>You know that there is no evidence whatsoever that Cyrus the Great
>was ever called Darius the Mede, or that there was any other
>Media-Persian king called Darius before Darius I. Saying
that it could have been so is not evidence. Now I am no expert on
Daniel, but I do know that the consensus opinion among OT scholars is
that Daniel was written in Maccabean times. <
The following comments are drawing heavily on Baldwin, Joyce G. 1978.
Daniel. in D. J. Wiseman (ed.)., Tyndale Old Testament Commentaries.
Although the identification of Darius the Mede is highly uncertain,
there is some possible evidence for equating him with Cyrus. Cyrus
had taken over the Median kingdom, and Nabonidus calls him king of
the Medes (Harran stele), so that designation is not inappropriate.
The age cited for Darius matches Cyrus. Daniel 6:28 may equate the
two, as several other places, both in Daniel and other Hebrew, use
"and" where ", that is" would be normal English usage. Greek
translations of Daniel at 11:1 and possibly I Esdras 3 also equate
Darius and Cyrus. Thus, I would not say that there is solid
evidence, but I would not say there is no evidence.
The most serious problem with a Maccabean date for Daniel is that
this date is imposed by the assumption that predictive prophecy is
impossible. This conclusion reflects unbiblical philosophical
assumptions rather than examination of the evidence. This does not
prove that the date is not Maccabean, but it does mean that the
consensus of scholars who reject the possibility of Biblical
predictive prophecy is not a good indicator.
The evidence presented to support a late date for Daniel also has
problems. The language of Daniel has been claimed to be late.
However, neither the Aramaic nor the Hebrew provides a very precise
date; the Aramaic matches that of the 6th to 2nd centuries BC and has
a more eastern than Palestinian flavor, though the Aramaic of the day
showed little geographic variation. The Persian loan words likewise
favor a date before about 300 BC. The presence of Greek loan words
has often been cited as proof of a Hellenistic date; however, there
are only three apparently Greek words, all musical instruments, which
could have spread, along with their names, through cultural contact
rather than conquest.
The parts dealing with events in Babylon reflect knowledge of details
suggestive of eyewitness sources. This would not rule out the
possibility that a later author had access to historical sources, but
the integrity of the book suggests that it is not of mixed
Early Christian and Jewish commentators accepted Daniel as exilic.
The acceptance of the book at Qumran is also problematic for a
Maccabean date for its composition.
Apocalyptic literature is often claimed to be late and typified by
pseudonymous authorship. However, the apocalyptic elements in
prophetic books such as Joel, Ezekiel and Zechariah are well prior to
the Maccabean period and do not invoke authors of the distant past.
Apocalyptic literature is sometimes identified as coming from times
of persecution and hardship, but that would describe the exile as
well as Maccabean times.
Dr. David Campbell
University of Alabama
Biodiversity & Systematics
Dept. Biological Sciences
Tuscaloosa, AL 35487 USA
That is Uncle Joe, taken in the masonic regalia of a Grand Exalted
Periwinkle of the Mystic Order of Whelks-P.G. Wodehouse, Romance at
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