[b-hebrew] Dating Daniel - Response

Robert Heard Christopher.Heard at pepperdine.edu
Mon Jul 11 18:19:24 EDT 2005

Rolf Furuli wrote:
>The real issue is: Why do scholars date the book of Daniel to the 
>century B.C.E.? Or put differently: Why do modern scholars reject the 
>in the book of Daniel of a sixth century writing? 

I chimed in at this point when this was first brought up, and the 
discussion seems to have quickly turned to issues about the origins of 
apocalyptic literature and faith claims regarding predictive prophecy. 
So let me reiterate my original question/claim: There are *no* 
authorship claims in the book of Daniel--sixth century or 
otherwise--for modern scholars to reject! The only possible hint of an 
"authorship claim" inside the book of Daniel is the use of first-person 
discourse chapters 7-12. However, as the books of Enoch, Esdras, etc. 
(not to mention scads of modern novels) clearly show, the use of 
first-person discourse cannot hold water as an authorship claim. In 
order to substantiate and uphold a claim that the book of Daniel claims 
that a historical person named Daniel wrote the book, one would have to 
show that the use of first-person discourse necessarily implied such a 
claim (since the book of Daniel nowhere says anything like "a 
historical person named Daniel wrote this book" or even "I, Daniel, 
wrote down my visions and these reflections on them"). I don't think 
that implicit claim can ever be substantiated, though I'd be more than 
willing to look at evidence in favor of it.

On a related note, with all this talk about faith claims and 
inspiration and such being tossed around, I would like to point out 
that some of the comments I've read on this thread seem to presuppose 
that "divine inspiration" rules out pseudepigraphical first-person 
narration. That's as huge a "leap of faith" as ruling out predictive 
prophecy (be it 30 years in advance or 300 years in advance). I don't 
know of any good reason to suppose that God could not inspire someone 
to write a first-person pseudepigraphical discourse.

So far, in my opinion, the most illuminating post on this thread has 
been an earlier one, by Rolf I believe, commenting on the chronological 
typology of Aramaic. *That* is the sort of thing that potentially 
counts as good evidence for dating the composition of the book of 
Daniel, not repeated references to supposed internal authorship claims 
that simply don't exist.

- Chris (cranky at the end of a long hot day, in case the above sounds 
a bit testy)

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

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