Antiochus IV Epiphanes
Acceptance into the Canon
Daniel: Is it in the Prophets or the Writings?
Is Daniel a Pseudonym?
Are Daniel's Prophecies ex eventu?
the Book of Daniel a Unified Whole?
Daniel's Spelling of Nebuchadnezzar
Daniel And Jeremiah
Daniel and the book Wisdom of Sirach
Daniel and Darius the Mede
Daniel and the Prayer of Nabonidus
Daniel of Ugarit
Prophecies of the Kingdoms
Note to the reader: This document, written by David J. Conklin, has been altered slightly by the webmasters of this site to facilitate the readers understanding by making it more user friendly for the web. There is a list of abbreviations used in this document that occurs near the bottom. The contents of this document have been set up so that when you find one of these abbreviations, you can click on it, and the browser will go to the list of abbreviations at the bottom of this document. After you have found the abbreviation and it's definition, you may return by clicking on the Back Button at the top of your browser, and it should return you to the same location where you left off reading. A similar thing has also been done with the bibliography, for your convenience, so that you can look up individual references in the bibliography and then return to your reading. It is hoped that these simple changes will make the study of this document more enjoyable and informative. The list of abbreviations is in alphabetical order, and the bibliography is also in alphabetical order by author's last name. - the webmasters of http://www.666man.net.
Since certain prophecies in the book of Daniel seem to have their fulfillment in Antiochus IV Epiphanes and since some people have a presuppositional bias against predictive prophecy [Eissfeldt, 520] they believe that the book of Daniel must have been written at the time of the Antiochus, roughly 164 B.C. to 169/7 B.C.. [DiLella, 134; for the last date see Meyers and Rogerson, 278--they say that the tribulations that caused the Book of Daniel to be written [was] Antiochus' assault on the temple and Jerusalem. However, Collins (1984): 36 puts the date "between the profanation of the temple in 167 and the end of 164 BC."] That, in short, is the Maccabean thesis; for more of a description see Ferch (1986): 6-11. Anthony Collins, in 1727, expressed the modern critical arguments for the 2nd century dating of Daniel when he revived Porphyry's arguments. Anthony Collins noted the following features: "the historical problems, the Greek words, the prophecies relating to the second century ..., the book's location among the Writings, [and] the late Aramaic." [Goldingay, xxxvi] We will examine each of these features in this study. To use a suggestion made by Goldingay we will determine the truth "from actual study of the text of Scripture". We will also note where Goldingay and others have failed to do the same. We will not deal with the claims made by "some radical critics [who] have overreached themselves in finding 'absurdities' throughout the [book]." [Montgomery, 72 note 17]
We will find that there are a more than a few problems with the view of a Maccabean date for Daniel. Simply put, there is no evidence whatsoever that the book was written in 164/5 B. C.. It is only a theory and it needs to be called into question for the reasons I will show below. The usual claims in regards to the date of the book of Daniel are "examples of how much has been built on so little yet constantly reiterated by commentators till their weaknesses were exposed". [Robinson, 342] Yet one should take note of how old some of the sources are (in some cases from the late 1800's to early 1900's; and in one case from 1771!) which refute the commonly made claims.
As you will see it seems apparent that what has happened is that most writers have typically superimposed an a priori pattern upon the book and have then attempted to force the pieces to fit that pattern--and they have done this mostly by ignoring the evidence. In a review of Baldwin's commentary on Daniel the writer noted that she "gently chides advocates of the second-century date of the book [have] failed to change significantly their standard presentation since Driver [S. R. Driver, The Book of Daniel. (Cambridge, 1900)] -- and this despite recent discoveries." [Gammie (1980): 453]
Daniel J. Boorstin has said: "The greatest obstacle to discovery is not ignorance--it is the illusion of knowledge." It is hoped that this study will lead the reader to re-consider and re-evaluate what they have read and heard in the past. My personal experience is that I was not aware of the level of, kinds of, and the sheer amount of detail in regards to the date of Daniel until I undertook this study. I really have to thank Farrel Till for publishing in his Skeptical Review an article by William Sierichs, Jr. about the book of Daniel ("Daniel in the Historians' Den"). This gave me the impetus to conduct this research; for I would not have had even the desire to study this topic without Sierichs comments against the book in general and specifically about the date.
Readily available sources (i.e., through inter-library loan), that I have examined are given in the bibliography at the end; more sources (in most cases these are more specialized or in a foreign language) are given in the text itself. If you engage in the method of compare/contrast (for instance, in terms of sources: the quantity and quality of these sources) you will note the sheer number and wide diversity of sources that I am providing as compared to that given by the critics, especially those of critics of the more "popular" variety.
One of the interesting lessons I learned in conducting this study was to see which objections and rationales used to be used against the book but have subsequently ceased to be used. See Farrar, 47-54 for some examples.
The points made in this paper are numbered sequentially
so we can see how many points of evidence there really are about the date of the
book of Daniel. There are 84 factors to consider as of May 19,
Return to Top of Page
If Daniel was written as late as is claimed then those
who make the claim have to show:
1) If Antiochus seems to fulfill the prophecies recorded in 8:8-12 then why is there is no evidence that he fulfilled vs 9 and 12? See also the lack of fulfillment of 11:36-45. Both Daniel 8:9-12 and 11:36-45 deal with the blasphemous character of the king of the north which go far beyond anything that we know about Antiochus. He never destroyed the temple (see Dan. 8:11) and his military accomplishments hardly match those "recorded" in 8:9, 12 and 11:22. And while verse 37 states that "neither shall he regard the God of his fathers" it is "attested by Polybius and Livy [as being] the very opposite of his character. For he was more zealous in their worship, than any of the kings before him." [Pusey, 137] Even Towner notes that from 11:39 onwards Daniel does not fit with anything we know about Antiochus IV. [page 151--this is really disconcerting, to say the least, to the Maccabean hypothesis considering that the "predicted end of Antiochus differs from the stories of his death in I and II Maccabees ..." [William H. Brownlee, The Meaning of the Qumran Scrolls for the Bible. (Oxford, 1964): 35-6; Waltke (1976): 322; Baldwin (1978a): 199 notes that one scholar had to re-write this text in order to make it "approximate more exactly to the known history".] We could go even further by noting that Jesus did not consider that vs 31 had yet been fulfilled in his day! [Lacocque (1979): 229 simply refers the reader to Matt. 24:15 without noting that Jesus hadn't yet considered the verse to be fulfilled. Even the critic on the infidel web site, Larry Taylor, concedes that the events at 9:27 and 11:31 and after do not correspond to actual events.] Barnes reports that Bishop Newton and Sir Isaac Newton have looked at verse 31 and found that it was impossible to apply this verse to Antiochus and so they have suggested instead that it be applied to the Romans. [Barnes, 236-7] We can also note that none of his listeners corrected him by saying that this was fulfilled by Antiochus. Nor, did the Jewish leadership in its struggles against the early Christians point out this as an error. Lacocque attempts to escape this dilemma by dating 11:31 to Dec. 7, 167. [Lacocque (1979): 8] Koch points out that "nearly all the rabbis saw that the terrible catastrophe"--the fall of Jerusalem--strengthened the perception that Daniel's prophecies of 9:24-7 were being fulfilled. [Koch, 128--he refers to Strack-Billerbeck, Kommentar, IV, 100-1] BTW, Antiochus also failed to fulfill the destruction of the temple and the city of Jerusalem as called for in 9:26. [Baldwin (1978): 171] Baldwin also notes that "Dan 9:24 has been expounded in detail to refer to the first advent of our Lord, all six items in that verse being shown to have been accomplished in His life, death and resurrection." [Baldwin (1978): 176]
For more information on how Antiochus IV Epiphanes does not fit the prophecies of Daniel see Shea (1982): 25-54.
And yet critical scholars such as John J. Collins continue to claim that: "We are relatively well-informed about the situation in which Daniel was composed. Despite the persistent objections of conservatives [whom he does not name and/or interact with], the composition of the visions (chaps. 7-12) between the years 167 and 164 B.C. is established beyond reasonable doubt." ["Daniel and His Social World," Interpretation 39 (1985): 131-2; in his book Daniel: With an Introduction to Apocalyptic Literature. The Forms of the Old Testament Literature. Vol. 20 (Eerdmans, 1984)] He either seems to be "unaware", or, he ignores [this is, as we will see, a favorite tactic for the critics] "several important twentieth-century discoveries and recent scholarly evaluations such as[:] studies of Dan 1:1 in the light of the Chronicles of Chaldaean Kings (published by D. J. Wiseman back in 1956[!]); the cuneiform data for the evidence of a Bel-sar-usur, the son of Nabonidus and the Belshazzar in Daniel (ANET, p. 309, n. 5) ["The name is expressed by three monograms, the first signifying the god Bel; the second, shar, a king; and the third being the same sign which terminates the name of Nabopolassar, Nebuchadnezzar, Nergalshareser, &c." Sir H. Rawlinson , note in Pusey, 344-5]; relevant evidence from Qumran; etc." [Ferch, 57; see also Hasel (1986): 108-10]
If Daniel was written as late as is claimed then how did
he know of details about Babylon that had been lost within a half-century of its
fall to Cyrus in 539 B.C. (Xerxes having destroyed its palaces, walls, and
temples in 480 B.C.)? The typical Daniel, critic ignores this point. For
examples of the details:
Return to Top of Page
2) Neither Herodotus nor Xenophon, two Greek historians
who wrote in the 5th and 4th century B.C., respectively, knew either
about Belshazzar, or even just his name. [Rowley (1931): 27; Xenophon correctly
reports that the king was killed when Babylon fell; but, without giving us his
name; for more information see Boutflower (1923): 114-120] Outside of Daniel,
Belshazzar was only known from Baruch and Josephus. [Shea (Summer 1992): 133;
Montgomery, 66ff.; Dummelow, 530 tries to escape from this dilemma by claiming
that "the writer had access to some independent sources of information about
Babylonian history"--note that he does not name them nor are we aware of what
these sources could have been; Collins (1992): 30, to put the best face on it,
seems to be unaware of the information that follows.] As Raymond Dougherty, an
eminent scholar in this field, has pointed out:
"Of all the non Babylonian records dealing with the situation at the close of the Neo-Babylonian empire the fifth chapter of Daniel ranks next to
cuneiform literature in accuracy so far as outstanding events are concerned. The Scriptural account may be interpreted as excelling because it
employs the name Belshazzar, because it attributes royal power to Belshazzar, and because it recognizes that a dual rulership existed in the kingdom.
Babylonian cuneiform documents of the sixth century B.C. furnish clear-cut evidence of the correctness of these three basic historical nuclei contained
in the Biblical narrative dealing with the fall of Babylon. Cuneiform texts written under Persian influence in the sixth century B.C. have not preserved the
name Belshazzar, but his role as a crown prince entrusted with royal power during Nabonidus's stay in Arabia is depicted convincingly. Two famous
Greek historians of the fifth and fourth centuries B.C. do not mention Belshazzar by name and hint only vaguely at the actual political situation which exist-
ed in the time of Nabonidus. Annals in the Greek language ranging from about the beginning of the third century to the first century B.C. are absolutely
silent concerning Belshazzar and the prominence he had during the last reign of the Neo-Babylonian empire. The total information found in all available
chronologically-fixed documents later than the cuneiform texts of the sixth century B.C. and prior to the writings of Josephus of the first century A.D.
could not have provided the necessary material for the historical framework of the fifth chapter of Daniel." [Nabonidus and Belshazzar. (Yale, 1929): 199-200]
Thus after carefully examining the available evidence Dougherty points out that this means the 5th chapter could not have originated during the Maccabean age; the first point was noted by Rowley in his Darius the Mede and the Four World Empires. (Cardiff, 1935): 10; Millard's The Bible B.C.. (1982): 29; Harrison (1969): 1123 says that Dougherty came to the view that the idea that this chapter "originated in the Maccabean period was thoroughly discreditable."]
3a) Sierichs, writing in 1996, said that Belshazzar "was never king". [see also Russell, 83; Soggin, 408; Farrar, 54; Fishbane, 238; Rowley (1935/6): 218; Larue, 405; Collins (1992): 29; McCabe; we should note here that Daniel does NOT say that Belshazzar was the next king after Nebuchadnezzar, contra Eissfeldt (and others), 521] However, Theophilus G. Pinches noted back in 1882 that the "Nabonidus Chronicle", discovered in 1881, "regarded Belshazzar as king." [Transactions of the Society of Biblical Archaeology, vol. 7, (1882): 150; for a discussion of the nature of this Chronicle see Shea (1972): 95-111; Boutflower (1923) has an English translation in his Addendum at the front of his book.] In that same article, Pinches notes that Belshazzar "seems to have been commander- in-chief of the army, probably had greater influence in the kingdom than his father, and so was regarded as king." [ibid.] Pinches published another text that showed Nabonidus and Belshazzar jointly invoked in an oath--which would not have occurred unless there was a co-regency. [Proceedings of the Society of Biblical Archaeology, vol. 38 (1916): 30; note also the remark made by Dougherty above; see also Harrison, ISBE. (1979): 863] These documents are dated to the 12th and 13th years of Nabonidus (544-2 B.C.); Oppenheim points out that "there is no parallel in cuneiform literature" for an oath being sworn by the life of both the king and someone else. [A. L. Oppenheim, "Belshazzar," IDB, 1:379-80; Hasel (1977): 156-7] Later, in 1924, Sidney Smith showed [Babylonian Historical Texts. (London: Methuen & Co., 1924): 84, 88] that Nabonidus had "entrusted the kingship" to his son Belshazzar-an English translation can be found in Boutflower (1923), Addendum. The text he worked from is called the "Verse Account of Nabonidus"; translated by Oppenheim in Ancient Near Eastern Texts. Edited by Pritchard (Princeton, 1950): 313; see also Yamauchi (1980): 6; Montgomery 67; the author of the article on Belshazzar for Collier's does not reveal a knowledge of these texts.] This text settled all doubts of a kingship for Belshazzar and was a severe blow to the higher-critical scholars who had claimed that Daniel was written in the 2nd century B.C.. This was acknowledged by R. H. Pfeiffer of Harvard University [Introduction to the Old Testament. (Harper, 1941): 758-9] His comment is worth noting because Pfeiffer was recognized as "one of the more radical critics of Daniel" [Harrison (1969): 1120]: "We shall presumably never know how our author learned ... that Belshazzar, mentioned only in Babylonian records, in Daniel, and in Baruch 1:11 [written in the 4th century B.C.; Moore, 317, gives us the reasons for dating the book as early as the 4th century B.C. in footnotes 35 and 36.], which is based on Daniel, was functioning as king when Cyrus took Babylon." [Montgomery, 66] So, the question becomes: How could a 2nd century Jew know that Belshazzar functioned as king of Babylon in his father's absence, and not just as a "crown prince" as Keller claimed, when no one else knew this? Yet we now know from cuneiform evidence that the kingship was entrusted to him; that his name was used along with that of his father Nabonidus in oath formula's [Pinches in an article for Expository Times in April 1915 pointed out that: "Oaths were never sworn by the names of any men except kings." [cited by Wilson (1917): 102 note 2; 110-1; see also Boutflower, 60 note 3, and in his book (1923): 119; Montgomery, 67--he cites Dougherty: "There is no other instance in available documents of an oath being sworn in the name of the son of the king."] Wilson also notes that "only the names of gods and kings were used in oaths, the single exception being that of the city of Sippar."--presumably none of the critics would care to argue that Belshazzar was either a god or a city. [Wilson (1917):125] Belshazzar also showed his "regal power" when he "granted leases and issued commands" [Young, The Prophecy of Daniel. (Eerdmans, 1949): 117; Harrison, ISBE. (1979): 863; Hasel (Spr. 1981): 43; *all of these* Rowley (1931) acknowledges--it's too bad the more "popular" critics can't do the same] McNamara mentions how Belshazzar's name was linked with that of his father in "inscriptions (e.g. the Nabonidus-Chronicle), as well as in incantations, prayers and omens and even in an oath" and yet McNamara had just said that Belshazzar "was never really king of Babylon, in the full sense of the word" and then admitted Belshazzar "very probably came to be looked upon as the de facto king." [(1970): 143; Boutflower (1923): 118] Oppenheim first notes, on page 85, the leasing of "extensive farmlands" then on page 189 he notes the granting of the "royal privilege" to eat the food offered to the god and that "this person was always the king" and yet Oppenheim simply refers to Belshazzar as "crown prince"--it isn't until page 400 that he acknowledges the "joint rule" with his father. It should also be noted that both names are coupled in prayers on foundation documents. Archer acknowledges that there is "no cuneiform record [that] refers to Belshazzar by the explicit term sharru ("king"); but he also points out that there are "cuneiform temple receipts from Sippar" that show "Belshazzar presented sheep and oxen there as "an offering of the king"." [Archer (1979): 135] According to Baldwin: "There is evidence that he received royal dues and exercised kingly prerogatives". [Baldwin (1978a): 22] Even Rowley, one of the severest critics of the book of Daniel, conceded: "'The practical work of the government he [i.e., Nabonidus] seems to have left in the hands of his son Bel-shar-uzur." "This was based on the evidence of the Nabonidus Chronicle." [(1931): 13 citing a previous work of his; see also Winckler, 325] Clines points out that Belshazzar "clearly exercised many of the functions of kingship." [Clines, 455] Rowley tries to evade admitting fully that Belshazzar co-reigned with his father by claiming that the statement in the Persian Verse Account is "merely a poetic expression of the already recognized fact that Belshazzar exercised many of the functions of government." [Rowley (1931): 13; emphasis mine] He further attempts to cast doubt on Belshazzar being a king over Babylon by noting the absence of any "formal" pronouncement. [13, 14, 15, 17, and 18] Of course, this type of negative argument from silence is the weakest of all--it could always be that we have not yet found, or translated, or published the relevant cuneiform. Next, Rowley claims that: "The book of Daniel betrays no consciousness that Belshazzar is anything but effective and sole king." While it is certainly true that the book of Daniel may be representing an "effective situation rather than a state position" it is definitely not true that Daniel pictures Belshazzar as "sole king" [Emery, 114; nor was he ever an "independent king" as Montgomery, 67 argued] against O. Ploger, Das Buch Daniel. (Gutersloh, 1965): 107--but as Hasel properly noted: "Is there any claim anywhere that Belshazzar was ever an "independent king"?" (1977): 168 note 91, emphasis added]-- Daniel repeatedly shows that Belshazzar recognized that he was only the second in the kingdom, see Dan. 5: 7, 16, 29. [Millard (1977): 71; Young, A Commentary on Daniel. (1949): 115ff.; contra Rowley's claim: "no suggestion anywhere that he is one of two joint monarchs." (1931): 19] Thus, when Rowley then claims that Daniel "provides no support" for in the otherwise "obscure phrase 'the third ruler'" we can know that he is in error. [(1931): 31] On this Clines notes that the verse Daniel clearly reflects that Belshazzar was "subordinate to Nabonidus". [Clines, 455; Shea (Summer 1992): 145]
Daniel was then, at a minimum, either relying upon the past experience of his people or was describing the practical effect of the situation. The evidence suggests that both of these factors may be in operation here as the most appropriate conclusion. This would certainly not then be a "further error" as Rowley then claims. Note that in each of the above verses Belshazzar first offers (first to anyone and then to Daniel) and then clothes Daniel in "a scarlet robe," this is certainly being "formal invested with the [royal] purple" that Rowley looks for in regard to Belshazzar. Why would Belshazzar clothe Daniel in a robe of royalty if Belshazzar hadn't been, in some sense, likewise clothed? [Rowley (1931): 13; see also Baldwin (1978a): 121] Would a commoner clothe another commoner in royal robes? Finally, Rowley claims that the very idea of a joint monarchy is "alien to the background of the narrative." [(1931): 19] If one were to look solely to a Babylonian background and used a traditional conception for what constitutes a monarchy this would be true; however, in this case it is false on both counts. First, the background of Daniel's people was filled with examples of co-regencies. [see Shea (Summer 1992): 147 for a table of such] Secondly, even in ANE there are several recorded instances where a reigning king has appointed others as king as well. For instance, Sennacherib in 702 B.C. "placed Bel-ibni, a scion of a noble family of Babylon ..., upon the throne of Babylon as a sub-king" and later "in 699 he enthroned his own son Ashurnadin-shum in Babylon. [Wilson, 107--he gives several more examples of a similar nature on pages 107-111; Shea (Summer 1992): 148-9 has more examples; see also Shea (1971): 100-5 for evidence that relates to the co-regency of Cyrus and Cambyses] Plus, as Wilson showed back in 1917, the word "king" was used by the peoples of the ANE in a variety of ways. [(1917): 88-95; 111-2]
We need to remember that Daniel is not writing an official state document for Babylon such as one would expect from the court scribes. [Millard (1977): 71; Young, A Commentary on Daniel. (1949): 115ff.] Yamauchi states that: "Belshazzar served as the de facto king of Babylon as far as the Jews there were concerned." [Yamauchi, 469; Wilson (1917): 101, 103 concurs; see also Goldingay, 106; and McNamara (1970): 143] He also notes that during the fall of Babylon to the Medes and the Persians: "According to Xenophon (Cyropedia vii.5.1-36) two of Cyrus's nobles killed the king [of Babylon] in the palace." [see also "Belshazzar," EBD, 135; Towner (1984): 71; Shea (Summer 1992): 144; Boutflower, 47-8; Goldingay, 107; Montgomery, 67-70 cites the Nabonidus Chronicle for the same event; apparently Hammer is unaware of either source--Hammer, 65; Farrar, 54-5 who dismisses it as an "avowed romance" and "has not the smallest historical validity."] But "Berossus (preserved in Josephus [in his Contra Apion I 20, 153] [maintained] that Cyrus spared Nabonidus and gave him a residence in Carmaria in south central Persia." [see also Roux, 323; Goldingay, 107; contra Collier's article on "Belshazzar" which says both Belshazzar and Nabonidus "were probably slain in the course of the conquest of Babylon". Vol. 3, page 326] This means that the "king" who was killed during the fall of Babylon was Belshazzar. Roux has Belshazzar being killed at the battle at Opis he does not say what his source is for this "fact". [Roux, 323]
Sierichs cites various articles in the Oxford Companion
to the Bible as a source for his views. One of those mentioned is that about
Belshazzar by Donald J. Wiseman. Wiseman states very clearly: "The king
[Nabonidus] relinquished all control and entrusted the kingship to Belshazzar"
... [here Wiseman cites the Persian Verse Account] Belshazzar, as crown prince
and co-regent, exercised genuine royal powers ... [supported by what was given
in the previous paragraph]" [Wiseman, 78] Another one of the sources Sierichs
cites is that of Joan Oates' book Babylon. She notes that Nabonidus
installed "his son Bel-shar-usur (Belshazzar) as regent in Babylon [Oates, 133;
see also the following: J. Maxwell Miller and John H. Hayes, A History of
Ancient Israel and Judah. (Westminster, 1986): 429] Other comments on
Belshazzar (in list form):
Werner Keller, another one of Sierichs' sources, rather understates the matter: "Belshazzar was crown prince, therefore the second man in the Babylonia. He could only therefore hold out a promise of third highest place in the kingdom." [Keller, 299; Emery, 47] But, again, would anyone in second place who was not royalty put the third man in a "scarlet robe"--a symbol of royalty? [Hammer, 62] Why shouldn't Nabonidus be allowed to make anyone a king as he wishes--he had already done so with several others! [Wilson, 111-2] After examining all of the evidence Baldwin concludes that "it is pedantic to accuse the writer of the book of Daniel of inaccuracy in calling" Belshazzar "the king". [(1978a):22] Hammer suggests that the interpretation of "third in the kingdom" as meaning third in rank as "a somewhat pedestrian way of interpreting the text." [Hammer, 63; compare with Goldingay, 101 note 7c] Such is the pull of the preconceived opinion; even concrete facts can't deter it!
