Sunday, November 06, 2011

The Book of Daniel

Written in Hebrew and Aramaic, the Book of Daniel is a book in both the Hebrew Bible (Tanakh) and the Christian Old Testament. The book is set during the Babylonian Captivity, a period when Jews were deported and exiled to Babylon. The book revolves around the figure of Daniel, an Israelite who becomes an adviser to Nebuchadnezzar II, the ruler of Babylon from 605 BC - 562 BC.

The book has two distinct parts: a series of narratives and four apocalyptic visions. Three of the narratives involve Daniel, who is depicted as having a gift for interpreting the meaning of dreams and divine omens. Two other narratives feature Israelites who have been condemned for their piety being miraculously saved from execution. In the second part of the book, the author depicts Daniel as revealing and partially interpreting a set of visions which are described in the first person.

The dating and authorship of Daniel has been a matter of great debate among Jews and Christians. The traditional view holds that the work was written by a prophet named Daniel who lived during the sixth century BC, whereas most modern Biblical scholars maintain that the book was written or redacted in the mid-second century BC and that most of the predictions of the book refer to events that had already occurred.

A third viewpoint, based on comparison of the Hebrew and Aramaic found in Daniel to that found in more firmly dated texts, places the final editorial work in the fourth century BC.

William H. Shea Ph.D. (Archeology) in "The Prophecy of Daniel 9:24-27", shows that the book of Daniel was composed as a double chiasm, a literary structure of Hebrew poetry. Parts labeled A, A', A" and A"' are parallel, dealing with a similar theme — Kingdom Prophecies. Parts B, B', B" and B"' are parallel sections that come under the topic of trials of "God's people." The parallel C, C', C" and C"' concern the dealings of kings. It is claimed, although not proven, that the design of the literary structure itself focuses attention on the lone topic (D) — "an anointed (one)" which is translated in some common versions of the Bible as "the Anointed One" or "the Messiah."


Daniel's 70 weeks by Chuck Missler

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