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The Book Of Daniel


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#1 Fortigurn

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Posted 20 November 2005 - 09:58 AM

The book of Daniel is probably one of the most assaulted books in the entire canon of Scripture. Its prophetic witness is a significant problem to the non-Christian who wishes to assert that the Bible is merely the work of men, and it has been railed against by atheists, agnostics, and non-Christian religions alike for literally centuries - for almost 2,000 years, in fact.

In this thread I wish to address some of the key arguments raised against the book.

These include:
  • That Daniel was not considered canonical by the Jews
  • That the language in the book necessitates a date well into the Greek era
  • That the book contains historical inaccuracies and anachronisms
  • That the book contains evidence of redaction by several hands over the centuries
In preparing this work I have used a combination of the very latest scholarship in this field, supplemented by certain older commentaries which provide material and arguments which are still valuable and valid. It

Of the modern works I have used, I rely most heavily on David Conklin's excellent paper 'Evidences Relating to the Date of the Book of Daniel' (2000), which is the single most thorough, well reseached, and convincing work on the subject which I have ever read. It is freely available online, and runs to some 54 A4 pages, including the extensive bibliography.

The other modern works which I am using extensively (both available online), are WD Jeffcoat's 'The Linguistic Argument For The Date Of Daniel' (2004), which deals specifically with the linguistic issues of the book, and Daniel B Wallace's paper 'Who is Ezekiel's Daniel?' (1997), which is a well written and very readable introduction to key criticisms and answers.

Of the older works, I use in particular material from the superb work by Pusey (E Pusey, 'Daniel The Prophet', 1886), which cotains a formidable array of counter-arguments in reply to the claims of 'Higher Criticism', as well as an analysis of the linguistic issues which is probably still unparalleled in its detail.

Incredibly, Pusey's work is never referred to by modern critics, despite the fact that it addresses directly the most common contemporary arguments against the book of Daniel. This cannot be because the work is obscure (it is frequently cited in the best contemporary defenses of Daniel), nor because it is considered out of date or irrelevant (even now, in the 21st century, Pusey's key arguments still stand, and his textual, linguistic and historical analysis has been verified repeatedly by the latest secular research).

Indeed, the International Standard Bible Encyclopaedia, written almost 100 years later (1973), commends Pusey highly. In a list of nine books which it refers to as 'the best defenses of Daniel's authenticity and genuineness', Pusey's work is described simply as 'still the best of all'.

It is probable that the unavailability of this book (which ran to at least 9 editions, but which has been out of print for decades), together with its date of authorship (late 19th century), both contribute to it being ignored as inconvenient or outdated by contemporary critics of Daniel. From this point of view, it is highly ironic that SR Driver's critical work written against Daniel (SR Driver, 'An Introduction to the Literature of the Old Testament', originally printed 1891), is frequently quoted in deptjh by contemporary critics as practically the first and last word on the subject,though it is almost as old as Pusy's, and uses arguments which Pusey had already refuted, and which many secular scholars have already conceded as false or irrelevant.

In addition, I occasionally use the commentaries of Clarke (1712), Gill (1748), and Barnes (1851), as well as the International Standard Bible Encyclopaedia (1973). I have endeavoured to quote from a wide range of sources defending Daniel, to show the level of agreement among Cristian scholars and commentators, as well as to prove that earlier Christians were not ignorant of these criticisms, and have for centuries presented replies which remain valid even in the face of the latest secular research.

Christians have not had to wait for centuries for men such as Conklin to find sound answers to difficult questions regarding Daniel. The book of Daniel has always been criticised, and Christians have always had the correct answers for the critics.

I invite comments on this issue, as well as on my posts.

Edited by Fortigurn, 25 November 2005 - 06:16 AM.


#2 Fortigurn

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Posted 20 November 2005 - 09:58 AM

Daniel: The Canon


Critics argue against the canonicity of Daniel on two main grounds. The first is the claim that the Jews themselves did not accept Daniel as a prophetic book until long after the Old Testament canon was closed.

This argument fails to take into account the fact that although the present position of the book of Daniel in the Masoretic compilation of the Henrew Scriptures is among the 'Writings' (not the 'Prophets'), this was not the original position of the book of Daniel within the Hebrew canon. Critics who use this argument assume that since Daniel is placed among the 'Writings' of the Masoretic compilation, it has always been there.

