RE: Daniel

From: Shuan Rose (
Date: Sat Jul 06 2002 - 18:39:14 EDT

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    from this Web site
    Hese are the reasons why Daniel has been given a Maccabean date. Feel free
    to dispute them if you want. I am content to let the list decide.

    The Dating of the Book of Daniel.
    Although it does not actually claim to have been written in the sixth
    century BCE, the Book of Daniel gives clear internal dates such as "the
    third year of the reign of king Jehoiakim," (1:1), that is, 606 BCE); "the
    second year of the reign of king Nebuchadnezzar, " (2:1), that is, 603 BCE);
    "the first year of Darius," (9:1), that is 522 BCE); "in the third year of
    Cyrus," (10:1), that is 547 or perhaps 536). Daniel and his associates are
    portrayed as Jewish Exiles in Babylon during that period. However, several
    internal inconsistencies give rise to certain questions and we are forced to
    ask whether these dates can be taken as the date of composition.
    First, who was Belshazzar? The book of Daniel portrays him as the Babylonian
    king in the first year of whose reign Daniel has his dream of the four great
    beasts which come up out of the sea. (7:1-14) Belshazzar was said to have
    been slain after he saw the writing on the wall, at which time Darius the
    Mede supposedly took over the Babylonian kingdom (5:30) Actually Belshazzar
    was the son of the Babylonian king, Nabonidus, and he ruled in place of his
    father when Nabonidus went to live in Teima in the Arabian desert for eight
    years (c. 552 - 545 BCE.) However, no evidence exists for the assassination
    of Belshazzar and it is known from conclusive extra-Biblical evidence that
    in fact Cyrus of Persia took the Babylonian crown from Nabonidus in 539.
    Darius was the second successor to Cyrus after Cambyses and he (Darius)
    ascended the Persian throne in 522 BCE. How could the author of the Book of
    Daniel make such an error if he lived and wrote at the time indicated?

    The author of the Book of Daniel seems to place the rule of Cyrus after that
    of Darius, again an inexplicable error for an author contemporary with these
    events. Furthermore he makes no mention of the fact that it was the Edict of
    Cyrus of 538 BCE. which finally allowed the Hebrews to return to Israel.
    This is a crucial event in the history of the religion of Israel and would
    surely warrant a mention from any author of that period.

    Third it does not seem to be consistent with the facts that the Babylonians
    are presented as actively persecuting the Jews and attempting to destroy
    their religion. In fact the Jews lived quite peacefully and had plenty of
    opportunity to practice their faith in exile in Babylon. The synagogue and
    the canonization of the Torah have their origins in Babylonian Judaism, as,
    of course, does the Babylonian Talmud.

    Fourth the predictions given by Daniel in the form of the interpretation of
    dreams and visions are remarkably accurate up to a point. He predicts the
    rise of four kingdoms (2:31-45). These can readily be identified as the
    Babylonian, the Persian, the Greek and the divided Greek empire (after the
    death of Alexander the Great). He continues to tell the "future" with great
    accuracy. He tells of "a mighty king who shall arise and rule with great
    dominion" who can be recognized as Alexander (336 - 323 BCE, (11:3). He
    "predicts" the division of the Greek empire after Alexander's death and the
    wars between the Ptolemies who rule in Egypt (the "kings of the south") and
    the Seleucids who rule in Babylon (the "kings of the north"). These general
    prediction become much more detailed and specific when he predicts the
    conquest of the king of the south by a king of the north who "shall do as
    neither his fathers nor his father's fathers have done, scattering among
    them plunder, spoil, and goods" (11:24). (See also 7:7-10, 8:9-12). This
    king is "predicted" to cause the sacrifices of the Temple to cease (9:27)and
    to set up a "desolating sacrilege" in the Temple (12:11) This can be non
    other than Antiochus IV Epiphanes, the Seleucid ruler of Babylon who
    profaned the Jerusalem Temple in 167 BCE and set up a statue of Zeus with
    whom he identified himself. Unfortunately, after these remarkably accurate
    "predictions" Daniel goes awry at (11:40) when he predicts that this king
    will be attacked by the king of the south etc. This does not accord with any
    historical event.

