[b-hebrew] Was Daniel a prophet?

Harold Holmyard hholmyard at ont.com
Thu Aug 31 11:49:37 EDT 2006

Yigal Levin wrote:

>I'd go even further: my guess is that the rabbis (or whoever) realized that
>Daniel was a late, fictional, composition, which does not preserve the words
>of someone who actually acted as a messenger for God. They included it in
>the canon nevertheless, because they considered its message about the end of
>days to be important, but they did not wish to give its author prophetic
>authority. In this way. Daniel is like Job, which the rabbis also considered
>to be "a Mashal" rather than a historical text.
>As I wrote, just a guess, which I expect some on this list to take exception

HH: Collections of writings come about historically and possibly for 
recondite reasons. Just because the Book of Daniel was not placed within 
two collections of books dubbed the the Former and the Latter Prophets 
does not mean that he was not historical or was not a prophet.  Josephus 
considered him to be an historical figure and also a prophet. For 
example, he wrote:

Moreover, he took Daniel the prophet, and carried him with him into 
Media, and honored him very greatly, and kept him with him; for he was 
one of the three presidents whom he set over his three hundred and sixty 
provinces, for into so many did Darius part them. . . .

But it is fit to give an account of what this man did, which is most 
admirable to hear, for he was so happy as to have strange revelations 
made to him, and those as to one of the greatest of the prophets, 
insomuch, that while he was alive he had the esteem and applause both of 
the kings and of the multitude; and now he is dead, he retains a 
remembrance that will never fail, for the several books that he wrote 
and left behind him are still read by us till this time; and from them 
we believe that Daniel conversed with God; for he did not only prophesy 
of future events, as did the other prophets, but he also determined the 
time of their accomplishment. And while prophets used to foretell 
misfortunes, and on that account were disagreeable both to the kings and 
to the multitude, Daniel was to them a prophet of good things, and this 
to such a degree, that by the agreeable nature of his predictions, he 
procured the goodwill of all men; and by the accomplishment of them, he 
procured the belief of their truth, and the opinion of [a sort of] 
divinity for himself, among the multitude. He also wrote and left behind 
him what made manifest the accuracy and undeniable veracity of his 

HH: The Ketubim contain many historical works, and if the reasons 
Shoshanna has already given are not enough, it is conceivable that the 
ancients viewed Daniel as a later historical book, and so to be classed 
with Ezra, Nehemiah, Esther, and Chronicles. The Book of Daniel consists 
of historical narrative for the first six chapters, and the visions of 
the later chapters are not only dated historically but concern future 

Harold Holmyard

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