In doing so they display ignorance of the fact that the earlier placement of Daniel was in fact placed within the other books of prophecy as early as the LXX. In addition, it was included in the prophetic canon of the early Qumran community (from at least 100 BC onwards), and Josephus makes explicit reference to the book of Daniel as one of the prophetic works, proving that it was already recognised as such well before the 1st century. The very fact that Daniel is referred to by the gospels as within the prophetic canon, is evidence that it was recognised as such.

The shift made by the Masoretes (for reasons best known to themselves), did not come until about 700 years later, rendering this objection completely irrelevant.

David Conklin's excellent article on Daniel comments (with emphasis added):

The "earliest literary evidence of Daniel's inclusion among the Ketubim is to be placed somewhere between the fifth and eighth centuries A.D. ... This leads to the conclusion that at some point in time the rabbis transferred the book from the prophetic corpus to the last third of their collection of Holy Scripture.

That probably happened long before the fifth century. Audet may be right in looking to the second century [to be more accurate the only evidence he could provide is from the "end of the second century"--"the famous Baraitha attributed by the Talmud to R. Juda the Patriarch"] as an appropriate date." [Koch, 123; Audet, 145]

As Archer has very well noted: "the Masoretic division of the canon, coming as it did six or seven centuries after Flavius Josephus [who did include Daniel among the prophets], has no bearing whatever on the date of Daniel's composition or on its status as a truly prophetic work."

David Conklin, 'Evidences Relating to the Date of the Book of Daniel', 2004



#3 Fortigurn

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Posted 20 November 2005 - 09:59 AM

The second objection rests on a even less substantial argument. It is claimed that the absence of Daniel from the list of notable men given by Joshua Ben Sirach (around 170 BC), together with the fact that Ben Sirach quotes all the other Old Testament prophets except for Daniel, is evidence that he was either unaware of the book (suggesting it had not been written), or that he did not recognise it as canonical (suggesting it was not recognised by the Jews as a legitimate work).

This is an argument from silence, as Conklin notes (emphasis added):

Another point that is sometimes brought out is that Daniel was not listed in the Wisdom of Sirach, otherwise known as Ecclesiasticus, (44:1ff) which was written by Ben Sira "near the start of the 2d century B.C.". [Burtchaell, 482; Heuvel, 3; Harrison, ISBE. (1979): 864, (1969): 1123-4; Dummelow, 529-30; Hammer, 5; Eissfeldt, 521; Fox, 335 puts the date at 190 B.C. to 180 B. C.; likewise Lacocque (1979): 7; Larue, 395; Di Lella (1987): 10; and Taylor [2], [4]; Barnes, 43 notes that this argument was also made by De Wette, Bleek, Eichorn, Kirms, and Bretschneider] Burtchaell claims that this work is a "catalog of famous Hebrew ancients."

What he neglects to tell the reader is that this work also does not mention Joseph, Ezra, Mordecai, Asa, Jehoshaphat, Esther, all of the Judges except Samuel, and other "famous Hebrew ancients."

It therefore seems that Ben Sira was not attempting to "catalog" all of the famous personages from the past. [contra Lacocque, 7] What criteria was used by this writer for determining who would be included in his list and who would not make the cut is not given. Harrison notes that the sheer "popularity of Daniel at Qumran" demonstrates "the shallowness of this objection." [Harrison, ISBE. (1979): 864, (1969): 1123]

David Conklin, 'Evidences Relating to the Date of the Book of Daniel', 2004


A final quote from Conklin is relevant here:

Recent studies indicate that the canon was closed in Maccabean times and not at the end of the 1st century A.D. [See S. Z. Leiman, The Canonization of the Hebrew Scripture. (Archon, 1976); cited by Wenham, 51 and Baldwin (1978a): 72; Barnes, 48 states, emphasis mine, that the canon was closed "long before the time of the Maccabees".]

This would not allow time for Daniel to have been accepted as part of the canon if it was written as late as is commonly assumed. Harrison states: "It is now clear from the Qumran MSS that no part of the canonical literature was composed later than the 4th century B.C.." [Harrison, ISBE. (1979): 862]

This means that if Daniel was composed shortly before the canon was fixed then it would have been quite unusual for it to have been accepted as canonical--especially when everybody would have realized its novelty. The fact that Daniel was, and is, accepted into the canon indicates that it was written quite some time before the canon was considered closed.

David Conklin, 'Evidences Relating to the Date of the Book of Daniel', 2004



#4 gerard the watchman_*

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Posted 20 November 2005 - 06:10 PM

Thanks so much for this Fort!

excellent article.

