The Lost Apocrypha of the Old Testament/Daniel

Daniel

Of Daniel I will take leave to say but little. Imbedded somewhere in the apocryphal Seventh Vision or Apocalypse, of which we have versions in Greek, Coptic, Armenian and other tongues, there may lurk quite old elements: but, as we have them, the texts are of very late complexion. There are legendary lives of Daniel, too, e. g. one in Persian: and there is a Passion of Daniel and the Three Children in Greek, which tells how all four were beheaded by a tyrant Atticus, a successor of Nebuchadnezzar. It is a curious tale, to which little attention has been paid. There is an abstract of it, with a picture, in the great illustrated Menology of Basil in the Vatican.

If I am asked which of these documents is meant by the "pseudepigrapha of Daniel" in the lists, I should hazard the answer that it is an old form of the Seventh Vision.

The Dreambook or Somniarium of this prophet is also quite old: it exists in many forms and languages. Usually it is an alphabetical list of objects that are likely (in the compiler's opinion) to be dreamt about, with an indication of the meaning of each. A short preface opens it, the gist of which is that the princes and all the people of Babylon begged Daniel to explain to them the dreams which they saw, and he sat down and wrote this book.

We pass to the minor prophets. Only three names out of the twelve seem to have attracted the makers of apocryphal books: Habakkuk, Zephaniah, Zechariah.