PART A: INTRODUCTORY MATERIAL CONCERNING DANIEL
- The Book of Daniel relates experiences of a Jewish prophet who lived in Babylonia during the Babylonian exile and the early part of the subsequent Persian period. The first half (chapters 1-6) contains the so-called “court tales,” i.e. experiences of Daniel and other Jewish captives at the court of the Babylonian rulers Nebuchadnezzar and Belshazzar, and the Median king, Darius. The second half of the book (chapters 7-12) relates four visions; two taking place during the reign of Belshazzar, one during the reign of Darius the Mede, and one during the reign of Cyrus. Of these, the first vision reported is in Aramaic (as are the court tales), but the last three are in Hebrew. It should also be noted that while the Masoretic (traditional Hebrew) text contains the material familiar to us in the King James Bible, there are two longer Greek versions which contain apocryphal material not found in the Masoretic text. Indeed, the Old Greek version includes material in Daniel 4-6 which does not exist in the Masoretic text, but is found among the apocryphal material, such as Bel and the Dragon (or “Bel and the Serpent”), Susanna, the Prayer of Azariah, and the Song of the Three Young Men. Collins considers this the most puzzling aspect of the textual history and says of it:
“This discrepancy is so striking that from an early time the Old Greek of these chapters was replaced in Church usage by the translation of Theodotion, which conformed closely to the Masoretic text. It is now clear that the Old Greek was not simply an errant translation of the text preserved by the Masoretes. It was based on a different Aramaic Vorlage, and the relationship of that Vorlage to the text now found in the MT is disputed. It is not apparent that either text can be derived simply from the other. The existence of such variant texts suggests that these chapters once circulated apart from the rest of the book, and that the tales may have been transmitted orally for a period.” 1Top
LanguagesThe book is in two languages: chapters 1:1-2:4a and 8:1-12:13 are in Hebrew, and 2:4b to 7:28 in Aramaic.
The Arrangement of the Book
As Di Lella notes:Top
The Book of Daniel is logically divided into ten sections. The first nine correspond almost exactly to the chapter divisions of the book, except for the fourth section (3:31 – 4:34) and the fifth (5:1 – 6:1), while the tenth goes from 10:1 to 12:13. This book is unique among all the books of the Bible, Old and New Testament, in that each of these sections forms a distinct unit separable from the rest. Any one of the ten sections could have existed independently of any of the others and would have been virtually as intelligible, or unintelligible, as it now stands in the Book of Daniel. . . . Superficially, the book seems to be a collection of once isolated mini-works brought together by some unknown editor or redactor who despite his work as compiler could hardly claim the title of author of the whole book. 2
- Furthermore, the book is a linguistic sandwich with Aramaic in the middle and Hebrew at the beginning and end. And there is not a correspondence between the two divisions of the book noted above (the court tales verses the visions) and the use of the two languages, because Hebrew is used for the introduction and three of the visions, while Aramaic is used for all the court tales and one of the visions.
Daniel as an historical character
- We may accept that Daniel really existed as an historical character. This is confirmed in the Old Testament by Ezekiel, who refers to him (Ezek. 14:14; 28:3), and later by Christ in the NT and by Joseph Smith’s referring to his prophecies. In the New Testament, Jesus refers to Daniel as a prophet when he mentions the abomination of desolation spoken of in Daniel 9:27 (see Matt. 24:15 and Mark 13:14). Furthermore, the imagery of the Son of man coming in the clouds (Mark: 13:26) is probably an allusion to Daniel 7:13.
- The book of Daniel also figured prominently in the early days of the Restored Church. When Joseph Smith and other church leaders were being examined by Judge Austin A. King in Richmond, Ray County, Missouri, they were questioned about their belief in Dan. 2:44, which deals with the kingdom which would be set up by God and destroy all other kingdoms. When they said they believed in it, the judge told his clerk to write down that it was a strong point for treason!
3 The belief of the early brethren in the authenticity of chapter 2 of Daniel was thus confirmed by this episode.
- Joseph also confirmed the reliability of Daniel 7 when he referred to it in his History of the Church.4 So we have confirmation from the New Testament and from the early brethren for chapters 2, 7 and 9 of Daniel. However, we have no such confirmation for chapters 10-12, which may have a significance that will be discussed below.
