Where is Daniel? Where is His Book?

Discussion in 'Christianity' started by Ben Masada, Jul 3, 2012.

  1. Ben Masada

    Ben Masada New Member

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    WHERE IS DANIEL? WHERE IS HIS BOOK?

    Yes, if Daniel was a prophet, where is he? Why is he not among the Prophets? We all are so fun of his book; why is it not one of the prophetic books in the Tanach?

    Dear fellow posters, if you haven't noticed, neither is Daniel accounted as one of the Prophets in the Tanach, nor is what he wrote, among the prophetic books. Haven't you ever wondered why? If you google "Prophets of Israel" you will see what I am talking about.

    According to Judaism, there were 55 prophets in the History of Israel, but Daniel does not figure as one of them. Therefore, when the Jewish Canon was organized, the book of Daniel was not taken in consideration as a prophetic book. So, his book was accounted rather among the historical books of the Tanach. Ketuvim, as we call in Hebrew. How could the book of Daniel not be considered among the "Neviim" or prophetic books but rather a historical one?

    First of all, the book of Daniel was not written by Daniel; and then, the book takes its name, not from the author, who was actually unknown, but from its hero, a young Jew who had been taken to Babylon about ten years earlier where he, probably, lived until 538 BCE and never returned to the Land of Israel with the returnees after the time of 70 years prophetically assigned to the Jews.

    The book of Daniel was written here, in Israel, during the bitter persecutions carried out by Antiochus IV (167-164 BCE) with the purpose to strengthen and comfort the Jewish People in their ordeal. Probably, the same author wrote also the two volumes of the book of the Maccabees, patronized by John Hircanus, a Priestly-King from the Hasmonian Dynasty who died in the year 104 BCE. He was famous for promoting Art and Literature.

    It is believed that the real Daniel, in Babylon, had indeed ceased being a prophet in his later years, when he went into Politics and became a Minister in the Government of Babylon. Since the gift of prophecy is not an inherent attribute in the prophet, it ceases automatically, so to speak, as a prophet's priority is directed elsewhere, especially into secular affairs.

    Now, in conclusion, the real author of the book of Daniel, who, nobody knows was, guaranteed for his book, a place in the Tanach as, at least, a historical book due to its accuracy of events as it is confirmed by History.

    Ben
     
  2. Dream

    Dream New Member

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    The story of Daniel in the lion's den is my favorite out of all the books and stories, and I think the story of Sampson is next after that. Originally my favorite was David vs. Goliath of Gath.
     
  3. exile

    exile Interfaith Forums

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    Wasn't Daniel the one who dreamed he was in Persia where he became a Rab-Mag "Chief of the Magi" and wasn't he supposed to have lived during Cyrus's or Darius's reign? 167-164 BCE for Daniel would place him long after the Persian Empire strived. His books are not part of the Penteteuch, but rather the intertestimentary material that the Jews of today do not adhere to. Which is curious because it was during the post-exhilic period that the Jews began to consistently acknowledge only one God and no others, contrary to earlier books where there is a jumping back and forth from making polytheistic statements to seemingly monotheistic statements. Solomon built statues of Ashera in his Temple. There were the Priests of Baal, and there are other examples. But I wouldn't be surprised if the book of Daniel was indeed written 167-164 BCE. I think there were other books that were written later and backprojected like the book of Esther if I'm not mistaken. Isaiah 45 1-3 is supposed to be prophetic, but it was obviously written after the Jews had come into contact with the Persians.
     
  4. Amergin

    Amergin New Member

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    I know that Aramaic was spoken for many centuries. I honestly do not know if the Jews at the time of the Babylonian exile spoke it or not. Was Chaldaean an Aramaic language? Not to make a big deal of the language, I am not expert enough so I will have to defer to scholars on this point. However, given the nature of language and colloquialisms, I hold to the basic plot design of Daniel’s as having been written in 165-145 AD. Ezekiel and Jeremiah were the ones who actually were taken to Babylon. They prove their antiquity because of their mistaken prophesies on Tyre and Egypt.