Whitcomb cites Young on this point: "Belshazzar was the king with whom Daniel had to do--and not Nabonidus ... What other word would Daniel have employed to denote a man whose status was regal? The term crown-prince, from a Jewish viewpoint, would not have been sufficient. In the designation of Belshazzar as king, therefore, we see [another] example of remarkable accuracy which this chapter exhibits." [Whitcomb, 36; Young, Prophecy of Daniel, 118] This evidence is so strong that Montgomery cites Dougherty: "It appears that he was invested with a degree of royal authority, not only at the close of the reign of his father, but throughout large part, if not the whole, of the reign of Nabonidus." [Montgomery, 67--no source given for the Dougherty quote]
3b) late as 1850, the commentator Ferdinand Hitzig stated that Belshazzar was a "figment of the Jewish writer's imagination" based on the absence of evidence. [Millard, 74; Yamauchi (1974): 67; in 1854 "contemporary Babylonian inscriptions" were found that mentioned Belshazzar--"Belshazzar," Encyclopedia Britannica. Micropaedia, Vol. 2 (Encyc. Brit., 1988): 84; Free, 36 notes that it was these discoveries that made the arguments against Daniel in reference to Belshazzar invalid.] So, how did the writer of Daniel know about him? Isn't it rather odd that a 2nd century Jew in Palestine should be better informed about events in Babylon in the 540's B.C. than Herodotus who according to Boutflower (1923): 38 visited Babylon "probably prior to 447 B.C." and then writing in 450 B.C.? [For more info on Belshazzar from cuneiform inscriptions see R. P. Dougherty "New Cuneiform References to Belshazzar [Dan 5:1ff]," JAOS 39 (1919): 147]
3c) Xenophon records that the king of Babylon was killed
the night that the city fell and yet we know that Nabonidus was captured and
later deported. So who was Xenophon referring to? Xenophon also describes this
king as "a riotous, indulgent, cruel, and godless young man" (hint: this is NOT
a good description of Nabodinus!)
Return to Top of Page
4) Nebuchadnezzar as the great builder of Babylon. [Wiseman, 553; Boutflower (1923): 65-77; Gurney, 42; see also E. Schrader, Keilinschriftliche Bibliothek. Vol. 3, part 2, p. 25, 39 for sample inscriptions] The ancient historians Herodotus following the Persian tradition, Ctesias following the Assyrian tradition, Strabo, and Pliny all make frequent reference to Babylon; but, not to Nebuchadnezzar as its builder. The Greek historians ascribed the building of Babylon to Queen Semiramis (Her name from the cuneiform is Sammu-ramat. She was a queen mother in Assyria and had nothing to do with the building of Babylon.) This information in Daniel is greatly puzzling to critical scholars who do not believe that Daniel was written in the 6th century, rather than in their proposed 2nd century. As R.H. Pfeiffer, one of the more radical critics of Daniel, was compelled to admit: "We shall never know [especially when you don't want to, right?] how our author learned that the new Babylon was the creation of Nebuchadnezzar (4:30), as the excavations have proved ...." [Introduction to the Old Testament. (Harper, 1941): 758; cited by Waltke (1976): 328-9] This information wasn't found out until the excavations begun in 1899! [See also, R. Koldewey, Excavations at Babylon. 1915--these excavations lasted till 1917] As Gleason Archer has said: "Pfeiffer could not explain such knowledge, on the basis of the Maccabean date hypothesis. Neither can anyone else--on that basis." [(1985): 20; see also McDowell, 14 quoting Wilson who cites Lenormant: "The more I read and reread Daniel, the more I am struck with the truth of the tableaux of the Babylonian Court traced in the first six chapters . Whoever is *not* the slave of preconceived opinions must confess when comparing these with the cuneiform monuments that they are really ancient and written but a short distance from the Courts themselves." [Joseph D. Wilson, Did Daniel Write Daniel? (Cook, n.d.) page 89; emphasis mine]
McDowell reports that "Ira Price, a liberal critic, admits that Daniel 4:30 gives a true picture of Nebuchadnezzar's building activities." [ McDowell, 11; Ira M. Price, The Monuments and the Old Testament. (Judson, 1925): 302-3] McDowell also notes that Raven concludes that the book of Daniel must have been written in Babylon based on its accurate representation of Babylonian history. [ibid; John H. Raven, Old Testament Introduction. (Revell, 1910): 331]
We can also note, in reference to Nebuchadnezzar, that Daniel 4:17 describes God as giving kingdoms "to whomsoever He will, and setteth up over it the basest of men." An inscription made by Nabopolassar, the father of Nebuchadnezzar, describes himself as "in my littleness, the son of a nobody," "me, the insignificant, who among men was not visible," "I, the weak, the feeble," etc. [McDowell, 12-3] We can ask is it likely that a 2nd century Jew would have pictured the father of a conquering king in such an unlikely manner? "This is the [very] kind of knowledge --the lowly origin of Babylon's greatest king--which succeeding generations soon must have forgotten, and therefore it constitutes strong evidence for the historical accuracy of Daniel." [Charles Boutflower, In and Around the Book of Daniel. (1923): 91]
5) Herodotus doesn't even mention Nebuchadnezzar and at
one time critics doubted his very existence based on that silence.
Return to Top of Page
6) A. R. Millard notes the high proportion of correct detail in and close correspondence between Dan 1-6 and early records as compared to 2nd "century B.C. Judith and later works, and taking its place besides the much earlier Story of Ahiqar ...." [(1977): 73; for more examples of basic historical errors see Tobit and 1st and 2nd Maccabees; none of these are included in the canon in part because of their errors. And yet, according to the critics, Daniel was able to slip by and be included in the canon--even though no other source that was available to the people agreed with Daniel.] However, "[w]riting as long ago as 1895 F. Lenormant noted the book 'is tinged with a very decided Babylonian tint and certain features of life at the court of Nebuchadnezzar ... pictured with a truth and exactitude, to which a writer a few centuries later could hardly have attained.'" [Montgomery, 74; cited by Baldwin (1978a): 36; see also Dummelow, 530] Even McNamara notes that an "eastern origin of Daniel 2-6 will explain the intense oriental colouring of the traditions they enshrine." [McNamara (1970): 149]
As Waltke put it: "the author possessed a more accurate knowledge of Neo-Babylonia and early Achaemenid Persia history than any other known historian since the sixth century B.C." [Waltke (1976): 328]
7) How did a 2nd century Jew know about the sexagesimal system (numbering based on 60) that was used and invented in Babylonia? An example is found in Dan. 3:1. Neither Goldingay or Lacocque mention this fact; Hartman and DiLella do. [Hartman and DiLella. 412]
8) How did a 2nd century Jew know that the walls of the palace were plastered? See Dan. 5:5. Goldingay does mention this fact. [Goldingay, 108] Note also the circumstantial detail the text adds by saying that the plastered wall was "opposite the lampstand". The word used here for "lampstand" "is not otherwise known" so it "may have been unusual." [Baldwin (1978a): 121]
9) How could a 2nd century Jew know the cultural differences between the Babylonian and the Persian? The first, for instance, is that in the Babylonian culture wives and concubines were allowed to be present at feasts (5:2 and Xenophon's Cyrop. v. 2, 28); whereas in the Persian culture they were not allowed to be present (Esther 1) [Lacocque (1979): 93 cites Herodotus as saying that the Persians did permit women "to such festivities"!] The Septuagint translator was so offended at the presence of women at the feast that he left the passage out of the verse and in verse 10 where the queen enters the chamber unbidden the LXX has the additional introductory phrase 'The king called the queen on account of the mystery'. [Barnes, 61; Baldwin (1978a): 122] The second, is that in the Babylonian culture one did not need to prostrate before the king; whereas in the Persian it was required. As Barnes puts it: "How could a Pseudo-Daniel know of this nice distinction, when all the Oriental sovereigns of whom he had knowledge had, at least for four centuries, exacted prostration from all who approached them?" [Barnes, 66]
10) In 8:2 Daniel refers to "Shushan [Susa] ... in the province of Elam". But, in Greek and Persian times Shushan was in the province of Susiana; Shushan was part of Elam in Chaldean times and before (see the NIV map, 1305). This kind of information, and others noted above, would scarcely have been accessible to a 2nd century B.C. author. Goldingay doesn't reveal this information. [Goldingay, 208] Lacocque claims that "Elam was a Median, not a Babylonian province (Esth. 1.2; 9.12; Neh. 1.1)." Note that none of these verses support his contention. (1979): 160]
11) The extent of the intellectual integrity of the critics is partially revealed by their willingness to accept the testimony of Josephus in regards to Jaddua being a High Priest "during the time of Alexander the Great" [see his The Antiquities of the Jews. VI, 7, 2; XI, 8, 5.] and thus "assign a date" "for the work of the Chronicler" between 350 and 250 B.C. and YET be "completely unwilling" to accept from that same source "the testimony to the fact that the book of Daniel was in its completed form by 330 B.C." [Harrison (1969): 512] Such is the "pull" of a preconceived hypothesis.
12) If Daniel was written in 164 B.C. how did the author know that Nebuchadnezzar was "able to enact and modify Babylonian laws with absolute sovereignty (Dan. 2:12f., 46), while [at the same time] representing Darius the Mede as being completely powerless to change the laws of the Medes and Persians (Dan. 6:8f.; cf. Est. 1:9; 8:8)?" [Harrison (1969): 1120; Hammer, 69]
13) Collins points out that the "glorification of
Nebuchadnezzar [with the head of gold in his dream] is scarcely in accordance
with a Jewish viewpoint, but it is entirely appropriate for a Babylonian."
[Collins (1975): 222; the last phrase is revealed to be true when Nebuchadnezzar
had an entire statute covered with gold; contra Montgomery, 74] This is another
very strong indicator that this material was not written during the Maccabean
Return to Top of Page
14) They have to show why Daniel paints such a positive picture of the relationship between the Hebrew captives and their foreign ruler in the days of the Maccabees. As J. G. Gammie wrote "the single, most outstanding weakness of the Maccabean theory of interpretation is that the king in chaps. 1, 2, 3, 4 and 6 is uncommonly friendly and sympathetic with the young Jewish members of his court. This portrait hardly suits the latter days of the hated Hellenizer, Antiochus IV Epiphanes. An acceptable interpretation of the book *must be able* to provide an adequate explanation of so dominant a feature." [Gammie (1976): 191, emphasis mine; cited by Ferch, 130 note 4; the weakness of the portrayal is admitted by Hammer, 5-6; Davies (1980): 35 notes that "the attitude to Gentiles and Gentile monarchs in particular hardly reflects a Maccabean context." Davies refers to Humphreys' article (page 223): "The reader must stretch his credulity to the breaking-point in being asked to accept that the Daniel, who is both completely loyal to his Jewish heritage and God is able to function as a skilled and loyal courtier holding the highest office in the court of foreign monarchs, is also the Daniel whose visions in the latter part of the book reveal these same monarchs and nations as oppressive and completely condemned in the divine plan."; Ginsberg, 247 note 2: "the absence of bitterness against any heathen monarchy argues against dating him, without compelling reasons, during Epiphanes' attempt to eradicate Judaism--of all times!" But, he then suggests that this material was written "nearly a century to more than a century and a quarter before the reign of Antiochus Epiphanes."; Montgomery, 75 also notes that Nebuchadnezzar and Darius are portrayed as having "friendly, human natures" and "are models of what kings, when corrected may become. The milieu of the story is rather that of an earlier age than the Maccabean ..." Collins (1992): 30 notes, on page 89, Montgomery refers to these "amiable religious minded monarchs."] For instance, Gammie notes that based on the desirability of "learning a foreign language and joining the king's court", as presented in 1:1-2:4a, it is therefore "unlikely" that this passage came "from the persecution period of Antiochus IV Epiphanes." [Gammie (1976): 195; Humphreys, 222 note 34 acknowledges "that the center of these tales is the life of a Jewish courtier in a foreign court." Collins (1992): 30 claims that "An author of the Maccabean period found these stories relevant to his situation, but they were not composed with that situation in mind." (!)] Baldwin also pints out that the "second century Maccabees rejected the language, literature and customs of the Greeks, whereas Daniel and his friends accepted and adapted all three". [Baldwin (1978a): 133] In fact, Davies points out that a "lack of reference to the Antiochan persecution, ... is very difficult to evaluate." [Davies (1980: 35] We can add to that the notion of a Maccabean author giving the Jewish captives "the names of idol-gods"--given the "hearty hatred of heathenism by all the pious in the time of the Maccabees" the very idea is absurd and impossible to conceive on any logical foundation. [Barnes, 66] Likewise, Collins is constrained by the evidence to admit that "Daniel 1 sets a scene where Jews can prosper in the service of a pagan king. Such optimism would be unlikely during the Maccabean crisis." [Collins (1984): 45] Smith-Christopher claims that in the book of Daniel the captives are "openly hostile" to the authority of their foreign conquerors. [Smith-Christopher, 21] He doesn't provide any evidence for this claim. The arguments against Daniel having been composed within the milieu of the Maccabean age leads Humphreys to make the opposite suggestion of Smith-Christopher; that the "tales [of Daniel] originated in Jewish circles sympathetic to Antiochus IV Epiphanes". [Humphreys, 221] This leads Collins to point out that Humphreys "underestimates the importance of the religious conflict and the denunciation of the Gentile king, especially in Daniel 5." [Collins (1975): 218 note 3]
The whole setting of the book of Daniel is incongruent for a book written to "fit the needs" of the Maccabean era. In fact, Rowley "saw that certain features of this story, and of others, would not have suited the alleged purpose of a Maccabean author at the time of the conjectured Sitz-im-Leben." [Gooding, 48] After all, why compose a set of tales set in Babylon in which the hero functions like a Chaldean wise man? How does that meet the needs of the Maccabean age? Which is why Harrison stated that it is "not easy to see how the beleaguered Jews could have been encouraged by a narration of past history [that was] made to look like prophecy." [Harrison, ISBE. (1979): 862] Compare this with the flowery attempt by Bewer [Bewer, 411-2]
A better example of a book written to meet the needs of the Maccabean age is the apocryphal book of Judith. We can also note that the book of Judith gets basic history wrong by describing Nebuchadnezzar as king of the Assyrians and ruling from Nineveh. [noted by Larue, 409-he also points out that Nineveh "had been destroyed seven years before Nebuchadrezzar was crowned."] Montgomery notes that this book more clearly than Daniel expresses the anti-Semitism of the Maccabean age. [Montgomery, 75]
Ginzberg and Rowley agree that "the situation of the Jews of Judea during the Epiphanian persecution was one in which the production of anything new in the way of literature that did not have an obvious special relevance to that situation was practically inconceivable." [Ginzberg, 258 note 2]
15) "[If the book is intended to be a tract with parallels being drawn between the days of the Babylonian captivity and the Maccabean persecution, why did the writer not try to make that Babylonian story fit better into the times he is supposed to be writing for? Why did he not choose more relevant stories; and if he was going to change them [such as supposedly took place between the illness of Nabonidus and Nebuchadnezzar] why did he not make a decent job of the whole thing?" [Wallace, 20]
16) If the book was written during the Maccabean era then why is it so silent about the exploits about the Maccabees (such as those in 1 Macc. 3 and 4 which occurred in 166 B.C.) --wouldn't it have made the "prophecy" more grand if they had been included? One would expect that if the book was written during this time that it would contain a detailed and accurate recounting of the events of this time period. It doesn't.