God Bless

#5 Fortigurn

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Posted 20 November 2005 - 06:16 PM

You're welcome Gerard. Would you mind if we discussed it in another thread, so this one doesn't become sidetracked? :thank:

#6 Fortigurn

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Posted 24 November 2005 - 09:18 AM

Daniel: The Language


In an oft quoted challenge to the language in the book of Daniel, SR Driver alleges (emphasis in original):

The Persian words presuppose a period after the Persian Empire had been well established; the Greek words demand, the Hebrew supports, and the Aramaic permits, a date after the conquest of Palestine by Alexander the Great (332 B.C.)

SR Driver, 'An Introduction to the Literature of the Old Testament', page 508, reprint 1956, originally printed 1891


It is incredible to see this claim being repeated by contemporary critics of Daniel, especially since it was originally made in 1891, and has been comprehensively refuted for decades. Indeed, Pusey's own massive research into the language of Daniel (1886), pre-empted many of Driver's arguments, but does not appear to have been addressed by Driver.

The first issue to note is that the book of Daniel was undoubtedly written in the Persian era. The events of the Babylonian era are spoken of in the past tense, and the last king referred to as contemporary with Daniel is 'Cyrus king of Persia', the last vision which Daniel receives being in the third year of his reign (Daniel 10:1), around 539 BC. The book cannot have been written earlier than this date, which is in the early Persian era.

Our expectations of the language used in Daniel should therefore be governed by this fact. We would expect to find the following general features of language in Daniel:
  • Chaldean (Babylonian), used accurately but not predominantly

  • Persian words and phrases used frequently, even to describe events which took place in the Babylonian era

  • Aramaic which is in greater agreement with the exilic than the post-exilic era

  • An almost complete lack of Greek terms
This is, in fact, exactly what we find.

Edited by Fortigurn, 15 February 2006 - 03:59 AM.


#7 Fortigurn

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Posted 24 November 2005 - 09:18 AM

The Persian


Driver argued:

The Persian words presuppose a period after the Persian Empire had been well established; the Greek words demand, the Hebrew supports, and the Aramaic permits, a date after the conquest of Palestine by Alexander the Great (332 B.C.).

SR Driver, 'An Introduction to the Literature of the Old Testament', page 508, reprint 1956, originally printed 1891


Given the internal evidence that the book was written no earlier than the third year of 'Cyrus king of Persia' (Daniel 10:1), the use of Persian in Daniel is to be expected.

But Driver's argument went beyond this. He argued that specific Persian words used in Daniel were not used until a later date in the Persian era, a date beyond that in which Daniel is said to have lived:

According to Driver, the use of fifteen Persian words to describe government officials under the Babylonians before the conquest of Cyrus shows that Daniel was written in a period after the Persian Empire had been well established (1956, p. 501).

Jeffcoat, 'The Linguistic Argument For The Date Of Daniel', page 3, 2004


There are four reasons why this argument cannot stand:
  • It is demonstrable that Daniel could have both learned and used these Persian words at an early date

  • A number of the Persian words by Daniel were of sufficient antiquity to be unknown to the translators of the LXX, who mistranslated them completely

  • Of the Persian words used by Daniel, none are found in use by the Persians after 300 BC

  • Two of the Persian words in Daniel are very early, being found in texts of the 6th and 5th centuries BC


#8 Fortigurn

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Posted 24 November 2005 - 09:18 AM

The first point is articulated well by Jeffcoat:

In reply to this suggestion, however, it should be noted that Daniel lived in the early years of the Persian Empire, and served as one of its officials. Thus, he would have been familiar with such political terms, having used them to describe the officials and to make them understandable to the people living after Persia conquered Babylon (see Walvoord, 1971, p. 29). These words naturally would have been used to refer to a new government.

In addition, many words that formerly were considered Persian words are now known to be Babylonian words (see Wilson, 1939, p. 785).

Jeffcoat, 'The Linguistic Argument For The Date Of Daniel', page 3, 2004


It has been assumed that Persian words could not have been used in Babylon until a considerable time had elapsed after the Persian supremacy had been established in the city. Such a theory, however, is by no means certain. Kenneth A. Kitchen concluded that the Persian loan words in Daniel are consistent with an earlier, rather than a later, date, and based his conclusion on at least three lines of evidence.

