Bible & The Arts
Biblical Commentaries
Biblical Languages
Hebrew Bible / Old Testament
History of the Biblical Period
Literature of the Bible
New Testament
Theology of the Bible
Bible Bibliographies
Bible in the Modern World
Biblical Reception
Classic Reprints
Dictionary of Classical Hebrew
Dictionary of Classical Hebrew Revised
Earth Bible Commentary
Hebrew Bible Monographs
Journal of Greco-Roman Christianity and Judaism
New Testament Monographs
Readings: A New Biblical Commentary
Recent Research in Biblical Studies
Text of the Hebrew Bible
The Social World of Biblical Antiquity, First Series
The Social World of Biblical Antiquity, Second Series
Click here for titles coming soon...
Click here to view the latest titles
Click here to view the complete catalogue
Search Books & Journals
About Us
For Authors
For Customers
Contact Us

xii + 230 pp.

£27.50 / $45 / €40
Scholar's Price

£55 / $90 / €80
List Price

Lions and Ovens and Visions
A Satirical Reading of Daniel 1-6
David Valeta

Are the stories of Daniel at the court of the Persian king simply cheerful tales of a clever and successful courtier, as many assume? Valeta doubts it, insisting that the playful and fantastic storyline must have a more serious meaning.

The key to these narratives lies in their genre. These tales of lions and ovens and the like are examples of Menippean satire, argues Valeta, an ancient genre foregrounded in modern literary study by Bakhtin, who saw in the characteristic interplay of voices in the Menippean satire a prime instance of his ‘dialogism’. Especially typical of the Menippean satire is an indecorous mixing of styles and elements, which may be the explanation why the Daniel narratives are both comic and serious, Hebrew and Aramaic, episodic and unified.

Viewed as satire, the Daniel narratives emerge in their true colours as resistance literature to the regime of Antiochus IV—and so form a perfect accompaniment to the visions of Daniel 7–12.

David Valeta is Instructor in Religious Studies, University of Colorado, Boulder, Colorado.

Series: Hebrew Bible Monographs, 12
1-905048-53-X, 978-1-905048-53-3 hardback
Publication September 2008

The reading of Daniel 1–6 as satire rather than as instructional material on how to maintain Jewish identity in a diaspora community seems eminently plausible. D.W. Rooke, SOTS Book list.