Dare to Date a Daniel?

Over in Purg' it's been opined that liberals favour a late date for Daniel - after the events it describes or against which the narrative is set - on the grounds that predictive prophecy is impossible so therefore it must have been written after the event.

How can we date Daniel?
Is it second century BC (BCE) or was it written contemporaneously with the action it describes? Around 600 BC if I remember rightly.

Or is it a kind of spiritual 'novel' as I take Job, Jonah and Esther to be?

How do we account for Bel and The Dragon appearing in some versions and not others?

What do scholarly and not so scholarly shipmates think?
«1

Comments

  • RicardusRicardus Shipmate
    edited May 27
    I had the idea that the late date of Daniel wasn't just based on the prophecies but on linguistic evidence. But I don't know aleph from beth, so I've no idea if that's true.

    That said, I do have a problem with the prophecies as foretellings of the future. AIUI, all the business about the kings of the North and the South corresponds pretty accurately to the manoeuvrings of the Ptolemies and Seleucids. So if Daniel was genuinely written around the time of Belshazzar, then:

    1. You would expect the literate Hebrew elite to have made more use of Daniel, once they discovered they had this text that told them the future. (A bit like Agnes Nutter's descendants in Good Omens used her Nice and Accurate Prophecies to make good investment decisions.) Less flippantly, if foretelling the movements of the Ptolemies and Seleucids wasn't supposed to make some difference to the Hebrews' behaviour, then what was the point of giving it?

    2. The implication of (1) is a kind of grandfather paradox that my brain doesn't like. I'm comfortable with the idea that God can foresee our free-will decisions in the future because he is eternal, but this is implies that God's foreknowledge is caused by our decisions (and retrocausality is avoided because God is outside time). But if God then starts telling us about the future, you risk a sort of causal loop:

    A: Ptolemy makes a decision in 200BC*.
    B: As a consequence of A, God knows about this decision and tells someone in 400BC.
    C: As a consequence of B, Zedekiah the high priest, also in 200BC*, does some action that he wouldn't have taken if he hadn't known about the prophecy.
    D : As a consequence of C, Ptolemy makes a different decision from what he would have made if Zedekiah hadn't done whatever he did.

    So this creates a loop: A causes B causes C causes D causes A.

    Some people's minds may accept that as perfectly reasonable but mine doesn't.


    * I am making up dates.
    [Edit: apparently D followed by a colon gives you D: ]
  • Martin54Martin54 Shipmate
    Who? In the Book of Wiki it says,

    Daniel

    While the best known Daniel is the hero of the Book of Daniel who interprets dreams and receives apocalyptic visions [echoing a non-Jewish Canaanite legend of the same name from the millennium before *], the Bible also briefly mentions three other individuals of this name:

    1.The Book of Ezekiel (14:14, 14:20 and 28:3) refers to a legendary Daniel famed for wisdom and righteousness.
    In verse 14:14, Ezekiel says of the sinful land of Israel that "even if these three, Noah, Daniel and Job, were in it, they would deliver but their own lives by their righteousness."
    In chapter 28, Ezekiel taunts the king of Tyre, asking rhetorically, "art thou wiser than Daniel?"
    The author of the Book of Daniel appears to have taken this legendary figure, renowned for his wisdom, to serve as his central human character.

    2.Ezra 8:2 mentions a priest named Daniel who went from Babylon to Jerusalem with Ezra.
    ...
    * Daniel (Dn'il, or Danel) is also the name of a figure in the Aqhat legend from Ugarit.
    (Ugarit was a Canaanite city destroyed around 1200 BCE – the tablet containing the story is dated c. 1360 BCE.)
    This legendary Daniel is known for his righteousness and wisdom and a follower of the god El (hence his name), who made his will known through dreams and visions.
    It is unlikely that Ezekiel knew the far older Canaanite legend, but it seems reasonable to suppose that some connection exists between the two [Brit. understatement].
    The authors of the tales in the first half of the Book of Daniel were likely also unaware of the Ugaritic Daniel and probably took the name of their hero from Ezekiel;
    the author of the visions in the second half in turn took his hero's name from the tales.

    Book of Ezekiel

    The Book of Ezekiel is the third of the Latter Prophets in the Tanakh and one of the major prophetic books in the Old Testament, following Isaiah and Jeremiah.
    According to the book itself, it records six visions of the prophet Ezekiel, exiled in Babylon, during the 22 years from 593 to 571 BC,
    although it is the product of a long and complex history and does not necessarily preserve the very words of the prophet.

    [Its authenticity is reinforced by the fact that it doesn't actually prophesy anything historical.]
  • Martin54Martin54 Shipmate
    Book of Daniel

    The Book of Daniel is a 2nd-century BC biblical apocalypse combining a prophecy of history with an eschatology (a portrayal of end times) cosmic in scope and political in focus.
    In more mundane language, it is "an account of the activities and visions of Daniel, a noble Jew exiled at Babylon,"
    its message being that just as the God of Israel saved Daniel and his friends from their enemies, so he would save all of Israel in their present oppression.

    In the Hebrew Bible, it is found in the Ketuvim (writings), while in Christian Bibles it is grouped with the Major Prophets.
    [There's a reason for that! The Scribes knew what it was. Or so they thought...]
    The book divides into two parts, a set of six court tales in chapters 1–6 written mostly in Aramaic,
    followed by four apocalyptic visions in chapters 7–12, written mostly in Hebrew.
    The deuterocanon contains three additional stories: the Song of the Three Holy Children, Susanna, and Bel and the Dragon.