We can also note that "[c]hapters 1-6 contain no clear reference to Antiochus Epiphanes or his times ... There is no obvious reference to events in the land of Judah." [Collins, 11] See further below.
17) Again, if the book was written during the Maccabean era to meet the current needs then why does so little of the book reflect the events that are recorded in 1 and 2 Maccabees? Why is there no call to arms? Why the silence concerning the revolt, its leaders, and heroes? This is especially surprising since the uprising began in 168 B.C.! [contra Graubart, 260; notice also that the book doesn't mention the asphyxiation of a thousand devout Jews (Hasidim) by Antiochus' troops in their desert caves--Trever, 89] Notice that Daniel and his three friends didn't gain "their release and exaltation by any action or skill of their own"! [Collins (1975): 225] One would expect that the book would reflect the perspectives and have the same emphasis that one finds in known Maccabean literature. The absence of these calls into question the Maccabean thesis. However, Towner suggests that the reason Daniel doesn't mention the exploits of the Maccabeans is because these had not yet occurred by the date of 25 Kislev [Nov/Dec], 164 B.C.E. [Towner, 151; contra Clifford who claims Daniel should dated as late as 163 B.C.] Wenham notes the absence of these features and points out that on this basis von Rad [G. Von Rad, Old Testament Theology. II (Oliver and Boyd, 1965): 315] "argued that Daniel was written by opponents of the Maccabees, not their supporters"! [Wenham, 51] The question then becomes why does the book supposedly do so well before this point and yet fail so miserably here if in fact it was describing present day events? (Note also that no other scholar has echoed this opinion.) And how does that failure meet the needs of the Maccabean age? And how could, and why should, the people of that day and age then accept such an obviously flawed work?
It should be noted that the very tenor of the book of Daniel differs markedly from that of 1 and 2 Maccabees. For instance, where the book of Daniel is concerned with the activities of the king of the north the Maccabean literature is concerned with Jewish opposition to the Seleucid king.
18) Rowley has repeatedly claimed [(1935/6): 218; (1950): 160; (1952): 264; see also Hill and Walton, 349-50] that "[p]oint can be found for every story of the first half of the book in the setting of the Maccabean age to which the latter part is assigned." However, upon closer examination, Collins responded: "Despite Rowley's lengthy arguments, it is clear that the court-tales in chapters 1-6 were *not written in Maccabean times*. It is not even possible to isolate a single verse which betrays an editorial insertion from that period." [emphasis mine, page 11] On page 9, he states that the court tales are "quite inappropriate for the Maccabean period." Collins has also noted that "none of these stories requires a setting" in the Maccabean period. [Collins (1992): 30] Gammie also notes that: "Many scholars have argued that at least the Aramaic stories of Dan 2:4b-6:28 were from the third century B.C." [Gammie (1976): 195; Davies, 392; Ginsberg, 248; Eissfeldt, 517-9 notes several of these scholars] Here of course we should ask in what setting then was the book written? What is it drawing on from the 3rd century? How do these stories reflect the historical situation of that day and age? Davies rebuts Rowley by noting that "many aspects of the story ... clearly do not fit--for example, the portrayal of the king and Daniel's service to him. It has rightly been seen that these and other aspects of the story presuppose a different setting." [Davies, 395] In addition he notes that the context of chapter 2 indicates that it was composed in a setting of the Babylonian Diaspora. [Davies, 396] Baldwin declares that the "Babylonian background of chapters 1-6 has been confirmed". [Baldwin (1979): 77] In her commentary on Daniel Baldwin declares that there is "no lack of scholarly support for the contention that chapters 1-6 have a Babylonian provenance". [Baldwin (1978a): 37] Based on the total sum of the evidence she concluded that the "late Neo-Babylonian or early Persian period best accounts for the exact information about the Babylonian empire which we have shown to be preserved in these stories." [Baldwin (1978a): 37]
In fact, reading the court tales closely would only discourage
a Jew of Maccabean times for it shows the pride, fall, and _restoration_ of
Nebuchadnezzar. This is hardly an appropriate foil for Antiochus if the book
was written for the alleged purpose of encouraging the Jews who were being persecuted
by Antiochus. On top of that Daniel is pictured as a "loyal subject of the king"
and the story serves "to set a model of Diaspora life"; this is of course hardly
the portrait one would suggest as a model of behavior during a time of persecution
to the point of extermination. [Davies, 396] In an environment where a people
are faced with a hostile government that is attempting to take them over and
destroy their religion, way of life, and very lives it is difficult to see how
a portrait of "amiable religious minded monarchs" would be accepted as canonical
literature. [Montgomery, "Daniel," ICC, 89] Likewise, Grant's claim that
the book of Daniel illustrates "Jewish feelings during the period of the Maccabean
liberation" is not only more than hard to swallow, he does not explain how the
book does such a thing. [Grant, 212]
Return to Top of Page
What makes all of the above information all the more remarkable is how the critics have ignored it. For instance, Rowley said "the modern challenges of tradition have demonstrated ... the gross inexactness of the knowledge of Neo-Babylonian times. ... the lack of accord between the Book of Daniel and sixth-century history has been overwhelmingly demonstrated." [Rowley (1935/6): 216 -- note how this directly contradicts the extended quote from Dougherty under Belshazzar] It is highly unlikely that a 2nd century Jew could have known the details laid out above without them having been preserved elsewhere as well. The opening chapters of Daniel (1-6) "has enough "local color" of the Babylonian era to preserve the realistic atmosphere." [Collins (1984): 45] Freedman also notes that "the Babylonian origin of chaps. 1-6 is strengthened by the new evidence." [Freedman, 31] The factors given above show that Brettler was wrong in arguing that there is "[c]lear historical and linguistic evidence [that] suggests that Daniel was written in the second century B.C.E." [Marc Brettler, Bible Review (Aug. 1989): 13; contra Casey's claim as well, 33]
So, when we read claims like:
We can know that these writers are relying on the lack of historical knowledge by their readers of either era rather than making a correct and precise statement of the available facts at hand. Whitcomb cites Wilson on this point: "the very last impression one could derive from the book itself would be that the writer himself felt that he had a dim and uncertain knowledge of the events which he narrates." [Whitcomb, 52 quoting R. D. Wilson (1917): 148] To Sierichs credit we must note that when presented with evidence that Daniel could not have been written in 164 B.C. he backed off from maintaining a hard stance on that point.
In terms of our knowledge about the "Greek period" Ferch notes that "the most important primary contemporary sources depicting the events between 168-164 B.C. in detail are few, limited primarily to 1 and 2 Maccabees [the latter is filled with errors according to Barnes, 65; the first book doesn't do so well either; Barnes cites specific examples] and Polybius. Complicating the issues further is the fact that there are a number of weighty disagreements within these sources about both details and the order of events during this period. ... given these divergences in the presently available primary and contemporary sources, it is difficult to draw up a consistent and accurate historical reconstruction for the events under consideration." [Ferch (1986): 15; see also P. Schafer, "The Hellenistic and Maccabean Periods," Israelite and Judean History. Editors: J. H. Hayes and J. M. Miller (1977): 560-8, especially 564; contra Walton in Hill and Walton, 350] Which is why Baldwin correctly notes that: "we ought not to exaggerate the extent to which the Daniel narrative fits into known history of the period." ["Daniel," p. 41]
In private correspondence with Sierichs (Aug. 12, 1996,
page 3) he asked: "How can a few accurate but minor details balance the major
blunders about Babylonian and Persian history?" It was nice to see that he could
admit that Daniel could be accurate about some details. However, to dismiss all
of the above as "minor" is really stretching it; he also failed to mention what
the "major blunders" were despite repeated requests to do so. In comparison,
Bruce Metzger notes that the "intimate acquaintance with Babylonian manners,
customs, history, and religious life [are none that] but a contemporary would
have known." [Metzger, 219] After giving several examples he then asks: "What
elucidation does the critic offer as to how these minute touches in the
narrative were included in the book if not by Daniel? The best answer some Bible
critics could offer to this question is to note Metzger's age when he wrote this
(see Taylor )! It is of further interest to note that none of these amateur
critics could cite a source where Metzger explicitly retracted the above
Return to Top of Page
There are a large number of language difficulties with
the Maccabean theory (for a quick introduction to this issue see Harrison,
ISBE. (1979): 860-1).
Return to Top of Page
19) On page 17 of Albert Barnes Notes:
"It is by no means probable that one who lived so late as the time of Antiochus Epiphanes could have written the book as it is written; that is, that
he would have been so familiar with the two languages, Hebrew and Chaldee, [page 18] that he could use them with equal ease. It is an uncommon
thing for a man to write in two different languages in the same work, and he never does it without some special design--a design for which there would
not have been likely to be occasion if one were writing in the time of Antiochus Epiphanes. It was perfectly natural that Daniel should write in this
manner, and perfectly unnatural that any one should do it in a later age, and in different circumstances. If the book had been forged by a Hebrew in
the time of Antiochus Epiphanes, there is every reason to believe that he would have been careful to write it in as pure Hebrew as possible, for that was
the language in which the canonical books were written, and if he endeavored to gain credit for the book as one of Divine authority, he would not have
intermingled so much of a foreign language." (original emphasis in text)
See below for more comments in regards to the language of the book.
20) He also points out that Gesenius "classed Daniel in
the "silver age" of Hebrew, with Ezra, Nehemiah, the Chronicles, Esther and some
older books." [Pusey, 8; see also Harrison (1979): 247; Hammer, 5; contra
Hartman and DiLella, 408 who label the Hebrew of Daniel a "late"] Pusey notes
that "after a careful examination of the Hebrew portion of Daniel" Bleek and De
Wette "distinctly renounced Bertholdt's notion of the lateness of the style of
Daniel." [Pusey, 98] Barnes notes that Prof. Stuart looked at "the judgment
of Gesenius (Geschich. Heb. Sprach. P. 35), [that the book of Daniel] has
decidedly a purer diction that Ezekial; in which opinion, as far a I am able to
judge, after much time spent upon the book, and examining minutely every word
and phrase in it many times over, I should entirely coincide." [Barnes, 19]
Barnes later notes that "it is well known that the Hebrew language became
greatly adulterated by foreign admixtures soon after the return from the exile,
and never regained the purity which it had in the early periods of its history."
[Barnes, 57] Metzger cites Delitzsche as saying that the "Hebrew of Daniel is
closely related to that of Ezekial." He goes on, "Ezekial, it is agreed, was
written about 570 B.C.." [Metzger, 219]
Return to Top of Page
21) If the book was written under the Hellenizer Antiochus why is there so few Greek words in the text? To state it another way: if the book was written during a time of such intensive and extensive Greek influence then why are there *only* 3 Greek words in the entire text?[contra Lenormant who claims the book is "interspersed .. in various places with Greek words". cited by Montgomery, 74] In fact, Yamauchi and Boutflower are surprised "that there are not more Greek words" in this document if it was indeed written in the Maccabean age--note the deep influence of Greek culture and customs on the Books of Maccabees; and yet we see none of this in Daniel! [Edwin M. Yamauchi, Greece and Babylon. (Baker, 1967): 94; cited by Waltke (1976): 325; Emery, 21; Boutflower, 246] Baldwin points out that "the fact that no more than three Greek words occur in the Aramaic of Daniel (and these are technical terms) argues against a second-century date for the writing of the book." [Baldwin (1978a): 34] This fact, as noted by Boutflower (page 246), is especially relevant in comparison with the 19 Persian loan words that are present in the text. Why should an older language assume such prominence in this work? This is the opposite of what we should expect given the normal custom of the ANE (or anywhere else for that matter). As Kitchen, professor of Egyptology at the University of Liverpool, notes: "In Ancient Near Eastern literature, a later writer tends to deck his description of an earlier period with trappings of his *own* time, while retaining archaic features that have survived." [emphasis mine, Kitchen (1965): 49]
It should be noted that these three Greek words are all *musical instruments*! These words are found in 3: 5, 7, 10, and 15. [For more detail on these musical instruments see the article by T. C. Mitchell and R. Joyce, "The Musical Instruments in Nebuchadnezzar's Orchestra," Notes on Some Problems in the Book of Daniel. Edited by D. J. Wiseman, et al (Tyndale, 1965) or Archer (1985): 21; see also Yamauchi, (1974): 11-13; Emery, 96-102; McDowell, 95-102; see also Kutscher's analysis and conclusion, 401-2; Lacocque (1979): 57] The Greek instruments in these verses are: the "harp" (qithros from the Greek kitharis), the "psaltry" (pesanterin from the Greek psalterion), and the "dulcimer" (sumponeyah from the Greek symphonia--"the historian Polybius (204-122 B.C.) uses it of an instrument rather like a bagpipe" as in the RSV [Smith-Christopher, 63; Farrar, 23-4; also Servius according to Barnes, 210; see also Barry's article on this instrument], "But it is more likely to have been a stringed instrument, as it is listed with other stringed instruments." [Hammer, 40, 5; quotes are in this page order]). Porteous notes that if this was a bagpipe "its sound would not blend very well with that of the other instruments!" [Porteous, 58; Barnes, 210 says that it emits a "mournful sound"] On the last word Rowley claimed that this "word is first found in Greek literature in this sense in the second century B.C.". [Rowley (1950): 157; Hammer, 5; Lacocque (1979): 57] In fact, we now know that Pythagoras used this term around 530 B.C.; i.e., about the time of Daniel. If this instrument is a bagpipe then it is also pictured in a Hittite relief at Eyuk (20 miles north of Boghazkoy in central Anatolia); this relief is from the middle of the second millennium B.C.--i.e. 1500 B.C.. What Rowley may be referring to by the words "in this sense" is in terms of a specific musical instrument or an orchestra. But, it may be that Daniel is NOT using this word to refer to a "specific musical instrument" at all; he may be using it adjectively ("in unison") which is the meaning of the word in Hymni Homerica, ad Mercurium 51 from the early sixth century B.C. [see the Mitchell and Joyce article, pages 19-27 or Baldwin (1978a): 102; see also the NEB: "concord of sound"; Pusey, 94 note 1 points out that the context of Polybius' use of the word indicates that it means "concert"] It has also been pointed out that it could be that this word is a dialectal form of tympanon which dates back to at least the sixth century B.C.. Kitchen notes that it is only "the elementary fallacy of negative evidence" that allows Rowley to claim that this word is first known in the second century B.C. [Kitchen (1965): 47] Thus, Rowley's claim is an appeal to ignorance; Kitchen notes that this is due to "the inadequacy of our Greek source material." On this last point, Boutflower refers the reader to James Kennedy's observation: "Our knowledge of the everyday life of antiquity is extremely fragmentary and limited." Boutflower, 254; Kennedy's words can be found in his book The Book of Daniel from a Christian Standpoint, page 210] The critics, of course, do not inform their readers of the absence of these basic facts. Nor do they explain, how the presence of these loan-words (and no others!) "lends support to the Hellenistic dating" (see Taylor).
We should also note the complete absence of any Hebrew musical instruments in these listings. Rowley tried to claim that these "few Greek loan-words ... contained within themselves [a] pointed reference to the oppressor and his banquets." [(1950): 160; Hammer, 40] Note that Rowley doesn't point out how the mere mention of a few musical instruments would accomplish the purpose for which he claims. And, finally, no other scholar has made mention of such a pointer existing in the words of these 3 musical instruments.
As Dr. E. B. Pusey, in his commentary on Daniel [page xxiv, written in 1865!] notes "[t]he exclusion of them [the Greek words] all from this enumeration in Nebuchadnezzar's festival fits in with the history [as recorded in Daniel], but would have been very unlikely in a book, written some centuries afterward in Palestine." (emphasis mine)
It used to be claimed that the presence of these Greek words meant that the book was a late composition. For instance, the absence of Greek words was one of the details that led Driver to claim that "... the Greek words demand ... a date after the conquest of Palestine by Alexander the Great (B.C. 332)." [Driver, An Introduction to the Old Testament. (T. & T. Clark, 1898): 476, emphasis his; see also Acquistapace, 142; Larue (405) echoes Driver's remark without providing any support for it] Unfortunately, for the critics, the presence of Greek words has long been demonstrated by "an avalanche of evidence" to have entered into "the Semitic milieu long before the sixth century B.C." [Vasholz, 316; Kitchen (1965): 44-48, Archer (1985): 21; McDowell, 98-102; this also means that Davies (1988) 38 errs when he sates that the "balance of probability weighs heavily against" the argument that these words would have been "available to a sixth-century Jew."]