PART B: THE AUTHORSHIP AND DATING OF THE COMPOSITION OF DANIELTop
- The questions of authorship and dating of the Book of Daniel are tightly connected. For example, if we would like to assume a single author for the entire work, there are three possible dates. The first would be in the Persian period if we assume that the work was composed by Daniel himself, because it relates things that happened to Daniel as late as the third year of Cyrus, which was 537 or 536 B.C. At that time Daniel might have been 82 years old, assuming that he had been taken from Judea into Babylonia at about 15 years of age, since we are told in the first chapter of the book that he was taken there in the third year of the reign of Jehoiakim, which was 605 B.C., the year that Nebuchadnezzar first successfully attacked Jerusalem.
- The other time period in which a single author could be imagined is during the Maccabean period, if, as some suggest, the book had been written for the purpose of giving hope to the Jews suffering under Antiochus IV.
On the other hand, one might also posit multiple authors for the work. This is done by some scholars who do not see the book as a unified work. This is a very enticing approach, because the book is not even written in a single language, as one would expect if there had been only one author. But the issue is further complicated because one must distinguish between the question of original authorship and later redaction. For even if a single author originally composed the entire work, a later redactor might have modified it to the form which we now have.
5 So let us now proceed to look at the general theories on the dating of the composition and redaction.
The Maccabean Hypothesis
- Whereas the traditional Christian and Jewish view of Daniel, and of scriptures in general, may have been to consider such writing inspired (leaving aside the question of whether that meant the scriptures had to be taken literally or could be interpreted allegorically), the movement of biblical criticism, that really gained momentum in the 19th century, called that view into question.
- Biblical criticism was traditionally divided into two main branches: lower criticism and higher criticism. The former has existed for centuries and has as its object the comparison of various manuscripts of a particular text, and examines the differences between those manuscripts to attempt to reach a decision about which individual words and phrases are closer to the presumed original text, and thereby to establish a standard version of that text. This process produces what scholars refer to as a critical edition of the text. In other words, lower criticism, now referred to as textual criticism, was an attempt to get as close to the original text as possible.
- Higher criticism, on the other hand, studied the history and composition of biblical texts, attempting to understand when a text was written, who wrote it, for whom was it written, what were the influences (both internal and external), and similar questions. The specific branch of higher criticism that was most vigorously pursued was that of historical criticism, i.e. looking at the historical setting of a particular writing, the circumstances under which it was written, making an attempt to determine the date of its composition etc. This method, when applied to the Book of Daniel, found significant historical problems within the Book of Daniel. They noted that the kings listed in Daniel did not appear to be in the correct order in terms of their order of succession, and also that the book seemed well acquainted with events during the Hellenistic period, but ignorant of events, and even the vocabulary, of the period of the Babylonian Exile. Furthermore, they noted that some of the details about the kings were inaccurate. For example, they noted that Belshazzar was not the son of Nebuchadnezzar, but rather the son of Nabonidus, and that Nabonidus (as was discovered in cuneiform texts) was insane at the end of his life, while no such extra-biblical confirmation exists for the insanity of Nebuchadnezzar, who was represented in Daniel as becoming demented for a period of seven years.
- Based on such evidence, S. R. Driver was able to state over a century ago that Daniel could not have been written earlier than 300 B.C. and probably during the persecution of Antiochus Epiphanes between 168-165 B.C.
6 In fact, one writer stated already in 1887 that, “The date and composition of the Book of Daniel have been fixed with an absolute certainty. It is a Palestinian work of the year 169 or 168 before the Christian era.”
7 That position seems to many scholars to now be a well-established fact, not subject to further controversy or examination. This view is expressed by John Collins:
“In mainline scholarship, however, the great issues that made Daniel the focus of controversy for centuries were laid to rest in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. A broad consensus on several key issues has existed since then. It is agreed that Daniel is pseudepigraphic: the stories in chapters 1-6 are legendary in character, and the visions in chapters 7-12 were composed by persons unknown in the Maccabean era. The stories are almost certainly older than the visions, but the book itself was put together shortly after the Maccabean crisis. It must be read, then, as a witness to the religiosity of that time, not as a prophecy of western political history or of the eschatological future.” 8
- Collins notes, however, that the stories in Daniel 1-6 may have circulated for centuries and evolved before being added to the material that was redacted during the Maccabean period.9 In this vein, it is important to note that the date of the final redaction is usually given as ca. 165 B.C., for the terminus a quo is the desecration of the temple in 167 B.C., while the terminus ante quem is the restoration of the temple under the Maccabees in 165 B.C., because that event has no reference in the Book of Daniel.
