[b-hebrew] Dating Daniel

Rolf Furuli furuli at online.no
Thu Jul 7 07:58:08 EDT 2005

Dear Jack,

See my comments below.

----- Original Message ----- 
From: <tladatsi at charter.net>
To: <b-hebrew at lists.ibiblio.org>
Sent: Thursday, July 07, 2005 6:52 AM
Subject: [b-hebrew] Dating Daniel

> Dr. Furuli et al.
> I do not have an opinion on the actual dating of cthe
> omposition of Daniel.  However I do have an opinion on the
> relevant
> methodology.
> 1) There is an assumption that there was single author of
> Daniel who wrote the entire work at one time. This
> assumption may not be accurate. Parts of Daniel may have
> been written by different authors at different times and
> places.  So portions may be 6th century BCE and others 2nd
> century BCE, or indeed some time between.  The assumption
> of an *either / or* approach to assigning a specific period
> of composition of the entire work needs to demonstrated and
> not assumed.

It is correct that we cannot know whether parts of a biblical book were
written at different times or by different authors. However, Jesus 
to Matthew 24:15 and Mark 13:14) speaks of "*the* prophet Daniel" who spoke
("wrote"), and the words to which Jesus refers are found in Daniel
9:27;11:31;12:11. This means, if we accept the words as uttered by Jesus, 
that chapters 9, 11, and 12 where believed to be written by *the* prophet 
Daniel by some in the first century C.E.

> 2) The proposal that Daniel was composed mid-2nd century
> mainly lies in the fact that apocalyptic literature was in
> not produced much in the 6th century BCE but was produced
> much more extensively in the centuries following the 3rd
> century BCE.  This argument may be wrong, but it is not
> circular.

If we have decided what the answer to a particular question is before we
start our research, I would say that our research is circular, even though
parts of this research may not be circular. There is very little substance
in 2) above, because the same argument can be used regarding all the
biblical books. The oldest DSS are dated in the third century B.C.E., and
the argument from silence is that the biblical books were not yet written in 
the sixth century C.E. While
2) above in itself is not circular, the permise on which it builds is so.

> 3) Just as there is not textual claim in the book of Job
> that Job wrote the book of Job, nowhere in Daniel is it
> claimed that Daniel wrote to book of Daniel, or even that
> there was a single author.  This of course contrasted with
> Jeremiah were it is explicitly stated that the text is the
> ?words of Jeremiah?, although there is no claim it was he
> who wrote them down or that they were written down by one
> individual.
> 4) Dating Daniel to either the 6th century or 2nd century
> does not in any way depend on the objective existence of
> God, the subjective acknowledgement of the existence of
> God, the acceptance of divine inspiration of the Biblical
> authors, or even the belief in prophecy.  It is quite
> possible to believe that Daniel was divinely inspired and
> prophetic and that it was written in the 2nd century BCE,
> the 6th century BCE, both, in some other century, or in
> more than one century.
> One?s personal principles of faith are not diagnostic as to
> the dating Daniel.

A person believing that Daniel, or parts of the book, were written in the
second century B.C.E. may of course believe in God and in divine inspiration
just as much as one believing in a sixth century writing.  But this is not
the point!  The important question is why scholars give the book of Daniel a
second century dating. And here the question of divine inspiration is the
principal one. The case was opened in the eighteenth century C.E. by the
German scholar J. C. Döderlein, who claimed that Isaiah 40-66 must have been
written by a "second" Isaiah because it is impossible to predict the future.
The same viewpoint regarding other prophecies, including Daniel, was adopted
by many scholars following him, and this view is probably held by the 
majority of
scholars today.

In Daniel chapter 11 we find a written "history," In chapter 10 "Daniel"
writes in the first person, and the account of chapter 11 starts with "the
first year of Darius the Mede". The writer states (11:2) that he will
tell what is going to happen in the future. And here is the crux. If a
scholar should take the text at face value and accept the claim that it was
written in the sixth century B.C.E. s/he has to accept that a detailed
account of the future could be given a long time before the events. This
would be tantamount to accepting divine inspiration. But metaphysical
explanations are excluded in scientific research.  Therefore, the claim of
the text itself of a sixth century writing is rejected, and because the the 
part of chapter 11 seems to give details of the reign of Antiochus IV
Epiphanes, the scholarly consensus is that Daniel was written in the second
century B.C.E. (some scholars would say that parts of it may have been 
written before, and that they may have been included in the second century 
work). A good way to test my claim that rejection of divine inspiration 
(detailed predictions of the future) is the basic reason for a second 
century dating, is to ask: How many scholars who date the book of Daniel to 
c. 160 B.C.E. are willing to consider the *possibility* that the "historical 
account" of Daniel 11:1-20 were written in the sixth century C.E? I guess 
that almost all of them would a priori rule this out.

>From a scholarly point of view the OT should be studied in its own right and 
not in light of the NT. However, from a descriptive point of view we note 
that Jesus` words (Matthew 24:15) regarding BDELUGMA ERHMWSEWS in Dan 11:31 
(and 9:27; 12:11) refer to the future. So, some living in the first century 
C.E. did not agree with modern scholars regarding the application of the 
words of the last part of Daniel chapter 11 to Entiochos IV Epiphanes.

Please note, that my arguments above are descriptive and not normative. I am 
arguing in favor of a particular position, but I try to give an account of 
the model or paradigm that influence scholars. I do not criticize scholars 
who stick to the scientific principle of rejecting any metaphysical 
explanation. But an honest course would be to admit this, and as far as 
Daniel i concerned, to admit that the basic argument for a second century 
dating is the view that the future cannot be predicted.

Best regards

Rolf Furuli
University of Oslo
> Jack Tladatsi
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