    Structure
    Divisions
    The Book of Daniel is divided between the court tales of chapters 1–6 and the apocalyptic visions of 7–12,
    and between the Hebrew of chapters 1 and 8–12 and the Aramaic of chapters 2–7.
    The division is reinforced by the chiastic arrangement of the Aramaic chapters (see below),
    and by a chronological progression in chapters 1–6 from Babylonian to Median rule,
    and from Babylonian to Persian rule in chapters 7–12.
    Various suggestions have been made by scholars to explain the fact that the genre division does not coincide with the other two,
    but it appears that the language division and concentric structure of chapters 2–6 are artificial literary devices designed to bind the two halves of the book together.
    The following outline is provided by Collins in his commentary on Daniel:

    PART I: Tales (chapters 1:1–6:29)
    1: Introduction (1:1–21 – set in the Babylonian era, written in Hebrew)
    2: Nebuchadnezzar's dream of four kingdoms (2:1–49 – Babylonian era; Aramaic)
    3: The fiery furnace (3:1–30/3:1-23, 91-97 – Babylonian era; Aramaic)
    4: Nebuchadnezzar's madness (3:31/98–4:34/4:1-37 – Babylonian era; Aramaic)
    5: Belshazzar's feast (5:1–6:1 – Babylonian era; Aramaic)
    6: Daniel in the lions' den (6:2–29 – Median era with mention of Persia; Aramaic)

    PART II: Visions (chapters 7:1–12:13)
    7: The beasts from the sea (7:1–28 – Babylonian era: Aramaic)
    8: The ram and the he-goat (8:1–27 – Babylonian era; Hebrew)
    9: Interpretation of Jeremiah's prophecy of the seventy weeks (9:1–27 – Median era; Hebrew)
    10: The angel's revelation: kings of the north and south (10:1–12:13 – Persian era, mention of Greek era; Hebrew)

    Chiastic structure in the Aramaic section

    There is a clear chiasm (a concentric literary structure in which the main point of a passage is placed in the centre and framed by parallel elements on either side in "ABBA" fashion)
    in the chapter arrangement of the Aramaic section. The following is taken from Paul Redditt's "Introduction to the Prophets":
    A1 (2:4b-49) – A dream of four kingdoms replaced by a fifth
    ..B1 (3:1–30) – Daniel's three friends in the fiery furnace
    ....C1 (4:1–37) – Daniel interprets a dream for Nebuchadnezzar
    ....C2 (5:1–31) – Daniel interprets the handwriting on the wall for Belshazzar
    ..B2 (6:1–28) – Daniel in the lions' den
    A2 (7:1–28) – A vision of four world kingdoms replaced by a fifth


    Additions to Daniel

    The Greek text of Daniel is considerably longer than the Hebrew, due to three additional stories:
    they remain in Catholic and Orthodox Bibles but were rejected by the Protestant movement in the 16th century on the basis that they were absent from Jewish Bibles.[22]

    [So, they aren't in the TaNaKh, Jesus never quoted from them, but He is quoted as using the Septuagint.
    If He's quoted as doing that in the synagogue, from scrolls, then it's because the NT writers only had access to it; the synagogue scrolls would have been Hebrew.
    There is nothing relevant in them. And they don't fit with the structure above.]

    Right. What amuses me is the lengths that minds infinitely greater than mine will go to to make their schema work. All in the name of 'rationalism'.
    The schema (data plus structure) in question is the one that eliminates Rome by splitting the Medo-Persian Bear and in to a Medean Bear and a Persian Leopard
    so that the iron beast becomes Greece. Further the little horn that displaces three others for the benefit of the fourth then becomes the Greek Seleucid Antiochus Epiphanes IV,
    which is the agenda for removing Rome: it all becomes too prophetic and greater than the hsitorical context.

  • Martin54Martin54 Shipmate
    The Book of Wiki
    Book of Daniel

    Meaning, symbolism and chronology

    The four kingdoms and the little horn (Daniel 2 and 7):
    The concept of four successive world empires stems from Greek theories of mythological history.
    Most modern interpreters agree that the four represent Babylon, the Medes, Persia and the Greeks, ending with Hellenistic Seleucid Syria and with Hellenistic Ptolemaic Egypt.
    The traditional interpretation of the dream identifies the four empires as the Babylonian (the head), Medo-Persian (arms and shoulders), Greek (thighs and legs), and Roman (the feet) empires.
    ...
    The consensus among scholars is that the four beasts of chapter 7 symbolise the same four world empires.
    The modern interpretation views Antiochus IV (reigned 175–164 BC) as the "small horn" that uproots three others
    (Antiochus usurped the rights of several other claimants to become king of the Seleucid Empire).
    ...
    The ram and he-goat (Daniel 8) as conventional astrological symbols represent Persia and Syria, as the text explains.

    [Where? Absolute bollocks. This - Wikipedia - makes me angry. I'm an editor so I'll act on this. It's Medo-Persia. As Gabriel said.]

    The "mighty horn" stands for Alexander the Great (reigned 336–323 BC) and the "four lesser horns" represent the four principal generals (Diadochi) who fought over the Greek empire following Alexander's death.
    The "little horn" again represents Antiochus IV.
    The key to the symbols lies in the description of the little horn's actions: he ends the continual burnt offering and overthrows the Sanctuary, a clear reference to Antiochus' desecration of the Temple.

    [Correct. But the little horn of Daniel 8 is nothing to do with the little horn of Daniel 7.
    Oooooh! You can't do that! That proliferates entities! No, it respects the text.
    Whereas procrusteanly cutting off feet is OK...]

    The Book of Wiki
    Daniel 7

    Imagery and symbolism

    ...they symbolise Babylon, the Medes, Persia and Greece:
    ...
    The bear: the Medes – compare Jeremiah 51:11 on the Medes attacking Babylon.
    The leopard: Persia. The four heads may reflect the four Persian kings of Daniel 11:2–7.
    The fourth beast: The Greeks and particularly the Seleucids of Syria.

    The "ten horns" that appear on the beast is a round number standing for the Seleucid kings between Seleucus I,
    the founder of the kingdom, and Antiochus Epiphanes.
    The "little horn" is Antiochus himself. The "three horns" uprooted by the "little horn" reflect the fact that Antiochus was fourth in line to the throne,
    and became king after his brother and one of his brother's sons were murdered and the second son exiled to Rome.
    Antiochus was responsible only for the murder of one of his nephews, but the author of Daniel 7 holds him responsible for all.
    Anthiochus called himself Theos Epiphanes, "God Manifest", suiting the "arrogant" speech of the little horn.

