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Thursday, 23-Feb-2006 16:08 Email | Share | Bookmark

The reputed tomb of the Prophet Daniel, real or supposed, is situated on the east bank of the river Shapour; immediately to the east rises the great mound of Susa. It is a building surmounted by a pineapple cone in white plaster and it is clearly of no great antiquity. It is typical of this part of Iran and also of Iraq. If we can believe the Book of Daniel, the Prophet was closely associated with Susa during his lifetime; it was at Shushan the Palace that he had his vision of the ram with two horns, one of which was higher than the other. According to Islamic sources, the Arabs discovered the coffin containing the Prophet’s remains in the castle of Susa when they occupied the city in the seventh century AD. On learning of this discovery, the Caliph Omar decreed that the river Sha’ur should be temporarily diverted and the coffin interred in the river bed; the stream was then to be allowed to resume its normal course (one may compare the story of the burial of Alaric in the bed of the Busento in Italy). Rabbi Benjamin of Tudela, who visited Susa in 1165, has a different story to tell; he claims that he saw the coffin containing the Prophet’s remains suspended by chains from the center of a bridge over the river. It would appear that while the remains had been interred on the eastern side of the river, the inhabitants on that side had enjoyed such unparalleled prosperity that it aroused the envy and jealousy of those on the west side. Feelings rose so high that fighting almost broke out, but a compromise was reached whereby the remains were interred for a year, first on the west side and then on the east side, and so on. When the Seljuk ruler Sultan Sanjar (who died in 1157 AD) heard of this arrangement, he said that it denoted a certain lack of respect for Daniel’s memory, and gave orders for the coffin to be suspended from the center of the bridge, so that those on either bank could receive equal benefit. Of these two stories the first appears to be the better founded, but we have no means of obtaining any proof. Moreover, there seems to be nothing on record as to when the Prophet’s remains (if, indeed, they are his) were transferred to their present resting-place in the shrine. The inhabitants of Susa and the surrounding district have, however, no doubts as to the authenticity of the remains, which they regard as possessing remarkable curative properties, as well as the power to bring rain in time of draught.
The Book of Daniel, written in Hebrew and Aramaic, is a book in both the Hebrew Bible (Tanakh) and the Christian Old Testament. The book is set during the Babylonian Captivity, a period when Jews were deported and exiled to Babylon. The book revolves around the figure of Daniel, an Israelite who becomes an advisor to Nebuchadnezzar, the ruler of Babylon from 605 BC - 562 BC.
The book has two distinct parts: a series of narratives and four apocalyptic visions. Three of the narratives involve Daniel, who has the gift of prophecy, interpreting the meaning of dreams and divine omens. Two other narratives feature Israelites who have been condemned for their piety being miraculously saved from execution. In the second part of the book, the author reveals and partially interprets a set of visions which are described in the first person.
The dating and authorship of Daniel has been a matter of great debate. The traditional view holds that the work was written by a prophet named Daniel who lived during the 6th century BC. In contrast, modern scholarly views generally regard the book as having been written much later, during the mid-2nd century BC. According to this view, the author gave the book the appearance of having been written some 400 years earlier in order to establish credibility by including correct "predictions" of numerous historical events which had occurred during the 5th-2nd centuries BC. A third view argues that while parts of Daniel were written during the 2nd century BC, other parts may have been written by other authors at an earlier date.

(From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia)

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