|Historical Considerations||Language||Theological Implications|
Date(s) of the Writing of Daniel
There has been, and probably always will be, a controversy on whether Daniel wrote the book and also when he wrote it. Most scholars who believe Daniel wrote the book believe the book was written between 538 and 528 B.C.; probably 536 B.C. It was most likely written during the exile of the Jews from Judah.
Porphyry, a philosopher of the third century A.D., was the first strong critic of the book of Daniel. He thought it was written by someone who lived about the time of Antiochus Epiphanes (175-163 B.C.). He is one of the strong critics against prophecy. Since, therefore, the book could not have been written before the events, it had to have been written after the events with all facts then known. He felt there was neither malicious meant nor was the person vying for notoriety. It was probably written to revive the hope of the Jews. These were terrible times because of the tyrant, Epiphanes. There are others who believe the book was written by a Jew of Palestine about the times of the Maccabees, still second century B.C. All persons who hold to the "other" writer theory do not believe in prophecy.
Why would these persons be so adamant about predictions about the future? It turns out the primary reason they are against Daniel's prophecies is the absolute extreme accuracy of the predictions. There is probably no other prophet who has been so absolutely correct, even in his own time.
Those critics who argue against prophetic capabilities of Daniel usually fall into the following arguments:
It should be noted other old books are in the Hagiographa (Psalms, Job, Proverbs). Being put in the Hagiographa does not mean it was a later writing.
In Daniel 1:1 it is stated king Nebuchadnezzar invaded Palestine on the third year of Jehoiakim.
Dan 1:1 "In the third year of the reign of Jehoiakim king of Judah, Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon came to Jerusalem and besieged it."
In Jeremiah 46:2 it says the first year of Nebuchadnezzar was the fourth year of Jehoiakim.
Jer 46:2 "To Egypt, concerning the army of Pharaoh Neco king of Egypt, which was by the Euphrates River at Carchemish, which Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon defeated in the fourth year of Jehoiakim the son of Josiah, king of Judah."
More recent studies have uncovered a couple of very interesting facts about ancient dating of the regnal (king) year. The Jews started the first king year from the first month (Jewish Tishri/Ethanim - our October) preceding the year of succession; the Babylonians started the first king year from the next new year's day (in April). There, it would appear the Jewish writings would show one year earlier than the Babylonians. In accordance with the Chaldeans, Nebuchadnezzar actually started his king year April, 604 B.C.; but he was crowned September, 605 B.C.
The questions is why would a Jew, Daniel, write in the regnal timing as the Babylonians? The most likely explanation is Daniel lived most of his life in Babylon and knew these methods intimately. Remember, he was taught all he ways of the Chaldeans. It would be natural for him to write with a Babylonian slant as long as it did not go against God.
1 Kings 7:48-50
2 Kings 17:5; 20:17; 24:1,2,13; 25:13-15
2 Chron 4:7-22; 36:5-21
Jer 20:5; 25:1,9; 27:16-21; 28:3,4,6; 46:2
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