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A Contemporary Defense of the Authenticity of Daniel

JISCA Volume 9, No. 1, © 2016
A Contemporary Defense of the Authenticity of Daniel
Kirk R. MacGregor1
The authorship and date of composition of Daniel remains a subject of
great controversy. Conservative scholars have traditionally affirmed that
the book was composed by the exilic prophet Daniel around 530 BC, while
liberal scholars embrace the view of the early Christian critic Porphyry
that the work is a vaticinium ex eventu (i.e., prophecy after the fact) written
by a Jewish priest to encourage the resistance movement against the
tyranny of Antiochus IV Epiphanes in 164 BC. Some evangelical scholars,
like John Goldingay in the Word Biblical Commentary on Daniel (1989)
and F. F. Bruce in Biblical Exegesis in the Qumran Texts (1959), have
adopted the critical assessment.2 Further, John J. Collins Daniel (1993),
the most thorough historical-critical commentary to date on this book, has
persuaded many scholars of the pseudonymous nature of Daniel, including
several Roman Catholic exegetes who now dismiss its authenticity.3
However, the liberal explanation fails to withstand the force of several
archaeological and textual discoveries, as scholars including Gleason
Archer, Kenneth Kitchen, Edwin Yamauchi, and Steven Anderson have
illustrated.4 This piece will summarize the critical argument regarding
1 Kirk R. MacGregor (Ph.D., University of Iowa) teaches religion at
Carthage College and philosophy at the College of DuPage.
2 John Goldingay, Word Biblical Commentary: Daniel (Dallas: Word,
1989) xxxix-xl, 304-19, 324-34; F. F. Bruce, Biblical Exegesis in the Qumran
Texts (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1959) 59-65.
3 John J. Collins, Daniel (Minneapolis: Fortress, 1993) 122.
4 Gleason L. Archer, Jr., A Survey of Old Testament Introduction
on Some Problems in the Book of Daniel (ed. Donald J. Wiseman; London:
Tyndale, 1965) 31-79; Edwin M. Yamauchi, Greece and Babylon (Grand Rapids:
Baker, 1967) 19-24, 79, 89; idem, The Stones and the Scriptures (Philadelphia: J.
B. Lippincott, 1972), 87-
Bibliotheca Sacra 137 (1980) 3-
Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society 23 (1980) 13-21; idem,
Persia and the Bible (Grand Rapids: Baker, 1990), 57-9, 281, 303, 379-82, 389,
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Daniel and proceed to refute this argument by presenting the
archaeological and textual evidence which undermines its foundations.
While the Jews of late antiquity and Christians disagreed about the role of
Jesus in fulfilling the prophecies of Daniel, they agreed that the book was
an authentic foretelling of future events by the power of God. This notion
was first challenged by the Neoplatonic philosopher and anti-Christian
critic Porphyry (AD 232 305) in his fifteen-volume set Against the
Christians. He argued that the correspondence between the predictions of
Daniel 11 and the events of the Hellenistic age is explained only by the
supposition that the predictions were written after the fact.5 According to
Porphyry, Daniel 11:1-4 reveals that its prophecies are to be interpreted
with regard to the Persian assault on Greece and the subsequent rise of a
mighty king whose kingdom is divided into four parts. The former
reference suggests one of the Persian kings who attacked Greece, possibly
Xerxes who invaded the kingdom in 480 BC. The mighty king is an
obvious allusion to Alexander the Great, who conquered the Persians, and
whose kingdom was divided into four parts among his four generals, as
confirmed in the earlier visions of Daniel 8:20-26. Daniel 8:22-24
indicates that the little horn who destroys the saints emerges from the
four horns or kingdoms that come to power after Alexander.6 In addition,
Daniel 11 surveys the wars between the northern (Seleucid) and Southern
(Ptolemaic) kingdoms, and culminates in a detailed account of Antiochus
IV Epiphanes war against the Jews. Daniel 11:1-39 is remarkably
accurate concerning the events from Cyrus (530 BC) to the Maccabean
Revolt against Antiochus IV Epiphanes and the rededication of the Temple
(164 BC). However, Daniel 11:40-45 predicts another disastrous war
provoked by Ptolemy, king of the South, Antiochus IV Epiphanes
conquest of Libya and Ethiopia, and his death along the Palestinian coast,
none of which ever happened.7 Therefore, Porphyry poses the following
question: if Daniel is a true prophecy about the events leading up to and
Dallas Theological Seminary, 2014).
5Collins, Daniel, 25.
6Goldingay, Daniel, 206-8, 217-8.
7Ibid., pp. 282-6, 305.
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including the persecution of Jews by Antiochus IV Epiphanes and the
Jewish rebellion against the Syrian ruler, why does the book correctly
predict these events only to the point of the rededication of the Temple?
His solution asserts that Daniel is not prophecy, but a symbolic rendering
of actual historical events only up to the writer s own day. Thus, the author
is inaccurate about the events following the rededication of the Temple,
and especially regarding the later career and death of Antiochus IV
Epiphanes, because these events had not yet happened at the time the book
was composed. According to Porphyry, Daniel is not an example of divine
prophecy, but a pious forgery written to help Jews cope with and endure
the crisis of 167 164 BC.8
Liberal scholars such as John J. Collins have championed
Porphyry s thesis and added some objections of their own against the
authenticity of Daniel. Collins alleges that the book s references to
Hellenistic events are accurate, but those concerning Babylonian history
are notoriously confused. 9 He contends that the various sections of
Daniel cannot be reconciled with internal or external data. For example,
Daniel 2 takes place in the second year of Nebuchadnezzar s reign (2:1),
while Daniel 1 assumes that the prophet has already completed a three-
year training period under this king.10 Further, Nebuchadnezzar secured
the throne in 605, and Babylonian sources do not record the capture of
Jerusalem until his seventh year (597 BC). Since Daniel 1:1 claims that
Nebuchadnezzar attacked Jerusalem in 605, the book s chronology cannot
be harmonized with the Babylonian records. Hence, Collins insists that
Daniel is the end result of a longer development, bringing together various
pieces by different authors.11 He believes that the Babylonian names given
to Daniel and his three companions in Daniel 1:7 are specious, and the
term Chaldean used in its professional sense as astrologer (2:2) together
with its ethnic sense (3:8; 9:1) is an anachronism, as the texts of
Shalmaneser III (9th century BC) only refer to Chaldeans in the ethnic
sense.12 He feels that Nebuchadnezzar s derangement in Daniel 4 is a
jumbled version of Nabonidus madness in withdrawing to the desert,
8 Ibid., xxxi, 315-9; P. M.
Journal of Theological Studies 27 (1976) 15-33.
