[b-hebrew] Dating the book of Daniel (was Re: Aramaic in Babylonia)

Robert Heard Christopher.Heard at pepperdine.edu
Wed Jul 6 15:29:03 EDT 2005

Karl wrote:
> To get the peripheral subject out of the way first: as for the dating 
> of Daniel, there are the internal claims and the external 
> “conclusions” of the scholars. Seeing as the 
> scholars’ conclusion is based solely on philosophical 
> presuppositions which I reject, there are no historical sources to 
> them up, I prefer to go with the historical claims internal to the 

Karl, you seem to be stretching your point a bit here. The text of the 
book of Daniel makes no claims about the authorship of the book of 
Daniel. The angelic mediator featured in chapters 10-12 does tell 
Daniel to "keep the book sealed," but the only "book" that mediator has 
otherwise mentioned is the "book of truth," a heavenly book already 
written before Daniel learns anything about it. Unlike, say, Jeremiah 
(Jer 36) or John (Rev 1:11), Daniel is not instructed to write, tell, 
or make known the contents of any of his visions. I suppose one might 
wish to argue that the first-person narration in chapters 7-12 
constitutes an implicit claim to Danielic authorship. However, to be 
consistent, one would also have to hold that the third-person narration 
in chapters 1-6 constitutes an implicit claim against Danielic 
authorship, which also detaches the composition of those stories from 
the Babylonian-Persian time frame.

As for the scholarly arguments dating the composition of the book of 
Daniel to the second century BCE, they are most certainly not "based 
solely on philosophical presuppositions." They are based, chiefly, on 
textual analyses of Daniel 7-12 in light of the well-attested workings 
of apocalyptic literature in general.

Chris H.

R. Christopher Heard
Assistant Professor of Religion
Pepperdine University
Malibu, CA 90263-4352

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