    [This is third rate 'scholarship', all in the name of forcing two little horns to be one, regardless of what the text says in Daniel 6:8, 12, 15 - the law of the Medes and Persians.

    This little horn

    Daniel 7:7 behold a fourth beast, dreadful and terrible, and strong exceedingly; and it had great iron teeth: it devoured and brake in pieces,
    and stamped the residue with the feet of it: and it was diverse from all the beasts that were before it; and it had ten horns.
    8 I considered the horns, and, behold, there came up among them another little horn, before whom there were three of the first horns plucked up by the roots:
    and, behold, in this horn were eyes like the eyes of man, and a mouth speaking great things.

    is not this little horn

    Daniel 8:8 Therefore the he goat waxed very great: and when he was strong, the great horn was broken; and for it came up four notable ones toward the four winds of heaven.
    9 And out of one of them came forth a little horn, which waxed exceeding great, toward the south, and toward the east, and toward the pleasant land.

    Is it.

    The clue is in Dan. 7:6 and 'four'.

    Never mind.]

    The chronology of the text is irrelevant. The rational fact that it is 95% apocalyptic written from 167-164 BCE or even if it were written chronologically as described at the time of Nebuchadnezzar II, Belshazzar and Darius the MEDE, is irrelevant.
    It is 5% gob smackingly prophetic of the fall of the Roman Empire and its consequences at least 700 years later. Even if there can be no such thing as prophecy in the meaningless cosmos, the 'modern interpreters' have traduced the text.
  • Robert ArminRobert Armin Shipmate
    @Martin54, you've lost me here. Which bits are your insights, and which Wikipedia?
  • Martin54Martin54 Shipmate
    edited May 27
    @Martin54, you've lost me here. Which bits are your insights, and which Wikipedia?

    Sorry @Robert Armin, what's in [...] is my comment. And the final para. Everything else is from The Book of Wiki.
  • That's not entirely helpful. I want to read you. I can read Wikipedia any time I like.
  • Yes. You lost me too, Martin. And why would there be 5% 'gobsmackingly accurate' prophecies of the Fall of the Roman Empire? What possible purpose does that serve?

    Besides, you are only thinking of the fall of the Western Empire. The Eastern Empire didn't fall until 1453 AD.

  • Martin54Martin54 Shipmate
    OK.
    The dating of Daniel is irrelevant to its long range Roman prophecies.
    The second beast is not Media alone.
    The little horns in Daniel 7 and 8 are not the same.
  • Lamb ChoppedLamb Chopped Shipmate
    This below is fascinating. I hope you don't mind if I think out loud?
    Ricardus wrote: »

    That said, I do have a problem with the prophecies as foretellings of the future. AIUI, all the business about the kings of the North and the South corresponds pretty accurately to the manoeuvrings of the Ptolemies and Seleucids. So if Daniel was genuinely written around the time of Belshazzar, then:

    1. You would expect the literate Hebrew elite to have made more use of Daniel, once they discovered they had this text that told them the future. (A bit like Agnes Nutter's descendants in Good Omens used her Nice and Accurate Prophecies to make good investment decisions.) Less flippantly, if foretelling the movements of the Ptolemies and Seleucids wasn't supposed to make some difference to the Hebrews' behaviour, then what was the point of giving it?

    The first thing that leaps to mind is that the literate Hebrew elite may have had less access to Daniel than we imagine, in our day of printing--heck, digitization--and our instantaneous mass communication. In their day, access to Daniel would require somebody to either read it aloud in their physical presence, or else to make a hand copied manuscript and transport that to them. So that considerably limits the awareness of these prophecies from the start.

    Second, the things were probably politically dangerous. So getting your hands on a copy meant being willing to possibly be caught with it, by some government authority who disapproved of the contents for any number of reasons (and in Daniel, those reasons are legion). I expect what copies existed were not displayed in the front window, if you see what I mean. At least, maybe in Jerusalem after the Return--but not in Babylon or its successor kingdoms, nor yet in Egypt...

    Third, those who did get their hands on to them would face the question, "Should I believe this or not, and do I even understand it, really?" Since there were plenty of nutters writing stuff in those days too. And a single lifetime would probably not be long enough to confirm a great deal of Daniel's prophecies. Though if you could get your grandfather, father and self together, maybe... but that's also assuming that y'all are well-informed about political movements, feints and counter-feints, and military strategy in the Middle East--and THAT presupposes that you have sources of information unavailable to the average person (no CNN or news websites--you'd probably have to be fairly highly placed in some government somewhere, and even then what you heard might be garbled).

    My rather disappointing conclusion is that those particular prophecies about the Seleucids, etc. were not in fact written for the Jewish elite to hear/read, believe, and act upon. They were written for us--well, not JUST us, but for everyone sufficiently well-informed (and therefore almost certainly in a later age) to be able to look back and say, "By gum!"

    And what would be the point of THAT??? IMHO, the point would be, "There is more yet to come. If I was right about this, I'll be right about what hasn't happened yet either. So trust me on that."

    And what exactly was that "more yet to come"? Well, the stuff about the Son of Man jumps to mind, and also the bit about the four kingdoms and the final Rock that destroys them all and fills the earth. In short, the stuff about Christ.


  • Golden KeyGolden Key Shipmate
    Per the OP, why would Esther be a "spiritual novel"? I can see Job and Jonah that way. But there's nothing particularly supernatural about Esther. It's told in a story style, but that doesn't necessarily mean it's fiction.

    Thx.
    --

    Also, because the title is crying out for it, and it's what brought me to the thread:

    As long as it's not barbecue in the fiery furnace.

    I'll get me coat. ;)
  • mousethiefmousethief Shipmate
    This below is fascinating. I hope you don't mind if I think out loud?

    Could we stop you if we did? Wait, too late.
  • Lamb ChoppedLamb Chopped Shipmate
    ha. HA. 😷
  • Is Esther a piece of pious fiction, a 'spiritual novel'?