- It is interesting to note that the Macabbean hypothesis is not a recent phenomenon. Yamauchi points out that Porphyry (A.D. 233-305), a disciple of the Neo-Platonist Plotinus, argued that Daniel was not a true prophecy, but rather was written during the time of Antiochus Epiphanes.
Proponents for an earlier date
- In spite of the pressure for a late dating of Daniel that was produced by scholars adhering to the principles of scientific investigation demanded by higher criticism, there were still voices here and there who voiced objections to that view, and some were able to do so using the very principles included in higher criticism.
- In that regard, it should be noted that there was another branch of higher criticism which was especially popular in the latter part of the 20th century, viz. that of literary criticism, which examines literary forms, structures and themes, but also includes an examination of the original language of the text, studying the various meanings of words, studying the grammar and usage of the vocabulary present in a writing. To this can be added the contribution of parallels from other writings of the same time period and geographic area, which can help confirm or refute certain assumptions about the work. These techniques were used not only by those who were fundamentally antagonistic to the concept of revelation, but were also employed by some able scholars, such as Robert Dick Wilson, who used those methods to defend the possibility of authenticity and revelation. Such scholars fought to maintain the view of an early date for the composition of Daniel.
- In order to achieve their goals, these scholars had to disprove the claims of those who advocated a late date for the composition of Daniel, and one of these arguments was based on the presence of three Greek words in chapter 3 of the book of Daniel. Those who supported the Macabbean hypothesis believed that the use of Greek words virtually proved that the book had to have been composed during the Hellenistic period. But the use of Greek words during the Persian period should not be surprising at all, because even as early Nebuchadnezzar’s time, while he was conquering Syria under his father in 607 B.C., he fought a battle against the Egyptian garrison at the Syrian city of Carchemish, and the Egyptian force included Greek mercenaries.
11 In fact, one of the terms, symphonia, was used by Pythagoras in the 6th century B.C., and as Montgomery points out, psalterion is a word which already appears in Aristotle,12 so there is no reason why we should not suppose that it existed much earlier and may thus have been carried into the East with mercenaries as well, in view of the wide ranging trade routes present in the Ancient Near East, so there is no reason why words for musical instruments could not have crept into the Aramaic usage during the Persian period.
13 In fact, Frank Gaebelein argues that the absence of Greek words for government institutions in Daniel argues against a late date, because such words would surely have been adopted into Aramaic by the second century B.C. if the composition had been written that late. 14 In line with this argument it has been pointed out that there are some 19 Persian words dealing with government officers in Daniel, and these surely speak for a composition date in the Persian period rather than the later Hellenistic era.
- Part of the problem of dating, however, is the question of the apparent discrepancies in the dates, names and chronological order of the kings mentioned in Daniel, which will be dealt with next.
The known succession of kings
- The kings mentioned in the book of Daniel include Nebuchadnezzar (chapters 1-4), Belshazzar (chapters 5, 7, 8), Darius the Mede (chapters 6, 11), Darius the son of Ahasuerus (also said to be a Mede, and therefore probably the same as the other Darius – chapter 9), Cyrus (chapter 10). Unfortunately, neither the names nor the order of kings in Daniel correspond to the actual successions of rulers that have been confirmed by other documents of the Ancient Near East. Thus it would appear on the surface that the writer of Daniel had a poor knowledge of the kings of the period during which the stories are set, and this has been used by some investigators as evidence that the author must have been writing during a later period.