9Collins, Daniel, 26.
10 Ibid., 29.
11 Ibid., 130-4.
12 Ibid., 137-8, 140-1.
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described in the Prayer of Nabonidus (4QPrNab) from Qumran.13 Collins
maintains that many events and persons mentioned in Daniel cannot be
coordinated with otherwise known history. He argues that Darius the Mede
cannot be identified with any historic figure, and that Babylon was
conquered by Cyrus and the Persians instead of the Medes. In addition,
there is no evidence that any officer overseeing Cyrus conquest of
Babylon (other than Cyrus himself) was ever called king of Babylon, or
Darius, and thus Darius the Mede represents a confusion with the later
Persian king Darius the Great.14 Collins asserts that the references in
Daniel 5 to Belshazzar as son of Nebuchadnezzar are blatant earmarks
of forgery, as Nabonidus was the father of Belshazzar.15 Collins observes
that the book Daniel is bilingual, with a Hebrew-Aramaic-Hebrew
structure, and cites this as undeniable evidence that the book was
composed by at least two different authors, for a single author would not
have written a text in two languages.16 Moreover, he charges that Greek
loanwords in the Aramaic of Daniel demand a late date.17 On the basis of
the Aqhat story from Ugaritic literature (i.e., Ras Shamra texts) which
concerns a righteous king named Dn il who fairly judges widows and
orphans, Collins suggests that Daniel was the name of a legendary wise
man rather than a historic person.18 The literary form of Daniel also
resembles the later apocalyptic works.19 As a result, Collins dates the
tales of Daniel 1-6 as earlier than the prophecies but still Hellenistic in
origin and post-Alexander the Great, Daniel 7 as written early in the
persecution of Antiochus IV Epiphanes around 167 BC, Daniel 8-12 as
added sometime between 166 and 164 prior to any knowledge by the
author of Antiochus eastern campaign or his subsequent death, and Daniel
12:11-12 as composed just before the rededication of the Temple on 25
Kislev 164.20
13 Ibid., 216-34.
14 Ibid., 30-1, 264.
15 Ibid., 29, 32-3.
16 Ibid., 24.
17 Ibid., 12-20.
18 Ibid., 1-2.
19 Ibid., 56-60.
20 Ibid., 38.
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We now enter into a pointwise assessment of the critical view.
1. Who is the king in Daniel 11:36-45?
As Porphyry deduced, Daniel 11:1-4 indeed alludes to the Persian invasion
of Greece, and the mighty king connotes Alexander the Great. Such is
unproblematic for the believer in predictive prophecy. Nevertheless, the
crux of Porphyry s thesis alleges that Daniel 11:40-45 fabricates events in
the reign of Antiochus IV Epiphanes, including his conquest of Libya and
Ethiopia, the war waged against him by the Southern king Ptolemy, and
his death while camping in the coastlands of Palestine. However, Daniel
11:36 12:13, which contains Daniel 11:40-45, does not refer to Antiochus
IV Epiphanes, but predicts incidents that will occur just prior to the end of
the world.21 In the Masoretic Text, there is a clear paragraph break
between Daniel 11:35 and 11:36, where only Daniel 11:21-34 is describing
the life of Antiochus IV Epiphanes.22 As a prelude to the next paragraph,
Daniel 11:35 shifts forward in history by expressly stating that the
following material portrays events near the end of time: Some of the wise
will stumble, so that they may be refined, purified and made spotless until
the time of the end, for it will still come at the appointed time. This fact is
verified by comparing Daniel 11:28 with Daniel 11:40. To illustrate, all
scholars concur that Antiochus IV Epiphanes is the king of the North in
Daniel 11:28 who plundered the Second Jerusalem Temple in 167 BC.
But, the king spoken of by Daniel 11:40 cannot be Antiochus IV
Epiphanes, for this king is distinguished from the king of the North and
will actually be attacked by the king of the North and the king of the South
at the end of time: At the time of the end the king of the South will
engage him in battle, and the king of the North will storm out against him
with chariots and cavalry and a great fleet of ships. 23
To determine the identity of the king in Daniel 11:36-45, we must
21 -9.
22 Biblia Hebraica Stuttgartensia (Stuttgart: Deutsche Bibelgesellschaft,
1977), 1409.
23 Earl D. Radmacher, Ronald B. Allen, and H. Wayne House, ed., The
Nelson Study Bible (Nashville: Nelson, 1997) 1441-2.
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ascertain the figure symbolized by the little horn of Daniel 7:8, whom
Porphyry correctly equates with the king in question. The visions of Daniel
2 and 7 refer to four kingdoms, as revealed by the prophet in 2:36-45 and
an angel in 7:16-17. The head of gold (2:32a) and lion (7:4) are
Babylonia (2:37), the chest and arms of silver (2:32b) and bear (7:5)
are Medo-Persia (8:20), the belly and thighs of bronze (2:32c) and
leopard (7:6) are Greece, including the Ptolemies and Seleucids (8:21),
and the legs of iron with feet of clay and iron mixed (2:33) and
terrifying and frightening beast (7:7) is the Roman Empire.24 This latter
identification is confirmed by Daniel 2:33, 41-42, 7:7, and 7:19. For
instance, the beast s legs of iron, its feet partly of iron and partly of baked
clay (2:33) represents the democratic system of checks and balances in
the Roman senate and assemblies.25 The fact that this beast was different
from all the former beasts, very powerful, most terrifying, and had
large iron teeth and bronze claws which crushed and devoured its
victims and trampled underfoot whatever was left (7:7, 19) indicates the
magnitude of Rome s sphere of authority and irresistible power that
surpassed all its predecessors, and the ten horns (7:7) correspond to the
ten toes (2:41-42).26 Liberal scholars repeat Porphyry s error that the
four empires of Daniel 2 and 7 are Babylon, Media, Persia, and Greece,
even though the author clearly states that the Medes and Persians
together constituted the second in the series of four kingdoms (5:28; 2:39).
Only through perpetuation of this mistake can the little horn be
classified as Antiochus IV Epiphanes.27
Daniel 7:8 points out that the little horn originated after the ten
horns of the Roman Empire and had eyes like the eyes of a man and a
mouth that spoke boastfully. While the little horn uttered pompous
words, thrones were set in place, and the Ancient of Days took his seat
(7:10), and the horn was finally destroyed and thrown into the blazing fire
(7:11). Then, one like a son of man came with the clouds of heaven,
approached the Ancient of Days, and was led into the presence of the
Ancient of Days (7:13). This one like a son of man was given authority,
glory, and sovereign power so that all peoples, nations, and speakers of
every language worshiped him, where his kingdom is everlasting and
24 Archer, Old Testament Introduction, 388.
25 Ibid., 403-7.
26 -5.
