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.
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The narrative of Bel and the Dragon is incorporated as chapter 14 of the extended Book of Daniel. The text exists only in Greek. The original Greek Old Testament (Septuagint) text survives in Codex Chisianus.
This chapter, along with chapter 13, is rejected by Rabbinic Judaism, but is viewed as canonical by both Catholic and Orthodox Christians. It is considered apocryphal by Protestants.
The chapter contains a single story that may previously have represented three separate narratives, which place Daniel at the court of Cyrus, king of the Persians: “When King Astyages was laid to rest with his ancestors, Cyrus the Persian succeeded to his kingdom.” There Daniel “was a companion of the king, and was the most honored of all his Friends” (14:1).
The narrative of Bel (14:1–22) ridicules the worship of idols. In it, the king asks Daniel, “You do not think Bel is a living god? Do you not see how much he eats and drinks every day?” to which Daniel answers that the idol is made of clay covered by bronze and thus cannot eat or drink. Enraged, the king then demands that the seventy priests of Bel show him who consumes the offerings made to the idol. The priests then challenge the king to set the offerings as usual (which were “twelve great measures of fine flour, and forty sheep, and six vessels of wine”) and then seal the entrance to the temple with his ring: if Bel does not consume the offerings, the priests are to be sentenced to death; otherwise, Daniel is to be killed.