- The rulers of Babylon and Persia during the period in question as known from other sources are:
1. Nebuchadnezzar II (king of Babylon) – reigned c. 605 to 562 BC.Top
2. Amel-Marduk (king of Babylon) – 562-560 BC
3. Neriglissar (king of Babylon) 560-556 BC
4. Labashi-Marduk (king of Babylon) 556 BC
5. Nabonidus (last king of Babylon) 556-539 BC, with Belshazzar as a coregent or lesser king over Babylon from 549-539
6. Cyrus the Great (king of Persia from 576 BC who invaded Babylonia) 539-530 BC
7. Cambyses II (king of Persia) 530-522 BC
8. Bardiya (Smerdis) 522 BC
9. Darius I the Great (king of Persia) 522-486 BC
10. Xerxes I the Great (king of Persia) 486-465 BC
- Attempts to explain the discrepancies with the names and chronology appearing in Daniel include suggestions that the later compiler (presumably working during the Hellenistic period) substituted the name of Nebuchadnezzar – a king still well known in the Hellenistic period – for that of Nabonidus – a name not well known during that period. This assumption was based on the further assumption that the references to the years of insanity attributed to Nebuchadnezzar were actually borrowed from events that happened to Nabonidus, rather than to Nebuchadnezzar, because we know from extra-biblical sources that Nabonidus had such problems. Collins, for example, states that such borrowing from the life of Nabonidus is confirmed by the finding of the Prayer of Nabonidus at Qumran.
16 The Prayer of Nabonidus, as edited by Cross,17 is as follows:
1. The words of the p(ra)yer which Nabonidus, king of (Ba)bylon, the great king, pray(ed when he was stricken)Top
2. with an evil disease by the decree of G(o)d in Teman. (I Nabonidus) was stricken with (an evil disease)
3. for seven years, and from (that) (time) I was like (unto a beast and I prayed to the Most High)
4. and, as for my sin, he forgave it (or: my sin he forgave). A diviner – who was a Jew o(f the Exiles - came to me and said:)
5. ‘Recount and record (these things) in order to give honour and great(ness) to the name of the G(od Most High.' And Thus I wrote: I)
6. was stricken with an evil disease in Teman (by the decree of the Most High God, and, as for me,)
7. seven years I was praying (to) gods of silver and gold, (bronze, iron,)
8. wood, stone (and) clay, because (I was of the opini)on that the(ey) were gods ( ).
- But this assumption (of the substitution of Nebuchadnezzar for Nabonidus) is not necessary, and does violence to the statement in Daniel 1:1 that the events took place beginning in the third year of Jehoiakim, and other solutions make more sense, as we shall see next. Furthermore, one can argue, as does R. D. Wilson, that there is nothing historical to contradict the suggestion that Nebuchadnezzar may also have been insane for seven years prior to his invasion of Egypt in 567 B.C.
Dates for the settings of the chapters of Daniel
- Chapter 1 is set in the third year of Jehoiakim, king of Judah. That would place in the year 606 BC. It is said that at that time Nebuchadnezzar came against Jerusalem, and calls Nebuchadnezzar “king of Babylon.” That would seem to be problematic, because it is known that Nebuchadnezzar did not become ruler of Babylon until his father died in 605 B.C., and Jeremiah 35:1 and 46:2 show that the first year of Nebuchadnezzar was in the fourth year of Jehoiakim. But the problem is solved when we realize that during the later years of Nabopolassar, the father of Nebuchadnezzar, father and son essentially ruled together. That is to say, Nabopolassar increasingly delegated responsibilities to Nebuchadnezzar. So it would not be wrong to refer to him as king of Babylon even before his father’s death.
- The second apparent problem with the date of 606 BC is that II Kings 24:12 says the conquest of Jerusalem and the looting of the temple took place in the eighth year of Nebuchadnezzar, which would have been around 597 B.C. However, there is a subtle difference between the reports in the two biblical loci: II Kings 24:13 says that at that time (i.e. about 597 B.C.) Nebuchadnezzar carried out all the treasures of the temple, while Daniel 1:2 says only that he took part of the temple treasures. Therefore we might assume that he took some of the temple treasures in 606 and then cleaned out the rest in his eighth year (597 B.C.). And while there is no other biblical record of the siege of Jerusalem in 606 B.C., there is confirmation from the Greek historian, Berossus, that Nebuchadnezzar did indeed lead an expedition to Jerusalem before the death of his father.
19 Therefore, the year of 606 B.C. can be accepted as the proper date for the setting in chapter 1 of Daniel.
- Chapter 2 speaks of a dream of Nebuchadnezzar in the second year of his reign, which would have been 604 BC. Chapters 3 and 4 also take place during the reign of Nebuchadnezzar, but specific year dates are not given for the events related in those chapters in the Masoretic text, but in the LXX there is an addition to the beginning of Daniel 4 which says that Nebuchadnezzar’s dream occurred in his 18th year,20 which would have been 587 or 586 BC.