    Finally, and of considerable significance, is the fact that the Book of
    Daniel was never grouped with the Hebrew Nevi'im (the Prophets) but has
    always belonged to the Ketuvim (the writings). If the author had been
    accepted to be a sixth century Jew of the Exile his work would have
    pre-dated Ezra and Nehemiah and would certainly have been considered
    authoritative enough to group it with the other prophets.

    What explanation could make sense of these inconsistencies? The most obvious
    conclusion would be that the Book of Daniel was written at the time of the
    profanation of the Temple by Antiochus IV, during the Maccabean revolt which
    that sacrilege provoked. That would explain why the author is not very
    precise about sixth century events, why he is so precise about the time of
    Antiochus, and why he was never counted among the prophets. What other
    evidence is there to support such a conclusion, apart from the fact that it
    answers our questions so neatly?

    First, stories about Daniel had circulated before the time of Antiochus and
    had long been used to encourage faithful obedience to and observance of
    Jewish law. However, all the stories of the book of Daniel relate directly
    to the persecution under Antiochus: loyalty to the Jewish food laws and the
    refusal to worship images of other gods had become a question of life and
    death in Antiochus' crisis-ridden empire.

    Second, the name Nebuchadnezzar contains a disguised reference to Antiochus
    to those acquainted with Hebrew numbering. The Babylonian king of 605 - 562
    BCE was in fact called nabu-kuddurri-usur which should be transliterated
    into Hebrew script as NeuchadRezzar (as it is in eg. Jeremiah 46:2, 39:11).
    The change of that one letter gives this name the same numerical value in
    Hebrew (which had no separate numbers and so used letters to represent
    numbers) as the name Antiochus Epiphanes. This is too coincidental to be
    accidental and too contrived to be miraculous.

    Thirdly, the whole genre of Apocalyptic literature which Daniel represents
    only developed during the period of crisis and persecution under Antiochus.
    The few examples of Apocalyptic in the Old Testament are all late, and the
    popularity of Apocalyptic in the New Testament is indication that it was a
    relatively new and popular literary form around the time of Jesus.



    -----Original Message----- From: []On Behalf Of Allen Roy Sent: Saturday, July 06, 2002 3:28 AM To: Shuan Rose;; Subject: Re: Daniel

    From: "Shuan Rose" <> > Shuan writes: > Since Daniel seems to get some of the Babylonian details wrong ( Belshazzar > son of Nebuchcanezzar as the last king of Babylon and a Babylonian invasion > in 605 BC unattested anywhere else) I would argue that this is evidence > AGAINST an exilic date.I also think he would have been clear as the real > name of Cyrus the Great.(Second Isaiah and most other writings from exilic > and postexilic times are all very clear about that) I agree that the > linguistic arguments are not really decisive > It has long been noted that the term "son of" in the Bible can also mean grandson or even great-grandson. While we now know that Nabonidus was the son of Nebuchadnezzar, and father of Belshazzar, He did not rule very long in Babylon. Belshazzar was made co-ruler with Nabonidus and put in charge of Babylon while Nabonidus left for elsewhere. So, although Belshazzar was technically Neb.s grandson, he was the next major and last ruler of Babylon -- the "son" of old Neb. That Daniel did not mention Nabonidus may simply be a tacit recognition of the little effect that he had on the city of Babylon. And too, Nabonidus had very little to do with the important events recorded in Daniel. So, the ignoring of Nabonidus in Daniel is a very minor consideration.

    And the argument from the lack of extra-biblical evidence for the reported invasion is a very weak argument. Time and again, archaeology has brought to light evidence that was thought could not have existed. When it comes to making a choice between seemingly contrasting accounts from history or the Biblical record, I take the Biblical record first.


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