Various comments on Daniel have gone back and forth. This
principally addresses the claims of the web site that Shuan cited,
but also some claims in the replies.
The arguments on the website cited by Shuan have several problems.
That does not disprove a Maccabean date, but it does raise questions
as to whether the approach of the website authors has fewer problems
than a conservative one.
>"the first year of Darius," (9:1), that is 522 BCE<
As this is specifically equated in Daniel with the timing of the
Persian takeover of Babylon, it seems inadvisable to equate 9:1 with
the ascension of Darius Hystapes. However, 522 BC is quite
problematic for the suggestion that Darius the Mede later ascended to
the throne as Darius Hystapes. Darius the Mede was about sixty when
he took over Babylon according to Daniel and would be unlikely to
have become king and had a long reign after Cyrus's successor.
>no evidence exists for the assassination of Belshazzar<
Nor any against it; however, Daniel provides evidence (not
corroborated elsewhere) of his execution.
>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
This is an argument from silence, which also depends on
presuppositions about what the author of Daniel would have thought
relevant to his task. Although the edict was important, the response
by the Jews came over time and often slackened.
Here, a perceived lack of information about events towards the end of
the captivity is given as evidence of a date much later. Elsewhere,
a perceived lack of information about events after part of the reign
of Antiochus IV Epimanes (as many called him if they could get away
with it) is given as evidence that it was written during his reign.
>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. <
This is not particularly accurate. At one point in Daniel,
Nebuchadnezzar seeks to impose his own worship. To the polytheistic
pagan world, this would not seem to be much of an imposition. Apart
from that, there is thoughtlessness regarding possible religious
scruples (dietary laws and care for the sacred vessels), but no
general persecution is claimed in Daniel. However, both the
separation from the promised land and the temple and the temptations
of pagan life were challenges to the faith of the exiles.
Canonization is probably not the best word. Many regulations of the
Pentateuch were already familiar and considered authoritative well
before the exile, but final codification and organization may have
occurred during the exile.
>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.
This is not of significance. The Sadducees and Samaritans both
considered the Prophets and the Writings as not authoritative,
whereas others considered both of them authoritative. The Writings
include early material (many psalms, Ruth) as well as later material.
Grouping with the Writings reflected use, not authority.
>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. <
The claims that this coincidence is not accidental and too contrived
are unsupported subjective judgements. The accidental nature of the
coincidence seems highly plausible, especially in light of the lack
of official transliteration systems and the number of possible
variations of the two names that could be used to generate a desired
number (e.g., if a coded version of Antiochus's name were used, it
might be the derogatory Epimanes rather than the (to the Jew)
>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. <
No, apocalyptic elements occur at least as early as Ezekiel, Joel,
and Zechariah. If the popularity of apocalyptic indicates that it is
a relatively new genre, how can Left Behind have such a surfeit of
>The book of Daniel clearly claims to have been written by Daniel
>himself from beginning to end. <
Not necessarily. It claims to draw heavily on his experience, with
only the furnace incident focusing on Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah
instead. However, a later author could have compiled material
originating with Daniel. Apart from most epistles, few Biblical
books have an explicit identification of the author.
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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