[b-hebrew] Dating Daniel - Response

Peter Kirk peterkirk at qaya.org
Fri Jul 8 06:44:15 EDT 2005

On 08/07/2005 07:45, tladatsi at charter.net wrote:

>One could believe that the author(s) of Daniel was/were 
>both inspired by God and prophetic and were writing in the 
>2nd century BCE.  They could have taken existing divinely 
>inspired 6th century materials and added  new divinely 
>inspired 2nd century materials.  Perhaps they prophesied 
>the events of Antiochus Epiphanes merely 30 years before 
>they occurred, instead of 300 years and set them in a 
>historical context which might invite fewer political 
>repurcussions.  Perhaps one might argue that Daniel 1 ? 6 
>is 6th century because the prophecy was non-apocalyptic but 
>the prophecy in Daniel 7 ? 12 is 2nd century because it is 
>apocalyptic.  I offer these as a few of many possibilities.

I don't think that anyone who believes that the book of Daniel is the 
inspired word of God would accept that words explicitly attributed to 
Daniel and dated in the book (i.e. most of chapters 7-12) were in fact 
written more than 300 years later.

>Believing that Daniel is wholly or partially 2nd century 
>does not automatically make one an atheist. ...

Indeed. There are many theists, not to mention polytheists, deists, 
pantheists, henotheists and agnostics (sorry if I have left anyone else 
I have left out) who do not believe that the book of Daniel is the 
inspired word of God. I might have questions about the grounds on which 
they believe if they do not accept God's self-revelation, but that gets 
well beyond the remit of this list.

>... Believing that 
>Daniel is wholly or partially 6th century does mean one is 
>automatically a believer.

Indeed for "partially". But if we are talking about "wholly", it depends 
what you mean by "a believer". Of course someone might argue that the 
later parts of Daniel are not a description of the time of Antiochus 
Epiphanes. But surely anyone who believes that this part was written in 
the 6th century and is about Antiochus must reject the secular 
materialist consensus according to which the future is entirely unknown 
and in principle unknowable. Of course that doesn't make them a believer 
in the full divine inspiration of the Bible.

Jack, you still seem to assume that everyone accepts prophecy as 
possible in principle but no one holds to divine inspiration, i.e. that 
all are in my middle group B2. That is simply not true.

>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.
I continue to disagree. Of course the text and the historical records 
should be primary. But it is impossible to understand the position of 
anyone who has written on this matter without understanding their faith 
(or non-faith) position.

Peter Kirk
peter at qaya.org (personal)
peterkirk at qaya.org (work)

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