The presence of words deriving from Greek κιθάρα (“cithara”), σαμβύκη (“sambuca”), ψαλτήριον (“psaltery”), and συμϕωνία (“symphonia”) in Dan 3 has long been taken as damning evidence against the traditional sixth-century BCE date of composition for the book of Daniel. For the past fifty years, however, scholars have increasingly argued that Greek loanwords could have occurred in sixth-century Aramaic. In this article, I challenge the underlying assumption that the Greek words in Dan 3 result from lexical borrowing. They are characterized by a lack of phonological and morphological integration. This suggests that they are not established loanwords but instances of code-switching: Greek linguistic material was inserted into an Aramaic framework by a multilingual author, writing for an audience that was similarly multilingual. As widespread proficiency in Greek is not known to have occurred in the Near East before the Macedonian conquests of the 330s, the identification of these words as code switches thus limits their use in Dan 3 to the Hellenistic period and strongly suggests that they were used for literary effect: together with the lack of Greek code-switching elsewhere in the chapter, they highlight the transience of worldly empires. The phonology of the Greek underlying these code-switches as revealed by the use of matres lectionis, moreover, points to a terminus post quem of ca. 200 BCE, later than the story collection of Dan 2–6 is usually held to have been put together.

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