22) Given that the language of Daniel reflects the lingua franca that had readily absorbed Persian terms in the areas of government and administration "it is inconceivable that Greek terms [in those same areas] would not have been adopted" by the writer of the book. [Archer (1985): 21] One reason for this is, as Emery points out, that these Greek words "easily could have been substituted for obsolete words at any late copying of the book." [Emery, 21]
23) If the book of Daniel was written in Palestine after a period of 160 years of influence and control by the Greeks then why didn't the writer use more Greek terms "pertaining to government and administration" rather than use long-forgotten Persian words -- and how did the author know these words? Is this really conceivable and realistic? It might be argued that the author did this so as to create an apparent age to the work. However, this means that the general public and other intelligentsia of that day and age would have been aware of the meaning of those Persian words -- and yet we know from above that they did not. Also, there is no evidence that is currently available to show that the people knew of these words.
The reason the above points are important is that after
the conquests by Alexander the Great the Greek language had supplanted the
Aramaic as the lingua franca of theANE.
Return to Top of Page
24) In terms of the Aramaic of the text it has been concluded that the book could _*NOT*_ have been written *later than* 300 B.C.. [See the book review of Klaus Koch's Das Buch Daniel by Arthur Ferch in the Journal for the Study of the Old Testament, 23 (July 1982): 119-123] Stefanovic studied Old Aramaic inscriptions from the ninth to the seventh centuries B.C. and found significant similarity to the Aramaic used in Daniel. [Zdravko Stefanovic, Correlations between Old Aramaic Inscriptions and the Aramaic Section of Daniel. Ph.D. dissertation, Andrews University, 1987]
25) Koch also points out that the vocalization of the Aramaic of Daniel appears to be of Eastern type and the general context and royal figures point to the east. [See Koch's book, page 47] Also the famous Aramaic scholar E. Y. Kutscher has shown that the Aramaic of Daniel points to an Eastern origin. [Kutscher, 400; cited by Hasel, (1981): 219 and (1986): 132] A Western origin would be required if the Maccabean thesis were correct. This factor alone strongly suggests that a Maccabean source for the book is in error. On this basis Kitchen notes that a number of scholars "would consider an Eastern (Mesopotamian) origin for the Aramaic part of Daniel (and Ezra) as probable." [Kitchen (1965): 76-7; Baldwin (1996): 256; Boutflower, 246, note 1]
26) Peter Coxon notes that the use of the prosthetic aleph with the verb "to drink" in Dan 5:3 indicates that the Aramaic is early [Official Aramaic] and is specifically a feature of Eastern Aramaic (the latter point, and information already given above, shows that Burtchaell is in error when he claims that the Aramaic of Daniel was "not in the dialect of Mesopotamia, but in that Palestine." [page 482] Wilson also points out that "the dialect of Daniel ... must have been used at or near Babylon at a time not long after the founding of the Persian Empire." [Wilson (1912) cited by Collins (1993): 14] Coxon has also noted that the eastern word order puts the content in the pre-second century. [Coxon ZAW 276; and in HUCA 120 and 122]
27) The critics of the book of Daniel used to claim that the presence of the word "herald" in Dan. 3:4 meant that the book was of late origin. But, H. H. Schaeder was able to show that in fact this word was of Old Iranian origin. [Iranische Beitrage I (Halle, 1930) 56; Archer (1985): 20-21, Kitchen (1965): 144; Collins (1993): 14; see also the Lexicon in Veteris Testamenti Libros by L. Koehler and W. Baumgartner (1958): 1087 -- cited by Baldwin (1978a): 102] Just the use of this word alone means that the book had to have been written long before the 2nd century (because knowledge of it had been lost) and that the book of Daniel was not written in Palestine.
28) A "linguistic analysis indicates that in morphology, vocabulary, and syntax" of the Aramaic of Daniel is considerably earlier (on the order of several centuries) than that of Genesis Apocryphon (1QapGen) and the Targum of Job (11QtgJob) which date from either the late 3rd or 2nd century B.C.. [Archer (1985): 23 and (1974) 471; see also Vasholz, (Dec 1978): 315-321; and his Ph.D. dissertation A Philological Comparison of the Qumran Job Targum and its Implications for the Dating of Daniel. (Univ. of Stellenbosch, 1976); and his "The Aramaic of the 'Genesis Apocryphon' Compared with the Aramaic of Daniel," New Perspectives on the Old Testament. Edited by J. B. Payne (1970): 160-169; Kutscher, "The Language of the 'Genesis Apocryphon,'" Aspects of the Dead Sea Scrolls. 2nd edition, (1965): 1-35; Kutscher, "Dating the Language of the Genesis Apocryphon," Journal of Biblical Literature, vol. 76 (1957): 288-92. More information on the Job Targum can be found in: T. Muraoka, "The Aramaic of the Old Targum of Job From Qumran Cave XI," Journal of Jewish Studies, vol 25 (1974) and S. A. Kaufman, "The Job Targum From Qumran," JAOS vol 93 (1973)] Collins notes that the Aramaic of the Qumran community was only in use between 200 B.C. and 200 A.D.". Therefore, since the Aramaic of Daniel is several centuries older than that of the Qumran community then Daniel had to have been written around 600-400 B.C.. Vasholz concludes that "the evidence now available from Qumran indicates a pre-second century date for the Aramaic of Daniel." One piece of evidence he points to is that of the spelling of the name of Darius. In Biblical Aramaic it is Dryw which agrees with the Meissner contract from 515 B.C. and the earliest Aramaic papyri (494 B.C.; whereas, in later times the name was spelt with a He (Dryhw). [page 320] On this Kitchen notes that if Daniel and Ezra were written in the late sixth to mid-fifth centuries then their preservation of the earlier form is understandable; but, if it was written "in the third century BC of later, then their failure use the form with the h -- in constant use for a century by then (c. 420-330 BC) -- is quite incomprehensible." [Kitchen (1965): 59-60, emphasis mine]
29) Vasholz notes that certain syntactical forms did not survive past the 5th century B.C. (450 B.C.); such as the "preposition le- before a king's name in dates." [page 316; Kitchen (1965): 78; Coxon, (1977): 113-5, Emery, 71; contra Rowley The Aramaic of the Old Testament. (Oxford, 1929), 103]
30) Given that the Aramaic of Daniel "differs significantly" with that of the Job Targum this means that some time must have elapsed between the two. [Stephen A. Kaufman, "The Akkadian Influence on Aramaic," Assyriological Studies, 19 (1974): 327] In fact, J. A. Montgomery points out that the "the very language of the story [of Daniel (4:30)] is reminiscent of the Akkadian" found on the Grotefend Cylinder. ["The Book of Daniel," ICC. Vol. 23 (1927): 243] The point here is that in the Akkadian "the verb normally falls at or near the end of the sentence" whereas in the normal Aramaic of Palestine it would not. [Kitchen (1965): 76] This point "proves that the Aramaic of Daniel (and Ezra) belongs to the early tradition of Imperial Aramaic (seventh-sixth to fourth centuries BC) as opposed to later and local Palestinian derivatives of Imperial Aramaic ..." [Kitchen (1965): 76; Soggin, 409]
31) In word-order the Apocryphon follows the normal sequence of Northwest Semitic; but, that of Daniel follows the Akkadian (Babylonian and Assyrian) [see Archer (1985): 23] Vasholz notes that the word order of Daniel agrees with that of the Assur ostracon which is dated from the 7th century B.C.. [page 316-7; Kitchen (1965): 76]
32) Kitchen has found that: "The Aramaic of Daniel (and of Ezra) is simply part of Imperial [Official] Aramaic ..." which was used from 600 to 330 B.C.. [Kitchen (1965): 75; Harrison (1979): 247, (1969): 1125] Millard concludes that "So far as the Aramaic is concerned, therefore, the stories of Daniel may be dated anywhere in the Persian or early Hellenistic periods." [(Apr-June 1977): 68. See also the work of the Aramaist E. Y. Kutscher, 399-403] Rosenthal states that "The Aramaic of the Bible as written has preserved the Official Aramaic character." [F. Rosenthal, A Grammar of Biblical Aramaic. 2nd edition (Wiesbaden, 1963): 6] Kutscher has also compared the Aramaic of Daniel with that found in the 5th century Elephantine papyri and found that it is contemporary with the Aramaic of Daniel although it is different in terms of spelling conventions. [See his article "The Hermopolis Papyri," Israel Oriental Studies (1971): 103-119; see also W. St. Clair Tisdall, "Egypt and the Book of Daniel--Or What Say the Papyri?" Expositor 22:2 (Nov 1921): 340-57; contra EBD, 258] Vasholz notes the "general consensus among the scholars" about the proximity of the Aramaic in Daniel with that of Ezra and the Elephantine papyri. [contra Hartman and DiLella, 408 who claimed that the Aramaic of Daniel "is certainly later than the Aramaic of the Elephantine papyri"] In his footnote for this Vasholz cites G. Fohrer [Introduction to the Old Testament. Translated by D. E. Green (Abingdon, 1968) page 473 who "states that the language of Daniel is Imperial Aramaic." [page 317, note 9; see also Davies (1988): 37] Collins has also pointed out the "essential similarity of the Aramaic of Daniel to that of Ezra". [Collins (1993)--he refers the reader to J. D. Michaelis, Grammatica Chaldaica. (Dieterich, 1771): 25; contra Farrar, 21]
33) It is noted even by liberal scholars that there is
marked degree of correspondence between the books of Ezra and Daniel. Pusey
has reported that there was "a marked correspondence between the Chaldee of
Daniel and Ezra, and a marked difference between the Chaldee of both and that of
the Targums. [In fact,] the Chaldee of Daniel bore traces of being *earlier*
than that of Ezra." [Pusey, xxx] "The modern opponents of the book of Daniel
have been constrained to admit that the Chaldee of Daniel is nearly identical
with that of Ezra, and is distinct from that of the earliest Targums." [Pusey,
Return to Top of Page
34) If Daniel originated in Palestine in the 2nd century B.C. as alleged then why doesn't the language of the book reflect the Hebrew that was common at that time--i.e., as reflected in the Qumran scrolls? [Goldingay, xxv] Distinct differences have been noted and it has been shown that the Qumran documents have none of the distinct characteristics of the Hebrew chapters in Daniel. [For a detailed presentation see Archer (1974): 470-481] Archer concludes that "in the areas of syntax, word order, morphology, vocabulary, spelling, and word-usage, there is absolutely no possibility of regarding Daniel as contemporary" [to other second century documents]. He submits that "centuries must have intervened between them."
These findings mean that the Aramaic documents from
Qumran *require* that Daniel was written far earlier than the Maccabean
thesis allows and that the book was *not* written in Palestine.
Return to Top of Page
35) It is claimed that the presence of Aryan words in
Daniel is proof of the late date of the book. [Eissfeldt, 522; Taylor] However,
Pusey has noted that "the meaning of many of these words was forgotten at the
time of Antiochus Epiphanes, where they would place [the writing of] the book of
Daniel. ... the knowledge of Aryan names was natural to one living in the
proximity of Aryan nations at Babylon, but unaccountable in a Jew,
supposed to live nearly *four centuries afterward* in Palestine." [Pusey, xxix;
"Those who invent a later date for the Book of Daniel can attempt no real explanation how a Jew who, according to their hypothesis, lived in Palestine
about 163 B.C., should be acquainted with Aryan words, which related to offices which had long ceased to exist, or to dress which no one wore,
words which were obliterated from Aramaic, which (as far as they survived) were inherited only from Daniel's text; and several of them were mis-
understood or not understood by Aramaic translators, or by Jews who, on the unbelieving theory, were almost his contemporaries ..." [Pusey, 100-101; Collins (1993): 18-9]
36) All of the 19 Persian loan words found in Daniel have been shown to be of Old Persian and none of which were in use *later than 300 B.C.*. [Harrison (1969): 1126; and (1979) 248; Vasholz, 315 and 320 note 20; Kitchen (1965): 43; W. St. Clair Tisdall, "The Book of Daniel: Some Linguistic Evidence Regarding Its Date," Journal of the Transactions of the Victorian Institute 53 (1921): 206-45; Collins (1993): 18; see Emery, 90 for a list of these words (he has 22 words used 69 times!); contra Taylor, Acquistapace (page 142), and others, who claim that the presence of these Persians (and Greek) words means that Daniel was "written much later than the Exile" -- it should be noted that these people never explain why that is so.] Kitchen points out that the presence of these Old Persian loan-words are consistent with an early date for the composition of the book. The presence of Persian loan words also tells us that those sections weren't written till, or were edited in, the 1st year of Cyrus (about 539/8 B.C.) when Persian influence became strong. This is contra Rowley who has claimed that these Persian loan words suggest "a long period of Persian influence." [Rowley (1950): 157] Actually, a "long period" is not required; an "intensive", but short, period would be sufficient such as being a court official. An "out" for Rowley can be found by noting the "two centuries of unhindered Persian penetration [into] the Aramaic language (c. 540-330 BC)"; unfortunately, Rowley still would have to explain how come no one else used these words during the Maccabean age. Harrison has noted that there are no Persian terms found in Daniel that were "in use later than 300 B.C. [when the Old Persian gave way to the Middle Persian.]" [Harrison (1979): 248, emphasis mine; Emery, 21] All of these factors Archer has noted "renders a late date in the post-Alexandrian period linguistically impossible." [(1985): 22, emphasis mine; Kitchen (1965): 77]
37) "If Daniel had been composed in second-century Aramaic, as the late-date theory maintains, then there should have been no difficulty in rendering any of the technical terms into Greek. But even in the single verse of Daniel 3:2, we find that the LXX translates ... [examples]. It is [absolutely] *impossible* to explain how within a few decades of its composition of Daniel in the 160s B.C., the meaning of these terms could have been so completely forgotten by the Alexandrian Jews who composed the LXX [translated 285/2 -246 B.C.] that they did not know how to translate them correctly." [Archer (1985): 22, emphasis mine; see also Kitchen (1965): 43; Vasholz, 320, note 20; Lacocque (1979): 56-7 presents the reader with the words and points out which one's are Old Persian but doesn't mention that the LXX mis-translated them.] Pusey notes: "the knowledge of Aryan names was natural to one, living in the proximity of Aryan nations at Babylon, but unaccountable in a Jew, supposed to live nearly four centuries afterward in Palestine, when the Persian power had passed away for a century and a half." [Pusey, xxix] Eissfeldt points out that the names given to Daniel and his friends is "attested for this latter period [the sixth century], or more precisely for the fifth century, the possibility must at any rate be entertained that out narrative is attached to a Daniel of the eastern diaspora of the sixth or fifth centuries." [Eissfeldt, 524]
Kitchen also notes that there are 4 Persian words [in
Dan 3:2] which were "so poorly 'translated' that their original meanings must
have been lost long beforehand; this would argue for a date before the second
century BC". [Kitchen (1965): 77] It has been said that these "translations"
were no more than mere guesswork. Baldwin notes that two of these terms have so
far only been found "in Daniel and in Aramaic documents of the fifth and sixth
centuries." [Baldwin (1978a): 101] The fact that these Old Persian words are
found in a description of a Babylonian setting indicates that this portion of
the book was written about 539/8 B.C. As an indicator of how fairly critics of
Daniel handle the text Hammer notes that these Persian words are in Dan 3:2 but
neglects to tell the reader that they are Old Persian and that their meaning was
forgotten when they were translated into the Greek for the LXX. [see Pusey, xxix
for another example of this same tactic]
Return to Top of Page
38) Wegner points out that "there is no evidence that the foreign-language terminology [i.e. the Greek and Persian words] used in certain passages of Daniel is common to any of the Dead Sea writings." [Wegner, 114] Whereas, given that the Dead Sea scrolls were written at the time commonly claimed that the book of Daniel was written then we "have a valid right to expect to find" those words in the Dead Sea scrolls. The absence of these words in the other Dead Sea scrolls indicates that Daniel was not written at the same time the Dead Sea scrolls were written.
39) R. H. Charles notes in his argument for a pre-Maccabean date for the book of Enoch that "once a nation recovers, or is trying to recover, its independence, we know from history that it seeks to revive its national language." [R.H. Charles, The Apocrypha and Pseudepigrapha (OUP, 1963): 170] Baldwin, rightfully, suggests that this "rule" should also be applied to the book of Daniel. [Baldwin (1978a): 32]
40) After examining all of the linguistic indicators Kitchen concludes: "One would--on the Greek and Persian evidence ...--prefer to put the Aramaic of Daniel in the late sixth, the fifth, or the fourth centuries BC, not the third or second. The latter is not ruled out, but is much less realistic and not so favoured by the facts as was once imagined." [Kitchen (1965): 50; cited by Baldwin (1978a): 34] Boutflower, page 257, reports that R. D. Wilson studied the composition of the various words found in Daniel in his article "The Aramaic of Daniel," for Biblical and Theological Studies. (Princeton, 1912). Wilson then concluded, on page 304: "we are abundantly justified in concluding that the dialect of Daniel, containing as it does so many Persian, Hebrew, and Babylonian elements, and so few Greek words, with not one Egyptian, Latin, or Arabic word, and being so nearly allied in grammatical form and structure to the older Aramaic dialects and in its conglomerate vocabulary to the dialects of Ezra and Egypto-Aramaic, must have been used at or near Babylon at a time not long after the founding of the Persian empire."
41) Montgomery considers the "fairly large proportion"
of Persian words to point to "the origin of the first part [of Daniel] in
Babylonia, not Palestine." [Montgomery, 21-2; Boutflower concurs, page 246, note
Return to Top of Page
Imagine an author of today attempting to write a book in Shakespearean English and trying to pass it off as a work from that time and from those authors. Or, in reverse, trying to claim that such a work was written yesterday. It would be inconceivable. Also, if someone today tried to write Shakespearean English, as hard as they might try not to, there would still be indicators in the work that it was written in today's milieu. And the author of today would have the unheard of advantage, relative to that of a Jew living in the 2nd century in Palestine, of being able to constantly consult historical works from the period they are trying to copy! Quite simply put: the cumulative effect of all of the language components of the book of Daniel alone does *not* allow it to be a 2nd century B.C. Palestine creation. [contra "Daniel, Book of" Encyclopedia Britannica. Micropaedia. Vol 3 (Encyc. Brit., 1988): 875 -- which claimed that the language of the book "probably indicates a date of composition later than the Babylonian exile". See also Casey, 33] The very fact that the book was translated by the Septuagint translators in 285/2 to 246 B.C. also tells us that the book could not have been written in 164 B.C.** And the fact that these translators did not know how to translate various Persian words indicates that the book was originally written long before the early third century B.C.
**That the Greek translation of the OT was made by 200 B. C. is supported by a wide number of scholars: Reymond (4, note 7), Buckwalter (12), Feinberg (1967: 43), Barrett (13), Bulman (481)-see the 'almah bibliography; contra Taylor.
