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.

* * *

Bel and the Dragon