The moral line is also
the 'zero' line in the scientific sense. It cuts through the center of
civilization. It is not a line of power, but a dividing line. Above
the line unfolds the human dimension in an upward flow of spiritual and
scientific development. Below the line we drop into depravity, the
subhuman. The line itself is a fine line, and it it easily crossed,
especially when universal principles seem infinitely distant from the
immediate scene, too distant to matter. Mankind is vulnerable, there, at
the zero-scientific stage. Caution is urgent.
Susanna finds herself
surprised by two elders while preparing for a bath, demanding sex with
her. But she would not comply. She held out even in the face of threats.
Rebuffed the elders make the threats come true. They accuse her of
adultery, which carries the death penalty. During her trial before the
community she is convicted, and the elders are believed. Alas, Daniel
comes to her aid. He questions each of the elders is isolation, about
details they had to invent fast to make their case stick, and as expected
each one told different lies, by which the elders convicted themselves and
Susanna was restored her freedom. The fine line was crossed in many ways
in the story. The truth was precious here. It still is.
The Susanna story
appears to have helped swing the tide against the Thirty Years War as it
discredited the lying stories of the war philosophers of that time. The
war ended in 1648 with the Peace of Westphalia, a peace that became the
foundation for modern civilization, built on the recognition of the
sovereignty of individuals and nations, tall or small, mighty or weak.
The principle of
Westphalia is presently challenged as never before, by the forces of
empire, and once again the banner reads: In lies we trust!
The Susanna story has
evidently changed the world in ways by which empires feel themselves
deeply threatened, so much so that the story has been censored and removed
from the Bible. The chapter Daniel 13 no longer exists, except in the Apocrypha,
a collection of 'expired' biblical stories.