- Chapter 5 takes place during the last year of Belshazzar, who is called a king, and reports his death. It reports furthermore, that upon the death of Belshazzar, Darius the Mede took over the kingdom. This presents two problems, at least on the surface. The first is the fact that the last ruler of Babylon was not Belshazzar, but Nabonidus. However, this is not really a problem, because it is known that Nabonidus had a son named Belshazzar, who had been in command during Nabonidus’ 10 year absence from Babylon when he was staying in Tayma. Of course, in the Book of Daniel, Belshazzar is said to have been the son of Nebuchadnezzar, when his biological father was actually Nabonidus. But that is not a real problem either, for adoptions were commonplace, not only at the later Roman courts, but also in the empires of the Ancient Near East. So Belshazzar could conceivably been adopted by Nebuchadnezzar, or perhaps Nabonidus had been adopted by Nebuchadnezzar, for “father” in Semitic usage was not confined to one’s immediate biological father, but could be used of any male ancestor. Or perhaps Nabonidus had married one of Nebuchadnezzar’s daughters, and Belshazzar was thus descended from Nebuchadnezzar through some marriage that is not preserved in any records.
- The second problem concerns Darius the Mede, who is said to have taken the kingdom after the death of Belshazzar. The conqueror of Babylon was not Darius, but rather Cyrus. However, just as Nebuchadnezzar was more or less coregent with his father, so too Darius might have been a dependent king serving under Cyrus. In that vein, we should note that the title “king” did not refer only to independent rulers. On the contrary, there were “sub-kings” in many instances. For example, we know of King Herod from the New Testament, but he did not rule independently; he was subject to the will of the Roman emperor. Likewise, there were supreme sovereigns in the Ancient Near East, and there were lesser kings who ruled under them. The supreme sovereigns often took the title “King of Kings” because they were indeed rulers over the dependent kings whom they had appointed to govern various parts of their empires. Furthermore, this practice is well attested in the Persian period, for in the Behistun inscription (Col. I, line 8), the later Darius speaks of his father, Hystaspes, as having been a king, yet he was only a satrap under Cambyses and probably Cyrus, but not an absolute ruler at any time. This fact allows us to view the statement in Daniel 6:29 (i.e. in the MT, but in the KJV it is v. 28) that Daniel prospered in the reign of Darius and in the reign of Cyrus the Persian” not as meaning that he prospered in two consecutive reigns, but rather that he prospered during the simultaneous reigns of those two rulers.
- But who is this Darius? Robert Dick Wilson thinks he is the same person (using a throne name different from his birth-name) as Gubaru (also known as Gobryas) who was the general assigned by Cyrus to conquer Babylon. He writes:
“. . . Darius the Mede is not called in Daniel either the king of Persia, or king of Media, or king of Medo-Persia; but simply ‘the Mede’ (vi, I; xi, I); or ‘the son of Xerxes of the seed of Media who had been made king over the kingdom of the Chaldeans.’ If Darius the Mede is the same as Ugbaru (Gubaru, Gobryas) the Pihat of Gutium, then he was made for a time the Pihat of the city of Babylon also. If Darius the Mede was not the same as Gobryas the Pihat of Gutius, then Daniel vi, I, ix, I, xi, I, must be taken along with v, 30, as meaning that Darius received the de jure kingdom of Belshazzar the Chaldean, that is, the kingdom of Chaldea. In this latter case, Gobryas will have succeeded Belshazzar as Pihat of the city of Babylon and Darius the Mede will have succeeded Belshazzar as king of Chaldea, both of them being under the suzerainty of Cyrus king of Persia and of the lands. This interpretation agrees with Daniel vi, 29, where it is said that Daniel prospered in the reign of Darius and in the reign of Cyrus the Persian. It agrees, also, with the statement of chapter vi, verses 9, 13, 16, that Darius the Mede was ruling according to the laws of Media and Persia.” 21
- Whether or not the identification of Darius the Mede with Gubaru is correct, it is probably reasonable to at least assume that he was a sub-king under Cyrus and did not rule Babylon independently, nor did the writer of Daniel intend to represent him as the supreme ruler over the Persian Empire. Therefore we may set the date for the events in chapter as 539 B.C.
- After chapter six, the dates are not sequential. In chapter seven, the vision is reported to have taken place in the first year of Belshazzar, who apparently ruled Babylon under the overlordship of his father, Nabonidus, from 549 B.C. So that would be the year of the vision in chapter seven.