27 Yamauchi, Persia and the Bible, 57-8.
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the one which shall not be destroyed (7:14). The little horn is further
regarded as different from the other kings (7:24), in that he would
speak against the Most High and oppress his saints and try to change the
set times and the laws, and the saints would be handed over to him for a
time, times, and half a time (7:25). Afterwards, the court will abolish his
dominion (7:26), and the sovereignty, power, and greatness of the
kingdoms under the whole heaven will be handed over to the saints, the
people of the Most High (7:27). Given that the little horn will wage war
against the saints at the time of the end (11:40), prevail against them for
a short time, and be defeated by the return of the one like a son of man, it
is apparent that the little horn, i.e., the king of Daniel 11:36 12:13,
denotes a figure who will emerge near the end of the world, not Antiochus
IV Epiphanes.28 Therefore, the prophecies in Daniel 11:40-45 are not
fabrications concerning Antiochus IV Epiphanes, but are referring to the
reign of a king which will occur during the end times and who will be
defeated by the return of the one like a son of man. Daniel 12 clearly
portrays this end-of-the-world scenario, for the final resurrection of the
righteous to everlasting life and the wicked to eternal condemnation will
take place immediately after the little horn is destroyed (12:2-3).29
2. Are Daniel s references to Babylonian history accurate?
The historical objections presented by Collins, many of which are rooted
in a misreading of the biblical text, have been resolved by archaeological
finds. The alleged irreconcilable problem between Daniel 1, which reports
that Daniel experienced three years of training before entering the king s
service (1:5, 18-20), and the setting of Daniel 2 in the second year of
Nebuchadnezzar s reign (2:1), is explained by the accession-year regnal
system attested by the Nabonidus Chronicle and the Gezer Calendar.30 The
Nabonidus Chronicle is an inscription of the Neo-Babylonian king
Nabonidus (553 539 BC) in the Semitic Akkadian language.31 The four-
28 Archer, Old Testament Introduction, 398-401.
29 Alfred J. Hoerth, Archaeology and the Old Testament (Grand Rapids:
Baker, 1998) 297, 317-9; Yamauchi, Stones and the Scriptures, 82; idem, Persia
and the Bible, 76-7, 86.
30 Hoerth, Archaeology and the Old Testament, 297.
31 Edwin R. Thiele, A Chronology of the Hebrew Kings (Grand Rapids:
Zondervan, 1977) 68.
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inch high Gezer Calendar, discovered in 1908, is a schoolboy s writing
exercise inscribed in paleo-Hebrew which dates to the reign of King
Rehoboam (922 905 BC).32 In the accession-year regnal system, a king
would regard his first full year as the accession year and start to count his
own reign at the beginning of the next year. Further, the Gezer Calendar
commences in the month of Tishri, the fall month which roughly parallels
our September, and Edwin Thiele points out that Judah counted from
Tishri.33 If Daniel was written by its namesake, a Judean captive who was
well-versed in Babylonian politics (1:6; 2:48; 5:29; 6:2-3), then the book
would have dated Nebuchadnezzar s reign through the Babylonian and
Judean calendars. Daniel 1:1 reveals that Nebuchadnezzar besieged
Jerusalem in the third year of the reign of Jehoiakim king of Judah,
which can be calculated as lasting from September 606 to September 605
upon comparing it with the Israelite Nisan calendar employed by Jeremiah
46:2. Because Nebuchadnezzar succeeded his father Nabopolassar as king
of Babylon in 605 BC, Daniel 1:1 indicates that he must have assumed the
throne between January and August of 605. Under the Babylonian and
Judean systems, Nebuchadnezzar s accession year lasted from September
605 to September 604, his first year from September 604 to September
603, and his second year from September 603 to September 602. Because
Daniel was captured when Nebuchadnezzar seized Jerusalem between
January and August of 605 BC, his three-year training period started
between January and August of 605 and ended between January and
August of 602, when the chief official presented him to Nebuchadnezzar
(1:18). Since this training period ended before September 602, the text
correctly reports the subsequent events of Daniel 2 in the second year of
Nebuchadnezzar s reign (2:1).34
Collins assertion that there is no mention of Nebuchadnezzar s
capture of Jerusalem until 597 BC overlooks the Nabonidus Chronicle. It
reports that Nebuchadnezzar conquered all Hatti land, i.e., Palestine, in
605 BC, and that in the accession year he went back again to the Hatti-
land and marched victoriously through it until the month of Sebat (spring
of 604), which directly corroborates Daniel 1:1-3.35 Far from Collins
33 Thiele, Chronology, 69-70.
34 -5.
35 D. J. Wiseman and Edwin M. Yamauchi, Archaeology and the Bible
(Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1979) 50.
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view that Daniel cannot be reconciled with the Babylonian records, these
records actually confirm the historicity of Daniel. With regard to the
Babylonian names given to Daniel and his three companions in Daniel 1:7,
Paul-Richard Berger has verified that these names are authentic and based
on Akkadian analogies. Belteshazzar is from the analogy belet-sar-usur,
Lady protect the king, Shadrach from saduraku, I am very fearful (of
God), Meshach from mesaku, I am of little account, and Abed-nego
means Servant of the Shining One, using the West Semitic abed instead
of the Akkadian arad, servant, and using a play on the name of the god
Nebo.36 Archaeology has unearthed the Greek text of Berossus, which
shows that Chaldeans were known as professional astrologers long before
the time of Daniel: From the time of Nabonassar (747 734 BC) the
Chaldeans accurately recorded the times of the motion of the stars. 37
3. Does Daniel 4 accurately depict something
that happened to Nebuchadnezzar?
Collins posits that the Prayer of Nabonidus (4QPrNab) from Qumran was
transmuted into the account of Nebuchadnezzar s derangement in Daniel
4. Indeed, there are three broad parallels between these texts. First, a
Babylonian king is afflicted by God in both accounts. Second,
Nebuchadnezzar was tormented seven times, and Nabonidus was
disturbed for seven years. Third, Daniel helped obtain Nebuchadnezzar s
sanity, and an unnamed Jewish exorcist convinced Nabonidus to repent
from his worship of the gods of silver and gold...wood, stone, and clay.