    The recounting of the events in the Book of Daniel is in my opinion still more consistent with a date of approximately 165-145 BC. We do not have proof that Daniel wrote his book in 165 AD or 590 BC. We just have suggestions based on the recounting that suggest the writer knew more about current events in 165 BC than he did in about 600 BC.

    Now realise that Daniel or the writer calling himself Daniel, actually wrote his book in the last days of the Seleucid Kingdom, during the Maccabee rebellion and the short-lived Hasmonean Dynasty of Israel. I suppose that there may have been an earlier Daniel who was known to Ezekiel, and that Daniel may have been the model used, and pen name used by the chap who wrote the book in 165 BC.

    In the same sense, Daniel was a Maccabee patriot. Daniel was like other Jews at the time. The newer but declining Seleucid conquerors were rather intolerant. The Jews had peace and religious freedom under the earlier and permissive Egyptian Ptolemaic rulers. Therefore, the Maccabees rebelled against a much more powerful intolerant Seleucid enemy. At first victory seemed unlikely. Daniel felt that bad times resulted because the Jews had neglected God.

    Daniel back dated "predicted" events, then claim they "came true.” People were then more likely to take heed of his final "yet to happen" catastrophic prophesy. I think it was a rather clever device. I do suspect that all prophets were “driven” people. They certainly were religious zealots. They often prophesied at times of invasion, civil war, or other turmoil.

    Naturally, the writer in 165 or 145 BC would identify himself as a lad from 400 years earlier. This makes the important REMEMBERED EVENTS from 590 to 160 BC seem like fulfilled prophesies. It was dishonest but very effective propaganda. It is a rather crafty device. He needed to convince Jews in 145 BC that Daniel indeed lived 400 years before then in approximately 590 BC. Once he established that identity and time, he "recollected" the Babylonian, Persian, Alexandrian, and Seleucid Empires. He named kings and places, stories and battles. They appeared as fabulous prophesy.

    The Alexandrian successor states included Ptolemaic Egypt, Macedon, the Hellenic League, the Seleucid Kingdom, and smaller impermanent kingdoms in western Asia Minor and Thrace. The Seleucids had once ruled from Thrace and Asia Minor through to Persia and Afghanistan. They then took Palestine from the Ptolemies of Egypt. By 165 BC, they had been defeated by the Romans and Pergamum. Rebelling Parthians took Persia from them.

    Seleucids were reduced to Syria, Iraq, and Palestine. The Maccabees were rebels against those Seleucids (Syrians). One reason for the Seleucid decline was the military defeat of King Antiochus III the Great by the strangers from the western isles (Rome). The new and expanding Roman Empire had already landed and taken Greece. In addition, the Seleucid Kingdom had a polyglot population that resented their Macedonian overlords. Moreover, the Seleucids were not known for kindness or tolerance. The Jews were not very compatible with cultural oppression. Therefore, the scene was set for the Maccabee Rebellion, with some beneficial scriptural propaganda to inspire the rebels.

    We may never know who actually wrote Daniel. Fundamentalists think a man named Daniel wrote it 600 BC. Some other scholars actually think that the changes of writing style indicate that more than one person contributed to writing the Book of Daniel. I regard my serious reading as an attempt to find the real truth in the writings. I was unsatisfied by blindly following the interpretation of some Church leaders.

    I think that Christian Fundamentalists already have a well-defined idea of what they believe before ever reading the Book of Daniel. In my experience, they are told what the book says before they read it, supposedly in a form of introduction. Jimmy Swaggart does that at the beginning of each chapter of the KJV Bible that he publishes. He gives the essence of what one “should” interpret before actually reading it. Naturally, he dates Daniel in 600-590 BC so he can tout the fulfilled prophesies.