As Yamauchi observed: "Conservative scholars welcome the
increasing mass of linguistic and archaeological data which helps support an
early date or at least helps undermine arguments for a late date for Daniel" and
"help to support an early date." [Yamauchi (1974): 13; (1980): 21] To date no
archaeological evidence has been found that has proven Daniel to be wrong; to
the contrary the evidence turned up to date has proven Daniel to be correct and
the critics to be wrong.
Return to Top of Page
Now that the book has been written (assuming it was indeed written in 164 B.C.) then how does the book go about getting accepted into the canon and as a real work from the past? For more information on this topic see Boutflower (1923): 276-285.
42) They have to show how the writer of Daniel was able to pass it off as being from such an historic figure that was previously unknown till then. We should also note, as the critic Pfeiffer has, that the author had no precedent for this type of work in Hebrew literature. [R. H. Pfeiffer, Introduction to the Old Testament. (1941): 766] We can also ask what is the benefit of using the name of a Ugaritic mythic figure who's life was at a total variance with any Biblical hero? Why not use a more popular name such as other pseudonymous works used?
43) Harrison contends that a Maccabean dating for Daniel would not have left sufficient "time for a Maccabean-era composition to be circulated, venerated, and accepted as canonical Scripture by a Maccabean sect." [Harrison (1969): 1127; Wegner, 115-6; Hill and Walton, 350--Walton refers the reader to D. W. Gooding, 73-4 to see this argument in detail]
44) "It is difficult to see how an intelligent second-century B.C. Jewish author could possibly have made such blunders as the critical scholars have ascribed to the compiler of Daniel, particularly if he had access to the writings of Ezra." [Harrison (1969): 1122]
45) "Had the work [of Daniel] contained as many errors as are usually credited to it [as the Sierichs article claimed--without ever detailing said errors despite repeated requests], it is certain that the book would *never* have gained acceptance into the canon of scripture, since it would have emerged very poorly in comparison with the writings of secular historians such as Herodotus, Ctesias, Menander, and others whose compositions are no longer extant." [Harrison (1969): 1122, emphasis mine] "Given the authority of the canon of the OT it is inexplicable [given the Maccabean theory] why the book was not revised for accuracy or how the book was accepted as canonical in the full knowledge that it contained errors." [Ferguson, 747]
Rowley has claimed that the presence of these historical errors throughout the book supports its original unity. [(1950-1): 262-3] To which Collins suggests that it is "easier to suppose that the apocalyptic writer simply copied the mistakes of the tales." [(1975): 229-30 note 64] While it might be "easier" to make that assumption it leaves the observation, given above, by Ferguson unanswered. Why didn't the compiler "fix" the alleged errors and bring the work in line with known history?
46) In a society that greatly valued its religious
writings and took great care that they be preserved correctly it is really
absurd to suggest that some 2nd century writer could pass off a
recent production as coming from the distant past--are we really supposed to
believe that the people wouldn't have noticed that they never heard of this
writing before? [Gooding, 73--he pronounces this view as "incredible" on page
74; Barnes, 42-3: "Scarcely any greater literary absurdity can be imagined.":
contra Rowley (1950): 161] While Rowley is certainly correct in noting that the
different scrolls lacked "title-pages" the identity of any given scroll could
very easily be remedied by the use of "tags" attached to the wooden handles.
These "tags" are called 'dockets'; they give a brief summary of the scroll's
contents as well as the names and dates.
Return to Top of Page
It is sometimes claimed that because the book of Daniel is not found in the books of the Prophets but rather in the books of Writings that this means the books was not considered canonical by the Jews and that this is evidence of its late date-see Rennie for instance. Burtchaell, for instance, said that the book of Daniel is "listed among the "Writings" in the Jewish Scriptures. Christians have traditionally grouped it with the Prophets."[Burtchaell, 482; see also, "Daniel, Book of" Encyclopedia Britannica. Micropaedia. Vol. 3 (Encyc. Brit., 1988): 875; Collins (1992): 31] Or, Allison who says: Daniel "has never been represented in the Hebrew bible as a prophetic book." [Allison, 789] We will see below how weak these claims really are.
47) In Albert Barnes Notes on Daniel [(written in 1853!), page 8]: "The ancient Hebrews never called its genuineness or authenticity in question. [Lengerke, Das Buch Daniel. (Konigsberg, 1835): 6; Hengstenberg, Die Authentie des Daniel. Berlin, p. 1] ... It is true that much has been said about the fact that the Jews did not class this book among the prophets [Nebiim], but placed it in the Hagiographa or Kethubim, [Hebrew word--meaning "writings"]. It has been inferred from this, that they believed that it was composed a considerable time after the other prophetic books, and that they did not deem it worthy of a place among their prophetic books in general. But even if this were so, it would not prove that they did not regard it as a genuine production of Daniel; and the fact that it was not placed among the prophetic books may be accounted for without the supposition that they did not regard it as genuine. ... The place which Daniel should occupy in the Sacred Writings probably became a matter of discussion among the Hebrews only after the coming of the Saviour, when Christians urged so zealously his plain prophecies (ch. ix. 24-27) in proof of the Messiahship of the Lord Jesus." (emphasis mine) Barnes also analyzes this argument in some detail on pages 36-43.
48) R. D. Wilson did a study of Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek lists of the canon and he found that they consistently placed Daniel among the "Prophets". ["The Aramaic of Daniel," Biblical and Theological Studies. (Princeton, 1912): 9-64. Wilson also found that the Aramaic was of an Eastern type of the 6th century B.C..] It was in the post-Christian era (i.e. 2nd century A.D.) that Daniel was moved from the "Prophets" to the "Writings" [See also Audet, 145-6, 150; cited by Koch, Das Buch Daniel, 29 and (1985): 123] Barnes says that the change was because Daniel was being used by the Christians "in their arguments against the Jews, to prove the Jesus was the Messiah." [Barnes, 40] Note that the Jews that contested with early Christianity never contested the placement of the book; nor did they respond by saying that the book was anonymous or written after the fact.
49) "It is incontestably clear that the people of Qumran regarded Daniel as a prophet. In 4Q174 2:3 we read ['s]r ktwb bspr dny'l hnby' ("[whi]ch is written in the book of Daniel the prophet the"). The passage, called a florilegium by J. M. Allegro, contains a quotation from Dan. 11:32 and 12:10." [Yamauchi (March 1980): 14] The book of Daniel is seen with the same level of respect as the books of Isaiah and Ezekial. [Published by J. M. Allegro and A. A. Anderson, Discoveries in the Judean Desert of Jordan. 5 (1968): 53-57; see also Harrison, ISBE (1979): 861] This means that the book of Daniel was already considered canonical by them and that it was a prophetic book. [see also Koch, 122; Wenham, 51; Harrison (1969): 1107] Wegner cites Young who points out that "two copies of the book were in circulation very shortly after the alleged time of its composition. It begins to look as though this consideration will make more difficult the maintaining of a late date for the authorship of the prophecy of Daniel." [Wegner, 115; E. J. Young "The Dead Sea Scrolls," Christianity Today (Nov. 26, 1956): 7; see also Hartman and DiLella, 408] Wegner also notes that given that the oldest fragment of Daniel can be dated to 125 B.C. that it is doubtful that it would Daniel was "one of the most popular Biblical books in the Qumran library--reportedly ranking next to the books of Isaiah, the Pentateuch, and the Psalms--I believe it would be most difficult to account for such popularity if the Book of Daniel were only a few decades old at the time when the Qumran community flourished." [Wegner, 116] Even the critic G. R. Driver recognized that "the presence and popularity of the Daniel manuscripts at Qumran" conflicted "with the modern view which advocates the late dating of the composition of Daniel". [Wegner, 116]
50) The fact that none of the apocryphal additions (as found in the LXX) of later times (i.e., relative to the time the book was written) have appeared in the Qumran scrolls suggests that Daniel was considered canonical at that time and thus was not changed.
51) Recent studies indicate that the canon was closed in Maccabean times and not at the end of the 1st century A.D. [See S. Z. Leiman, The Canonization of the Hebrew Scripture. (Archon, 1976); cited by Wenham, 51 and Baldwin (1978a): 72; Barnes, 48 states, emphasis mine, that the canon was closed "long before the time of the Maccabees".] This would not allow time for Daniel to have been accepted as part of the canon if it was written as late as is commonly assumed. Harrison states: "It is now clear from the Qumran MSS that no part of the canonical literature was composed later than the 4th century B.C.." [Harrison, ISBE. (1979): 862] This means that if Daniel was composed shortly before the canon was fixed then it would have been quite unusual for it to have been accepted as canonical--especially when everybody would have realized its novelty. The fact that Daniel was, and is, accepted into the canon indicates that it was written quite some time before the canon was considered closed.
52) "Daniel is included among the Major Prophets by the LXX [translated 285/2 - 246 B.C.] and the other early versions." [Archer (1985): 7] Collins agrees that the book of Daniel was "classified with the Major Prophets in the LXX. [Collins (1992): 31; it is interesting to note that some critics never mention this fact, see, for instance, Dummelow, 529] Waltke points out that: "According to the general consensus, the Prophets were translated before the end of the third century B.C. ..." [Waltke (1979): 220; see also the articles by Soderlund, 400 and Peters] It should also be noted that the Septuagint includes additional material-correctly mentioned by Taylor; but *not* any of the following points! For these materials to have been added to the book would have required some passage of time from the time the book was originally written. This period of time is usually thought to be on the order of several centuries. This time frame would also allow for the meaning to be lost for some Old Persian words which are found in Dan. 3:2. One should also note that the additions in the LXX are NOT found in the Qumran texts. [Baldwin (1978a): 70]9) We should also note on this matter that while Daniel functioned as a prophet "he did not occupy the technical status of a prophet in Israel." [Young (1969): 166] Note that Daniel, himself, never claims to speak with the special authority of a prophet. [S. R. Driver, An Introduction to the Literature of the Old Testament. (T. and T. Clark, 1898) 481; from McDowell, 36] This can also be seen by the "absence of the 'thus says the Lord' [that is] so characteristic of prophecy." [Lacocque, 12 note 51; Koch, 125-6] Harrison observes that Daniel "was not a prophet in the classical sense associated with Amos, Isaiah, Jeremiah, and others of the literary coterie for the simple reason that he did not function as a spiritual mediator between god and a theocratic community, despite the fact that he was endowed with certain conspicuous prophetic gifts. Like Joseph of old, he was a Hebrew statesman in a heathen court, and not a "writing prophet" or spiritual mediator in the commonly understood sense." [Harrison (1969): 1123] Using the form-critical perspective and the internal evidence Von Rad followed a neglected suggestion made earlier by Hoelscher and found that Daniel is a wise man (Dan. 1:3-5; 2:48-9) and not a nabi ("prophet"). [Gerhard Von Rad, Old Testament Theology. II, pgs. 303-5; Georg Hoelscher, "Die Entstehung des Buches Daniel," ThStKr 92 (1919):113-38] A close reading of the book shows that while Daniel did prophecy this was not from a "prophetic impulse" but rather from the interpretation of dreams which is part and parcel of the normal function of a sage in the ANE.
53) The argument that Daniel was not included in the Prophets rests upon the very well-hidden assumption--occasionally stated very clearly, see Eissfeldt quote below--that it was included in the Writings because it was written too late to have been included in the Prophets. [Lacocque (1979): 7 note 31; Wilson (1915): 354-5 lists 8 different assumptions that are in operation here. The assumption just given is a "blend" of the first (time) and second (placement)] Barnes, however, notes that the book of Job "which is probably one of the oldest compositions in the Bible, if not the very oldest" is found in the Writings; hence, the age of composition has nothing to do with where a book is placed. [Barnes, 37] He further notes that various writings of the Maccabean age (such as Ecclesiasticus, the Book of Wisdom, and the Apocrypha) were never included in the canon. [Barnes, 50-1]
54) The "earliest literary evidence of Daniel's inclusion among the Ketubim is to be placed somewhere between the fifth and eighth centuries A.D. ... This leads to the conclusion that at some point in time the rabbis transferred the book from the prophetic corpus to the last third of their collection of Holy Scripture. That probably happened long before the fifth century. Audet may be right in looking to the second century [to be more accurate the only evidence he could provide is from the "end of the second century"--"the famous Baraitha attributed by the Talmud to R. Juda the Patriarch"] as an appropriate date." [Koch, 123; Audet, 145] As Archer has very well noted: "the Masoretic division of the canon, coming as it did six or seven centuries after Flavius Josephus [who did include Daniel among the prophets], has no bearing whatever on the date of Daniel's composition or on its status as a truly prophetic work."
Summary of the facts to this argument: not only is the
placement of the book, whether in the Writings or with the Prophets, irrelevant,
but, in the words of R. K. Harrison it has the character of an "almost desperate
appeal". [Harrison (1969): 1123] It is simply assumed by the critics (as Driver
argued) that "if the book of Daniel had been known when the collection of
'Prophets' was made [then] it would have been ranked among them." [Baldwin
(1978a): 71; see S. R. Driver, Cambridge Bible: The Book of Daniel.
(Cambridge, 1900): xlviii; Miller and Miller, 126-7; Allison, 789; Eissfeldt,
521: "The fact that the book was not included in the canon of the prophets shows
already that it can only have been composed very late."] The critics have
leveled this charge as to the placement of Daniel as a way to, at least, imply
that this was because the book was written late. This not, however, an
automatically logical deduction. It has, for instance, been said that the book
of Ruth was placed in the Writings because of its late acceptance into
the canon--this however had nothing to do with the date of its
Return to Top of Page
55) The other problem is that the critics are claiming that canonical work was written under a pseudonym. [Rowley (1950): 161; Hill and Walton, 349; Porteus, 18; Towner (1984): 6-8; Lacocque, 3-4; Collins (1993): 56-8; Fishbane, 237; Rowley (1950-1): 235; Trever, 91, sidebar and 100; Heuvel, 2] Unfortunately, for the critics of Daniel, "We have no precedent, however, of a canonical Jewish book [being] dependent on an intertestamental noncanonical literary source, while there is abundant evidence that the reverse is true." [Vasholz, 321, emphasis mine] Joyce Baldwin also points out that "no example has so far come to light of a pseudepigraphon which was approved or cherished as an authoritative book, and ... there was opposition to the interpolation of new material into a text." [Baldwin (1978): 8; referred to by Ferch, 136; see also E. J. Young, The Prophecy of Daniel: A Commentary. (1949): 25 or his (1964): 363] After studying this issue in depth Baldwin concluded: "there is no clear proof of pseudonymity in the Old Testament and much evidence against it. When a writer made use of a literary convention, as in the case of Qoheleth, he made it abundantly clear the fact that that was what he was doing. So far as Daniel is concerned there is no hint of such a thing. ... If the historical setting provided by the text is accepted there is no reason for postulating pseudonymity, and the task of proving that the book is in any part pseudonymous must rest with those who make the claim." [Baldwin (1978b): 12, emphasis mine; Ferch (1986): 19] Note that most don't try to prove it. Goldingay tries to suggest that "pseudonymity was a common practice" in the ancient world "and in the Hellenistic age in particular". [Goldingay, xl] Some critics note that "[t]he use of pseudonyms ... was a common practice in the Greco-Roman times to lend authority to a writing and thus to help it reach a wider audience ..."; however, the real guestion is: "Did it occur in Palestine and in canonical writings?" [Trever, 91 sidebar] Note then that while Goldingay lists some various types of pseudonymous writings none of them are canonical! He is also correct that we should not reject the possibility that the book was pseudonymous a priori and that it should be determined "from actual study of the text of Scripture". However, as we have noted several times above he fails to consider the historical details of the book seriously--his presuppositions have clouded his judgement. Gordon Wenham has also critiqued Goldingay by noting that God revealing "his future purposes ... is at the heart of the book's theology. If, however, Daniel is a second-century work, one of its central themes is discredited". [Wenham (1977): 51]
An extended quote from Young re-states the same
"The book of Daniel purports to be serious history. It claims to be a revelation from the revelation from the God of heaven which concerns the future
welfare of men and nations. If this book were issued at the time of the Maccabees for the purpose of strengthening the people of that time, and the
impression was thereby created that Daniel, a Jew of the sixth century were the author, then whether we like it or no--the book is a fraud. There is no
escaping this conclusion. It will not do to say that the Jews frequently engaged in such practice. That does not lessen their guilt one whit. It is one thing
to issue a harmless romance under a pseudonym; it is an entirely different thing to issue under a pseudonym a book claiming to be a revelation of God
and having to do with the conduct of men and to regard such a book as canonical. The Jews of the inter-testamental period may have done the first;
there is no evidence that they ever did the second." [Young, (1964): 363, emphasis mine; contra Allison, 789 and Craven, 533]
Kitchen notes several scholars who have judged the book a priori as pseudepigraphic. [Kitchen (1965): 32, note 11] This is of course a very poor procedure and may indicate that something other than concrete facts may be the driving force to their conclusions. As Pusey put it "Disbelief had been the parent, not the offspring of their criticism; their starting-point, not the winning-post of their course." [page v; for an example see Casey's article about Porphyry; for an attempt to reconstruct Porphyry's arguments see Crafer's article.]
56) Josephus, writing in c. 95 A.D., includes Daniel as
one of the Prophets in his accounting of the composition of the Hebrew canon.
This is in his Contra Apion (Against the Jews) I, 38-39  and
Antiquities, X, 11, 17. [Archer (1985): 7-8; Audet, 145; see also Barnes,
38-9] BTW, Josephus (Antiquities, b. xi. ch. viii. 3-8, 21, 22; xi. 3, 4)
also describes an incident during the conquest of Palestine by Alexander the
Great (332 B.C.; i.e., about 175 years before the commonly accepted date
of 164 B.C. for the composition of Daniel) in which priests from Jerusalem met
him and showed him the prophecies of Daniel concerning a Greek conquering the
Persian empire. [Barnes, 54-5; Metzger, 219] "In all the sources of the first
century A.D.--Matthew, Josephus, [and the] Qumran--Daniel is reckoned among the
prophets." [Koch, 123]
Return to Top of Page
57) It is often claimed by the critics that the prophecies of Daniel were vaticinia ex eventu (i.e., Latin for "prophecy written after the event"). [see, for instance, the Word Biblical Commentary. (1989) on Daniel by John E. Goldingay; Hill and Walton, 349; Eissfeldt, 520; Gooding, 47; Trever, 91 sidebar; Sierichs: Daniel's "Prophecies" were wholly retroactive."; see also Yamauchi (March 1980): 17-9] Joyce G. Baldwin did a study of ANE "prophecy" texts, specifically the "Akkadian prophecies," and their relation to the book of Daniel. She concludes that Daniel does NOT contain any such prophecies even though "in form and style there is a striking resemblance" to the Akkadian prophecies. [Baldwin (1979): 96, 99; contra Walton in Hill and Walton, 349] Indeed, to Baldwin, this similarity is of "considerable embarrassment to those who accept a second century date for the writing of Daniel." [Baldwin (1979): 97] After all, how would a 2nd century Jew in Palestine know so much about Akkadian prophecies to be able to "copy" their 'form and style"? She goes on to point out that Lambert dealt with this question and pointed out that "the formidable cuneiform script would prevent any first hand acquaintance. ... It remains, then to show that this Babylonian genre could have been disseminated in a form intelligible to Jews." [W. G. Lambert, The Background of Jewish Apocalyptic. (Athlone, 1978): 13-16; Baldwin (1979): 97]
Of course, all this could be solved very easily by taking the book of Daniel at face value. This is why Baldwin concludes that the resemblance of the style and form of Daniel with the "Babylonian 'prophecy' texts ... point in the direction of a Babylonian origin, not only of chapters 1-6 but also of the whole book" of Daniel. [Baldwin (1979): 99; it is interesting to note that Davies (1980) fails to deal with these findings.] She also notes that in comparison with the Dream Visions of the Book of Enoch (1 Enoch 83-90) [The Books of Enoch by J. T. Milik, Aramaic Fragments of Qumran Cave 4 (Oxford, 1976)] which was written in 164 B.C. "Daniel shows every sign of coming from an earlier period" than that of the Book of Dreams. [Baldwin (1979): 99; this would be contra Goldingay, xxviii who suggests the possibility that either book could be dependent on the other.]
