dwashbur at nyx.net
Thu Mar 16 02:36:18 EST 2006
On Thursday 16 March 2006 00:03, Yigal Levin wrote:
> ----- Original Message -----
> From: "Dave Washburn" <dwashbur at nyx.net>
> > The name, or one similar to it (it's actually dn'il, without the yod in
> > the
> > middle) is in the Ugaritic texts; we have no real clue whether there's
> > any actual relationship between that character and the one in the
> > biblical book,
> > but considering that on your own dating there's some 1200 years between
> > them,
> > I find it doubtful. Using Ugaritic as a tool for explaining the book of
> > Daniel (especially dating it) is leaning on a broken reed, as my dad used
> > to
> > say.
> While you are correct in that there is no way to know whether the author of
> Daniel had any knowledge of the Ugaritic Dan'il (or a similar tradition),
> and there does not seem to be any connection, Ezekiel seems to be a
> different story. Ezekiel 14:14 and 20 mentions three "righteous men of
> old": Noah, Daniel and Job. Ez. 28:3 asks the ruler of Tyre "are you wiser
> than Daniel?". EVEN if the Daniel of the book of Daniel was a historic
> personality who lived during the 6th century BCE, he would have hardly have
> had the stature to be compared with Noah and Job as ancient righteous men,
> and of course he was never a ruler of anything.
Where do you get "of old"? Both verses say that even though these three men
were there, their righteousness would only deliver them. There's no "of old"
in either verse of chapter 14. Considering the deeds and knowledge that are
ascribed to the prophet Daniel in the book bearing his name, I see no reason
why such a one couldn't have had such stature, since there's no "ancient"
qualification given. And it's true that Daniel was never a ruler, but 28:3
doesn't say he was. It refers to having hidden knowledge and extreme wisdom.
It's not a comparison of rulers, but a sarcastic remark comparing this
arrogant king with one who, according to the story, had real wisdom and
understood deep secrets. So I see no reason why Ezekiel couldn't have been
referring to the man described in the book of Daniel.
> However, in all three
> cases, the MT spells "Dan(i)el" without a yod: that is, Dan'el. The
> masoretes thankfully preserved this spelling, only adding the hiriq in the
But isn't Ezekiel known for some odd spellings, grammatical constructions,
catch phrases (e.g. "son of man") and the like? I'm not sure this really
demonstrates anything, either.
> In this case, it is perfectly reasonable to think that Ezekiel,
> living in Babylon, could have been familiar with a tradition similar to
> that preserved at Ugarit. Not that he knew OF Ugarit itself, but similar
> traditions, of an ancient wise king - maybe even a Phoenician king (hence
> the reference to Tyre), could have been known in mid first millennium
> Mesopotamia. And if so, the author of the book of Daniel (or Daniel's
> parents if he was a "real" person) could have picked up on the same
> tradition and used it as a name for the wise youth.
Or perhaps they just liked the name. Since they wouldn't have known at his
birth that he would be a "wise youth" yet. And yes, I accept that he was a
"real" person, inasmuch as I have yet to see any good reason not to do so.
ISTM that if there were similar traditions in Babylon or Phoenicia or
elsewhere in the Fertile Crescent, some hint of them would have shown up
somewhere before or outside of Ugarit. As things stand right now, the dn'il
story seems to be a localized Ugaritic tale. Of course, future discoveries
might show otherwise, but until they do, that's how it looks from here.
Fame is fleeing, as good old Whatsisname used to say.
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