Susannah’s Virtues by Patrick Henry Reardon

Susannah’s Virtues

The Prayer of Distress & the Cause of Justice

by Patrick Henry Reardon

When Dr. Martin Luther decided to limit the books of the Old Testament to those contained in the classical rabbinical canon, one of the eventual casualties of his decision was the memorable account of chaste Susannah, a dramatic and fast-moving story that forms chapter 13 of the Book of Daniel in the traditional Latin version of the Bible. For Protestants the Susannah narrative, along with all other Old Testament material not contained in the Hebrew/Aramaic canon, was thenceforth transferred to what became known as the “Apocrypha,” thus effectively guaranteeing that many later Christians would take it less seriously and probably read it less often. In our own country, in fact, where most Protestant Bibles have traditionally been published sans the Apocrypha, it is arguable that a good number of ardent Bible readers at present are quite unfamiliar with the story of Susannah.

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Patrick Henry Reardon is pastor emeritus of All Saints Antiochian Orthodox Church in Chicago, Illinois, and the author of numerous books, including, most recently, Out of Step with God: Orthodox Christian Reflections on the Book of Numbers (Ancient Faith Publishing, 2019).

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