    I don't know. I've read that it might be. There's no record in Persian sources of the events it describes. That doesn't necessarily mean it isn't based on historical fact, of course.

    I liked Lamb Chopped's thinking aloud but didn't find it very convincing. Perhaps I'm becoming more sceptical in my old age.
  • I'm sorry I haven't had time to dig into the issues raised on this thread just yet. I'd need to have a much closer look at Daniel than I have for some time.

    The two parts to my problem are:

    The commentary I have on Daniel is Joyce Baldwin's IVP one. Back in the day I read this and as I recall it defends the "all prophecy" line, which in those days I took on fairly uncritically. Since then, as previously reported here, I've come to suspect IVP commentators of actually being more liberal than they dare let on to their intended audience; experience with Alec Motyer suggests that the cracks show; I'm a bit worried this might also turn out to be the case if I dare to open Baldwin again. If so, it definitely opens a big can of worms for me.

    The other problem I have is my take on Revelation, a book I know far better than Daniel, according to which Revelation needs to be read in the apocalyptic genre, 'just like Daniel', i.e. colourful, larger-than-life, broad brush-strokes in which chronology is not linear and it's a mistake to focus on details such as beasts' anatomies or how many horns they have.

    I'm attracted to @Lamb Chopped's argument that bits of Daniel could be a "peek behind the scenes", revealing a slice of history in a once-for-all glimpse we don't get for the rest, but this doesn't sit with my take on the apocalpytic genre I use to explain away interpret Revelation without going all charty.

    The bit of Revelation where all this gets sticky for me is Revelation 11 with the "times, time, and half a time". Which seems to be an allusion to Daniel 9:24-27 and we start getting into 70 weeks of years and times, times, and half a time, and 1260 days, and 42 months, and my head hurts. There's stuff about the time between the reconstruction of the temple and the death of the Messiah as I recall (69 of the 70 weeks? 483 years?).

    And if none of Daniel is predictive prophecy, what is it? Is it deliberate artifice (a very worrying prospect), or would it not originally have been understood as artifice? What's the history of its interpretation?

  • Golden KeyGolden Key Shipmate
    I don't know the truth of it, but could John (or whoever penned Revelation), have either thought the book of Daniel *was* predictive, or chosen to use the details of Daniel to communicate something? A symbolic code or something, for Jews or Christians in a difficult situation?
  • RicardusRicardus Shipmate
    Eutychus wrote: »
    And if none of Daniel is predictive prophecy, what is it? Is it deliberate artifice (a very worrying prospect), or would it not originally have been understood as artifice? What's the history of its interpretation?

    I don't think it has to be deliberate artifice in the sense of a forgery.

    There's a bit in the Aeneid where Aeneas (the mythological ancestor of the Romans) goes down to the Underworld and receives a vision of the future history of Rome. But everyone has always known that the Aeneid was written by Virgil after all the events in Aeneas' vision, i.e., it's not a long-forgotten ancient prophecy, but a poetic study of the history of Rome, or a piece of imperial flattery, or whatever. From memory, there's also a bit in Macbeth (albeit in a frequently cut scene) where the witches give him a potted future history of Scotland, which is presumably partly an allusion to Virgil as well as a way of flattering King James.

    So (assuming a late date for Daniel), it depends on whether the book was originally presented like Virgil, or if someone claimed that this papyrus with the suspiciously fresh ink was actually an ancient prophecy they'd found in a cave.
  • Ricardus wrote: »
    So (assuming a late date for Daniel), it depends on whether the book was originally presented like Virgil, or if someone claimed that this papyrus with the suspiciously fresh ink was actually an ancient prophecy they'd found in a cave.

    I don't know if you had this in mind, but (especially on the back of your temporal paradox thoughts earlier) I'm irresistibly reminded of one of my absolute all-time favourite bits of the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy books, Lallafa's Songs of the Long Land.
  • Martin54Martin54 Shipmate
    Yes. You lost me too, Martin. And why would there be 5% 'gobsmackingly accurate' prophecies of the Fall of the Roman Empire? What possible purpose does that serve?

    Besides, you are only thinking of the fall of the Western Empire. The Eastern Empire didn't fall until 1453 AD.

    As I said below you G., rationalist tho' I be, the 'modern' interpretations are manifestly, pathetically, inadequately wrong. The three - traditional, Judeo-Christian - points I make stand.

    You'd have to ask God why He chose to go beyond the apocalyptic of events of C6th-C2nd BCE in the dreams of Daniel 2 & 7-8 to actual prophecy. There is more of course, the "dismal swamp" of critical exegesis of the Dan. 9 Prophecy of Seventy Weeks,

    and

    Dan. 8:14 And he said to me, “For two thousand three hundred days; then the sanctuary shall be cleansed.”

    11:1 “Also in the first year of Darius the Mede... that it shall be for a time, times, and half a time; and when the power of the holy people has been completely shattered, all these things shall be finished...

    12:7...it shall be for a time, times, and half a time...

    11 “And from the time that the daily sacrifice is taken away, and the abomination of desolation is set up, there shall be one thousand two hundred and ninety days. 12 Blessed is he who waits, and comes to the one thousand three hundred and thirty-five days.

    Daniel is awash with explicitly timed prophecies.

    Why do they focus on the Western Roman Empire? Er, because that has Rome in it? All of the horns are associated with Rome as a political and then religious capital. The East was a side show. And, again, the prophecies of the late, Western Roman empire feed back in to Jesus' milieu. They point to Him.
  • Golden KeyGolden Key Shipmate
    Ricardus--

    Might not the things in your second paragraph have been intended as warnings? E,g, Shakespeare / Marlowe / Eliz. I, etc. saw certain "bad things" in Scotland, worried about them, wanted to issue a warning; but feared consequences. So they put the words in the mouths of the witches/Fates as their prophecies...so the warning would be broadcast and sit in the back of the audience's minds, and *maybe* nudge them (and/or their descendants, who would have heard the stories) towards making the future better.
  • RicardusRicardus Shipmate
    Golden Key wrote: »
    Ricardus--

    Might not the things in your second paragraph have been intended as warnings? E,g, Shakespeare / Marlowe / Eliz. I, etc. saw certain "bad things" in Scotland, worried about them, wanted to issue a warning; but feared consequences. So they put the words in the mouths of the witches/Fates as their prophecies...so the warning would be broadcast and sit in the back of the audience's minds, and *maybe* nudge them (and/or their descendants, who would have heard the stories) towards making the future better.

