Composition of the Book of Daniel

POSTED 24 OCTOBER, 2017

Approximate date: 539-530 B.C.E. (Right, some conservative-moderate); 500s B.C.E. (some conservative-moderate); 500s-300s B.C.E. (Left)

Time period: Southern Kingdom of Judah in Babylonian Exile

Author: Daniel and/or a close associate (Right, some conservative-moderate); anonymous writers and editors (some conservative-moderate, Left)

Location of prophet/author(s): Babylon (Right, some conservative-moderate); Land of Israel (some conservative-moderate, Left)

Target audience and their location: Southern Kingdom Israelites during the Babylonian exile (Right, some conservative-moderate); Southern Kingdom Israelites after the Babylonian exile (some conservative-moderate, Left)

Theological Summary: The Book of Daniel (Heb. Dani’el) is one of the most difficult to understand texts of the Tanach, and is highly debated among most interpreters. Daniel is placed after the Book of Ezekiel in the Christian book order of the Old Testament, reckoned among the Major Prophets, but is a part of the Writings in Jewish tradition. Daniel is prophetic/apocalyptic in nature, but its words were delivered by one who was a government official. Daniel was an exile taken to Babylon at a young age, who was renamed Belteshazzar and trained for the royal service (1:1-6). While in Babylon he became an interpreter of dreams and signs, and was shown visions of both the future of the world and destiny of Israel.

Internally in the text, Daniel is afforded some level of involvement of delivering its prophecies (8:1; 9:2; 10:2). While many conservatives consider him to be the author of the book, others concede that a close associate may have been responsible for writing down or compiling his prophecies. Yeshua the Messiah certainly refers to Daniel speaking prophecies (Matthew 24:15), validating Danielic involvement. The language style of Daniel, mixed Hebrew and Aramaic, is thought by conservatives to suggest an earlier, rather than a later dating of the text, likely sometime around 530 B.C.E. The Book of Daniel does demonstrate a unity of style, leading many to conclude “the internal evidence leads us to believe that Daniel was the source of the vision reports of Daniel 7-12” (Dillard and Longman).

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reproduced from A Survey of the Tanach for the Practical Messianic

One of the major reasons that today’s Messianic movement has grown in the past decade is a significant interest by Believers in the Torah and the Tanach. In too many cases, the Tanach Scriptures were not probed in that great a detail in a Jewish Believer’s traditional Synagogue upbringing—and perhaps more serious, a non-Jewish Believer’s Christian experience often witnessed the Old Testament taking a back seat to the New Testament in the Church. With many of the ethical and moral controversies the greater Judeo-Christian religious community is experiencing in our age, a need for God’s people to return to a foundational grounding in the Tanach Scriptures is absolutely imperative. The Old Testament cannot simply be disregarded any more.

Many have stayed away from consulting the Tanach not because of a lack of interest, but because few want to have to deal with the controversies it addresses. Unlike the Apostolic Scriptures, constrained to the First Century C.E., the period of the Tanach stretches back all the way to the beginning of the universe itself. Questions like: Who was the Pharaoh of the Exodus? Did God actually condone the genocide of the Canaanites? and Am I the only one who thinks the Prophets are mentally disturbed? are debates that many people do not want to enter into. Even more significant is the effect of critical scholarship which has attempted to divide the Torah into non-Mosaic sources, question the inspiration and historical reliability of the text, and even regard much of the Tanach as Ancient Israel’s mythology. For a Messianic movement that claims to place a high value on the Tanach, it is time that we join in to these conversations.

A Survey of the Tanach for the Practical Messianic takes you through the Old Testament from a distinct Messianic point of view. It presents a theologically conservative perspective of the books of the Tanach, but one that does not avoid some of the controversies that have existed in Biblical scholarship for over one hundred and fifty years. The student, in company with his or her study Bible, is asked to read through each text of the Tanach, jotting down characters, place names, key ideas, and reflective questions. Each book of the Old Testament is then summarized for its compositional data and asks you questions to get a good Messianic feel for the text. This workbook can be used for both personal and group study, and will be a valuable aid for any Messianic Believer wanting to study the whole Bible on a consistent basis.

290 pages