On the basis of these three parallels, Bastiaan Jongeling asserts: It is
fairly safe to assume that the original Nabonidus tradition...was transferred
in Daniel to the well-known Nebuchadnezzar...and that the seer, a Jewish
man, was not yet identified with Daniel in 4QPrNab. 38 However,
Yamauchi challenges the premise of a common tradition between the
Qumran Nabonidus and the Nebuchadnezzar of Daniel, arguing that there
36 Paul-Richard Kyros-Zylinder mit dem Zusatzfragment
Zeitschrift für
Assyriologie 64 (1975) 224-34.
37 In J. A. Brinkman, A Political History of Post-Kassite Babylonia,
1158 722 BC (Rome: Pontificium Institutum Biblicum, 1968) 227.
38 Bastiaan Jongeling, C. J. Labauschagne, and A. S. van der Woude,
Aramaic Texts from Qumran I (Leiden: Brill, 1976) 124.
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are far more dissimilarities than resemblances in these two sources. For
example, the names of the two kings are different, and Nebuchadnezzar
was afflicted in Babylon while Nabonidus suffered in Tema of Arabia.
Nebuchadnezzar was banished for a period of seven times in Daniel
4:23, 25, which may not equate to the seven years asserted in the Qumran
Nabonidus text. For the Aramaic word iddan is the general word for
time or season, as illustrated by Daniel 2:8-9, 3:5, 15, 7:12 and the
Aramaic papyri (495 398 BC) found in 1898 on the Elephantine Island
near Aswan in Upper Egypt.39
In 1956 D. S. Rice discovered three stelae at Haran which recount
the death of Nabonidus mother, who lived to be 104. These significant
inscriptions report that Nabonidus had forsaken Marduk, the patron god of
Babylon, to worship the moon-god Sin at Haran and Tema. These stelae
use the Akkadian word adannu to designate the entire period of
Nabonidus sojourn in Arabia, which was ten years and not seven as
previously thought.40 Moreover, Nebuchadnezzar suffered from
lycanthropic insanity, while Nabonidus was afflicted with sehin (literally
inflammation ), a skin ailment (Ex. 9:9; Job 2:7), and not with delusion.
The Persian Verse Account, an Akkadian source which dates from the
reign of Cyrus (539 530 BC), does not depict Nabonidus as insane but
angry: the king is mad (Akkadian a-gu-ug sarru).41 Sidney Smith s
mistranslation of a line in the Persian Verse Account, an evil demon
(shedu) had altered him, 42 has been corrected in the latest version by A.
Leo Oppenheim, (his) protective deity became hostile to him. 43
Jongeling s reconstruction of line 3 in the Prayer of Nabonidus, and so I
came to be li[ke the animals], rests on his presupposition that the Qumran
text conforms to Daniel 4, as conceded by A. S. van der Woude and Pierre
39 -8.
40 Louis F. Hartman and Alexander A. Di Lella, The Book of Daniel, The
Anchor Bible (Garden City, NY: Doubleday, 1978) 123.
in The Bible in Current Catholic Thought (ed. J. L. McKenzie; New York: Herder,
Theological Quarterly 37 (1970) 141.
42 Sidney Smith, Babylonian Historical Texts Relating to the Capture and
Downfall of Babylon (London: Meuthen, 1924) 98.
43 A. Leo Oppenheim
in Ancient Near Eastern Texts Relating to the Old Testament (3rd ed.; ed. James B.
Pritchard; Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1969) 313.
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Grelot.44 Moreover, the literary genres of the Qumran text and Daniel 4 are
quite different. The former is a descriptive narrative, while the latter is a
public proclamation by the king himself. Therefore, Louis Hartman asserts
that [t]here is no sign of literary dependence of one story on the other: the
relatively few words and expressions which they have in common are
standard terms that could occur anywhere, 45 and Yamauchi concurs that
[i]t is in the face of these rather important discrepancies that critics...have
still chosen to derive Daniel s story of Nebuchadnezzar s madness from a
garbled tradition about Nabonidus illness. 46
4. Was Darius the Mede a historical figure?
Perhaps the most intractable problem surrounding the authenticity of
Daniel has been to establish the existence of a Median king who can be
positively identified as Darius the Mede. In 2014, this problem seems to
have been definitively solved by Steven Anderson. Anderson s solution
proceeds in two parts. First, based on the classical Greek historian
Xenophon s Cyropaedia (370 BC), one of two ancient biographies of
Cyrus the Great, Anderson has persuasively argued that Cyrus shared
power with a Median king until two years after the fall of Babylon.47
Xenophon denominates this king as Cyaxares II. According to Xenophon,
Cyrus was the son of Cambyses I, King of Persia, who was subordinate to
his brother-in-law Astyages, King of Media. At Astyages death, his son
Cyaxares II succeeded him to the Median throne at about the time Cyrus
reached adulthood.48 When the Babylonians with the assistance of other
nations attacked the Medes and Persians, Cyaxares II and Cyrus, then the
crown prince of Persia and commander of the Persian army, joined forces
to overthrow the Babylonians. Cyaxares II remained in Media with a home
guard, while Cyrus conducted the war as the commanding general of both
the Medes and Persians.49 In 539 BC, Cyrus became King of Persia upon
44 Jongeling, Labauschagne, and van der Woude, Aramaic Texts, 126-7;
Revue de Qumran 9 (1978)
47 -9.
48 Xenophon, Cyropaedia 1.5.2, 1.5.4.
49 Ibid., 5.5.38-40; 6.1.6; 6.1.19.
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the death of Cambyses I. Later that same year, Cyrus took Babylon by
diverting the Euphrates River and attacking the riverbed on the night of a
feast, killing the troops and the king of Babylon, whom Xenophon
identifies as the son of the king who then was. 50 At the fall of Babylon,
therefore, Cyaxares II was recognized as the highest official in the Medo-
Persian Empire, with Cyrus a subordinate co-regent.51 When Cyrus
returned to Persia and met Cyaxares II, Cyaxares II gave Cyrus his
daughter in marriage and bestowed upon Cyrus accession to the throne of
Media at his death. When Cyaxares II died in 537 BC, Cyrus, now king of
Media and Persia, united the two peoples under a single monarch.52
Second, Anderson presents strong evidence that Darius the
Mede was the throne name of Cyaxares II. Anderson appeals to Berossus,
a priest of Bel/Marduk in Babylon who composed the Babyloniaca, an
account of Babylonian history from the origins of Babylon to the
beginning of the Hellenistic period, between 281 261 BC. The best text-
critical reconstruction of the Babyloniaca contains the following
description of the fall of Babylon:
But it came to pass in the seventeenth year of [Nabonidus ]