    Scholars think that a zealous Israeli reformer, calling himself Daniel, resented the recent conquest of Israel by the Seleucid King Antiochus IV from King Ptolemy VI of Egypt. The writer composed much of the Book of Daniel in 165-145 BC. He deliberately made it look like a prophesy from 600 BC. That way it would have more effect on reform, repentance, and rebellion against the heathen Seleucids (also known as Greeks and as Syrians.)

    He used the name of Daniel, probably a common name then. Alternatively, he may have simply used Daniel because there was a man called Daniel by Ezekiel. Ezekiel was definitely in the first wave of forced emigrants from Palestine to Babylon. We may never know the real name of the writer of the Book of Daniel.

    The Seleucids unlike the tolerant Ptolemies started persecuting the Jews. The Jews rose in rebellion under Mattathias and his son Judas Maccabee. It took two decades of fighting and they had many setbacks. Finally, the Maccabees drove out the Seleucids in 142 BC. Meanwhile the Seleucids were attacked from the rear by the Armenians and from the east by the Parthians. Seleucia was reduced to a city-state in North-eastern Syria. Daniel's Book raised the fighting spirit of the Jews. God was on their side then. The victory came when Judas Maccabee, following in the footsteps of his father Mattathias, drove out the Seleucids in 142 BC. The new Armenian and Parthian Empires held a temporary balance of power. Israel by playing one against the other, had two or three generations of a fragile independence before the Romans came to town.

    Again, here is the modern analogy to the Book of Daniel. If you wanted to sell a book about America now, your “details” on George W. Bush and Bill Clinton, the War on Terrorism, 9-11, and the end of the Cold War would be sharp and accurate. Your recollection would be fuzzy about the Civil War. You would be lucky to remember anything about the War of 1812. And the details of the Revolution would be Washington crossing the Delaware, Jefferson’s Declaration of Independence, and maybe Yorktown. Could you describe the personalities of Alexander Hamilton, Samuel Adams, and Paul Revere as well as you could those of George W. Bush, Bill Clinton, and Ronald Reagan?

    That is how the Book of Daniel reads. The “prophetic” writer reports much about the (Seleucid) kings, 165-142 BC. However, He forgot to mention two Babylonian Kings of his supposed time 597 BC. In addition, he did not share Jeremiah’s and Ezekiel’s anger at Judah for having “sold out” to maintain its independence for a while. A patriotic Jew of 590 BC from the northern Kingdom of Israel would have had a low regard for the southern Kingdom of Judah that survived by siding with the invaders.

    Amergin
     
  5. radarmark

    radarmark Quaker-in-the-Making

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    Good case, Amergin. Daniel was one of the intertestament writings between the classic OT and the NT. Job, a lot of the Qumran scrolls, Enoch, the Maccabees, Pseudo-Josephus, the Shepard of Hermas are all examples of this variety of text.
     
  6. Ben Masada

    Ben Masada New Member

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    You can keep your favorites, including Daniel, because there is nothing in the thread implying that he was not real. And he was a prophet too in the first part of his life. The point is that his book was written by a Historian in the Hasmonian period and not by himself.

    Ben
     
  7. Ben Masada

    Ben Masada New Member

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  8. Ben Masada

    Ben Masada New Member

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    Magnific, Amergin! I got more than impressed at reading your research above. And I thank you for reminding us that the Historian who wrote the book of Daniel was also called Daniel, as we agree with and I missed to have mentioned in the thread.

    However, there is something which I don't agree with you, if you allow me a little attempt at controversy: Your references to the Land of Israel as "Palestine." There was no such a name as "Palestine" at that time. And, for that matter, there was never a State of "Palestine" in the History of the world, and I mean up to this very day.

    "Palestine" as we know today, which no longer exists, was a name given by the Romans after the destruction of the Temple, and it remained so as an enclave owned by different powers throghout History till we turned it back to its original name of Eretz Yisrael aka the Land of Israel.