John A. T. Robinson also notes that "prophecy ex eventu has to be demonstrated, and demonstrated by minute and strict criteria, rather than [being] simply *assumed*." [Robinson, 340, emphasis mine] Towner, however, assumes that simply because "human beings are unable to predict future events centuries in advance and to say that Daniel could do so, *even on the basis* of a symbolic revelation vouchsafed to him by God and interpreted by an angel, is to fly in the face of the certainties of human nature." [Towner, Daniel: Interpretation. (Knox, 1984): 115; emphasis mine; see also Metzger, 218: "To the rationalistic critic ["the detailed and explicit prophecies that have been fulfilled"][have] been a stone of stumbling. Since he, unscientifically, first postulates that involved and precise prophecy is impossible--for his definition of inspiration will not admit its affirmation--he must secondly explain how these prophecies were fulfilled."] That is, Towner would rather discount entirely any possibility of a revelation from God and to trust in stead in "human nature" which is supposedly more "certain"! ; Porphyry was more forthright in denying a priori any "predictive element in prophecy." [Harrison (1969): 1110; see also the article by Casey] Harrison goes on to note on the next page that "such responsible authorities as Ackerman, Gunkel, and Guillaume" challenged the prevailing view that "prophecy consisted in forthtelling rather than foretelling." He further notes, on the following page, that "Rowley has pointedly remarked ... [that] the common modern antithesis between forthtelling and foretelling would have had little meaning for the ancient Israelites ..." [see Rowley, Servant of the Lord, 125f.; compare with Trever, 92]
Another aspect that needs to be considered here is the
nature of the audience. It seems to be assumed that the Maccabean audience would
have been gullible enough to accept a work as having been written centuries
before when it has just rolled "hot off the presses" as it were. As Davies
(1980): 43, notes
"For this assessment "liberal" scholarship is heavily criticised by conservative commentators, and here at least I agree with them. ... I find it difficult to
ascribe such gullibility to the original readers of the book. If there is gullibility in this case, it is more probably on the part of the rationalistic critics."
58) One possible answer to the above evidence is to claim that the book of Daniel was written by more than one author. [see for instance, Collins (1977): 19-21; Barton, 62-4] The problem here is that no two scholars can agree on the number of authors, where the seams between respective their works lies, and the date of each of the parts. [Rowley (1935/6): 217] Several examples: the first is by Barton. He suggests Daniel A, during the reigns of Nebuchadnezzar and Belshazzar, wrote chapters 2, 4, 5, 7, 8 and possibly 3; while Daniel B, during the reign of Darius the Mede, wrote chapters 9 and 6; meanwhile Daniel C, during the reign of Cyrus, wrote Daniel 10:1 to 12:4. [Barton, 79-80] He does not explain why one Daniel living throughout the time-frame mentioned could not have wrote all of the above chapters. Another example is the German scholar and Daniel commentator L. Bertholdt who, back in 1806, suggested 9 different authors! [Bertholdt, Daniel neu ubersetzt und erklart I, 49 ff. 83ff.; Farrar, 25 says it was in 1808; Rowley (1950-1): 236; Barton, 63] And later, in 1948, H. L. Ginsberg claimed that there were only 6 different authors. [Studies in Daniel, 5 ff., 27ff.; Pusey, 80; Koch, Das Buch Daniel, 58; Rowley (1952): 239; Hasel (1986) 93-4] Likewise, the Jewish philosopher Benedict Spinoza claimed in 1674 that Daniel only wrote from chapter eight to the end [(Tractatus Theologico-Politicus, ed C. Gebhardt, 4th ed. (Leipzig, 1922) 93: 216; Rowley (1952): 238; Barton, 62; see Rowley (1950): 159 for a short discussion of how 7 different scholars would divide up the work]--Spinoza suspected that chapters 1-6 were "extracts from the annals of the Chaldean kingdom" [Barton, 63]; while most other scholars see Dan 1-6 as having been composed during the exile at Babylon--see more below--this is their way of admitting the historical accuracy of these chapters. Rowley has also disparagingly noted that the sheer diversity of opinion on this point hardly inspires confidence in the postulations and that the "onus of proof lies upon those who would dissect a work. Here, however, nothing that can be seriously called proof of compositeness has been produced. [The] evidence for the unity of the work in its totality amounts to a demonstration [that] is available." He has also shown the evidence for that unity. [Rowley (1950-1): 237-268; R. H. Pfeiffer, Introduction to the Old Testament. (Harper, 1941): 761-2; Ferch (1986), 39-48; Harrison, ISBE. (1979): 862; Baldwin (1978a): 38-40; Farrar, 24-5; see also Ferch (1986), 27-39 for a presentation of the arguments for multiple authorship] Collins notes that the unity of the book "was the dominant [opinion] prior to Holscher's work in 1919." [(1984):29; Lacocque (1979): 9 notes that Y. Kaufman rejected Rowley's opinion on the unity of the book. Gammie (1976): 194-5 note 25 also raises some questions about the unity of the book.] Gordon points out that the very structure of the book shows that it "should be understood as a whole, consciously composed unit." [Gordon, 132; Hartman and DiLella, 408 note the "singleness of religious outlook, spirit, and purpose throughout" even tho' they feel the book was written by more than one author] Likewise, J. A. Montgomery declared that the multiplicity of authors and compositions exemplified the "bankruptcy of criticism." ["The Book of Daniel," ICC. (Edinburgh, 1927), 92; Rowley (1950-1): 236-7] Collins also refers to the "bewildering range of scholarly opinions" in regards to the composition of the book of Daniel. [Collins, "The Court-Tales in Daniel and the Development of Apocalyptic," JBL 94 (1975): 218] The sheer diversity of opinion certainly does not inspire much confidence in the postulated analyses. [Ferch (1986), 30; Rowley (1950-1): 239 notes that for Bevan it was "unnecessary to review the arguments for multiple authorship "since the discordance between them sufficiently proved their arbitrariness."; A. A. Bevan, A Short Commentary on the Book of Daniel. (1892): 8f.; for more examples, see Harrison (1969): 1108; see also EBD, 258; Trever, 90-1 has his own re-construction] Vasholz has a short discussion of the problems with assuming multiple authorship-- see page 320. Rowley in his 1950-1 article in HUCA gives a short presentation of the history of the thought on the unity of the book. [pgs. 235-48; see also his 1935/6 article] Harrison notes that other scholars who have supported the unity of the book of Daniel include: E. B. Pusey [Daniel the Prophet.], S. R. Driver [The Book of Daniel. (Cambridge, 1905)], J. A. Bewer [The Literature of the OT, 418f], R. D. Wilson [Studies in the Book of Daniel. I (1917) II (1938)], W. Moller [Der Prophet Daniel. (1934)], R. H. Pfeiffer [Introduction to the Old Testament. (1941): 760ff], G. G. Hackman [OT Commentary. Edited by H. C. Allman and E. E. Flack. (1948): 779], and E. J. Young [The Prophecy of Daniel. (1949): 19f and Introduction to the Old Testament. (1960): 360ff.]. [Harrison (1969): 1109 and (1979): 245; he also refers to two other German scholars: A. Freiherr von Gall [Die Einheitlichkeit des Buches Daniel. (Diss. Theol. Gießen, 1895)] and C. H. Cornill [Einleitung in die kanonischen Bucher des AT. (1905)] Pusey pointed out that the following admitted the unity of the book of Daniel: De Wette, Bleek [in his Introduction to the Old Testament. translated from the German ed. of 1865 by Venables, 1888, vol. 2, p. 199ff.--more at length in Jahrbucher fur deutsche Theologie. 1860],Von Lengerke, Gesenius, Hitzig, Ewald, and Stahelin. [Pusey, 80; see also Eissfeldt, 517-9] Other scholars who have admitted the unity of Daniel include: W. G. Lambert [The Background of the Jewish Apocalyptic. (Athlone, 1978)] and James Taylor ["Daniel, Book of," Dictionary of the Bible. (Clark, 1909): 176] Barton also provides a list of scholars who have argued for the unity of the book: Bleek, Schrader, Budde, Cornill, Konig, Behrmann, Driver, Bevan [The Book of Daniel. (Cambridge, 1892)], Kamphausen, and von Gall. [Barton, 64] See the attempt by Meyers and Rogerson to have the book develop over time. [Meyers and Rogerson, 274-280]
Rowley never realized, however, that if the book is a unified whole and if any part of it could be shown to have been written in an earlier period then either the whole book was written at the earlier date or its unity can be called into question which was the very point that he proved! [Baldwin (1978a): 40. On page 46 she cites A. Jepsen who noted that "if the book in its present form stems from the Maccabean period its unity ceases utterly." Jepsen's source is "Bemerkungen zum Danielbuch," VT XI (1961): 386]
59) Even those scholars who do not accept the unity of the book suggest that at least parts of the book were written long before 164 B.C. -- they do this because the recognize the historicity of these chapters. It wasn't until the cuneiform evidence became widely known that the critics had to change their opinions about the book so as to preserve their 164 B.C. dating scheme. For a few examples:
1) P. R. Davies suggests a sixth-century origin for the 2nd chapter. ["Daniel Chapter Two," Journal of the Theological Society 27 (1976): 392-401]
2) However, Davies has also argued that while chapters 1-6 were edited during the Maccabean era he has admitted that they were originally a "pre-Maccabean compilation." [(1980): 35; Lacocque (1979): 8 notes that Y. Kaufman considered these chapters to be a "mirror of exilic Judaism."]
3) A. Lacocque has attempted to make the case that the prayer of Dan. 9 was composed between 587 and 538 B.C.. [(1976): 141] In his book on Daniel he states that "the unity of the book is assured by the omnipresent shadow of Antiochus IV, as much as in the first part [of the book] as in the second part." [(1979): 24]
4) Haller and Noth both assigned chapter 7 to the fourth century B.C.; Noth also included chapter 2 to this period. [M. Haller, Theologische Studien und Kritiken. XCIII (1920); M. Noth, Theologische Studien und Kritiken. XCVIII (1926); see Harrison (1969): 1109; Eissfeldt, 517]
5) Meyers and Rogerson at least acknowledge that "some of the stories in Daniel 2-6 have their origins in stories that reflected events of sixth-century Babylon". [Meyers and Rogerson, 275] They leave unexplained and unexamined how and why these stories, and even more so the irrelevant details, were preserved without being preserved and recorded elsewhere.
6) Towner states that the "tales" of Dan 1-6 "are assumed to have come down from the third century B.C. or even somewhat earlier." [(1984): 5]
7) Collins reports that the "first six chapters of the book contain material which is older than the later chapters". He claims, however, that "this material has been re-edited in Maccabean times". [Collins (1975): 218] He also recognizes that the "tales in Daniel 1-6, as they now stand, constitute a literary unity." [Collins, (1975): 228; see also Ginsberg, 246]
8) Baldwin reports that Montgomery considered chapter 5 to be "far more ancient than the second century BC" and that M. Delcor felt that the story came from between 400 and 300 B.C.. [Baldwin (1978a): 133; ICC. (1927): 249; Delcor, Le Livre de Daniel. (1971): 132]
9) Yamauchi reports that according to McNamara "one of the strongest arguments for a pre-Maccabean date for chapters 1-6 is the fact that in these 'Nebuchadnezzar' is depicted in a favourable light; he is no prototype of the infamous Epiphanes." [Yamauchi (March 1980): 19; McNamara (1970): 131.]
10) Eissfeldt reports on a number of scholars who have dated portions of Daniel earlier than 164 B.C. [Eissfeldt, 517-8]
11) Ginzberg believes that chapter 2 came from 307 to 301 BC. [Ginzberg, 254] He also thinks chapters 1-6 are "pre-Epiphanian." [Ginzberg, 246] He then states this is about 246-5 B.C. [Ginzberg, 254] He has to date these chapters earlier than 164-5 BC because he recognizes that "neither Dan. ii nor any other chapter in Daniel A (i.e. Dan. i-vi) contains any thing which can be interpreted as an allusion to conditions in the time of Antiochus IV except by tortured exegesis; ... Dan. ii reflects a political situation which ceased to obtain long before the reign of Antiochus IV ..." [Ginzberg, 259]
12) Barton reports that Meinhold "separates ch. 2-6 from the rest of the book, dating them about 300 B.C.." [Barton, 63]
Barton shows how others have noted various features that are found only in the Aramaic section of the book (from 2:4 to 7:28) that are found nowhere else in the book. Some of these "most striking" "earmarks of style" which "prove unity of authorship" are: "peoples, nations and tongues" (3:4, 7, 29, 31; (4:1); 5:19; 6:26; 7:14) and the phrases: "God of heaven," "Lord of heaven," and "king of heaven" (2:18-9; 4:34; 5:23). [Barton, 65 note 21]
Notice that the argument that chapters 1-6 were early
and edited to be combined with chapters 7-12 runs counter to Rowley's basic
argument (even though this is his very argument) for the unity of the book.
[Goldingay,****; Baldwin (1996): 256; Eissfeldt, 518; McNamara (1970): 131] Note
also that the previous idea about the editing process of the book fails to
explain how and why details about the Babylonian setting was preserved or not
edited out of the book. Why should, or would, an editor leave them items in that
run counter to conventional wisdom?
Return to Top of Page
Given then that scholarly consensus is that most of the
chapters of the book were written during the Exile and that there was only one
author to the book this means that "we may safely assert that the book could not
possibly have been written as late as the Maccabean age." [J. E. Whitcomb, Jr.,
New Bible Dictionary. (Eerdmans, 1962): 292]
Return to Top of Page
60) Acquistapace and Burtchaell, like some others, have claimed that Daniel contains certain "religious concepts, such as belief in resurrection and angels, that developed in about the 2d century B.C.". [Burtchaell, 482; Trever, 100; see also "Daniel, Book of" Encyclopedia Britannica. Micropaedia. Vol 3 (Encyc. Brit., 1988): 875 -- which claimed that the religious ideas of the book "do not belong to the 6th century" -- note that the article does not say why that is so; see also Hartman and DiLella, 408] The first known proponent of Daniel creating the doctrine of a bodily resurrection was the Jewish rationalist Uriel Acosta (1590-1647). However, a comparison of resurrection passage of Dan 12:1-4 has shown unmistakable links to that of Isaiah 26:19; while a comparison with Qumran resurrection literature reveals that there are major differences between the motivation, purpose and meaning of the resurrection. [G. F. Hasel "Resurrection in the Theology of OT Apocalyptic," ZAW 92 (1980): 267-81] This indicates that Daniel was not written at that time. We can also point out that several other OT passages deal with the resurrection: Job 19:25-6; Isa. 26:19; Ezek. 37; 1 Kings 17; 2 Kings 4.
In terms of angels Zechariah (1:9, 14, 19; 2:3; 3:1-3; 4:4-6, 11-14; 5:5-11; 6:4-8) is the closest to that of Daniel (8:16; 9:21; 10: [note that verse 5-6 "are probably the most-detailed description in Scripture of the appearance of an angel." Archer (1985): 123]13, 21; 12:1). Barnes points out that Bertholdt admitted that the origin of the concept of angels cannot be determined, that the concept was common in ancient times, that no one could demonstrate that the concept did not exist at the time of the exile, and that no one could disprove it. [Barnes, 28; see also pages 23-7 -- since Barnes was written in 1853 we are really at a loss to understand how Burtchaell could possibly have failed to have read it -- maybe he just forgot its contents.] Zechariah lived during the sixth century and began his work about 15 years after the return from Captivity (c. 520/519 B.C.)
For comparison purposes on this issue, Baldwin claims
that the book of Daniel does NOT share the same theological outlook as was
present in Babylon during the 6th century. [Baldwin (1979):
Return to Top of Page
There are a number of other issues that some critics
bring up about the book of Daniel.
Return to Top of Page
61) It has been claimed (by Taylor (citing Dummelow in
Taylor , Sierichs, and others) that the book of Daniel can't even spell the
name of Nebuchadnezzar correctly because it uses an n rather than an
r. [Porteus, 26; Dummelow, 530; Farrar, 20] However, Millard points out
that a study done in 1975 demonstrates "that the writing with n is not
improper for Hebrew". [Millard (1977): 73; the 1975 study was by P. R. Berger in
the Zeitschrift fur Assyriologie, vol 64, pages 224-34; Goldingay, 4 note
1--the "Heb. spelling can be explained philologically."] See also the article on
Nebuchadnezzar by LaSor in the ISBE. He notes that the LXX supports the
use of the n [Nabuchodonosor] and that Jeremiah uses both spellings in
chapters 27-29. [LaSor, 506] Wiseman simply refers to the Biblical spelling as a
"variant." [Wiseman, 552] BTW, the Greeks spelt it "both" ways: Nabochodonosor
and Nabokodrosoros. [Baldwin (1978a): 78] In Aramaic it is Nebukadnessar--note
the use of n in both the Aramaic and Greek.
