Daniel and Late Ezekiel?

George Athas gathas at mail.usyd.edu.au
Wed Jun 23 21:32:40 EDT 1999


Ian Hutchesson wrote:

> You can call it what you like, but from my reading of the archaeology the
> Assyrians had occupied much of the land that was not so mountainous. I
> suppose they slowly lost hold because there seem to be indications of
> Philistine penetration into the hinterland. The important note though is
> that it was a landlocked city-state. For the relevance of Greek geography
> one needs either contact with Greeks or contact with Phoenicians who sailed
> to those ports. Both these options are available under the Persians and later.

Excavations at Yavneh-Yam uncovered a good deal of Greek pottery at the site in the late 7th -
early 6th century. From memory I recall the pottery cache was located inside a fort, implying the
presence of Greek mercenaries, perhaps utilised by Egypt? Yavneh-Yam is, of course, a coastal site.
But centres like Arad which are located a good deal inland also had contact with Greeks. Some of
the ostraca from Arad make clear reference to provisions for the "Kittim" - presumably Greeks from
either the Aegean periphery or from Cyprus. And Arad is a good deal further from the sea than
Jerusalem and the other major Judahite centres (eg, Lachish).

So, although the knowledge of Greeks and wider geography is present in the Persian era, it's also
there in the late 7th century. This Persian era knowledge can't be used as proof of a late date for
Ezekiel because the knowledge was in Palestine before that. You can use it as peripheral evidence,
but certainly not primary evidence - that has to be found elsewhere in the other points you made.

> It's not simply the knowledge but the relevance of the places. There is no
> reason for them except through contact in some way.

This is harder to understand and difficult to maintain. If there are Greeks there in Palestine in
the late 7th century, and if some of the Philistine elements originated in the Aegean (question
mark next to that one), then we have a reason for the knowledge of the geography. But, even
disregarding this, what need is there for a 'significance' to knowing geography or for a particular
'relevance'? I 'm familiar with the geography of central southern Africa, but the region has
absolutely no significance or relevance for me. I don't think we need to put the ancients into such
a confining box where geographic knowledge has to have an express purpose. The eastern
Mediterranean was an intra-active unit and I don't think there is evidence to suggest an 'iron
curtain' around the small state of Judah.

> [...] Can you see any reason for Ezekiel to somehow cite the Dan'il tradition
> when Ezekiel's figure is both wise and righteous? Why is Ezekiel's spelling
> closer to the Ugaritic name than that of Daniel? Why not a simple variant
> on the one we all know and love?

Well, Dan'il of Ezekiel is in distinguished *ancient* company - Noah and Job. The figure of Dan'il
from Ugarit is described as a hero who has great reverence for the divine. The texts are
fragmentary so there is probably more to this Dan'il than what we know of him. Nevertheless, the
picture that emerges of him from the available portions is of a righteous man. He trusts the gods
to give him a son (quasi-Abrahamic), he is wise and just as he judges the cases at the city gate
(quasi-Solomon), and reacts like Job in suffering. All these figures are either "wise" or
"righteous". Dan'il fits the bill perfectly.

Best as always!
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GEORGE ATHAS
 Dept of Semitic Studies,
 University of Sydney
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Tel Dan Inscription Website is at
http://members.xoom.com/gathas/teldan.htm
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