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Old Testament Essays

On-line version ISSN 2312-3621
Print version ISSN 1010-9919


VAN DEVENTER, H. J. M. (Hans). Literary lions with real bite: Re-examining the intertextual rhetoric in Daniel 6. Old testam. essays [online]. 2015, vol.28, n.3, pp.832-846. ISSN 2312-3621.

The story of Daniel in the lion's pit (Dan 6) is still one of the most well-known stories in the HB. The way the story has been captured in visual form by the "Old Masters" as well as contemporary depictions thereof in children's Bibles are indicative of its ability to captivate the imagination. In scholarly circles the story has also received considerable attention, most of which relates to issues of historical and/or literary nature. Thus, it has been proposed that the story in the HB may be the result of a mistaken "literalization" of a Babylonian literary motif. The present paper seeks to address the issue of such a symbolic understanding of the lions in the story. However, instead of looking to the Babylonian context for a literary antecedent, it is proposed that Israel's own literary tradition may shed light into this dark pit. The study of the metaphor of "teeth " in the Psalter points to a literary connection between the malicious accusations of the "presidents and satraps" (in Dan 6) and Daniel's eventual fate among the lions.

Keywords : Daniel 6; Psalms; lions in the Bible; literary history; intertextuality.

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