First, he noted that it need not be as surprising as S.R. Driver supposed that Persian words should be used of Babylonian institutions prior to the conquest of Cyrus, since the work was written in the Persian rather than the Neo-Babylonian period. After considering the scope of Persian words borrowed into Aramaic during the Persian Empire, he concluded: "The almost unconscious assumption that Persian words would take time to penetrate into Aramaic (i.e., well after 539 B.C.) is erroneous" (1965, p. 41).

He went on to note:

...if a putative Daniel in Babylon under the Persians (and who had briefly served them) were to write a book some time after the third year of Cyrus (Daniel 10:1), then a series of Persian words is no surprise. Such a person in the position of close contact with the Persian administration that is accorded to him in the book would have to acquire-and use in his Aramaic-many terms and words from his new Persian colleagues (just like the Elamite scribes of Persepolis), from the conquest of Cyrus onwards (1965, pp. 41-42).

Jeffcoat, 'The Linguistic Argument For The Date Of Daniel', page 4, 2004



#9 Fortigurn

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Posted 24 November 2005 - 09:38 AM

The second point is that a number of the Persian words by Daniel were of sufficient antiquity to be unknown to the translators of the LXX, who mistranslated them completely. This was noted by Pusey:

Dr Williams passes "sicco pede" over the argument, that the meaning of many of these words was forgotten at the time of Antiochus Epiphanes, where they would place the book of Daniel. The objection is a paradox of his own, in which, as he had no predecessors, so, I trust, he will have no successors. It is an attempt to turn against the book of Daniel an unanswerable argument against its genuiness, that the knowledge of Aryan names was natural to one living in the proximity of Aryan nations at Babylon, but unaccountable in a Jew, supposed to live nearly four centuries afterward in Palestine.

[...]

Those who invent a later date for the Book of Daniel can attempt no real explanation how a Jew who, according to their hypothesis, lived in Palestine about 163 B.C., should be acquainted with Aryan words, which related to offices which had long ceased to exist, or to dress which no one wore, words which were obliterated from Aramaic, which (as far as they survived) were inherited only from Daniel's text; and several of them were mis-understood or not understood by Aramaic translators, or by Jews who, on the unbelieving theory, were almost his contemporaries, and yet these words have been verified to us by the opening acquaintance with the Aryan languages.

E Pusey, 'Daniel The Prophet', pages xlii, 38, 1886


Edited by Fortigurn, 24 November 2005 - 09:39 AM.


#10 Fortigurn

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Posted 24 November 2005 - 09:39 AM

Collins comments likewise:

"If Daniel had been composed in second-century Aramaic, as the late-date theory maintains, then there should have been no difficulty in rendering any of the technical terms into Greek. But even in the single verse of Daniel 3:2, we find that the LXX translates ... [examples].

It is [absolutely] *impossible* to explain how within a few decades of its composition of Daniel in the 160s B.C., the meaning of these terms could have been so completely forgotten by the Alexandrian Jews who composed the LXX [translated 285/2 -246 B.C.] that they did not know how to translate them correctly." [Archer (1985): 22, emphasis mine; see also Kitchen (1965): 43; Vasholz, 320, note 20; Lacocque (1979): 56-7 presents the reader with the words and points out which one's are Old Persian but doesn't mention that the LXX mis-translated them.]

[...]

Eissfeldt points out that the names given to Daniel and his friends is "attested for this latter period [the sixth century], or more precisely for the fifth century, the possibility must at any rate be entertained that out narrative is attached to a Daniel of the eastern diaspora of the sixth or fifth centuries." [Eissfeldt, 524]

Kitchen also notes that there are 4 Persian words [in Dan 3:2] which were "so poorly 'translated' that their original meanings must have been lost long beforehand; this would argue for a date before the second century BC". [Kitchen (1965): 77] It has been said that these "translations" were no more than mere guesswork.

David Conklin, 'Evidences Relating to the Date of the Book of Daniel', 2000



#11 Fortigurn

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Posted 24 November 2005 - 09:39 AM

Jeffcoat also:

Second, Kitchen observed that in four of the fifteen words in question, the old Greek renderings, made about 100 B.C., are mere guesswork. He reasoned:

If the first important Greek translation of Daniel was made sometime within 100 B.C. to A.D. 100, roughly speaking, and the translator could not (or took no trouble to) reproduce the proper meaning of these terms, then one conclusion imposes itself: their meaning was already lost and forgotten (or, at least, drastically changed) long before he set to work.

Now if Daniel were wholly a product of 165 B.C., then just a century or so in a continuous tradition is surely embarrassingly inadequate as a sufficient interval for that loss (or change) of meaning to occur by Near Eastern standards (1965, p. 43).