    Having now looked up the scene, I have to confess it's not at all like I thought I remembered ...

    (All they do is show a line of eight kings that are Banquo's descendants.)
  • Thanks for the thoughts so far.

    It's got me thinking ...

    Could the apparent prophecies about the decline of the Roman Empire simply be a case of, 'Relax folks, this too will pass. The Kingdom of God will win out in the end ...'

    I know that doesn't deal with all the mind-bending 'times, time and half a time' malarkey.

    It just seems very odd to have 'prophecies' in advance that would have had little or no relevance to contemporary readers - whoever they might have been - and as Lamb Chopped reminds us, there mightn't have been that many of them anyway.

    I don't have an issue with the Christological material being read back into the text by subsequent generations of Christians, even if the texts were interpreted differently earlier on. After all, as Qumran, the Essenes and so on show us, we are dealing with a pretty volatile and vatic situation with Jewish sects and factions imagining the imminent end of the world.

    Whatever these things mean and how they are interpreted, it strikes me that we can be sure of one thing, that the likes of Darby and Schofield were very much barking up the wrong tree.
  • Martin54Martin54 Shipmate
    Why odd? They were for those contemporary of the fulfilment. At every stage. They were for us. Religion was easy from ancient and classical times through Neoplatonism, Scholasticism, Renaissance humanism until we get to the Enlightenment. It still is in analogues of all but the latter today in Islam, Hindusim, Christianity, Judaism et al. Easy. It was easy for Jesus and His contemporaries, they were all supernaturalists. To the post-Enlightenment mind it is hard. Unbearably hard. It isn't fair. Not if God is. In all senses.

    For years I've been deconstructing and not able to reconstruct faith except by way of desire. Now, at last, there is an instance of the fingerpost. A signature on creation. A baby that had been thrown out with the bathwater. Reclaimed with unintended consequences. It's so absurd, so simplistic, the greater minds here must be able to say it's a doll, worse a dead apophenic baby. It must be laughingly possible to easily, risibly dissolve what I now see again as irrefutable ancient prophecy of the late Western Roman empire and its successors. Come on. Don't spare my pathetic fallacies.

    If you can't, you're abandoning me to a God who can actively or passively (infinitely worse!) determine the future. If actively, then He intervenes, engineers history. To what end I do not know beyond pointing back to Christ.

    Because I certainly don't regard Francis as the Beast's Prophet.
  • Martin54Martin54 Shipmate
    To @Lamb Chopped and @Eutychus

    Lamb Chopped

    First: The literate Hebrew elite wrote Daniel. They knew. Second: Daniel was doubly arcane, apocalyptic Hebrew and not likely to be noticed by any overlords. It would have been hidden in plain sight. Third: They had no problem believing.

    "My rather disappointing conclusion is that those particular prophecies about the Seleucids, etc. were not in fact written for the Jewish elite to hear/read, believe, and act upon. They were written for us--well, not JUST us, but for everyone sufficiently well-informed (and therefore almost certainly in a later age) to be able to look back and say, "By gum!""

    Agreed! But why disappointing?

    "And what would be the point of THAT??? IMHO, the point would be, "There is more yet to come. If I was right about this, I'll be right about what hasn't happened yet either. So trust me on that.""

    Aye.

    "And what exactly was that "more yet to come"? Well, the stuff about the Son of Man jumps to mind, and also the bit about the four kingdoms and the final Rock that destroys them all and fills the earth. In short, the stuff about Christ."

    Exactly my conclusion.

    Eutychus

    " The two parts to my problem are:

    The commentary I have on Daniel is Joyce Baldwin's IVP one. Back in the day I read this and as I recall it defends the "all prophecy" line, which in those days I took on fairly uncritically. Since then, as previously reported here, I've come to suspect IVP commentators of actually being more liberal than they dare let on to their intended audience; experience with Alec Motyer suggests that the cracks show; I'm a bit worried this might also turn out to be the case if I dare to open Baldwin again. If so, it definitely opens a big can of worms for me."

    Dish 'em out. What's the problem? Are they honest liberals? True liberals? I.e. do they consider the proposition that Daniel is actually prophetic?

    "The other problem I have is my take on Revelation, a book I know far better than Daniel, according to which Revelation needs to be read in the apocalyptic genre, 'just like Daniel', i.e. colourful, larger-than-life, broad brush-strokes in which chronology is not linear and it's a mistake to focus on details such as beasts' anatomies or how many horns they have."

    Revelation and Daniel are a seamless garment, there's no former without the latter. Daniel is linear for a thousand years and more. What of Revelation isn't? I know it's popular to take a Greek view, but the author was a Hebrew. The beasts' characteristics are no mistake.

    "I'm attracted to @Lamb Chopped's argument that bits of Daniel could be a "peek behind the scenes", revealing a slice of history in a once-for-all glimpse we don't get for the rest, but this doesn't sit with my take on the apocalpytic genre I use to explain away interpret Revelation without going all charty."

    As a certain commentator here says: Both. If the chart fits...

    "The bit of Revelation where all this gets sticky for me is Revelation 11 with the "times, time, and half a time". Which seems to be an allusion to Daniel 9:24-27 and we start getting into 70 weeks of years and times, times, and half a time, and 1260 days, and 42 months, and my head hurts. There's stuff about the time between the reconstruction of the temple and the death of the Messiah as I recall (69 of the 70 weeks? 483 years?)."

    We need to do business with it. We can. Who else?