    Ben
     
  9. Servetus

    Servetus New Member

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    Superlatives abound for the post, in its entirety, but these two sentences, alone, were worth the price of admission:

    Touche!

    :D
     
  10. Dream

    Dream New Member

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    Good! I like Daniel.
     
  11. Servetus

    Servetus New Member

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    A question thus arises: was the historian of the Hasmonian period so to speak channeling Daniel when he spoke in the first person, singular, and wrote such verses as this which follows?

    "Then I, Daniel, looked, and there before me stood two others, one on this bank of the river and one on the opposite bank ... and I heard him swear by him who lives forever ... I heard, but I did not understand. So I asked, “My lord, what will the outcome of all this be?” He replied, “Go your way, Daniel, because the words are closed up and sealed until the time of the end." (Daniel 12:5-9)


    Serv
     
  12. Ben Masada

    Ben Masada New Member

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    Good question which demands a good answer. Yes, he was channeling Daniel during a vision of his. He was aware of Numbers 12:6, where we have that, "Should there be a prophet among you, in vision will I reveal Myself to him, in dreams will I speak to him." So, he spoke of Daniel during his vision.
    Ben
     
  13. Amergin

    Amergin New Member

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    You are spot on. I use the word Palestine knowing it is possibly and anachronism or came from the Philistines. My grandfather was a British Soldier who with Arab allies to capture Jerusalem from the Ottoman Turks, who called the area Palestine. Palestine is not a legitimate name.

    I hate using disputed names for the same area based on whether one is Arabic speaking Muslim or Christian versus Jewish settlers who call their two thirds of the land, Israel after a Pre-Roman establishment of a puppet king there.

    I prove I am neutral. That valley was once called Canaan. I don't know what the Caucasian non-Semitic people called it before the Amorites came. So I call it an non-disputable real name. I call it the Jordan-Dead Sea Rift Valley. We agree on the Jordan River and Dead Sea. Geologists know that they form a transform tectonic rift zone. The numerous serious earth quakes. One geologist found rocks in the hills near the Dead Sea, showing three times how the land shifted. The rift exploded into a linear lava flow that formed the Golan Heights and the hills on either side of the valley. The lava emptied a subterranean magma chamber, which then collapsed. That collapsed cause the Dead Sea to be so far below sea level.

    OK? Jordan-Dead Sea Rift Valley.

    Amergin
     
  14. Amergin

    Amergin New Member

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    I do not believe in channeling. I do not rule it out but think channeling is a form of hallucination or outright trickery. Daniel's book was a type of Apocalyptical Pseudo-Prophesy used to rally the Jewish people in times of danger. Scholars smarter than I, think Daniel lived in the brief period of the Independent Kingdom of Israel or Judea under the Hasmonean Kings.

    I hypothesis that Daniel, a Jewish patriot, feared the approaching Romans after the final defeat of the Seleucid/Syrian Kingdom. Seleucia once extended from the Ionian coast of Anatolia to the Indus River and Afghanistan, and the last conquest was the Jordan-Dead Sea Rift Valley from the Ptolemies of Egypt. The Maccabees led a successful revolt from the faltering Seleucid with the Romans breaking their western power.

    The time of Hasmonean Rule, Daniel likely lived. His prophesy is odd because his knowledge of Babylonian kings of the 6th and 7th century BCE. He was vague on the Persians. He was more accurate on the Alexandrian Empire and Alexander's successors (Seleucids). He was aware of the brief Seleucid recovery of Antiochus IV and of the subsequent fall. He knew of their defeat by the Romans entering Asia Minor.

    A real prophet would know best the times in which he lived (600 BCE) than the "future" of 145 BCE following the recent Maccabbee revolt. However, he "remembers his own time 145 BCE better than old stories of 600 BCE in Babylon. Some named places were anachronisms as one would expect.