Jeffcoat, 'The Linguistic Argument For The Date Of Daniel', page 4, 2004



#12 Fortigurn

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Posted 24 November 2005 - 09:40 AM

The third point is that the Persian words used in Daniel all date to before 300 BC:

Third, in the interest of objectivity, Kitchen noted that the Persian terms found in Daniel are specifically old Persian words; that is, they occurred within the history of the language to about 300 B.C. (1965, pp. 43-44).

Jeffcoat, 'The Linguistic Argument For The Date Of Daniel', page 4, 2004


Conklin notes the same:

Harrison has noted that there are no Persian terms found in Daniel that were "in use later than 300 B.C. [when the Old Persian gave way to the Middle Persian.]" [Harrison (1979): 248, emphasis mine; Emery, 21]

David Conklin, 'Evidences Relating to the Date of the Book of Daniel', 2000


Two of the Persian words in Daniel are very early, being found in texts of the 6th and 5th centuries BC:

Baldwin notes that two of these terms have so far only been found "in Daniel and in Aramaic documents of the fifth and sixth centuries." [Baldwin (1978a): 101] The fact that these Old Persian words are found in a description of a Babylonian setting indicates that this portion of the book was written about 539/8 B.C.

David Conklin, 'Evidences Relating to the Date of the Book of Daniel', 2000



#13 Fortigurn

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Posted 24 November 2005 - 11:21 AM

The Aramaic


Driver's argument regarding the Aramaic in Daniel is the weakest of his linguistic criticisms:

The Persian words presuppose a period after the Persian Empire had been well established; the Greek words demand, the Hebrew supports, and the Aramaic permits, a date after the conquest of Palestine by Alexander the Great (332 B.C.)

SR Driver, 'An Introduction to the Literature of the Old Testament', page 508, reprint 1956, originally printed 1891


Even if it is agreed that the Aramaic 'permits' an early date, it is clear that Driver did not consider the Aramaic of Daniel to be, of itself, evidence for such a date.

In fact, the Aramaic in Daniel provides strong evidence for a late, rather than an early date:

In terms of the Aramaic of the text it has been concluded that the book could _*NOT*_ have been written *later than* 300 B.C.. [See the book review of Klaus Koch's Das Buch Daniel by Arthur Ferch in the Journal for the Study of the Old Testament, 23 (July 1982): 119-123]

Stefanovic studied Old Aramaic inscriptions from the ninth to the seventh centuries B.C. and found significant similarity to the Aramaic used in Daniel. [Zdravko Stefanovic, Correlations between Old Aramaic Inscriptions and the Aramaic Section of Daniel. Ph.D. dissertation, Andrews University, 1987]

David Conklin, 'Evidences Relating to the Date of the Book of Daniel', 2000



#14 Fortigurn

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Posted 24 November 2005 - 11:21 AM

The two main arguments directed against the Aramaic in Daniel are:
  • That it displays characteristics of a Western origin (implying post-exilic Aramaic), rather than the Eastern origin which is to be expected if it was written during the exile

  • That it shares characteristics with the Aramaic of the post-exilic era, proving that it must have been written long after the time which the book itself claims
Jeffcoat describes the first argument, as held by Driver, thus:

Driver believed that the Aramaic of Daniel was a Western dialect spoken around Palestine from the third century B.C. to the second century A.D. (1956, pp. 502-503).

Jeffcoat, 'The Linguistic Argument For The Date Of Daniel', page 7, 2004



#15 Fortigurn

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Posted 24 November 2005 - 11:22 AM

According to Jeffcoat, a formal distinction between 'Western' and Eastern' Aramaic language forms is not possible to make until a date at which such a distinction becomes irrelevant to the issue of dating Daniel:

In reference to this view, R.H. Charles observed that recent discoveries of fifth century B.C. Aramaic documents have shown that Daniel, like Ezra, was written in a form of Imperial Aramaic.

From existing documents and inscriptions, the differentiation of the language into Eastern and Western cannot be established before the first century B.C., if that early (see Charles, 1929, p. 24). The Aramaic portions of the book may have been revised in spellings and endings, in order to conform to the current usage, as late as the second century B.C. (see Leupold, 1949, p. 32).

