It is one of the five Scrolls (Megillot) in the Hebrew Bible. It relates the story of a Hebrew woman in Persia, born as Hadassah but known as Esther, who becomes queen of Persia and thwarts a genocide of her people. The story forms the core of the Jewish festival of Purim, during which it is read aloud twice: once in the evening and again the following morning. The books of Esther and Song of Songs are the only books in the Hebrew Bible that do not mention God.
The deuterocanonical books are books and passages considered by the Catholic Church, the Eastern Orthodox Church, the Oriental Orthodox Churches and the Assyrian Church of the East to be canonical books of the Old Testament but which are considered non-canonical by Protestant denominations. They are thought to have been written sometime between 200 BC and 100 AD, and most are seen in copies of the Christian Greek Old Testament dating from the 4th century AD. While the New Testament never quotes from or ascribes canonical authority to these books, some say there is a correspondence of thought, while others see texts from these books being paraphrased, referred or alluded to many times in the New Testament, particularly in the Pauline Epistles depending in large measure on what is counted as a reference.
The Old Testament is the first part of the Christian biblical canon, which is based primarily upon the twenty-four books of the Hebrew Bible, a collection of ancient religious Hebrew writings by the Israelites believed by most Christians and religious Jews to be the sacred Word of God. The second part of Christian Bibles is the New Testament, originally written in the Koine Greek language.
The Greek Old Testament, or Septuagint, is the earliest extant Koine Greek translation of books from the Jewish Bible in Hebrew, various biblical apocrypha and deuterocanonical books. The first five books of the Hebrew Bible, known as the Torah or Pentateuch, were translated in the mid-3rd century BCE but did not survive as original translation texts into Greek from this time except as rare fragments. The remaining books of the Greek Old Testament presumably are translations from the period between 200 BCE and 50 CE.
The Hebrew Bible, which is also called the Tanakh or sometimes the Mikra, is the canonical collection of Hebrew scriptures. These texts are almost exclusively in Biblical Hebrew, with a few passages in Biblical Aramaic instead. The Hebrew Bible is also the textual source for the Christian Old Testament. The form of this text that is authoritative for Rabbinic Judaism is known as the Masoretic Text (MT) and it consists of 24 books, while the translations divide essentially the same material into 39 books for the Protestant Bible.
The Vulgate is a late-4th-century Latin translation of the Bible that was to become the Catholic Church's officially promulgated Latin version of the Bible during the 16th century, and is still used fundamentally in the Latin Church to this day.
2 Maccabees is a deuterocanonical book which focuses on the Maccabean Revolt against Antiochus IV Epiphanes and concludes with the defeat of the Seleucid empire general Nicanor in 161 BC by Judas Maccabeus, the hero of the hard work.
1 Esdras, also First Esdras, Greek Esdras, Greek Ezra, or 3 Esdras, is an ancient Greek version of the biblical Book of Ezra in use among the early church, and many modern Christians with varying degrees of canonicity. First Esdras is substantially derived from Masoretic Ezra–Nehemiah, with the passages specific to the career of Nehemiah removed or re-attributed to Ezra, and some additional material.
Hexapla is the term for a critical edition of the Hebrew Bible in six versions, four of them translated into Greek, preserved only in fragments. It was an immense and complex word-for-word comparison of the original Hebrew Scriptures with the Greek Septuagint translation and with other Greek translations. The term especially and generally applies to the edition of the Old Testament compiled by the theologian and scholar Origen, sometime before the year 240 CE.
Theodotion was a Hellenistic Jewish scholar, perhaps working in Ephesus, who in c. 150 CE translated the Hebrew Bible into Greek. Whether he was revising the Septuagint, or was working from Hebrew manuscripts that represented a parallel tradition that has not survived, is debated. In the 2nd century Theodotion's text was quoted in The Shepherd of Hermas and in Justin Martyr's Dialogue with Trypho. His finished version, which filled some lacunae in the Septuagint version of the Book of Jeremiah and Book of Job, formed one column in Origen of Alexandria's Hexapla, c. 240 CE. The Hexapla, now only extant in fragments, presented six Hebrew and Greek texts side-by-side: two Greek versions, by Aquila and Symmachus, and Theodotion's version following it, apparently reflecting a contemporary understanding of their historical sequence.
The Additions to Daniel comprise three chapters not found in the Hebrew/Aramaic text of Daniel. The text of these chapters is found in the Koine Greek Septuagint, the earliest Old Greek translation.
The biblical apocrypha denotes the collection of apocryphal ancient books thought to have been written some time between 200 BCE and 400 CE. Some Christian Churches include some or all of the same texts within the body of their version of the Old Testament.
The Old Testament is the first section of the two-part Christian biblical canon; the second section is the New Testament. The Old Testament includes the books of the Hebrew Bible (Tanakh) or protocanon, and in various Christian denominations also includes deuterocanonical books. Orthodox Christians, Catholics and Protestants use different canons, which differ with respect to the texts that are included in the Old Testament.
Rabbinic Judaism recognizes the 24 books of the Masoretic Text, commonly called the Tanakh or Hebrew Bible, as authoritative. Modern scholarship suggests that the most recently written are the books of Jonah, Lamentations, and Daniel, all of which may have been composed as late as the second century BCE.
Codex Marchalianus designated by siglum Q is a 6th-century Greek manuscript copy of the Greek version of the Hebrew Bible known as the Septuagint. The text was written on vellum in uncial letters. Palaeographically it has been assigned to the 6th century.
Susanna and the Elders is a painting by the Dutch artist Rembrandt from the Baroque period. It is an oil on panel painting completed in the year 1647. It depicts the story of Susanna, a Deuterocanonical text from the book of Daniel in the Bible. The painting is currently housed at the Gemäldegalerie in Berlin.
The following outline is provided as an overview of and topical guide to the Bible:
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