Hippolytus of Rome's "Commentary on Daniel" is the oldest surviving Christian commentary on Scripture. It was composed by Hippolytus of Rome between 202 and 211 AD, a time of great persecution. This is the first complete English translation. Hippolytus seems to have undertaken this commentary to comfort his fellow Christians, who, like Daniel and his three companions, suffered for their faith. For Hippolytus, suffering was not something to fear, but something to be gladly embraced. In his commentary he beseeches Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, "Tell me, you three boys, remember me, I entreat you, that I also may obtain the same lot of martyrdom with you." His request was fulfilled; Hippolytus suffered martyrdom in 235 AD after being exiled to Sardinia. Hippolytus also tries to provide assurance about what is expected in the end times when Christ returns. While interpreting the visions in the book of Daniel, he makes some prophetic predictions of his own; for example, when interpreting the dream of Nebuchadnezzar he says that after the empire of the Romans, "democracies are shown." Additionally Hippolytus gives information on Peter's and Paul's deaths, Paul's encounter with a lion, a short conversation between Judas and Jesus, the birthday of Christ (which he claims is December 25th), and provides insight into early Christian eschatology and allegory as well as canonical issues involving apocryphal parts of the book of Daniel.
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