Early Christian writers made frequent use of the story of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego and their experience in the fiery furnace. Often, this story was associated with the hope of resurrection (especially when used in iconography), but textually the story was retold in literature related to martyrdom at the hands of the Roman Empire. In the context of early Christianity, questions of loyalty and disloyalty to the state were driven by religious and political commitments in a way that appears analogous to those presented in the book of Daniel. Texts such as Origen's Exhortation to Martyrdom, as well as Hippolytus's commentary on Daniel reflect the association made between Dan 3 and martyrdom. Following the conversion of Constantine, however, the interpretation of Dan 3 shifted in light of changing historical and social circumstances. In the works of Chrysostom and Theodoret of Cyrus, the threat of empire diminishes, with attention focused instead on the virtuous lives of the three youths.

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