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Daniel in the Den of Lions: Early medieval carvings and their origins

Daniel in the Den of Lions: Early medieval carvings and their origins

By Tina Negus

Folk Life: Journal of Ethnological Studies, Vol.44 (2005-6)

Introduction: Your God himself, whom have served so faithfully, will gave to save you.

These words, spoken by King Darius the Mede as he had the prophet Daniel thrown into the den of lions for the crime of refusing to worship him, have echoed down the centuries. This events took place in Babylon, in the middle of the sixth century B.C., thought the account as given in the Old Testament is much later. Daniel’s God did indeed save him, and ever since he has been taken as an example of faith and righteousness, together with Jonah and with three young men in the fiery furnace. His trust in the Lord and his innocence are seen as a protection against evil. It is not surprising therefore that images of Daniel are found from the earliest years of Christianity until medieval times. Indeed, Daniel may be taken as a prefigurement of Christ himself.

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