220.127.116.11 - Other Evidence of Early Date
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.
- Keil notes that the book of Daniel makes no explicit mention of Rome, which would be very unusual if it were written as late as the critics say. “The absence of every trace of the historical reference of the fourth world-kingdom, furnishes an argument worthy of notice in favour of the origin of this book of Daniel during the time of the exile. For at the time of the Babylonian exile Rome lay altogether out of the circle of vision opened up to the prophets of Scripture, since it had as yet come into no relation at all to the then dominant nations which were exercising an influence on the fate of the kingdom of God.”1
- Daniel’s unified portrayal of the Medo-Persian empire where the Medes are mentioned before the Persians may also be evidence of an early date. Later, after the Persians became dominant (Dan. 8:3+), they were usually mentioned before the Medes.2
- Hävernick notes that the tolerance of Nebuchadnezzar, Belshazzar, and Darius in relation to the religion of the Jews is entirely different than that of Antiochus IV Epiphanes—who the author would have likely been describing if writing during the Maccabean era.3
- The style of Aramaic in Daniel has an affinity with that of other early Aramaic documents.4
- “It is difficult to explain how the supposed late writer of the book of Daniel knew that the glories of Babylon were due to Nebuchadnezzar’s building activities. Pfeiffer, though setting forth the critical view, acknowledges that ‘we shall presumably never know’ how the writer of Daniel knew that Babylon was the result of Nebuchadnezzar’s building projects, as the [historically more recent] excavations have proved.”5
- The even-handed treatment by Daniel, a Jew, of being subjected to the learning of the Chaldeans is opposed to the theory of a Maccabean origin for the book. “The facts recorded here [Dan. 1:17+] may be regarded as rather strong evidence against the theory of late authorship of the book. For it is well known with what abhorrence the Jews of Maccabean times regarded the acquirement of Greek learning. In fact, everything Greek was assiduously avoided (cf. 2 Macc. 4:14+). How, then, could an author, writing in that particular period, suggest that his hero freely absorbed heathen lore and so practically encouraged his contemporaries to do the same?”6 “The pious Jews of the Maccabæan period not only scrupulously avoided the flesh which was sacrificed to idols by their heathen oppressors, but everything that emanated from them, even to their arts and sciences. Daniel, Hananiah, etc., are, on the contrary, represented as distinguished adepts in all the wisdom of the Chaldæans, and at the same time, as filling official stations at the court of the Babylonian king, or even as members of the order of the magi (cf. Dan. 2:13+, 48+ et seq.).”7
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.
Copyright © 2008-2014 by Tony Garland
(Content generated on Mon Mar 24 17:02:46 2014)