Skip to main contentAccessibility feedback

Dear catholic.com visitors: This website from Catholic Answers, with all its many resources, is the world's largest source of explanations for Catholic beliefs and practices. A fully independent, lay-run, 501(c)(3) ministry that receives no funding from the institutional Church, we rely entirely on the generosity of everyday people like you to keep this website going with trustworthy , fresh, and relevant content. If everyone visiting this month gave just $1, catholic.com would be fully funded for an entire year. Do you find catholic.com helpful? Please make a gift today. SPECIAL PROMOTION FOR NEW MONTHLY DONATIONS! Thank you and God bless.

Dear catholic.com visitors: This website from Catholic Answers, with all its many resources, is the world's largest source of explanations for Catholic beliefs and practices. A fully independent, lay-run, 501(c)(3) ministry that receives no funding from the institutional Church, we rely entirely on the generosity of everyday people like you to keep this website going with trustworthy , fresh, and relevant content. If everyone visiting this month gave just $1, catholic.com would be fully funded for an entire year. Do you find catholic.com helpful? Please make a gift today. SPECIAL PROMOTION FOR NEW MONTHLY DONATIONS! Thank you and God bless.

How can a story from the book of Daniel be true if a dragon appears in it?

Question:

How can I argue that the story of Bel and the Dragon (Dn 14) is true when a dragon, an imaginary creature, appears in the story?

Answer:

Daniel 14 records that some of the Babylonians around Daniel worshipped a living creature as a god, and this creature is called a drakon in the Greek version of Daniel 14. While the term drakon is often translated into English as “dragon,” this is not the only meaning of the term in the Septuagint Greek in which Daniel 14 is written.

In the Septuagint drakon is used to translate a wide variety of Hebrew words denoting various kinds of terrifying animals, including terrestrial animals, such as the wolf (Mi 1:8), snake (Ex 32:33), and large reptiles (Jb 40:20[25]), as well as marine animals, such as actual sea creatures (Ps 103[104]:26) . . . While modern English translations still prefer to translate drakon in our verse as “dragon” (with all the awesomeness, mystery, and eerie nuances that word may have), it is nonetheless better to render it as “snake,” since candidates for our sacred drakon must be limited to the ranks of actual living creatures. (Carey A. Moore, Daniel, Esther, and Jeremiah: The Additions, 141-142)

Some translators are now referring to the story of “Bel and the Dragon” as “Bel and the Snake,” snake worship being common in the ancient world.

 

Did you like this content? Please help keep us ad-free
Enjoying this content?  Please support our mission!Donatewww.catholic.com/support-us