reign, that Cyrus came out of Persia with a great army; and
having subdued all the rest of his kingdom, he rushed upon
Babylonia. And when Nabonidus learned of his attack, he met
[him] with his army and joined battle, and was defeated in the
50 Ibid., 4.6.3; 7.5.26-31.
51 Hence it is false, as is commonly assumed by liberal scholars, that
Cyrus made a hostile conquest of Media and dethroned the last Median king. This
assumption comes from Herodotus
the account of Xenophon at various points. However, application of the criteria of
-50). Moreover, on this score Xenophon is
confirmed and Herodotus disconfirmed by Josephus (Jewish Antiquities 10.248)
and Harpocration (Lexeis of the Ten Orators
version of the accession of Cyrus which Herodotus gives is a legendary
embellishment of a deceitful propaganda history created by Cyrus as a means of
legitimating his kingship in the minds of an unfavorable Babylonian populac
52 Xenophon, Cyropaedia 8.5.18-27.
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battle; and, fleeing with a few [troops], he was confined within
the city of the Borsippans. Then Cyrus seized Babylon, and
ordered the outer walls of the city to be torn down, because the
city had been very troublesome to him, and seemed hard to
conquer. He then marched against Borsippa to force
Nabonidus to capitulate. But Nabonidus did not wait out the
siege, but gave himself up. Cyrus at first treated him kindly,
and, giving a residence to him in Carmania, sent him out of
Babylonia. But Darius the king took away some of his province
for himself. So Nabonidus passed the rest of his time in that
land and died.53
This text intersects quite nicely with the account of Xenophon, filling out
its missing details. While Xenophon recounted Cyrus killing of a
Babylonian king who was co-regnant with his father but said nothing more
of the father, Berossus described the surrender, exile, and natural death of
that father, Nabonidus. More stunning for our purposes is the italicized
line, which reveals that Darius was a king whose rule stretched over the
exploits of Cyrus just after the fall of Babylon. Since we know from
Xenophon that the only king with this type of authority was Cyaxares II,
Anderson concludes that Darius and Cyaxares II were one and the same
figure, with Darius serving as his throne name.54 And since this figure was
king of Media, it is only natural that the further designation the Mede
would be added to the throne name Darius.55
Corroboration for this conclusion comes from the first-century AD
Jewish historian Josephus, who reported: Now Darius put an end to the
dominion of the Babylonians with Cyrus his relative, being sixty-two years
53 -52.
54 -7, 152-3. Further, I concur with the
prominent nineteenth-century Old Testament commentator C. F. Keil (against
Anderson) that Cyaxares and Astyages are Median names whose respective
Persian equivalents are Darius and Ahasuerus (Biblical Commentary on the Book
of Daniel [trans. M. G. Easton; Biblical Commentary on the Old Testament;
Edinburgh: T & T Clark, 1847] 200).
55 The Greek tragic dramatist Aeschylus (writing in 472 BC) reported
Astyages and Cyrus (Persians 765- -3).
bearing the same descriptor.
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old when he took Babylon who was the son of Astyages, but was called
by another name among the Greeks. 56 Because the son of Astyages has
been identified by Xenophon, a Greek historian, as Cyaxares II, it follows
inescapably from the combined testimony of Josephus and Xenophon that
Darius was Cyaxares II. The existence of this earlier Darius before Darius
the Great is also confirmed by the second-century AD Greek lexicographer
and rhetorician Harpocration, who traced the derivation of the term daric
to the earlier Darius reign: Darics are gold staters, and each of them also
had the value of what the Athenians call the gold coin. But darics are not
named, as most suppose, after Darius the father of Xerxes, but after a
certain other more ancient king. 57 In sum, the cumulative force of the
ancient evidence permits little doubt that the Median king Cyaxares II was
Darius the Mede.
5. Does Daniel misrepresent Belshazzar s
relationship to Nebuchadnezzar?
Collins faults Daniel for referring to Belshazzar as the son of
Nebuchadnezzar, since he was the son of Nabonidus and the de facto king
in his father s absence. It should be noted that liberal scholars denied the
existence of Belshazzar until 1956, since Nabonidus was known to be the
last king of Babylon and there was no known evidence for Belshazzar
outside Daniel. However, the skeptics were forced to reverse their views
when the Haran stelae were unearthed. These tablets report that Nabonidus
entrusted kingship to his son Belshazzar, thus proving the existence of
Belshazzar and confirming Daniel s allusions to Belshazzar as king (5:1, 5,
7, 8, 9, 10, 17, 18, 30).58 The objection to Belshazzar being styled as the
son of Nebuchadnezzar is petty, because inscriptions from the Ancient
Near East demonstrate that the word son (Aramaic bar) was employed
quite loosely in the political sphere to mean successor. 59 The Black
Obelisk of Shalmaneser III, which dates to 830 BC, pictures Jehu bringing
tribute to the Assyrian king: The tribute of Jehu, son of Omri. However,
Jehu was not the literal son of Omri, but a usurper of no relation who
56 Josephus, Jewish Antiquities 10.248.
57 Harpocration, Lexeis of the Ten Orators 5.
58 Yamauchi, Stones and the Scriptures, 88.
59 Hoerth, Archaeology and the Old Testament, 321-2.
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murdered the previous king, Joram, the grandson of Omri. Thus, the Black
Obelisk of Shalmaneser III certainly takes son in the sense successor.
The Moabite Stone of Mesha (870 BC), one of the earliest archaeological
finds concerning the Old Testament, reveals that Omri had taken
possession of the land of Medeba and [Israel] dwelt in it his days and half
the days of his son, forty years. But we know from 2 Kings 3 that the
son was Joram, the grandson and successor of Omri, and not his literal
son Ahab.60 Further, the Haran stelae designate Belshazzar as the son of
the king, which is almost precisely what Daniel calls him (5:22).61 A
telltale sign of Daniel s historicity is realized when Belshazzar made
Daniel the third highest ruler in the kingdom (5:29) after he correctly
interpreted the writing on the wall (5:25-28). The position of third highest
ruler is noteworthy, as one would have expected Belshazzar to make
Daniel the second highest ruler. However, the Haran inscriptions reveal
that Nabonidus was still the highest ruler and de jure king of Babylon in
absentia. Therefore, as Belshazzar was the second highest ruler, the best
position he could grant Daniel was that of third highest ruler, confirming
the precise accuracy of Daniel.62
6. Do the structure and language of Daniel
demand second-century BC authorship?