    "And if none of Daniel is predictive prophecy, what is it? Is it deliberate artifice (a very worrying prospect), or would it not originally have been understood as artifice? What's the history of its interpretation?"

    At least some of it is obviously predictive. By a country thousand years or two. If that is my second childhood apophenia where any and every false pattern is of equal weight, please disabuse me.
  • @Martin54 I'm sorry, this just doesn't itch for me as much as it obviously does for you at the moment. I'd need to dig into Baldwin again and I have a thousand other things on my mind, urgent ones, right now.
    We need to do business with it. We can. Who else?

    We can wrestle with it, but I'm sure of my own limitations. I don't know which chapter of Daniel is which without checking, am not a Hebraist or a Hellenist, and have read far less than a lot of people here, in particular far less theology. I'll tackle this, at my level, as and when I can.
  • Martin54Martin54 Shipmate
    Sorry for the urgencies.
  • The briefest of dips into my copy of Baldwin lead to the following:

    a) The French translation of the English I have is terrible, which doesn't help.

    b) The difficulties apparently start at Daniel 1.1 and Baldwin's defence of the historicity of just this verse appears a bit desperate.

    c) There's a bit on the history of commentaries on Daniel. Jerome apparently wrote one in c.4th Century to refute one by a neo-Platonist (Porphyrus) who dates it to the time of Antiochus Epiphanes "on the premise that the author could not have known the future", which confirms to me that presuppositions play a big role in all this.

    d) There are problems with dating, language, unity of the book... in fact it's hard to know what there aren't problems with. This indicates to me that this isn't a good place to start building a doctrine (on the basis that the harder parts of the Bible should be understood in the lights of the easier parts) - or start drawing charts.

    e) The wealth of detail in, say, chs. 9-11, plus the linguistic challenges, suggest to me that the scope for paredoelia is extensive.

    f) Apparently FF Bruce is among those who think the text is historic, i.e. authorship in 2nd century BC. Baldwin says this doesn't explain Jesus' use of Daniel, but doesn't seem to allow for the idea of Jesus riffing on a historic text for his own purposes (rather than quoting it as it was initially written, if that makes sense).

    That's all I can manage for now. Watching Dragon and the ISS docking is much more fun.
  • Apologies if I've opened a can of worms for you all.

    I get all hazy with the detail on times and times and weeks and half of times and twiddly horns and things sticking out of animals' heads.

    Predicting the end of the Roman Empire strikes me as a case of, 'This too will pass. It looks pretty water-tight now, but just you wait ...' rather than, 'Hey, look folks, the Roman Empire is going to collapse on a Thursday afternoon in So Many Hundred and Diddly Something years time ...'
  • Martin54Martin54 Shipmate
    Thanks E. Eeee... is for epistemology eh? And G. I agree, as with LC I believe, 'This too will pass'.

    I'm a simplistic old Hector I'm sure, but nowt you say detracts from the chart. Yet my faith is not renewed! It's bizarre. The inertia of all the deconstruction is still there. The impossibility, the unreasonability of God, of divine will sustaining the paper hanky I just used for my hay fever (possibly to the Stilton I rubbed off up my nose... don't ask...) and the rest of the infinite cosmos from eternity is NOT instantly overcome by the plain truth of the actual prophecy of Daniel.

    What's that about eh?
  • MooMoo Kerygmania Host
    Martin54 wrote: »
    To @Lamb Chopped and @Eutychus

    Lamb Chopped

    First: The literate Hebrew elite wrote Daniel. They knew. Second: Daniel was doubly arcane, apocalyptic Hebrew and not likely to be noticed by any overlords. It would have been hidden in plain sight. Third: They had no problem believing.

    "My rather disappointing conclusion is that those particular prophecies about the Seleucids, etc. were not in fact written for the Jewish elite to hear/read, believe, and act upon. They were written for us--well, not JUST us, but for everyone sufficiently well-informed (and therefore almost certainly in a later age) to be able to look back and say, "By gum!""

    Agreed! But why disappointing?

    "And what would be the point of THAT??? IMHO, the point would be, "There is more yet to come. If I was right about this, I'll be right about what hasn't happened yet either. So trust me on that.""

    Aye.

    "And what exactly was that "more yet to come"? Well, the stuff about the Son of Man jumps to mind, and also the bit about the four kingdoms and the final Rock that destroys them all and fills the earth. In short, the stuff about Christ."

    Exactly my conclusion.

    Eutychus

    " The two parts to my problem are:

    The commentary I have on Daniel is Joyce Baldwin's IVP one. Back in the day I read this and as I recall it defends the "all prophecy" line, which in those days I took on fairly uncritically. Since then, as previously reported here, I've come to suspect IVP commentators of actually being more liberal than they dare let on to their intended audience; experience with Alec Motyer suggests that the cracks show; I'm a bit worried this might also turn out to be the case if I dare to open Baldwin again. If so, it definitely opens a big can of worms for me."

    Dish 'em out. What's the problem? Are they honest liberals? True liberals? I.e. do they consider the proposition that Daniel is actually prophetic?

    "The other problem I have is my take on Revelation, a book I know far better than Daniel, according to which Revelation needs to be read in the apocalyptic genre, 'just like Daniel', i.e. colourful, larger-than-life, broad brush-strokes in which chronology is not linear and it's a mistake to focus on details such as beasts' anatomies or how many horns they have."

    Revelation and Daniel are a seamless garment, there's no former without the latter. Daniel is linear for a thousand years and more. What of Revelation isn't? I know it's popular to take a Greek view, but the author was a Hebrew. The beasts' characteristics are no mistake.

    "I'm attracted to @Lamb Chopped's argument that bits of Daniel could be a "peek behind the scenes", revealing a slice of history in a once-for-all glimpse we don't get for the rest, but this doesn't sit with my take on the apocalpytic genre I use to explain away interpret Revelation without going all charty."

    As a certain commentator here says: Both. If the chart fits...