    It is debatable if his ploy worked or not. It may have led the Romans to first set up a puppet kingdom under Herod, to defuse Jewish resistance.

    Amergin
     
  15. Servetus

    Servetus New Member

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    Thank you, Amergin.

    I don't understand, from this introductory essay, if you consider that the portions of Daniel called prophecy are actually that, prophecy, written before and descriptive of upcoming events, or if they are history posing as prophecy written after the fact. Is the whole book, in other words, and in your opinion (using a technical term I learned by reading Uta Ranke-Heineman), a vaticinium ex eventu? If so, if it is history calling itself prophecy, why would Moses Maimonides quote it as sufficient proof to his mind, for instance, that Muhammad and the rise of Islam were foretold by "Daniel" (ref. Epistle to Yemen)?


    Serv
     
  16. Ben Masada

    Ben Masada New Member

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    Now, I have nothing else to disagree with you, as I am familiar with your geological knowledge of this area, although I would be okay with Canaan before it became Eretz Yisrael. I lived in Eilat for a whole year and I travelled the area between Tel-Aviv and Eilat by bus and by plane more than several times.
    Ben
     
  17. Ben Masada

    Ben Masada New Member

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    Yes, Servetus, the thing is exactly as you put it: "Prophecy written after the fact." I don't deny the veracity of the man Daniel the prophet. The problem that his book did not score a place among the Neviim is that his book was written by a Historian here in Israel and not back in Babylon where the prophet lived and never returned.

    Now, with regards to Maimonides, I do not recall at all to have read about him as saying that Daniel prophesied about the rise of Muhammad. This smells like the Moslim pretense that Deutoronomy 18:18 about the prophet-like-unto Moses was a prediction for the rise of Muhammad. You know, Replacement Theology. Every one wants a piece of the pie without having to sit down at the Jewish table to enjoy it together.

    Ben
     
  18. Servetus

    Servetus New Member

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    Here it is.

    Source:
    Moses Maimonides (Epistle to Yemen)

    "... Thus Daniel in his description of the rise of the Arabic kingdom after the fall of the Roman Empire, alluded to the appearance of the Madman [i.e., Muhammad, sorry Muslims, but this is a polemical Epistle and the Jews, at the time, were not being treated very nicely] and his victories over the Roman, Persian and Byzantine Empires in the vision concerning a horn which grew, became long and strong ...(p. 443)"


    So, is that still history posing as prophecy written after the fact? If so, why does Maimonides consider it as having been a prophecy foretelling the future? "Curiouser and curiouser."

    Not quite. Anyway, one can almost hear the jealousy in Maimonides' voice. In Muhammad, it seems to me, a "greater than Moses" was here! I mean, what did Moses do? He and Joshua got a few good but usually grumbling people up and out from Egypt to conquer a little slag heap, Canaan, and reportedly converted it into such an historically insignificant plot of real estate that, extravagant claims by Josephus aside, Alexander the Great, while stampeding through the region, largely ignored the place on his way from Tyre to Egypt. Such was Judea. Big deal.

    Muhammad, on the other hand, emerged in the full light of history, roused the sons of Ishmael from their idolatrous stupor, reclaimed the Arabian Penninsula and, what's more, conquered, as Maimonides is forced to acknowledge, not only the Roman and Persian Empires but also, before he was done, drove the Greeks in the main out of his practically native Syria. Bloody brilliant!

    Long live Replacement Theology! Muhammad (sometimes) rocks!

    Oh good grief! Now even tables are Jewish :D?



    Serv
     
  19. Ben Masada

    Ben Masada New Member

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  20. Servetus

    Servetus New Member

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    If, by that, you mean that you have not changed your opinion, how is it, then, that a "historian of the Hasmonean period," writing history as prophecy after the fact, could be quoted by Maimonides as foretelling the rise of Muhammad? Maimonides evidently considered it prophecy, written before the fact, else he wouldn't have quoted it as such.


    Serv
     

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