Cyrus Gordon points out that the Hebrew-Aramaic-Hebrew structure of
Daniel reflects the ABA chiastic pattern common in ancient Near Eastern
rules of composition, where the main body of a text is enclosed within
language of a contrasting style. A similar chiastic phenomenon is
displayed by Ezra (c. 420 BC), whose structure is Hebrew-Aramaic-
Hebrew-Aramaic-Hebrew or ABABA.63 The lingua franca of the
Babylonian Empire was Aramaic, spoken by the king and his astrologers
(2:4), while only the Jews could understand Hebrew. In 1942 an Aramaic
papyrus, a letter from King Adon to an Egyptian pharaoh written in 604
60 Ibid., 308-10; Yamauchi, Stones and the Scriptures, 72-3.
62 Yamauchi, Stones and the Scriptures, 88-9; Hoerth, Archaeology and
the Old Testament, 381.
63 Christianity
Today 4 (1959) 131-4.
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BC, was discovered in a jar at Saqqara in Egypt. With regard to the
finding, John Bright comments: [T]hat courtiers should address
Nebuchadnezzar in Aramaic as the story in Dan. 2:4 has it, no longer
appears at all surprising. 64 Daniel 2:4 7:28 was composed in Aramaic,
since these six chapters deal with matters of importance to the Gentile
nations of the Babylonian Empire and thus were written in a language
understandable to all. However, Daniel 8 12 returns to Hebrew, because it
deals with special concerns of the Jews. As a well-educated Jew in the
Babylonian palace, Daniel possessed all the linguistic skills and the
historical and cultural knowledge needed to author this book. In fact, his
language argues for a date earlier than the second century BC. Linguistic
evidence from the Dead Sea Scrolls, which provide authentic samples of
Hebrew and Aramaic writing from the second century BC, verifies that
Daniel s Hebrew and Aramaic was composed several centuries earlier.65
For example, the Aramaic of Daniel bears little resemblance to that of the
Qumran Genesis Apocryphon composed in the first century BC. However,
eight Aramaic epistles, now known as the Hermopolis Papyri, were
discovered in 1945 at Hermopolis in Middle Egypt and date to the late
sixth century BC. Daniel s Aramaic is contemporary with these papyri, as
well as the Elephantine Papyri drafted in the fifth century BC.66 Some of
the technical Aramaic terms in Daniel were already obsolete by the second
century, and the Septuagint, the Greek version of the Hebrew Bible
completed between 250 100 BC, translated them incorrectly. Therefore,
Peter Coxon declares the futility of holding a second-century date of
Daniel,67 and Cyrus Gordon assures that Daniel should be understood as a
whole, consciously composed unit. 68
Collins repeats the century-old argument of S. R. Driver that the
Greek loanwords in the Aramaic of Daniel are objective proof for the
book s late date. Since Driver made this statement, a wealth of
archaeological materials have been found which establish that contacts
The Biblical Archaeologist Reader (ed. David N. Freedman and G.
Ernest Wright; Garden City, NY: Doubleday, 1961 64) 105.
65 -2.
66 Archer, Old Testament Introduction, 398-403.
67 Daniel: A Dialectal
Hebrew Union College Annual 48 (1977) 120-2.
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between the Aegean and the Near East started long before the reign of
Alexander the Great. The Greeks of Cilicia and Cyprus encountered
Mesopotamia through Assyrian expansion to the northwest in the eighth
and seventh centuries BC. The Greek rulers of these areas paid tribute to
Assyria, and other Greeks were sailors in the Assyrian navy. In the seventh
century BC, Egypt employed Greek mercenaries to defeat the Assyrians.69
A few months before his succession to the Babylonian throne in 605 BC,
Nebuchadnezzar defeated the Egyptian pharaoh Necho at Carchemish in
northwestern Mesopotamia. Excavations here by Leonard Woolley and T.
E. Lawrence unearthed evidence of this battle, including an Ionian shield
which belonged to a Greek mercenary defending the Egyptians.
Nebuchadnezzar also hired Greek mercenaries to fight for the
Babylonians, including the brother of the famous poet Alcaeus, and Greek
mercenaries were stationed in Palestine at this time.70 In 1960 the site of
Mesad Hashavyahu between Ashdod and Jaffa was excavated, and the
large quantity of Greek pottery revealed that it was a small fort built by the
Greeks between 630 625 BC. The settlers were Greek mercenaries
employed by Psammetichus I of Egypt, and the fort was conquered by
Josiah just before 609 BC. Ostraca have been discovered just west of the
Dead Sea at Arad from the stratum which was destroyed by
Nebuchadnezzar in 598 BC. These ostraca mention weapons given to the
Kittim, the Greek mercenaries serving in the remote forts of Judah. It is
significant to note that the Kittim are explicitly mentioned in Daniel 11:30:
For ships of Kittim will come against him. The walls of
Nebuchadnezzar s throne room at Babylon were decorated with Ionic
(Greek) capitals, showing that he enlisted Greek craftsmen. Yamauchi
contends that Cypriote Greeks were well known to Nabonidus. To
illustrate, one Greek sherd of the seventh century BC and sherds of nine
Greek vessels of the sixth century BC have been discovered at Babylon.
Elements of Greek style are also portrayed in the architecture at
Pasargadai, the palace that Cyrus built in 550 BC. He conquered Lydia and
Ionia in 546 BC, and he used numerous Ionian Greeks in his building
activities, as did his successors Darius the Great and Xerxes.71
69 Archer, Old Testament Introduction
Review: Daniel Journal of the Evangelical Theological
Society 41 (1998) 124-5.
70 Yamauchi, Stones and the Scriptures, 81.
71 Ibid., 90-1.
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All three of these Greek loanwords are musical terms found in
Daniel 3:5: qayteros (Aramaic) or kitharis (Greek), pesanterin (Aramaic)
or psalterion (Greek), and sumponeya (Aramaic) or sumphonia (Greek).
The first instrument was a type of lyre, and the spelling of the specific
Greek word which was borrowed shows that the loan was adopted in the
pre-Hellenistic period. Coxon points out that the Ionic form kitharis is
mentioned in Daniel 3 instead of the Attic kithara, which was used
exclusively in Greek material of the post-Alexander period, including the
Septuagint, the New Testament, and Patristic sources. The spelling kitharis
originated from Asia Minor and the Greek Islands, and it was absorbed by
Official Aramaic as a result of cultural and linguistic contacts well before
the second century BC.72 Although the Greek psalterion was a harplike
instrument, Alfred Sendry proposes that the pesanterin of Daniel was a
dulcimer, one of many musical instruments which was originally imported
from the east, improved by the Greeks, and re-exported to the east.73 The
theory that sumponeya alludes to a bagpipe, as endorsed by the Anchor
Bible commentary on Daniel,74 has been discredited by clear evidence
which shows that this was a very late sense of the word. Yamauchi
explains that the earliest meaning of sumphonia was sounding together,
i.e., the simultaneous playing of instruments or voices which produces
consonant harmony.75 As Jerome commented on this word, The
symphonia is not a kind of instrument, as some Latin writers think, but it
means concordant harmony. It is expressed in Latin by cosonantia.76
Yamauchi points out that the exchange of musicians and musical
instruments played a prominent role at royal courts from time immemorial.
