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See Authorship and Language for other evidence of the early date of the book of Daniel.

In conclusion, it seems there is abundant evidence upholding the traditional understanding of the date when the book of Daniel was composed. This evidence renders untenable the Maccabean date hypothesis of the critics.


1 Carl Friedrich Keil, “Daniel,” in Carl Friedrich Keil and Franz Delitzsch, Commentary on the Old Testament (Peabody, MA: Hendrickson, 2002), 9:517-518.

2 “The mention of Medes before Persians in the phrase, ‘the law of the Medes and Persians,’ is an evidence of the early date of the book; for in later years the Persians were usually mentioned before the Medes (Esther 1:3, 14, 18, 19, though not 10:2; cf. I Macc. 6:56).”—John C. Whitcomb, Darius the Mede (Philadelphia, PA: Presbyterian and Reformed Publishing Company, 1959, 1963), 55.

3 “Hävernick, Einl., II:488, shows in a striking manner, the untenable character of the assumption that the book is a fiction of the Maccabean age, invented to serve a purpose, especially in view of the marked difference between the religious and political circumstances of that time and those prevailing in the captivity: ‘How marked is the distinction between the heathen kings of this book and Antiochus Epiphanes! Collisions with Judaism occur, indeed, but how different is the conduct of Nebuchadnezzar, Belshazzar, and Darius the Mede, in relation to the recognition of Judaism and its God! Where is the evidence in this case of a desire to extirpate Judaism, or to inaugurate a formal persecution of the Jews, such as entered into the designs of Antiochus. There can hardly be two things more dissimilar than are the deportment of a Belshazzar or Darius and that of the Seleucidian king.’ ”—Otto Zöckler, “The Book of the Prophet Daniel,” in John Peter Lange, ed., A Commentary on the Holy Scriptures: Critical, Doctrinal, and Homiletical (New York, NY: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1880), 43.

4 “One of the most interesting phenomena in the Aramaic of Daniel, however, is the word order, which usually follows the pattern of subject-object-verb. That stands in sharp contrast to certain Dead Sea documents in Aramaic, the Genesis Apocryphon and the Targum of Job, both close to the time of the supposedly second-century composition of Daniel. As Kitchen has observed, the word order of Daniel agrees with the Asshur ostracon of the seventh century B.C. and with the freedom of word order that characterized the fifth-century Aramaic papyri from Egypt.”—C. Hassell Bullock, An Introduction to the Old Testament Prophetic Books (Chicago, IL: Moody Press, 1986), 287. “New discoveries of Aramaic documents . . . put the Aramaic of Daniel within the possible if not probably range of Imperial Aramaic (7th-3rd centuries B.C.), thus allowing for a sixth-century date of composition.”—Bullock, An Introduction to the Old Testament Prophetic Books, 289.

5 Howard P. Free and Voss, Archaeology and Bible History (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House, 1992), 196.

6 H. C. Leupold, Exposition of Daniel (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House, 1949, 1969), Dan. 1:17.

7 Zöckler, The Book of the Prophet Daniel, 64.

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