IL THE HISTORY OF SUSANNA.
1. Title and position.—This apocryphal piece has different titles. Sometimes it is called (Eova dppa) Susanna, sometimes (Aa.147)X) Daniel, and sometimes pciKincns ActuojX) The Y udgment of Da niel. Equally uncertain is its position. The Vat. and Alex. MSS., and the Vet. Lat., place it before the first chapter of Daniel, whilst the Sept., after the Cod. Chisianus and Theodotion ed Complu., put it after chap. xii.
2. Design.—The design of this attractive story is to celebrate the triumph of womanly virtue over temptations and dangers, and to exalt the wisdom of Daniel in saving the life of the pious heroine. St. Chrysostom rightly sets forth the beautiful lesson of chastity which this story affords, when he says, God permitted this trial, that he might publish Susanna's virtue, and the others' inconti nence ; and, at the same time, by her exemplary conduct, give a pattern to the sex of the like reso lution and constancy in case of temptation' (Sera. de Susanna). The story of Susanna is therefore read in the Roman church on the vigil of the 4th Sunday in Lent, and in the Anglican church on the 22d of November.
3. Character, author, date, and original lan guage.—Though the form of this story, as we now have it, shews that it is greatly embellished, yet there is every reason to believe that it is not wholly fictitious, but based upon fact. The paranoma sias in Daniel's examination of the elders, when he is represented as saying to the one who affirmed he saw the crime committed, irrb crxipov, under a mastich-tree, the angel of God bath received sen tence of God, or lacer, to cut thee in two and to the other, who asserted he saw it committed, inrd viivov, under a holm tree, the angel of the Lord waiteth with the sword, irpicrat, or Aker, to cut thee in two,' only prove that the Greek is an elaboration of an old Hebrew story, but not that it originated with the Alexandrine translator of Daniel. The Song of Solomon may have sug gested material to the author. The opinion of Eusebius, Apollinarius, and St. Jerome, that the prophet Habakkuk is the author of the History of Susanna, is evidently derived from the Greek in. scription of the History of Bel and the Dragon.