[b-hebrew] Dating Daniel - Response

Rolf Furuli furuli at online.no
Fri Jul 8 04:39:47 EDT 2005

Dear Jack,

See my comments below.

> Believing that Daniel is wholly or partially 2nd century
> does not automatically make one an atheist.  Believing that
> Daniel is wholly or partially 6th century does mean one is
> automatically a believer.

> As I stated originally, if one is interested in dating the
> composition of the Book of Daniel, examining the faith of
> the investigator serves no useful purpose.  It is far more
> useful to examine the text and historical records.

You are perfectly right, the faith of a scholar is not necessarily linked 
with his or her dating of Daniel. But the faith of scholars working with the 
book of Daniel regarding the existence of God is not the primry issue.
The real issue is: Why do scholars date the book of Daniel to the second 
century B.C.E.? Or put differently: Why do modern scholars reject the claims 
in the book of Daniel of a sixth century writing? These are important 
questions, because few people are able to work with the original text of 
Daniel and original archaeological and historical findings. Most people, 
therefore, must build on the experts. And because of this it is important to 
understand the paradigms/models that the experts use as axioms.

A dating of the book of Daniel on the basis if its Hebrew and Aramaic text 
is impossible. Some traits suggest an early dating and others a late one. As 
for the prophecies/"prophecies" ex eventu, they tell us nothing definite 
regarding the date of their writing.  And I am not aware of any other trait 
that can be used for dating purposes. So the question remains: Why do 
scholars reject the claims of the book itself and use a second century 
dating? The answer is that they do so because of their axiom that prophecies 
regarding future events do not exist. Daniel chapter 11, therefore, must 
have been written after the events (save the last few verses, which are real 
predictions that were not fulfilled). And this brings them to the middle of 
the second century B.C.E.

People relying on the experts will benefit from an understanding of the 
primary role played by the mentioned axiom. This will help them to be more 
critical to the dating arguments used, ascertaining that these often are 
secondary arguments, and that they without the mentioned axiom as their 
foundation are very weak indeed. If someone thinks that I am overstating the 
case, I repeat the simple test for showing this: Just point to one or two 
scholars who date Daniel to the middle of the second century B.C.E., and who 
accept the *possibility* that the history/"history" of Daniel chapter 11 was 
written by a Daniel before the events happened.

> Jack Tladatsi
> _______________________________________________

Best regards

Rolf Furuli
University of Oslo 

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