For instance, the influence of Asiatic on Egyptian music in the fifteenth
century BC was considerable, as new instruments included the long-
necked lute, the lyre, the angled harp, and the double flute, and the Syrian
musicians who introduced them popularized new melodies and dances.
Twelfth-century BC texts from the Kassite period of Mesopotamia recount
that Elamite singers entered the royal household of Marduk-apal-iddina I
at Dur Kurigalzu. The ND 6219 tablet from eighth-century Nimrud shows
72 Yamauchi, Persia and the Bible, 380-1.
73 Alfred Sendry, Music in Ancient Israel (New York: Philosophical
Library, 1969) 297.
74 Hartman and Di Lella, Daniel, 157.
75 Yamauchi, Persia and the Bible, 381.
76 Quoted by Sendry, Music in Ancient Israel, 325.
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that the king s male choir comprised Kassite, North Syrian, and Assyrian
singers.77 The Near Eastern double flute, or oboe, has been discovered in
Mesopotamia, Syria, Palestine, Egypt, Cyprus, Crete, and Greece, and the
Syrian word embubu passed into Latin as ambubaiae, which specified both
the double flute and the Syrian girls who played them.78 E. Y. Kutscher
argues that Greek musicians were dominant enough in the seventh and
sixth centuries BC to influence Near Eastern languages, just as Italian
musicians of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries AD caused many
loanwords like piano, soprano, opera, libretto, tempo, adagio to be
adopted by all North-European languages.79 This argument is confirmed
by Greek loanwords inscribed in the fifth-century BC Elephantine Papyri.
Therefore, in light of the widespread Greek contacts before Alexander the
Great and the documented exchange of musicians, instruments, and terms,
the Greek loanwords in Daniel do not imply a late date.80
7. Was Daniel a historical figure of the sixth century BC?
Collins identifies Daniel with the legendary king Dn il from the Aqhat
story in the Ras Shamra texts rather than a historical figure, largely on the
presupposition that Daniel is not mentioned by name in any Jewish
literature until the Sybilline Oracles of 140 BC. On this point, Collins
wants to have his cake and eat it too, as the motive for pseudepigraphy in
the first place is to employ some famous person s name for the sake of
one s own views. But, one may ask, if Daniel is not mentioned in any
Jewish literature until 140 BC, then how famous could he be? However,
there is substantial evidence that Daniel is mentioned by Jewish literature
prior to this date. Ezekiel 14:14, 20 quotes God warning Israel about the
destruction of Jerusalem: [E]ven if these three men Noah, Daniel, and
Job were in it, they could save only themselves by their righteousness
(v. 14). In Ezekiel 28:3, God asks the ruler of Tyre, Are you wiser than
Daniel? Is no secret hidden from you? In order to maintain his view that
Daniel is unknown to Jewish literature until 140 BC, Collins ingeniously
78 Friedrich Ellermeier, Sibyllen, Musikanten, Haremsfrauen (Herzberger
am Harz: Junger, 1970) 12-9.
79 Current Trends in Linguistics VI (ed. T. A.
Sebeok; The Hague: Mouton, 1970) 401-2.
80 Yamauchi, Persia and the Bible, 393-4.
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interprets the evidence to claim enough parallels between the Ugaritic
Dn il and Ezekiel s Daniel so that he can identify the former with the
latter. For example, he notes that the spelling of the name Daniel in
Ezekiel (i.e., daniel) consistently differs from its occurrence in the book of
Daniel (i.e., daniyyel), while the Ugaritic Aqht Text has a spelling closer to
Ezekiel.81 But this orthographic argument is weightless. As Harold H. P.
Dressler notes in rebuttal, the name Danilu, Danel is well attested (in
different writings and perhaps with different meanings attached to it) in
Old Assyrian, Old Babylonian, Northwest Semitic and that Danil is the
Babylonian pronunciation of non-Akkadian Semitic Dan il, Daniel .82
Even John Day, a prominent defender of the equation between Ezekiel s
Daniel and the Ugaritic Dn il, concurs with Dressler that there are no
linguistic objections to the equation of Daniel of Ezekiel xiv 14, 20 and the
hero of the book of Daniel, since Ezekiel simply spells the name without
the vowel letter yodh.83 Dressler argues that the yodh was intended by
Daniel himself to be a personal infix as a constant reminder of his
relationship with Yahweh, and thus it would be missing in Ezekiel s
spelling of the name. While Daniel s spelling reminds him of his own
responsibility before God and of his own humility, Ezekiel leaves out the
yodh to broaden the scope of Yahweh as judge.84
Liberal scholars maintain that the position of Daniel between two
figures of antiquity, Noah and Job, shows that Daniel was not a
contemporary of Ezekiel. But Dressler points out that Ezekiel does not
assign importance to precise enumeration patterns, as evident from the
random order of lists elsewhere in the book. Further, Dressler contends
that Ezekiel intended to write an inferential foreword to the book of
Daniel by his three references to his prophetic colleague.85 Such a thesis is
corroborated by earmarks in Daniel that the author expected skepticism of
his audience to accept him as a real prophet of Yahweh because of his
political status in the foreign Babylonian regime. Two of these indications
are the many parallels with Joseph, son of Jacob the patriarch, in Daniel 1
81 Collins, Daniel, 1-2.
Vetus Testamentum 29 (1979) 155-6.
83 the Hero of the Book
Vetus Testamentum 30 (1980) 181.
85 Ibid., 177.
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and 2, which create a positive and subconscious déjà vu experience in the
minds of the readers, and the interlacing of Daniel s personal history with
prophecy to emphasize his own piety. These factors argue for a sixth-
century BC date of Daniel, as second-century BC Jews never doubted the
prophetic status of Daniel. Moreover, two valid connections can be
illustrated between Noah, Daniel, and Job: all three were faithful to God
despite not residing in the Promised Land, and all three were delivered by
God for their righteousness (Gen. 8:1; Dan. 6:16-23; Job 42:10-16). Both
of these elements are directly implied by Ezekiel 14:14, 20, since God
declares that Noah, Daniel, and Job...could save neither son nor daughter
but would save only themselves by their righteousness (v. 20).