- Chapter 8 purports to take place in the third year of Belshazzar, which would have been 547 B.C. if he began his reign in 549 B.C., but Josephus 22 says he ruled 17 years in Babylon, and if that is correct, his reign would have started around 556 B.C. and the third year would then have been around 553 B.C.
- The events of chapter 9 are supposed to have taken place during the first year of Darius, son of Ahasuerus. Ahasuerus in this case probably refers to Astyages, the last ruler of the Median Empire, who was dethroned in 550 B.C. by Cyrus the Great. This Darius is undoubtedly the same Darius as the one mentioned in chapter 5, and an identification with Gubaru, who conquered Babylon under Cyrus is also very likely if we can take Josephus’ report at face value, for he states that Darius the Mede and Cyrus, the king of Persia, conquered Babylon together, and that this Darius was a kinsman of Cyrus.
- The apocalypse contained in chapters 10-12 extends from the third year of Cyrus to the death of Antiochus IV, which means the period from 538 BC to 164 BC. Cyrus had actually been king of Persia from 576 BC, but in this context it appears to refer to his rule over an empire that included Babylonia, hence it would be three years after he captured Babylonia, or 536 BC.
Bilingualism in Daniel
- Driver mentions the explanation of Meinhold, that the Aramaic portion of Daniel was written around 300 BC, but was afterwards accommodated to the needs of the Maccabean age by a writer who prefixed the introduction and added chapters 7-12 with special regard to the persecutions of Antiochus. He then rejects the idea of dual authorship based on the facts that the introduction is an integral part of the text, and that the succeeding text would not be intelligible without it, and also the fact that chapter 7 relates to Antiochus (like the Hebrew text after it) and therefore cannot be considered as separate. 24
This raises the question of whether Daniel is a uniform work or a compilation of documents by various authors. Driver obviously favors the latter view, but the former view is upheld by the author of the Daniel article in the Catholic Encyclopedia:
“As apocalyptic writings usually bear the impress of compilation, one might naturally be tempted to regard the Book of Daniel - whose apocalyptic character has just been described - as a compilatory work. In fact, many scholars of the last century - some of whom were Catholic -have set forth positive grounds to prove that the author of the book has actually put together such documents as could make for his general purpose. At the present day, however, the opposite view, which maintains the literary unity of the Prophecy of Daniel, is practically universal. It is felt that the uniform plan of the book, the studied arrangement of its subject-matter, the strong similarity in language of its two main parts, etc. are arguments which tell very powerfully in favour of the latter position.” 25
- The problems with viewing Daniel as a uniform work by one author are numerous. One must answer some very basic questions, such as: Why did the author write in two different languages? Why are the sections not sequential? Why does the writer seem, in the Hebrew section, to be well acquainted with events of the Hellenistic period but not with events of the time of the Exile?
PART C: A WORKING HYPOTHESIS
- I would suggest that the Aramaic portions of the book of Daniel stem from the Persian period, originally composed during the early part of that period, in other words, toward the end of Daniel’s life or shortly thereafter. Evidence presented above shows how those chapters could be reliable in their historicity, especially since chapters 2 and 7 were validated by early leaders of the Restored Church, so there is no reason to doubt their authenticity.
- The Hebrew portions, on the other hand, seem to have been written during the Macabbean period. That is not to say that all the Hebrew material was invented during that era. Indeed, the confirmation of the reliability of part of chapter 9 by Christ’s reference to it in Matthew would seem to suffice for us to accept that idea that chapter 9 was taken from original, authentic material. On the other hand, chapters 10-12 appear to have been totally invented during the Macabbean period because of the detailed information on the wars that took place during the Hellenistic period up to the time of Antiochus IV, without knowing anything about the circumstances surrounding the death of Antiochus, who died of some disease in 164 B.C. during an eastern campaign against the Parthians. If chapters 10-12 had been a true prophecy, why would the narrative have stopped short of describing the final scene, i.e. the death of Antiochus? So these chapters were very likely created out of whole cloth around 165 B.C. to give encouragement to the Jews who were suffering under the Hellenists. Similarly, chapter 8, which describes the rise of the Hellenistic powers using the imagery of the ram and the goat, could well be an invention by the same redactor.
