Study Guide

Book of Daniel Allusions

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Literary and Philosophical References

The book of Susanna is from the Biblical Apocrypha, and it adds in another episode to the saga of Daniel. This time, he's a righteous wise man and judge who helps save a young woman from sexual assault and blackmail by a group of lecherous Elders—seems like the kind of boss thing Daniel would do.

Bel and the Dragon
This is another book from the Apocrypha, continuing the saga of Daniel. In this story, Daniel is still at the court of a foreign king—this time the Persian King Cyrus. Dan gets up to the same ol' hi-jinks, refusing to worship an idol of the god Bel and generally showing the king what's what. Oh, and he also kills a dragon (that people in Babylon are worshipping for some reason) by feeding it bad cakes. And he makes another trip into the lions' den, this time getting rescued by the prophet Habbakuk.

The Book of Daniel, by E.L. Doctorow
This novel references the Biblical Daniel, but it's actually a fictional version of the story of the two spies—Julius and Ethel Rosenberg (though the characters have different names)—who gave the secret of the A-Bomb to the Soviet Union. The book focuses on the main characters' son, Daniel, who is dealing with the aftermath of his parents' execution for treason.

"Mene, Mene, Tekel, Upharsin" by John Cheever
Referencing the "writing on the wall" from Belshazzar's feast—one of the original examples of graffiti—the narrator of this tale, from short story master John Cheever, tells of the various examples of graffiti he's written, scrawled in bathrooms and elsewhere.

Endgame, by Samuel Beckett
This gloomy genius's masterpiece features main-characters who, like Belshazzar, are trapped in their own endgame—facing inevitable destruction and devastation, or the aftermath of it. They reference the "writing on the wall" episode.

Right Ho, Jeeves, by P.G. WodehouseThis book is part of a series that narrates the comic misadventures of Bertie Wooster and his butler, Jeeves. It includes an extended section that references the "Belshazzar's Feast" episode from Daniel.

Pop Culture References

"Rack, Shack, and Benny"—Veggie Tales Episode
This episode of the popular Christian children's show tells the tale of a group of pious vegetables—the produce equivalent of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego—who undergo a time of trials within a fiery furnace. (Nebuchadnezzar is played by a talking pickle.) It includes a very catchy song about worshipping a giant chocolate bunny as an idol. But since that's linked multiple times elsewhere, here's another clip.

"Survival"—Bob Marley and the Wailers
This classic tune by Bob Marley and the Wailers compares the difficulties suffered by enslaved Africans, who were brought to the Americas, to those suffered by Daniel in the lions' den, as well as Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego in the fiery furnace.

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