Skeptics assert that an identification of the Daniel mentioned by
Ezekiel with the hero of the book of Daniel presents chronological
difficulties, as Daniel would have been a youth whose reputation was only
of a local nature. However, if the historicity of Ezekiel is maintained, then
a thirty-year period exists between the events of Daniel 2 and Ezekiel s
composition c. 570 BC, which is enough time to establish Daniel s
Babylonian fame.86 The deathblow to the liberal identification of Ezekiel s
Daniel with the Ugaritic Dn il is the attribution of righteousness
(Hebrew sedaqah) to Daniel in Ezekiel 14:14, 20. Sedaqah is an antonym
to unfaithfulness in the sense of idolatry, i.e., the worship of Baal.
However, the Aqhat story in the Ras Shamra texts clearly states that Dn il
was a devoted worshiper of Baal. Thus, by definition the Ugaritic Dn il
was a completely unrighteous man, as sedaqah entails that one does not
worship Baal, and it is incredible to think that Ezekiel would have used a
Baal-worshiper to illustrate the virtue of not worshiping Baal. Hence, the
Daniel cited by Ezekiel is the prophet of the book of Daniel, and its sixth-
century BC date remains intact.87
8. Do the apocalyptic elements of Daniel imply a late date?
Collins correctly notes the resemblance between Daniel and late
apocalyptic writings, but fails to acknowledge that these apocalyptic
writings were patterned after and derived from Daniel rather than vice
versa. The antiquity of Daniel is displayed by Akkadian prototypes of
86 Ibid., 157-8.
87 Ibid., 160-1.
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Daniel s prophecies, which date to the early second millennium BC. In
their article on these Akkadian Prophecies, A. K. Grayson and W. G.
Lambert contend that the book of Daniel has many similarities to the
Akkadian Prophecies.88 In addition, the account of Daniel s rise, fall, and
rise is paralleled by an undisputed fifth-century BC Aramaic document,
the story of Ahiqar. Yamauchi declares: It is now quite certain that
Ahiqar was a historic figure at the Assyrian court of the seventh
century. 89 Daniel also exhibits an accurate knowledge of sixth-century
BC geography, including his description of the city of Shushan as
contained in the province of Elam during the time of the Chaldeans (8:2).90
Another significant discovery portrays Daniel as an authentic work
of the sixth century BC. The ceremony in which Nebuchadnezzar ordered
his subjects to worship his gold statue (3:2-6) is quite different from the
usual rites which were conducted by the priests in private. However, this
ceremony has been confirmed by the discoveries of Woolley in the Neo-
Babylonian stratum at Ur. Woolley writes concerning the E-NUN-MAH
sanctuary originally dedicated to the moon god Nannar and his wife Nin-
gal: Nothing could be more unlike the conditions of the old temple than
this spacious building in which there was room for a multitude of people
and everything was arranged as to focus attention on the rites in progress,
and the change in the temple plan must correspond to a change in
religious practice. 91 At the time of the discovery, the mode of worship
was traced back to Daniel 3, and this explanation has been generally
accepted. Regarding the sanctuary, Woolley notes that what was novel
here was not the setting up of the image but the order that all were to share
in the adoration of it, as Nebuchadnezzar was substituting a form of
congregational worship for the mysteries of an esoteric priesthood. 92
It is clear that liberal scholars are ignorant of the flood of archaeological
88 Journal of
Cuneiform Studies 18 (1964) 10.
89 Yamauchi, Stones and the Scriptures, 89.
90 Archer, Old Testament Introduction, 408.
91 Leonard Woolley and M. E. L. Mallowan, Ur Excavations IX: The
Neo-Babylonian and Persian Periods (London: British Museum, 1962) 24.
92 Ibid., 25.
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and textual materials supporting the authenticity of Daniel. Porphyry s
thesis, which serves as the foundation of any modern argument for a late
date, collapses under the fact that Daniel 11:40-45 refers to the future reign
and destruction of a figure during the world s end times instead of the
military defeat and death of Antiochus IV Epiphanes. The Nabonidus
Chronicle and the Gezer Calendar demonstrate that no contradiction exists
between the chronologies of Daniel 1 and 2, and the Nabonidus Chronicle
verifies that Nebuchadnezzar conquered Palestine in 605 BC. Akkadian
analogies authenticate the Babylonian names given to Daniel and his
friends, and the Greek text of Berossus shows that Chaldeans were
professional astrologers long before the sixth century BC. A careful
comparison of the Qumran Prayer of Nabonidus with the portrait of
Nebuchadnezzar in Daniel 4 establishes the literary independence of these
texts. Recent analysis of Xenophon s Cyropaedia indicates that Darius the
Mede was the throne name of the sixth-century BC Median king Cyaxares
II, who headed the Medo-Persian Empire at Babylon s fall in 539 BC.
Inscriptions from Haran demonstrate the existence and kingship of
Belshazzar. Further, the Black Obelisk of Shalmaneser III and the Moabite
Stone of Mesha endorse Daniel s loose description of Belshazzar as the
son of Nebuchadnezzar. The Hebrew-Aramaic-Hebrew structure of
Daniel reflects the ABA chiastic pattern of Near Eastern composition, and
the Hermopolis and Elephantine papyri along with the Dead Sea Scrolls
exhibit that Daniel s Hebrew and Aramaic parallel fifth-century BC
linguistics rather than second-century BC writings. Excavations at
Carchemish, Mesad Hashavyahu, Arad, Babylon, and Pasargadai reveal
ample contacts between the Aegean and Near East before Alexander the
Great, and the Greek words for musical instruments in the Aramaic are
therefore no obstacle for an early date of Daniel. Since the Ugaritic Dn il
from the Ras Shamra texts was a Baal-worshiper, the Daniel mentioned in
Ezekiel 14:14, 20, and 28:3 must correspond to the namesake of the book
of Daniel. The Akkadian Prophecies and the story of Ahiqar demonstrate
that late apocalyptic writings were modeled after Daniel and not vice
versa, and Daniel s precise reference to the city of Shushan in the province
of Elan displays his sixth-century BC knowledge. The E-NUN-MAH
sanctuary discovered in the Neo-Babylonian stratum at Ur portrays the
mode of worship described in Daniel 3. In sum, the plethora of
archaeological and textual evidence surrounding the book of Daniel
constitutes a powerful cumulative case that cries out for authorship by the
historical prophet Daniel c. 530 BC.
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