Return to Top of Page
62) It is still claimed in some circles that Dan 1:1 and Jer 46:2 are in conflict and yet recent discoveries have shown that each is using different dating techniques. [contra Rowley (1950): 156; Porteus, 25-6; Farrar, 45-6; Davies (1988): 29-30; Larue, 405); Lacocque (1979): 7; Collins (1984): 51, (1992): 29; McNamara (1970): 132; Montgomery, 72-3; Taylor; Heuvel, 4-5] As Richards points out "[n]o Jew writing the Book of Daniel in the second century B.C. would have gone against Jeremiah 46:2 and dated the invasion using a Babylonian system [that was] three centuries out of date." He notes that this is "a most compelling argument for fifth-century authorship." [page 210; see also Hasel (Spr. 1981): 48-9; (1986): 118-21] "Had the author of Daniel been an unknown Jew of the second century B.C. as critical scholars have been wont to insist, it is unlikely that he would have followed the obsolete Babylonian chronological system of computation in preference to his own Palestinian method, which had the sanction of so important a personage as the prophet Jeremiah." [Harrison (1969): 1112-3; Emery, 21 notes that these "too-obvious blunders" could have been removed "by any later copyist or editor"; see also page 113.]
On this issue Waltke writes, "But how can one square the statement in Daniel 1:1 that Nebuchadnezzar in his first year as king besieged Jerusalem in the third year of Jehoiakim with the statement in Jeremiah 25:1, 9; 46:1 that Nebuchadnezzar defeated Pharaoh Necho in the fourth year of Jehoiakim? Edwin Thiele harmonizes this conflicting date by proposing that Daniel is using the Babylonian system of dating the king's reign whereas Jeremiah is using the Palestinian system of dating [The Mysterious Numbers of the Hebrew Kings, 163, 165]. In Babylonia the year in which the king ascended the throne was designated specifically as 'the year of accession to the kingdom,' and this was followed by the first, second, and subsequent years of rule. In Palestine, on the other hand, there was no accession year as such, so that the length of rule was computed differently, with the year of accession being regarded as the first year of the king's reign. If this plausible explanation is correct, the alleged contradiction actually supports a sixth century date for the book. Had the author Daniel been an unknown Jew of the second century B.C., it is unlikely that he would have followed the obsolete Babylonian chronological system of computation in preference to his own Palestinian method, which had the sanction of so important a personage as the prophet Jeremiah" [Waltke, (1976): 325-36]
Baldwin points out that "rightly understood there is no discrepancy" between the two dating systems. She refers the reader to R. H. Sack's work that deals with the application of 'post-dating' and 'accession year' dating systems--"Amel-Marduk 562-560 BC," Alter Orient und Altes Testament 4, (1972)--in reference to Daniel 1:1 see page 28. [see also Wilson (1917): 60-82; Hasel (Spr. 1981): 47-49; Emery, 50-1; Albright, 32; Goldingay, 14--he also tries to suggest instead that these dates are given to be "more than [a] merely historical point." Elsewhere, Goldingay seems to reveal that he believes that all of the numbers in the book of Daniel have some sort of non-historical and "mystical" significance -- see for instance his comments on the age of Cyrus on page 112] For more details about Dan. 1:1 see Mark K. Mercer's article "Daniel 1:1 and Jehoiakim's Three Years of Servitude," AUSS 27:3 (Autumn 1989): 179-192.
63) Note that in the book of Daniel it is always "the
Medes and the Persians" (6:8, 12, 15) thereby indicating that the Persians were
the relatively recent "late-comers" to power--it also indicates that Daniel was
well aware that the Medes were not an independent power at that time. [Emery,
21] Whereas, in a later work, Esther, it is always "the Persians and the Medes"
(1:3, 14, 18, 19) indicating the prominence and the position of power to be with
the Persians. Rowley [(1950): 155] guess-estimates that Esther is to be dated
about 180 B.C. [likewise, Tucker, 198--although he hedges his guess by also
suggesting "late fifth century, from the Persian period."]; in fact, other than
the internal data of the book itself we have no way of knowing when, or by whom,
the book was written. Harrison suggests "a date not later than 350 B.C. until
more concrete evidence is forthcoming." [Harrison (1969): 1090; Hill and Walton,
238--Walton suggests "the fourth or even the late fifth century B.C."] In any
case, as Whitcomb has pointed out the phrase "the Medes and the Persians" in
Daniel is evidence for an early date because "in later times the Persians
usually took precedence in this respect (e.g. Est. 1:3, 14, 18f., but
[interestingly] not in 10:2; cf. 1 Macc. 6:56)." [quote is from Harrison (1969):
1128; he refers to Whitcomb, 55]
Return to Top of Page
64) Another point that is sometimes brought out is that
Daniel was not listed in the Wisdom of Sirach, otherwise known as
Ecclesiasticus, (44:1ff) which was written by Ben Sira "near the start of the 2d
century B.C.". [Burtchaell, 482; Heuvel, 3; Harrison, ISBE. (1979): 864,
(1969): 1123-4; Dummelow, 529-30; Hammer, 5; Eissfeldt, 521; Fox, 335 puts the
date at 190 B.C. to 180 B. C.; likewise Lacocque (1979): 7; Larue, 395; Di Lella
(1987): 10; and Taylor , ; Barnes, 43 notes that this argument was also
made by De Wette, Bleek, Eichorn, Kirms, and Bretschneider] Burtchaell claims
that this work is a "catalog of famous Hebrew ancients." What he neglects to
tell the reader is that this work also does not mention Joseph, Ezra, Mordecai,
Asa, Jehoshaphat, Esther, all of the Judges except Samuel, and other "famous
Hebrew ancients." It therefore seems that Ben Sira was not attempting to
"catalog" all of the famous personages from the past. [contra Lacocque,
7] What criteria was used by this writer for determining who would be included
in his list and who would not make the cut is not given. Harrison notes that the
sheer "popularity of Daniel at Qumran" demonstrates "the shallowness of this
objection." [Harrison, ISBE. (1979): 864, (1969): 1123] Barnes notes that
this is an argumentum a silentio and "is admitted not to be a conclusive
kind of reasoning. So long as there may have been other reasons why the
name was omitted in such a list, it is unfair and inconclusive to infer that he
had not then an existence, or that there was no such man. It is necessary, in
order that this reasoning have any force, to show that this is the only
cause which could have led to this conclusion, or that this alone could
account for it. ... it cannot be supposed that the writer mentioned all the
eminent men among the Hebrews, and therefore it is no way remarkable that the
name of Daniel should have been omitted. This is conceded even by Kirms. (See
his work, Commentatio Historico-Critica, &c., p. 9.)" [Barnes, 43-4;
Fox, 340 notes that R. K. Harrison (1969): 1123 does not accept this argument
from silence] Apparently the critics have forgotten the idea that the absence of
evidence is not evidence of absence! Barnes goes on to ask "why should so much
weight be allowed to the mere silence of the Son of Sirach -- an author
comparatively unknown ...? [Barnes, 44] Notice also that the critics do not tell
you what other famous Hebrew personages are also not included in "the list". Fox
points out that C. C. Torrey showed that "the Geniza Hebrew manuscript B of Ben
Sira referred to a passage in the Book of Daniel". [Fox, 341; compare Sir. 36:10
with Dan. 8:19, 11:27, 35--Torrey, "The Hebrew of the Geniza Sirah," The
Alexander Marx Jubilee Volume. Edited by Saul Liebermann (Jewish Theological
Seminary of America, 1950): 597] Fox then goes on to note that back in 1899
Schecter found that Sirach has other passages that were derived from Daniel
(Sir. 3:30 with Dan. 4:24 and Sir. 36:17 with Dan. 9:17). [Fox, 342; Solomon
Schecter and C. Taylor, The Wisdom of Ben Sira. (C. J. Clay and Sons,
1899): 35] Fox concludes that on the basis of this "clear literary" dependence
of Sirach on Daniel then "190-180 B.C. [must] date as a new terminus ad
quem to at least portions (and interestingly enough, to the latter Hebrew
portions) of the Book of Daniel." [Fox, 350] Taylor [5, page 4] claims
Sirach was written "about 180 BCE" and that Daniel was written "about 165 BCE;"
he does not explain how Sirach could have then derived passages from Daniel if
it was written before Daniel.
Return to Top of Page
65) Another error that Burtchaell makes, he is not alone in this as we will see, is in his claim that Daniel lists "Xerxes, Darius, and Cyrus ... as reigning in that order." Sierichs in private correspondence makes the same error. [9/12/96, page 3; see also Soggin, 408; Collins (1975): 228; Lacocque (1979): 24] Note that Burtchaell did not say where Daniel said such a thing--for the simple reason that Daniel did not say it! This claim is based on the assumption that the Darius of Dan 5:31 is the Darius I of historical renown [see Heuvel, 5-6]. But, as Baldwin has pointed out: it is "unlikely, as some allege, that the author of the book of Daniel, who was meticulous in other details would have muddled Darius the Mede with Darius Hystaspes". [Baldwin (1996): 255; contra Collins (1192): 29 as well] Likewise, it also assumes that the Ahasuerus (Xerxes) of Dan 9:1 is the Xerxes with whom we are familiar. [McCabe; Eissfeldt, 521; Taylor] Note that the "Xerxes" of Dan. 9:1 is never mentioned at all in terms of being a ruler; these statements are also usually given in terms of when the person was a ruler--note that this is absent. Plus, does it really make sense to say Darius the "Xerxes"? Also, it is now recognized that Ahasuerus "may be an ancient Achaemenid royal "title"." [Baldwin (1978): 163--citing D. J. Wiseman, Notes on Some Problems in the Book of Daniel, 15; see also R. N. Frye, The Heritage of Persia. (1962): 95, 97; according to Boutflower, on page 53, Herodotus said that "the names of some of the Persian kings -- Darius, Xerxes, and Artaxerxes -- were appellatives rather than proper names." -- Montgomery, 64 claims that this is merely a hypothesis, he doesn't show that it is wrong or that it has no factual foundation] Thus, it is possible that the phrase "son of Ahasuerus" may be a way of saying that Darius was of royal blood. And it has been suggested that the Darius the Mede in 9:1 and 11:1 may, in fact, be the same as the Cyrus the Persian in 10:1; i.e., the same person was known by two separate names and two separate ancestors (royal intermarriage?). In Dan. 6:28 where both names are given it may be that the Hebrew word 'waw' should be translated as an explicative: "during the reign of Darius, even the reign of Cyrus the Persian" (or "that is" as in the NIV note). [Wiseman, "Some Historical Problems in the book of Daniel," Notes on Some Problems in the Book of Daniel; for more details see Shea (1991); see also Emery, 26-7, 44 where he notes that for Daniel 'waw' is a "literary characteristic".] Harrison points out this possibility: "just as James VI of Scotland was also known regnally as James I of England." [Harrison, ISBE. (1979): 863; Baldwin (1978a): 26-7, 127; J. Barr, Interpreter's Bible, (1956): VI:451; see also the NIV on this verse] Further support can be seen in 1 Esdras 3:1 to 5:6. It is commonly assumed that the Darius of these stories is Darius the Great; however, as Emery notes C. C. Torrey has shown that these stories refer to Darius the Mede. [Emery, 30, 124, 137; see Peake's Commentary, 323c; compare 1 Esdras 3:2, 9 with Dan. 6:1-2]
It has also been suggested that Darius the Mede may have been a co-ruler (although subordinate to) Cyrus the Persian--in which case Daniel is describing an effective situation and not necessarily a legal line of rulership; this can be seen in Dan. 5:31 Darius "received the kingdom"--the question is: from whom? [Hasel (Spr. 1981): 45; Davies (1988): 27 assumes that this was from Belshazzar] Note that "for a period of about nine months after the capture of Babylon ... Cyrus the Great did not bear the title "King of Babylon." [Hasel (Spr. 1981): 45 --this comment by Hasel appears to be slightly mis-stated. Boutflower and Shea show that for a period of about ten months there is a gap in which Cyrus is not called "King of Babylon"; he is called such at the beginning and then there is a break till the 4th day of the New Year [Boutflower, 49, for a more in-depth look at Darius the Mede see his book (1923): 143-167; Shea (1971-2); Goldingay, 111-2 notes that Cyrus ruled "through a vassal-king"] Whitcomb has pointed out that Cyrus followed Darius in Daniel is an argument that "must be advanced without the benefit of proof, for the one text that mentions the two rulers together (6:28 [text]) may just as well be interpreted as meaning that Daniel prospered during the contemporary reigns of two rulers, one of whom was subordinate to the other." [Whitcomb, 35] Either possibility would answer Burtchaell's claim that Daniel confuses the two and highlights the need for more definitive information before making claims that are based on an shortage of concrete evidence. As Whitcomb points out: "No intelligent Jew of the second century could have committed such a blunder" as Burtchaell suggests. All the writer would have to do was to look at Ezra 4:5-6 to get the basic facts (this book was written no later than 250 B.C.). Compare that with Davies' claim that "at least two Persian monarchs have been confused, and a fictitious third created out of the confusion." [(1988): 27] He appears to have ignored the statement by Josephus that Darius the Mede "was the son of Astyages and had another name among the Greeks." [Boutflower, 53; Josephus Antiquities. x II. 4]
Note that Daniel does NOT portray Darius the Mede as an "absolute monarch, dynastically speaking over a Median empire" (see 6:1ff, 9:1); nor does the book picture "an intervening Median kingdom" as Montgomery claims. [Montgomery, 61 and in note 5]
66) Note that there is no prophecy in Daniel regarding the "the Maccabean uprising and ... [the] predicted victory for the Jews." [Farrell Till's editorial note to the Sierichs article] This typical of the type of claims made by the popular critics of the Bible; they make things up as they go along hoping no one will check them out.
67) If the book was so obviously fictional, legendary
and filled with errors it is logical to expect to see "hints of this in the
tradition of interpretation [much like what we see with the literature that was
NOT included in the canon], prior to and independent of Porphyry's attack on
Christianity, but these are [conspicuously, one might add] absent." [Ferguson,
Return to Top of Page
68) When a fragment of The Prayer of Nabonidus
(4QPrNab; sometimes given as 4QOrNab) was discovered in a Qumran Cave 4 it was
widely assumed that Daniel's account of Nebuchadnezzar's madness in chapter 4
was derived from this account. [see Roux, 318; EBD, 753; Hammer, 48-9;
Wiseman, 553; Collins (1984): 65; Davies (1988): 41-2; Lacocque (1979): 74;
Larue, 407; see also Baldwin (1978a): 116-8] However, there are a number of
factors show that this is not the case:
1) Nebuchadnezzar's "affliction" was of the mind whereas Nabonidus' was 'a burning' or inflammation of the skin--there is nothing in this story of Nabonidus that would lead us to the same conclusion as Fishbane, 238 arrived at: "Daniel 4 speaks of Nebuchadnezzar's transformation into a beast, a story that is repeated in the Qumran scrolls of Nabonidus ...";
2) Nebuchadnezzar's was a punishment from God for sin, there is no indication that such was the case for Nabonidus--his was supposedly for idolatry;
3) In the case of Nabonidus the "exorcist pardoned my sin" whereas in the case of Nebuchadnezzar he "lifted up my eyes unto heaven and mine understanding returned unto me." (KJV)--i.e., when he recognized (accepted) the sovereignty of God [Lacocque (1979): 12 says that this prayer presents Daniel as the "anonymous Jewish exorcist" or magician--Baldwin (1978a): 117];
4) Nabonidus' condition was cured by an unnamed Jewish exorcist whereas Nebuchadnezzar's recovery required no human agent;
5) Nebuchadnezzar's illness came while he was in Babylon; while that of Nabonidus was in Tema;
6) finally, many of the words and phrases of the prayer have to be supplied "on a conjectural basis" because they are missing in the original fragment in order to make it sound more like the case of Nebuchadnezzar. [Archer (1985): 15; he cites Harrison (1969): 1118-9]
In sum, the Prayer of Nabonidus is a late and garbled
legend which was written for a haggadic purpose. [Archer (1985): 15] Baldwin
looks at this Prayer and concludes that "there are significant differences, and
there is no sign literary dependence." [Baldwin (1978a): 117; Freedman, 31
agrees that we "cannot speak of direct literary dependence."] Note that some
critics of the Bible do not inform the reader of the differences between the two
accounts. [see, for instance, Hammer, 48-9 and Larue, 407] They also simply
assume that the Nabonidus story is more "accurate" than the Biblical account of
Nebuchadnezzar. [Freedman, 31-2] For an extended study of Nabonidus and the book
of Daniel see McNamara's article from 1970; especially pgs. 137-44.
Return to Top of Page
69) It has been alleged by some of the critics that the
Daniel of the Bible is derived from the Dan'el of the Ugaritic mythic
literature that were found at Ras Shamra in the 1930's. [Hammer, 3; Lacocque
(1979): 3; Collins (1992): 29; Hartman and DiLella, 406-7; Muller; Heuvel, 2]
Other than the similarity of the names (both start with 'Dan.' and both end with
an 'el') there is nothing else similar between the two; isn't it rather odd that
one would write a whole book based solely on the name of an ancient figure? [see
Archer (1985): 5] For an examination about the Ugaritic Daniel see Dressler's
article. For a rebuttal see John Day's article. Day claims that since Daniel is
the middle name in Ezekial 14:14, 20 then Daniel must then be as old a figure as
either Noah or Job. [see also Hartman and DiLella, 406] This claim ignores the
common ABA pattern found in the ANE, the Bible and even within the language
structure of the book of Daniel itself. [Eissfeldt, 516-7; contra Hartman and
DiLella, 408] Ferch examines the possibility that Daniel derived his "Son of
Man" concept and his "visionary scene of judgment [that] succeeds that of the
beasts" from the Ugaritic literature. He notes that the differences between the
two is too great and the concepts are quite different and that the contexts
"differ strikingly" and he therefore finds "a discontinuity between Ugarit and
Daniel 7". [Ferch (11980): 85-6]
Return to Top of Page
70) A further point to consider lies in the
interpretation of the prophecies that are found in the book of Daniel. Usually,
the earthly kingdoms of Dan. 2 and 7 are given as four in number: Babylon,
Media, Persia, and Greece. [for instance, see Gammie (1976) 204; Collins (1977):
153; Porteus, 19; Rowley (1935/6): 220; Eissfeldt, 519-20; Gurney, 39;
Boutflower (1923): 13-34; Larue, 407; Lacocque (1979): 9, 51, on page 123 he
cites Elias Bickerman, Four Strange Books of the Bible. (1967): 67-8: "in
the Jewish schema the four empires were Babylon, Media, Persia, and Macedonia.";
Collins (1984): 52; Eissfeldt, 522; McNamara (1967): 635; Dummelow, 526; see
Davies (1988): 28-9 for his attempt to create an error for Daniel; this view was
possibly derived from Porphyry -- see Casey, 19; Gruenthaner, 209-10 notes that
some scholars took note of the difficulties that were "created by assuming the
second kingdom to be the Median empire"-see, for example, Taylor . They thus
propose: Neo-Babylonian, Medo-Persian, Alexander's Greek empire, Seleucid-see
for instance Rennie and Muller . But, Gruenthaner notes that this is
"contrary to Daniel's outlook upon history." He also briefly examines the idea
that these kingdoms are the reigns of specific kings and shows how it fails to
meet the criteria of the prophecy.] But the author of the book clearly
recognized that the Medes and the Persians were the second of the series of
kingdoms (5:28)--also we should note that in chapter 2 there are 5 earthly
kingdoms, not four: gold, silver, brass, iron, iron and clay. So, that means we
have Babylon, Medes and Persians, Greeks, ? (Rome), and ??. According to the
prophecy Rome itself would fall and then that no other world-dominating power
would take its place. Now, how did the writer of the book, if it was written
"after the fact" in 164 B.C., know that the Greeks were going to fall before it
happened [from here on of course Daniel would be an excellent example of pure
prophecy--see Porteous, 18: "The genuine attempt at prophecy (Dan. 12:40ff)"--I
think he meant chapter 11 verse 40 and onward], and to whom, and then on top of
all that the final power was going to fall and that there would never be
another? That this is the correct sequence of empires can be seen by the
parallel vision in chapters 7-8. In chapter 7 the bear "raised itself up on one
side" [Lacocque (1979): 140 says that this means it is either "crouched down
ready to spring[!] or standing up on its back legs in an aggressive
position"--compare that opinion with the text itself; see also Gurney, 43] and
in chapter 8 one of the two horns on the ram "was higher than the other, and the
higher came up last." [Eissfeldt, 522 recognizes that the two horns represent
two separate kingdoms; Lacocque (1979): 160: recognizes that the ram with its
two horns represent Persia and Media--although he confuses the later horn with
Media] Notice also that in 8:7 the goat breaks both horns of the ram thereby
indicating that "they cannot be two successive kingdoms one of which was
overthrown 200 years earlier than the second!" [Emery, 38-9] And then when could
the book have been written? We should note, as Goldingay does, that Josephus saw
Rome as the fourth empire. [Goldingay, xxix-xxx] Goldingay advances the idea
that since "Nebuchadnezzar personally is the head, so it is more natural to
refer to them to the regins (sic) of four kings over a single empire."
