Carol Newsom

in Biblical Studies

ISBN: 9780195393361
Published online September 2010 | | DOI:

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The book of Daniel contains a collection of short narratives about Daniel and his three friends at the courts of pagan kings (chapters 1–6), followed by a series of apocalyptic visions received by Daniel (chapters 7–12). In Christian canons the book is placed with the prophetic works, following Ezekiel, whereas in the Jewish canon Daniel is grouped with the writings, following the Megillot and preceding Ezra. The book of Daniel played a major role in the development of modern historical criticism, since historical critical methods cast doubt on the book’s claims that Daniel was a historical figure from the time of the Babylonian exile who saw visions of a distant future. Modern scholarship now judges that the book had a long process of development. Although oral traditions concerning Daniel may indeed go back to the end of the Neo-Babylonian Empire (mid-6th century bce), the story collection appears to have taken shape during the Persian period and to have reached its final form in the early Hellenistic era (3rd century bce). The apocalypses, however, can be closely dated to the time of the Maccabean revolt against Antiochus IV Epiphanes (168–164 bce). Additional literature about Daniel was also produced. Some of these compositions (Susanna, Bel and the Dragon, and Additions to Daniel 3) are considered canonical by the Catholic and Eastern Orthodox traditions. Other noncanonical Danielic compositions have been discovered among the Dead Sea Scrolls. The book was widely influential both in early Judaism and in Christianity.

Article.  15156 words. 

Subjects: Biblical Studies

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