Jeffcoat, 'The Linguistic Argument For The Date Of Daniel', page 7, 2004


Despite the lack of such a formal distinction, scholars still recognise traits in Aramaic usage which suggest an 'Eastern' or 'Western' geographical context for a particular text:

25) Koch also points out that the vocalization of the Aramaic of Daniel appears to be of Eastern type and the general context and royal figures point to the east. [See Koch's book, page 47] Also the famous Aramaic scholar E. Y. Kutscher has shown that the Aramaic of Daniel points to an Eastern origin. [Kutscher, 400; cited by Hasel, (1981): 219 and (1986): 132] A Western origin would be required if the Maccabean thesis were correct. This factor alone strongly suggests that a Maccabean source for the book is in error.

On this basis Kitchen notes that a number of scholars "would consider an Eastern (Mesopotamian) origin for the Aramaic part of Daniel (and Ezra) as probable." [Kitchen (1965): 76-7; Baldwin (1996): 256; Boutflower, 246, note 1]

26) Peter Coxon notes that the use of the prosthetic aleph with the verb "to drink" in Dan 5:3 indicates that the Aramaic is early [Official Aramaic] and is specifically a feature of Eastern Aramaic (the latter point, and information already given above, shows that Burtchaell is in error when he claims that the Aramaic of Daniel was "not in the dialect of Mesopotamia, but in that Palestine." [page 482]

Wilson also points out that "the dialect of Daniel ... must have been used at or near Babylon at a time not long after the founding of the Persian Empire." [Wilson (1912) cited by Collins (1993): 14] Coxon has also noted that the eastern word order puts the content in the pre-second century. [Coxon ZAW 276; and in HUCA 120 and 122]

David Conklin, 'Evidences Relating to the Date of the Book of Daniel', 2000



#16 Fortigurn

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Posted 24 November 2005 - 11:22 AM

It is now generally agreed that the Aramaic in Daniel is not only 'Eastern' in origin (if not a formal 'Eastern' dialect), but is a form of 'imperial' or 'court' Aramaic which only existed within very narrow geographical and chronological limits:

In fact, J. A. Montgomery points out that the "the very language of the story [of Daniel (4:30)] is reminiscent of the Akkadian" found on the Grotefend Cylinder. ["The Book of Daniel," ICC. Vol. 23 (1927): 243] The point here is that in the Akkadian "the verb normally falls at or near the end of the sentence" whereas in the normal Aramaic of Palestine it would not. [Kitchen (1965): 76]

This point "proves that the Aramaic of Daniel (and Ezra) belongs to the early tradition of Imperial Aramaic (seventh-sixth to fourth centuries BC) as opposed to later and local Palestinian derivatives of Imperial Aramaic ..." [Kitchen (1965): 76; Soggin, 409]

[...]

Kitchen has found that: "The Aramaic of Daniel (and of Ezra) is simply part of Imperial [Official] Aramaic ..." which was used from 600 to 330 B.C.. [Kitchen (1965): 75; Harrison (1979): 247, (1969): 1125]

Millard concludes that "So far as the Aramaic is concerned, therefore, the stories of Daniel may be dated anywhere in the Persian or early Hellenistic periods." [(Apr-June 1977): 68. See also the work of the Aramaist E. Y. Kutscher, 399-403] Rosenthal states that "The Aramaic of the Bible as written has preserved the Official Aramaic character." [F. Rosenthal, A Grammar of Biblical Aramaic. 2nd edition (Wiesbaden, 1963): 6]

[...]

In his footnote for this Vasholz cites G. Fohrer [Introduction to the Old Testament. Translated by D. E. Green (Abingdon, 1968) page 473 who "states that the language of Daniel is Imperial Aramaic." [page 317, note 9; see also Davies (1988): 37]

David Conklin, 'Evidences Relating to the Date of the Book of Daniel', 2000


In addition, the studies of Franz Rosenthal have shown that the kind of Aramaic that Daniel used was that which was present in the "courts" from the seventh century on, and subsequently became widespread in the Near East (1939, pp. 66ff.). Therefore, it cannot be employed as evidence for a late date of the book, and, in fact, constitutes a strong argument for a sixth century B.C. period of writing.

[...]

While the Aramaic of Daniel fits into the period of official Aramaic, it does not agree completely with the Aramaic of the Genesis Apocryphon discovered in Qumran Cave One and dated in the first century B.C.

Jeffcoat, 'The Linguistic Argument For The Date Of Daniel', pages 7-8, 2004



#17 Fortigurn

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Posted 25 November 2005 - 06:17 AM

We turn now to the second argument, which is that the Aramaic in Daniel shares characteristics with the Aramaic of the post-exilic era, indicating that it was written long after the captivity.