[Goldingay, 49] In doing so he ignores the idea that in an absolute monarchy the
king personifies the kingdom as a whole. In looking at the metals involved in
the statute of Dan. 2 Goldingay tries to claim that there is "no implication of
deterioration as we move from head to trunk ..." and yet on the next page he
says "the second regime is inferior to the first". [Goldingay, 49-50; he has to
make the later admission because 2:39 says that the kingdom that follows Babylon
will be "inferior"; it can be assumed from that alone that all the others will
be "inferior" in some respect to their predecessor; see also Gruenthaner, 74-5;
Gurney, 41] But, Davies points out that "the Greek poet Hesiod (eight century
BC) who, in his Works and Days spoke of four (or five) ages of men
represented by metals. Each age is successively degenerate--gold, silver,
bronze, then iron ..." [Davies (1988): 44] Lacocque also notes that "Hesiod
(Works and Days, 109-201) and Ovid (Metamorphoses I, 89-150) speak
of a succession of the ages of the world as a process of degeneration:
gold-silver-bronze-iron." [Lacocque (1979): 48; see also Collins (1975): 221]
Goldingay may be quite correct in seeing these various metals as constituting
the sum of the "valuable natural resources or valuable booty"; but, there is no
evidence in the text that this is what these metals stood for. [Goldingay, 49]
The story in chapter 3 indicates that by making his "statute" all gold
Nebuchadnezzar saw the metals as indicating declining value and he was the
greatest of all and that he also wanted his empire to last forever. This is
contrary to any Jewish view point a Collins pointed out; but is completely true
to the Babylonian way of looking at things. [Collins (1975): 222]
Return to Top of Page
71) The famous British scholar Sir G. R. Driver has pointed out that a later date than what is generally accepted for the Qumran scrolls, 3rd century B.C. to A.D. 67, in general "would force an *earlier* dating for Daniel than the Maccabean period." Note that no one has followed his suggested late dating for the Qumran scrolls. [Hasel, 88; Wegner, 116: Driver's work is The Hebrew Scrolls from the Neighborhood of Jericho and the Dead Sea. (Oxford, 1951): 9 note 5]
72) The presence of a copy of Daniel (4QDanC) inscribed in an archaic script of the late 2nd century B.C. among the Qumran scrolls (8 separate Daniel scrolls from there) makes it highly unlikely that Daniel was written during the Maccabean era given that such a recent work would have required more time for copying, distribution and to have been assimulated into the Qumran community. [See Frank M. Cross, Jr., The Ancient Library of Qumran. Revised Edition, (1961) page 43. Frank Cross is an authority on Qumran materials and was in charge of publishing the materials found in Cave 4.]
73) The various time periods of Daniel do not coincide with the with 3 year period mentioned in Maccabees for the desecration of the temple. This "error" would be unimaginable if the book was in fact written during this time frame.
74) Vasholz points out that the evidence suggests "that there was more than one Hebrew recension of Daniel prior to the LXX translation [which is "usually dated as early as the third century B.C." Walton in Hill and Walton, 350; about 285/2 to 246 B.C.--Coogan, 686 and Brock, 752].
This is more than just a little strange if the date of the composition of Daniel is held to be in the middle of the second century B.C.." [page 321] (i.e., how could the Septuagint translators translate a book that had not YET been written!).
75) In 1 Maccabees 2:59-60 Mattathias on his deathbed (d. 166 B.C.; i.e., before Daniel was supposedly written!) counseled his sons to emulate the deeds of Biblical heroes, one of which he names: Daniel. [Eissfeldt, 521; Heuvel, 3 -- both try to escape the dilemma by saying that 1 Maccabees was "compiled probably in about 100 B.C.."] The context of the passage also indicates that Mattathias was referring to events in the distant past. Also the author of 1 Maccabees also "shows familiarity with the Septuagint version of Daniel." [McDowell, 29; see Joseph D. Wilson, Did Daniel Write Daniel? (Cook, n.d.) pages 98-100] These facts demonstrate that the book of Daniel had canonical status and that it was regarded as *past history* before it was supposedly written! [Barnes, 55]
76) We should also note that 1 Baruch 1:15-3:3 (a 4th century B.C. work) and the Sibylline Oracles (III, 379ff. -- from the 2nd century B.C.; Heuvel, 3 cites Weiser (Einleitung in Das Alte Testament (1961): 315) in dating this work about 140 B.C.) are all familiar with the book of Daniel. [Harrison (1969): 1124; Moore looks at the correspondence between Bar. 1:15-2:19 compared with Dan. 9:4-19]
77) According to J. E. H. Thomson [in the Pulpit Commentary. (dated 1896), vol 13 ("Daniel"): page xxxi] the Book of Enoch dated 210 B.C. "is full of evidences of the influence of Daniel." [compare 1 Enoch 14:18-22 with Dan 7:9-10] How could this be if the book of Daniel had not been written yet? Harrison states that this section of 1 Enoch "was probably written prior to 150 B.C."; if we use this date and a Maccabean date for the composition of Daniel it means that Daniel was canonized within 14 years of having been composed! [Harrison (1969): 1107]
78) Several copies of Daniel were found at Qumran. The scholar Millar Burrows noted that this means "that the originals came from a period several centuries in advance of the earliest date to which these manuscripts ... can be assigned ..." which is about 125 B.C. [M. Burrows, The Dead Sea Scrolls. (Viking, 1955): 118; quote is from Harrison (1979): 248; Heuvel, 3-4 notes the date of these mss but not when the originals had to have been written; see also Wegner, 115 and Charles T. Fritsch, The Qumran Community, Its History and Scrolls. (Macmillan, 1956): 38; Baldwin (1996): 256 notes that these particular fragments are from the late 2nd century B.C.; Trever (1969-70) demonstrates how the latest mss of Daniel found a Qumran can be dated on paleographic grounds between A. D. 46-73.] Harrison goes on to note that this is important because the "ancient Hebrews generally allowed an interval of time to elapse between the autograph and its recognition as canonical Scripture by its readers." Thus, "The manuscript evidence from Qumran *absolutely precludes* a date of composition in the Maccabean period, but does indicate one in the Neo-Babylonian era (626-539 B.C.)." Part of this evidence is the fact there was "no master text was in use at Qumran, for the fragments [that were found] represent several different MSS." [Baldwin (1996): 256] Harrison goes on to conclude that "the *fewest* difficulties are raised by regarding Daniel as a product of the Persian period rather than the age of the Maccabees." (emphasis mine) Brownlee notes that the presence of manuscripts from the Psalms in Qumran cave 4 indicates that "Immediate entree for any of them [into the canon] is highly improbable" if they had been written during the Maccabean era. [Brownlee, The Meaning of the Qumran Scrolls for the Bible. (Oxford, 1964): 36; Waltke (1976): 321]
79) We should note here that in looking at the Dead Sea scrolls most scholars have no problem moving back in time their proposed date for such books as Ecclesiastes and Chronicles; [Burrows, More Light on the Dead Sea Scrolls. (Viking, 1958): 171; Jacob M. Myers, "1 Chronicles," Anchor Bible (Doubleday, 1965): 165] and this is even true for some Psalms--these Psalms are now accepted as coming from the Persian era vs. the previously argued Maccabean dating. [W. H. Brownlee, The Meaning of the Dead Sea Scrolls. (Oxford, 1964): 29-30] But, for some strange reason when it comes to applying the same conclusion for the same evidence for Daniel it can't be done.
80) Shea (1982) reports that a clay prism was found in Babylon with 5 columns of text listing various officials of the government. This prism is a record of a loyalty oath taken by these officials about 593 B.C. shortly after Nebuchadnezzar had put down a revolt. What is interesting for us is the fact that it explicitly names the 3 Hebrew worthies who were thrown into the fire. What I found interesting is that Hananiah's name is given in the Babylonian equivalent (Hanunu) and not the recorded change of name in Dan 1:7 (to Shadrach) whereas the other two are. The question for those who propose a 2nd century date for Daniel is how did a 2nd century Jew know of these names in the first place? [see also ANET, 307-8] (Acquistapace has trouble dealing with the fact that in the book Daniel keeps his name while the other three "give up their Jewish names to take Babylonian ones". It should be noted that the captives did not "give up" their names they were given new ones by their captors. Secondly, it should be noted that the other three captives play a very minor role in the story as a whole and when they are mentioned (such as in the incident with the fiery furnace) the use of their Babylonian names may be a literary device to show that while they lived in that culture they would not (by their actions) sacrifice their allegiance to God. Finally, in reference to Daniel he is the "hero" of the book and as a literary device (again) it would not be appropriate for the hero to have a Babylonian (i.e., pagan) name.)
81) Eissfeldt, and others have suggested that the Daniel of the exile "has been completely overlaid with an abundantly rich mass of legendary and fictional matter which has evidently also made use of that ancient Canaanite-Phoenician material ...". There are two problems with this theory. First of all, there is no evidence of this material outside of the book of Daniel; i.e., material that has crept into other canonical works. This raises the question of why Daniel and not the others? Secondly, there is no basis for preserving this other material in the first place.
82) Another claim that is made by the critics is that Daniel says that Nebuchadnezzar was the father of Belshazzar (see Taylor and Taylor  for instance). This claim ignores the ancient usage of the terms 'son' or 'father' in that it often referred to a successor in the same office whether or not there was a blood relationship. Thus in the Egyptian story, 'King Cheops and the Magicians (preserved in the papyrus Westcar from the Hyksos Period), Prince Khephren came to pass in the time of thy father, King Neb-ka.' Actually Neb-ka belonged to the Third Dynasty, a full century before the time of Khufu of the Fourth Dynasty. In Assyria a similar practice was reflected in the Black Obelisk of Shalmaneser III, which refers to King Jehu (the exterminator of the whole dynasty of Omri) as 'the son of Omri.' Kitchen (1966), page 39, shows that here "father' equals 'predecessor'; he cites several examples of how the ANE dealt with geneologies -- he notes that the most extreme example can be found where the Egyptian King Tirhakah (of the 25th dynasty) referred to Sesostris III (of the 12th dynasty, c. 1880 B.C.), a difference of 1,200 years! Textual (non-Biblical) evidence reveals that "son" was used at least 12 different ways in the ancient Orient, and "father" was used at least 7 different ways [Ford. Dan, 123; Miller, Stephen R. Daniel. Nashville: Broadman and Holman, 1994, 149].
83) Talbot pointed out, way back in 1873, that it is unlikely that a writer living "very much later" than in the times "which are commonly assigned to him" would have made "great errors" in his writing. One of the pieces of "correct information" of the Babylonian era that he shows is the method of punishment (i.e., being thrown into the fiery furnace).
84) Another factor that Talbot, mentioned above,
presents is the changing of the names.
Return to Top of Page
The combined effect of the above evidence points us very strongly away from the Maccabean thesis--"the arguments for the Maccabean dating of Daniel can hardly be said to be convincing." [Harrison (1969): 1126] From the above we have learned that Daniel records details about 6th century Babylon that were subsequently lost shortly after its fall. We have seen that the language of the book requires a very early date--with the best fit being during the times it describes in detail. As Baldwin put it: "When all the relevant factors are taken into account ... a late sixth- or early fifth-century date of writing for the whole best suits the evidence." [Baldwin (1978a): 46] This also means that there is no evidence for the claim that Daniel was a forgery as Sierichs and Till have claimed.
"It can only be concluded that the critical case against the historicity of Daniel has survived to the present because its adherents have failed to take a second and more critical look at the arguments that have been propounded so unimaginatively and with such tedious repetition in recent times." [Harrison (1969): 1122] He further argued that: "Objections to the historicity of Daniel were copied uncritically from book to book, and by the second decade of the twentieth century no scholar of general liberal background who wished to preserve his academic reputation either dared or desired to challenge the [then] current critical trend." [Harrison (1969): 1111; quoted by Waltke (1976): 320] "When new information becomes available, it is Daniel, not the critics, who proves to be correct." [Richards, 210]
In the words of Rowley: the continued presence of the Maccabean hypothesis is an example of "ruthless propaganda for a theory, rather than a scientific study of the evidence." [Rowley (1952): 267] Harrison noted that: "Traditional Jewish and early Christian views were opposed by the Neoplatonist Porphyry (third century A.D.), who denied the possibility of predictive elements in prophecy and [who] assigned the work to the Maccabean period, maintaining that its purpose had been to sustain persecuted Jews in their adversities. This general position was [then] adopted by European rationalists, and became "one of the assured results" of the literary-critical movement, even though it was consistently challenged by conservative scholars and was entirely lacking in objective proof." [Harrison (1979): 246; see also Waltke (1976): 319-20.]
One must also note that the conservative position is typically given a very cursory notice (note that the critics typically cover very few of the above points) with no interaction with them if they are acknowledged at all. For a stunning contrast look at the treatment that men like Hasel, Shea, Ferch, Harrison, and McDowell give to the liberal/critical views. This bias against the conservative view can be seen especially in the absence of any conservative sources in the bibliographies given in the dictionaries and encyclopedia articles that the masses would typically be exposed to.
We can see by the quote above from Harrison that the reason for the continued claim for a late date for the book of Daniel is that by doing so its credibility can be destroyed and thus eliminates any idea of a genuine prophecy coming true. Which is why Pusey has pointed out: "The book of Daniel is especially fitted to be a battle-ground between faith and unbelief. It admits of no halfway measures. It is either Divine or an imposture." Miller, Stephen R has pointed out that "although the miraculous handwriting and Daniel's interpretation of it are matters of faith, the historical circumstances surrounding those events are established by objective data" as the above study has shown. [page 150] Bringing up the miraculous elements of the book is another favorite, and diversionary, tactic of the critics. This is especially true when they have been presented with concrete evidence that their "facts" about the book are wrong.
Given the sum of all the evidence presented here we can
only conclude that the prophecies in the book of Daniel were written about 530
B.C. which is long before the actual events unfolded. Thus, there is no case of
these prophecies being written after the event (vaticinia ex
"But the question naturally arises, If the evidence for a sixth century date of composition is so certain, why do scholars reject it in favor of an
unsupportable Maccabean hypothesis? The reason is that most scholars embrace a liberal, naturalistic, and rationalistic philosophy. Naturalism
and rationalism are ultimately based on faith rather than upon evidence; therefore this faith will not allow them to accept the supernatural predictions."
Archer states this point well: "The committed antisupernaturalist, who can only explain the successful predictions of Daniel as prophecies after the
fulfillment, ... is not likely to be swayed by any amount of objective evidence whatever." [Waltke (1976): 329; Archer quote is from: "Old Testament
History and Recent Archaeology from the Exile to Malachi," Bibliotheca Sacra 127 (October-December 1970): 297; see also Hill and Walton, 350]
One can only hope that Waltke and Archer are unduly pessimistic. However, pessimistic one may be about skeptics changing their minds there are some grounds for hope. For instance, the "extremely skeptical" German OT scholar Martin Noth changed his mind over time as a result of the archaeological evidence. [Yamauchi (1974): 70] But, we shouldn't get our hopes too high.
Mounce points out that "the excessive skepticism of many
liberal theologians stems not from a careful evaluation of the available
data, but from an enormous predisposition against the supernatural." [Robert
H. Mounce, "Is the New Testament Historically Accurate?" in Can I Trust the
Bible? ed. Howard F. Vos, p. 176, emphasis mine; quote found in Both/And:
A Balanced Apologetic. by Ronald B. Mayers (Moody, 1984); for another example
see Allis, 248] This perception of the nature of the bias against the Bible
is reinforced by noting that previous opinions in regards to secular history
have been overturned when archaeology had proven them to be in error. [Yamauchi
(1974): 54-70] And yet when it comes to the Bible the "old" views which can
now be known to be wrong continue to be broadcast to an overly-trusting and
Return to Top of Page
ANE = Ancient Near East
ANET = Ancient Near Eastern Texts
AUSS = Andrews University Seminary Studies
BAR = Biblical Archaeological Review
BASOR = Bulletin of the American Schools of Oriental Research
CBQ = Catholic Biblical Quarterly
EBD = Eerdmans Bible Dictionary
HUCA = Hebrew Union College Annual
ICC = International Critical Commentary
IDB = Interpreter's Dictionary of the Bible
ISBE = International Standard Bible Encyclopedia ITQ = Irish Theological Quarterly
JAOS = Journal of the American Oriental Society
JBL = Journal of Biblical Literature
JETS = Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society
JSOT = Journal for the Study of the Old Testament
JTS = Journal of Theological Studies
JTS NS = Journal of Theological Studies (New Series)
NEB = New English Bible
NIV = New International Version
RSV = Revised Standard Version
VT = Vetus Testamentum
ZAW = Zeitschrift fur die alttestamentaliche Wissenschaft