Hasmonean Bible

peter_kirk at sil.org peter_kirk at sil.org
Mon Jun 21 12:26:05 EDT 1999

Dear Ian,

Thank you for your response. I have not yet had time to look at your 
web pages, but if the argument for the dating of Daniel (I didn't 
mention any particular books, by the way) is based (as have been most 
of the arguments I have seen) on the impossibility of genuine 
predictive prophecy, and silence in the lack of early citations, don't 
expect me to be convinced by it.

You asked: "While I don't exclude the possibility, could you tell me 
some way of ever testing the genuineness of such "prophecy"?"

Your question was posed and answered by the author of the book of 
Deuteronomy (18:21-22), a passage which incidentally shows that 
prophecy was expected to have a predictive element. If we find a 
manuscript or inscription with a firm date containing a prophecy of an 
event which is known to have taken place after that date, that is a 
good test of the genuineness of that prophecy. We find a possible 
example of this in the Qumran Isaiah scroll which apparently contains 
(especially in chapter 53) prophecies of the life and death of Jesus 

Meanwhile, if all we have to go on for the dating of Daniel, Ezra etc 
is silence, e.g. the absence of citations in Josephus, we can say 
nothing more than "we don't know" in support of the late dating of 
those books. But I, unlike you, take into account the internal 
evidence of the books, as a priori evidence that the events described 
in them actually took place unless demonstrated otherwise. I think 
this would be the normal historian's approach to a historical 
document; I suspect that if it were not our history books would be 
very thin. But then this is going back over old arguments which I 
don't want to restart.

Peter Kirk

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