Bi-Weekly report: The Historicity of Daniel

In light of what Gary had to say about the Book of Daniel, I wanted to share some articles that dealt with the time period in which it was written.

Article 1:

Tektonics: Daniel Defense

At the beginning, J.P. talks about the Maccabean theory:

Generally, the Maccabeean theory holds that the Book of Daniel was written around 168-165 B.C. Most modern radical critics hold that the book was completed in it’s final form at that time, but some allow for parts of Daniel (mainly chapters 1-6) to have an earlier date prior to 168-165. Some say the editor in the 2nd century used certain traditions to compose the final form of Daniel.
This next article (published in 1992 by the late Dr. Gerhard Hasel) focuses on evidence from the Dead Sea Scrolls: New Light on Daniel from Dead Sea Scrolls

Here was his conclusion:

Thus the canonical acceptance of the book of Daniel at Qumran suggests an earlier origin of the book than the second century B.C. In 1969, based on the evidence available at the time regarding the Qumran Daniel texts, Roland K. Harrison had already concluded that the second century dating of the book of Daniel was “absolutely precluded by the evidence from Qumran, partly because there are no indications whatever that the sectaries compiled any of the Biblical manuscripts recovered from the site, and partly because there would, in the latter event, have been insufficient time for Maccabean compositions to be circulated, venerated, and accepted as canonical Scripture by a Maccabean sect” (Harrison 1969: 1127).

Subsequent to this, he stated that based on the Qumran manuscripts, “there can no longer be any possible reason for considering the book as a Maccabean product” (Harrison 1979: 862). The most recent publications of Daniel manuscripts confirm this conclusion.

For this next article, I decided to see what Glenn Miller of The Christian Think Tank had to say about it. I did a search on his website, and this was the first article I found:

He is in the midst of re-writing his Daniel dating material, but this article is still up. In it, he says something about paradigms in scholarly discussion in dealing with the manuscript evidence:

This is not, of course, to assert that all who hold to a late-date of Daniel are anti-supernaturalists! There are many good, “moderate” evangelicals who hold to this view--although I suspect it is more often due to the realities of controlling paradigms in scholarly discussion. Controlling paradigms are necessary for extended research, and actually for finding the holes in the paradigm. For specialists outside of a specific field (e.g. paleography), trying to utilize insights and results from a different field (e.g., Danielic studies), dependence on the latter’s controlling paradigms may be the only option--there being no practical way for them to validate it outside of their specialty. So, by themselves, they are not ‘evil’. But when the paradigm becomes a ‘social force’ against renewal, innovation, new paradigm suggestion, and self-critical analysis, it takes it’s place in the hall of “stifling and oppressive traditions”…In the final section of this series, I will show how I think a late-date view can be harmonized (in good conscience) with high-views of Scripture and Jesus’ words in the Gospels. I think the position is difficult to maintain, but I do feel that it can be granted as possible/ reasonable.


BK said…
Along the lines of Roland K. Harrison's article, K.A. Kitchen makes the argument in his paper, "The Aramaic of Daniel" that the Aramaic used in Daniel likely pre-dates the Second Century BC. He said he could not determine that dogmatically, but Robert Vasholz in his own paper, "Qumran and the Dating of Daniel" makes the case that the Aramaic almost certainly requires a pre-second century dating. He states:

"In our opinion the strength of the argument for a pre-second-century Daniel comes from Daniel's proximity to both the Elephantine papyri and the Aramaic of Ezra. In this there appears to be a general consensus among the scholars.9 Without question the majority of the Elephantine papyri are fifth century B.C., and the majority of modern scholars agree that the original composition of Ezra is no later than the fourth century B.C.10

"If Daniel is so similar to the Elephantine papryi and Ezra, is it not reasonable to think that the composition of Daniel is prior to the second century B.C.? Since no clearly dated Aramaic materials are available from Palestine or Babylon to argue against this view, no a priori position should be assumed that asserts that the Aramaic of Daniel cannot be earlier than the second century B.C."

Jason Pratt said…
That reminds me I want to invest in more of Kitchen's work, Bill. His testy Scotch temper in his tome on the historicity of the OT, is just delightful (even if he'd see people like me among his many targets). {g}


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