Bel and the Dragon
Bel And The Dragon HISTORY OF, an apocryphal and uncanonical book of Scripture. SEE APOCRYPHA. It was always rejected by the Jewish Church, and is extant neither in the Hebrew nor the Chaldee language. Jerome gives it no better title than that of "the fable" of Bel and the Dragon; nor has it obtained more credit with posterity, except with the divines of the Council of Trent, who determined that it should form part of the canonical Scriptures. The design of this fiction is to render idolatry ridiculous, and to exalt the true God; but the author has destroyed the illusion of his fiction by transporting to Babylon the worship of animals, which was never practiced in that country. This book forms the fourteenth chapter of Daniel in the Latin Vulgate; in the Greek it was called the prophecy of Habakkuk, the son of Jesus, of the tribe of Levi; but this is evidently erroneous, for that prophet lived before the time of Nebuchadnezzar, and the events pretended to have taken place in this fable are assigned to the time of Cyrus. There are two Greek texts of this fragment; that of the Septuagint, 'and that found in Theodotion's Greek version of Daniel. The former is the most ancient, and has been translated into Syriac. The Latin and Arabic versions, together with another Syriac translation, have been made from the text of Theodotion. — Davidson, in Horne's Introd. new ed. 1:639. SEE DANIEL (APOCRYPHAL ADDITIONS TO).