    "The bit of Revelation where all this gets sticky for me is Revelation 11 with the "times, time, and half a time". Which seems to be an allusion to Daniel 9:24-27 and we start getting into 70 weeks of years and times, times, and half a time, and 1260 days, and 42 months, and my head hurts. There's stuff about the time between the reconstruction of the temple and the death of the Messiah as I recall (69 of the 70 weeks? 483 years?)."

    We need to do business with it. We can. Who else?

    "And if none of Daniel is predictive prophecy, what is it? Is it deliberate artifice (a very worrying prospect), or would it not originally have been understood as artifice? What's the history of its interpretation?"

    At least some of it is obviously predictive. By a country thousand years or two. If that is my second childhood apophenia where any and every false pattern is of equal weight, please disabuse me.

    Host hat on

    Martin

    It would be much easier to follow your posts if you indicated clearly when you are quoting others and when you are expressing your own ideas.

    Host hat off

  • Golden KeyGolden Key Shipmate
    Might be useful:

    "The Coming Of God", by Sr. Maria Boulding. (Anglican Benedictine, IIRC.) When I first came across it in a bookstore, I wasn't at all sure I was interested.

    Sometimes, I will flip to the end of a "probably won't read this" book, just to double-check. So I did. And the very last line was "We are unconditionally, irrevocably loved".

    I figured any book on the Second Coming that ended that way might just be worth reading. And it was.
  • Martin54 wrote: »
    Thanks E. Eeee... is for epistemology eh? And G. I agree, as with LC I believe, 'This too will pass'.

    I'm a simplistic old Hector I'm sure, but nowt you say detracts from the chart. Yet my faith is not renewed! It's bizarre. The inertia of all the deconstruction is still there. The impossibility, the unreasonability of God, of divine will sustaining the paper hanky I just used for my hay fever (possibly to the Stilton I rubbed off up my nose... don't ask...) and the rest of the infinite cosmos from eternity is NOT instantly overcome by the plain truth of the actual prophecy of Daniel.

    What's that about eh?

    Firstly, when your posts start becoming as hard as Daniel to understand, it's not motivating to respond. My screen name is Eutychus, not E, for starters. The same goes for @Gamma Gamaliel and @Lamb Chopped. Enigmatic is not a style to be aspired to. And I don't understand the comment about epistemology.

    What I say doesn't detract from the chart? I can draw you ley lines all day (a friend used to delight in drawing them to demonstrate that level crossings line up) (or the Christianised St Michael's line) because given vague enough data points, and enough of them, and wide enough margins of error (all of which the Daniel interpretations certainly have) it's easy enough for anyone with a bit of time and ingenuity to construct them.
  • Martin54Martin54 Shipmate
    Sorry all round @Moo, @Eutychus. We are John Donne islands of different epistemologies, as different as Darwin's Galapagos finches. That's part of my problem: I'm inhibited in faith in part because nobody else will see what is plain to me. Even though the critiques of my perspective don't work. The ley line analogy isn't comparable. It's clever rhetoric but no matter how I point out how the chart maps to only exact points of actual history - which are not deterministic unlike ley lines and the railways or the I Ching gives you pi, unless you have another Roman history to overlay - our cognitive biases are unbridgeable. And without peers I'm alone, I'd rather be blind in my one eye again, in the country of the blind. I must be wrong.

    The initials were friendly.
  • EutychusEutychus Admin
    edited June 1
    Martin54 wrote: »
    The initials were friendly.
    No doubt they were, but they make it harder to read you and more importantly, mean that the answer doesn't get flagged up in the person's notifications, so is easy to miss. Whereas if I put @Martin54 it will, as you will see.
    I'm inhibited in faith in part because nobody else will see what is plain to me.
    'Can' might be more charitable than 'will'. And I think that's the case for everyone. As I said somewhere else, how can I know the person in the pew next to me understands the same thing as me when they confess the creed with me?
    The ley line analogy isn't comparable.

    Just one example from Baldwin (back translated from the (bad) French translation) on Dan. 9:25:
    the starting point for the interpretation is the order to rebuild the Temple given by Cyrus in 539 BC (Ez 1:1-4), unless a distinction is drawn between the Temple and the city, in which case the starting point would be Nehemiah's day (Neh 2:5, 445 BC)

    From the Wikipedia article on Saint Michael's Line referred to above:
    Physicist Luca Amendola noted that the deviation of these sites from the loxodrome that allegedly connects them ranges between 14 km and 42 km

    Tell me what's different about those degrees of vagueness. (Similarly, "king" can, for Baldwin, apparently mean "regent" when necessary).
  • Martin54Martin54 Shipmate
    Ohhhhhhhh. There's no moron like an old moron @Eutychus, the trouble is I've always been this dumb: 'Notification', 'Inbox'. What will they think of next?

    And a nasty moronic old bastard to boot. Maybe the will can't? But the can't has a will to it?

    We will do business/battle on the Daniel 9:25 front shortly I'm sure. For me, the battle (but not the war) over Daniel 2 & 7 is dubiously if not pyhrrically won. They are part of the same war for sure.

    I have no problem with the metrological and statistical debunking of ley line apophenia, but again, the analogy is a stretch too far.



  • Martin54 wrote: »
    the analogy is a stretch too far.
    Why? Show your work.

  • Martin54Martin54 Shipmate
    edited June 1
    In terms of mapping Daniel 7 to Roman history, I have above. How ley lines are an analogy for that I don't know. They're both linear? Hardly analogous.
  • You've only partially mapped it. There are loose ends. The official 'end' of the Roman Empire in the West was 476 AD, if I remember rightly. It probably didn't quite feel as 'neat' as that at the time.

    'We interrupt this programme with a news flash. Breaking News: the Roman Empire has fallen ...'

    The Byzantines carried on until 1453. Where is that mentioned in Daniel?

    I think all we can safely say is that there's all sorts of esoteric coded material in Daniel that would have had immediate bearing and relevance for people at the time who were watching the Ptolomies and Seleucids and what-not jockeying for position and Messianic material which the early Christians interpreted as being fulfilled in Christ.