- But this position begs the question, why did that redactor include chapter 9 and why was it in Hebrew? The answer may be the fact that chapter 9 ends with a reference to the desecration of the temple and the redactor thought that would fit well with the desecration of the temple that took place under Antiochus. And if that material was then really authentic, it probably existed first in Aramaic just as did chapters 2-7, but he may have presented it in Hebrew because it was part of a longer Aramaic version which would require extensive editing anyway, so he simply re-wrote it in Hebrew and inserted it into the final portion of his work along with the other Hebrew material
- If the above assumptions are valid, then we have the picture of a redactor living during the end of the reign of Antiochus IV who has access to Aramaic versions of Daniel stories (and at least one vision) which have been handed down, perhaps as separate works, from Persian times. This redactor and his audience are primarily Hebrew speakers, but they also understand Aramaic. They are living in difficult times when their religion and even their persons are threatened by Hellenistic rulers, and he wants to create something that will give them hope. So he takes the Aramaic Daniel material at his disposal, writes an introduction in Hebrew (because that is his primary language and that of his audience), leaves the Aramaic material in Aramaic (because they all understand that sufficiently well), heavily edits one Aramaic piece that refers to the desecration of the temple so he can use it in his work, and then fabricates the stories about the king of the north and the king of the south to describe the wars between the Seleucid and Ptolemaic rulers, and puts that is the form of a prophecy with a good outcome and places it at the end of the other danielic material to give it the weight of authority from a recognized prophet.
- This hypothesis is not at odds with revealed doctrine as far as I know, because we recognize that biblical material is reliable only as far as it is “translated correctly,” which we understand to include concept of also being “transmitted correctly.” And it confirms the reliability of the Aramaic portions, while also accepting that chapter 9 is taken from original Aramaic material, and emphasizing the futurity of the desecration of the temple as pointed out in the New Testament.
PART D: THE TEXT
- The verse division in the Masoretic text differs somewhat from the versification in the King James Bible as follows:
MT 1:1-3:33 = KJV 1:1-4:3
MT 4:1-34 = KJV 4:4-4:37
MT 5:1-5:30 = KJV 5:1-5:30
MT 6:1-6:29 = KJV 5:31-6:28
MT 7:1-12:13 = KJV 7:1-12:13
2. Hartman and Di Lella 1978:9.
3. Joseph Smith, History of the Church, Vol. 3, introduction by B. H. Roberts, p. L
4. ibid. Vol. 5, p. 341
5. cf. the quote from di Lella included above in the introduction.
6. Driver 1900:xlvii
7. Derenbourg 1887:8.
8. Collins 2001:2.
9. ibid., p. 5
10. Yamauchi, p. 17, he notes that this report on Porphyry came from Jerome and refers the reader to J. Braverman, Jerome’s Commentary on Daniel (Washington, D.C.: Catholic Biblical Association, 1978), 116 n. 1.
11. see Fischer Weltgeschichte, Vol. 4, p. 98
12. Montgomery 1959:22.
13. As early as 1868, Pusey had already given an argument against using the presence of Greek words to support a late date for the composition when he said, “The older inventors (sic) of the Greek words in Daniel were wrong as to the language and facts, but they were right in the principle, that foreign words, which should be any proof as to the date of a book, must be among the common words of a language. Our French words are a perpetual memorial of the Norman conquest; the Persian, Chinese, Malay, Mexican, Malabar and other names of articles of commerce in English are indications only of the existence of that commerce. So also as to the musical instruments. They are no more evidence that the book of Daniel was written amid intercourse with Greeks, than the word χρυος in Homer, or αρπη in Hesiod, prove that they lived among Phoenicians.” (p. xl)
14. Gaebelein 1985:21.
15. For example, Walter Elwell and Philip Comfort in the Tyndale Bible Dictionary, Wheaton, Illinois: Tyndale House Publishers, 2001, p. 352
16. Collins 2001:5f.
17. Cross 1984.
18. R.D. Wilson 1917:290f.
19. cf. R. D. Wilson 1917:58.
20. Thus says Robert Dick Wilson, p. 290. I have not seen that insertion.
21. R.D. Wilson 1917:109.
22. Josephus, Antiquities of the Jews, Book X, chapter XI, section 4
24. Driver, 1900:xxii.
25. This article is available in the online version of the Catholic Encyclopedia at www.newadvent.org.
26. Chapter 8 may then have been either a new creation or a reworking of some authentic Daniel material, I cannot say which was the case.
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