Susanna, the History of
Susanna, The History Of, being one of the appendices to the canonical book of Daniel. SEE DANIEL, APOCRYPHAL ADDITIONS TO.
1. Title and Position. — This Apocryphal piece has different titles. Sometimes it is called (Σουσάννα) Susanna, sometimes (Δανιήλ) Daniel, and sometimes (Διάκρισις Δανιήλ) The Judgment of Daniel. Equally uncertain is its position. The Vat. and Alex. MSS. and the Vet. Lat. place it before the first chapter of Daniel, while the Sept., after the Cod. Chisianus and Theodotion, ed. Complu., put it after ch. 12.
2. Design. —The object 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. 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' incontinence; and, at the same time, by her exemplary conduct, give a pattern to the sex of the like resolution and constancy in case of temptation" (Serra. de Susanna). The story of Susanna is therefore read in the Roman Church on the vigil of the fourth Sunday in Lent, and in the Anglican Church on Nov. 22,
3. Character; Author, Date, and Original Language. — Though the form of this story, as we now have it, shows that it is greatly embellished, yet there is every reason to believe that it is not wholly fictitious, but based upon fact. The paronomasias in Daniel's examination of the elders, when he is represented as saying to the one who affirmed he saw the crime committed, ὑπὸ σχῖνον, under a mastich-tree, "the angel of God hath received sentence of God, σχίσαι σε μέσον, to cut thee in two;" and to the other, who asserted he saw it committed, ὑπὸ πρῖνον, under a holm- tree, the angel of the Lord waiteth with the sword, πρίσαι σε μέσον, 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 suggested material to the author. The opinion of Eusebius, Apollinarius, and Jerome, that the prophet Habakkuk is the author of the History of Susanna is evidently derived from the Greek inscription of the History of Bel and the Dragon. SEE APOCRYPHA.
II. One of the women who ministered to our Lord's personal wants out of their private means (Lu 8:2-3). A.D. 28.