    As a Christian, that seems fair enough - even though I'm not the sort of guy to think in charts and timelines and who likes cryptic clues and crossword puzzles.

    I really can't get excited or exercised at all about this or that beast with so many horns and a pimple on its bum.

    Sorry to sound irreverent. It just doesn't float my boat.
  • Martin54 wrote: »
    In terms of mapping Daniel 7 to Roman history, I have above. How ley lines are an analogy for that I don't know. They're both linear? Hardly analogous.

    The analogy is that with enough data points and wide enough margins of error, you can draw a straight line through just about anything. Daniel apparently has a whole load of data points and margins of error that allow kings to be regents and starting points to vary by scores of years.

    What's wrong witth this analogy?
  • Martin54Martin54 Shipmate
    edited June 3
    You've only partially mapped it. There are loose ends. The official 'end' of the Roman Empire in the West was 476 AD, if I remember rightly. It probably didn't quite feel as 'neat' as that at the time.

    'We interrupt this programme with a news flash. Breaking News: the Roman Empire has fallen ...'

    The Byzantines carried on until 1453. Where is that mentioned in Daniel?

    I think all we can safely say is that there's all sorts of esoteric coded material in Daniel that would have had immediate bearing and relevance for people at the time who were watching the Ptolomies and Seleucids and what-not jockeying for position and Messianic material which the early Christians interpreted as being fulfilled in Christ.

    As a Christian, that seems fair enough - even though I'm not the sort of guy to think in charts and timelines and who likes cryptic clues and crossword puzzles.

    I really can't get excited or exercised at all about this or that beast with so many horns and a pimple on its bum.

    Sorry to sound irreverent. It just doesn't float my boat.

    Why would Daniel mention the Byzantines?

    "By convention, the Western Roman Empire is deemed to have ended on 4 September 476, when Odoacer deposed Romulus Augustulus and proclaimed himself ruler of Italy," Wiki

    Which will do as the second horn. I.e. the transfer of imperial power to an East Germanic.

    But do the Vandals, according to Armstrong, fulfil the first?

    At first I re-thought so. But, you and @Eutychus will be delighted to know, I can't shoe that horn.

    I can't make Genseric and the Vandals (an 80's Goth Heavy Metal group?) and their 455 Sack of Rome fit, only a bit more than Alaric's Visigothic sack of 410; despite the ignominious death of the Emperor Petronius Maximus, there was Roman succession.

    So, despite The Fourth decaceratop Beast of Daniel 7 obviously being Rome and its far history for over 600 years for a start, I can't lay that line.

    Despite my former, 1st horn - Rome Vandalized '455 - 476 Rome fell to the deadly wound of the Vandals led by Genseric and was then mainly dominated by the Germanic Visigothic Ricimer.'

    Yet.

    As for kings and regents, I'll do the regression analysis.
  • Martin54Martin54 Shipmate
    edited June 3
    Bugger, "Despite my former, '1st horn - Rome Vandalized <'>455 - 476 Rome fell to the deadly wound of the Vandals led by Genseric and was then mainly dominated by the Germanic Visigothic Ricimer.' "
  • See? It doesn't work. You have to nip and tuck to make things fit whatever neat schema you try to impose on the text.

    I haven't the foggiest idea what the beasts with 10 horns and what have you are referring to. Neither did Armstrong. Neither do you. Nor does anyone else.

    The broad thrust of it - earthly empires will rise and fall but the Kingdom of God will win through in the end - is where it seems to be at.

    Beyond that it's all speculation.
  • Martin54Martin54 Shipmate
    See? It doesn't work. You have to nip and tuck to make things fit whatever neat schema you try to impose on the text.

    I haven't the foggiest idea what the beasts with 10 horns and what have you are referring to. Neither did Armstrong. Neither do you. Nor does anyone else.

    The broad thrust of it - earthly empires will rise and fall but the Kingdom of God will win through in the end - is where it seems to be at.

    Beyond that it's all speculation.

    Yes he did and yes I do. You don't. Fine. Despite the fact that it's Roman.
  • You believe you do.
  • Golden KeyGolden Key Shipmate
    Re the 10 horns:

    Some people used to interpret that as the European Common Market, which had 10 member countries at the time.
  • Martin54Martin54 Shipmate
    You believe you do.

    I believe I do what Sir? I believe that I do know that there is no dialectical antithesis for the historical understanding that the fourth beast of Dan. 7 is Rome. And I believe that I do know that the horns of the beasts are significant male individual leaders. Can I rationally believe otherwise?
  • Gee DGee D Shipmate
    Martin54 wrote: »
    You believe you do.

    I believe I do what Sir? I believe that I do know that there is no dialectical antithesis for the historical understanding that the fourth beast of Dan. 7 is Rome. And I believe that I do know that the horns of the beasts are significant male individual leaders. Can I rationally believe otherwise?

    Yes.
  • Martin54Martin54 Shipmate
    Gee D wrote: »
    Martin54 wrote: »
    You believe you do.

    I believe I do what Sir? I believe that I do know that there is no dialectical antithesis for the historical understanding that the fourth beast of Dan. 7 is Rome. And I believe that I do know that the horns of the beasts are significant male individual leaders. Can I rationally believe otherwise?

    Yes.

    What and how?
  • Martin54Martin54 Shipmate
    Golden Key wrote: »
    Re the 10 horns:

    Some people used to interpret that as the European Common Market, which had 10 member countries at the time.

    We certainly did! And Franz Josef Strauss was the Beast's 10th horn...
  • Gee DGee D Shipmate
    Martin54 wrote: »
    Gee D wrote: »
    Martin54 wrote: »
    You believe you do.

    I believe I do what Sir? I believe that I do know that there is no dialectical antithesis for the historical understanding that the fourth beast of Dan. 7 is Rome. And I believe that I do know that the horns of the beasts are significant male individual leaders. Can I rationally believe otherwise?

    Yes.

    What and how?

    Yes, you can rationally believe otherwise.

Sign In or Register to comment.