Critics have argued that the use of certain Aramaic terms, together with the linguistic style of Daniel's Aramaic, demonstrate that the Aramaic is that used after the exile, proving a late date of composition. But a succession of studies in the Aramaic of Daniel and that of the post-exilic era has demonstrated:
  • That the two are very different forms

  • That the Aramaic of Daniel corresponds to the Aramaic of texts recognised as dating to within the 5th century BC

  • That the Aramaic of Daniel uses older forms of language which are not found in the Aramaic of the post-exilic era


#18 Fortigurn

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Posted 25 November 2005 - 06:18 AM

We will first take note of the differences between the Aramaic of Daniel, and the Aramaic which was used afer the exile:

It also is important to note that there are similarities between the Aramaic in the Elephantine Papyri and that in Daniel (see Archer, 1964, p. 389). This Aramaic differs materially from the prevailing dialect of the later Chaldean paraphrases of the Old Testament, and has much more relation to the idiom of the book of Ezra (see McClintock and Strong, 1968, 2:669).

Kitchen not only concluded that the Aramaic sections of Daniel 2:4b-7:28 are by nature closely related to the language of the fifth-century-B.C. Elephantine Papyri, but also to that of Ezra about 450 B.C. (1965, pp. 31-79).

[...]

From the standpoint of spelling, grammar, syntax, and vocabulary, now it is possible to determine within quite narrow limits what would have been likely or possible in 168 B.C., so far as literary Aramaic is concerned.

Archer, after having made a detailed linguistic analysis of the five columns of the text, concluded: "...it may be said that the Genesis Apocryphon furnishes very powerful evidence that the Aramaic of Daniel comes from a considerably earlier period than the second century B.C." (1970a, p. 169).

Some critics affirm that the occurrence of the word "Aramaic" in Daniel 2:4 implies that the writer of the book was of the opinion that Aramaic was then the vernacular of Babylon. This is an impossible explanation of the word, for, even about 167-165 B.C. (the supposed date of the book according to the higher critical hypothesis), the Babylonian tongue still was spoken there, and any Palestinian forger would have had knowledge of this fact.

Jeffcoat, 'The Linguistic Argument For The Date Of Daniel', pages 7-8, 2004



#19 Fortigurn

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Posted 25 November 2005 - 06:18 AM

Conklin provides a formidable array of evidence that the Aramaic of Daniel agrees with earlier forms of Aramaic, rather than the Aramaic of the post-exilic era:

One piece of evidence he points to is that of the spelling of the name of Darius. In Biblical Aramaic it is Dryw which agrees with the Meissner contract from 515 B.C. and the earliest Aramaic papyri (494 B.C.), whereas, in later times the name was spelt with a He (Dryhw). [page 320]

On this Kitchen notes that if Daniel and Ezra were written in the late sixth to mid-fifth centuries then their preservation of the earlier form is understandable; but, if it was written "in the third century BC of later, then their failure use the form with the h -- in constant use for a century by then (c. 420-330 BC) -- is quite incomprehensible." [Kitchen (1965): 59-60, emphasis mine]

29) Vasholz notes that certain syntactical forms did not survive past the 5th century B.C. (450 B.C.); such as the "preposition le- before a king's name in dates." [page 316; Kitchen (1965): 78; Coxon, (1977): 113-5, Emery, 71; contra Rowley The Aramaic of the Old Testament. (Oxford, 1929), 103]

30) Given that the Aramaic of Daniel "differs significantly" with that of the Job Targum this means that some time must have elapsed between the two. [Stephen A. Kaufman, "The Akkadian Influence on Aramaic," Assyriological Studies, 19 (1974): 327] In fact, J. A. Montgomery points out that the "the very language of the story [of Daniel (4:30)] is reminiscent of the Akkadian" found on the Grotefend Cylinder. ["The Book of Daniel," ICC. Vol. 23 (1927): 243]

The point here is that in the Akkadian "the verb normally falls at or near the end of the sentence" whereas in the normal Aramaic of Palestine it would not. [Kitchen (1965): 76] This point "proves that the Aramaic of Daniel (and Ezra) belongs to the early tradition of Imperial Aramaic (seventh-sixth to fourth centuries BC) as opposed to later and local Palestinian derivatives of Imperial Aramaic..." [Kitchen (1965): 76; Soggin, 409]

31) In word-order the Apocryphon follows the normal sequence of Northwest Semitic; but, that of Daniel follows the Akkadian (Babylonian and Assyrian) [see Archer (1985): 23] Vasholz notes that the word order of Daniel agrees with that of the Assur ostracon which is dated from the 7th century B.C.. [page 316-7; Kitchen (1965): 76]

[...]

Vasholz notes the "general consensus among the scholars" about the proximity of the Aramaic in Daniel with that of Ezra and the Elephantine papyri. [contra Hartman and DiLella, 408 who claimed that the Aramaic of Daniel "is certainly later than the Aramaic of the Elephantine papyri"]

In his footnote for this Vasholz cites G. Fohrer [Introduction to the Old Testament. Translated by D. E. Green (Abingdon, 1968) page 473 who "states that the language of Daniel is Imperial Aramaic." [page 317, note 9; see also Davies (1988): 37] Collins has also pointed out the "essential similarity of the Aramaic of Daniel to that of Ezra". [Collins (1993)--he refers the reader to J. D. Michaelis, Grammatica Chaldaica. (Dieterich, 1771): 25; contra Farrar, 21]

33) It is noted even by liberal scholars that there is marked degree of correspondence between the books of Ezra and Daniel. Pusey has reported that there was "a marked correspondence between the Chaldee of Daniel and Ezra, and a marked difference between the Chaldee of both and that of the Targums. [In fact,] the Chaldee of Daniel bore traces of being *earlier* than that of Ezra." [Pusey, xxx] "The modern opponents of the book of Daniel have been constrained to admit that the Chaldee of Daniel is nearly identical with that of Ezra, and is distinct from that of the earliest Targums." [Pusey, 102]

David Conklin, 'Evidences Relating to the Date of the Book of Daniel', 2000


Edited by Fortigurn, 23 February 2006 - 05:47 PM.


#20 Fortigurn

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Posted 25 November 2005 - 06:18 AM

Finally, we note that the Aramaic in Daniel uses certain forms of language which had ceased to be used in the post-exilic era:

28) A "linguistic analysis indicates that in morphology, vocabulary, and syntax" of the Aramaic of Daniel is considerably earlier (on the order of several centuries) than that of Genesis Apocryphon (1QapGen) and the Targum of Job (11QtgJob) which date from either the late 3rd or 2nd century B.C.. [Archer (1985): 23 and (1974) 471; see also Vasholz, (Dec 1978): 315-321; and his Ph.D. dissertation A Philological Comparison of the Qumran Job Targum and its Implications for the Dating of Daniel. (Univ. of Stellenbosch, 1976); and his "The Aramaic of the 'Genesis Apocryphon' Compared with the Aramaic of Daniel," New Perspectives on the Old Testament. Edited by J. B. Payne (1970): 160-169; Kutscher, "The Language of the 'Genesis Apocryphon,'" Aspects of the Dead Sea Scrolls. 2nd edition, (1965): 1-35; Kutscher, "Dating the Language of the Genesis Apocryphon," Journal of Biblical Literature, vol. 76 (1957): 288-92.

More information on the Job Targum can be found in: T. Muraoka, "The Aramaic of the Old Targum of Job From Qumran Cave XI," Journal of Jewish Studies, vol 25 (1974) and S. A. Kaufman, "The Job Targum From Qumran," JAOS vol 93 (1973)]

Collins notes that the Aramaic of the Qumran community was only in use between 200 B.C. and 200 A.D.". Therefore, since the Aramaic of Daniel is several centuries older than that of the Qumran community then Daniel had to have been written around 600-400 B.C.. Vasholz concludes that "the evidence now available from Qumran indicates a pre-second century date for the Aramaic of Daniel."

David Conklin, 'Evidences Relating to the Date of the Book of Daniel', 2000


The critics of the book of Daniel used to claim that the presence of the word "herald" in Dan. 3:4 meant that the book was of late origin. But, H. H. Schaeder was able to show that in fact this word was of Old Iranian origin. [Iranische Beitrage I (Halle, 1930) 56; Archer (1985): 20-21, Kitchen (1965): 144; Collins (1993): 14; see also the Lexicon in Veteris Testamenti Libros by L. Koehler and W. Baumgartner (1958): 1087 -- cited by Baldwin (1978a): 102]

Just the use of this word alone means that the book had to have been written long before the 2nd century (because knowledge of it had been lost) and that the book of Daniel was not written in Palestine.

David Conklin, 'Evidences Relating to the Date of the Book of Daniel', 2000






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