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Kthe Book Of Daniel


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Ok,  I am really trying to work my way through any lingering issues that I have with regard to the bible.  So, please help me with this one.  I had written a post a while back about some other topic-- and the book of Daniel came up.  It was mentioned by someone that there were old copies of some of the text of Daniel in the Dead Sea Scrolls.  I did some research on this, and there does appear to be at least one scrap that is dated to approximately 125bce or so?  Of course, the fundys are all over this, because they believe that this validates the the Book of Daniel was written earlier than 165bce-- and therefore has to be predictive prophecy. 

 

I have also read that many historians support the late dating of Daniel due to the story line being written during the Macabeean times to describe what was happening under Antiochus IV Epiphanes.  This seems to make a lot of sense.

 

Some of my questions are:

 

1.  Is it possible for the scrap in Qumran to be old and still not affect the fact that this was written about current times.  Fundys are saying that this was a copy of an original manuscript, but if this was written in 165bce or so, 40 years is long enough for a  number of copies to be made, right?

 

2.  Wasn't apoclyptic history really popular during this time, with a lot of books like Daniel being written and collected by people like those at Qumran?

 

3. Doesn't the book state that it should be sealed up until the end--and only made public when the end was to be occuring?  Wouldn't this itself be failed prophecy?

 

4.  Could parts of Daniel have been written earlier than others, with chapters being added to indicate that the time of the end is nigh?  Even the Jews did not seem to accept this book as prophetic, but placed it in the "writings" category-- when I look at their explanation of the book itself, it seems that they feel it was written during the Maccabeean times as well.

 

5. Was there a lot of re-writing of OT books until they were finally put together in a cohesive compelation?

 

I really want to put this worry to rest, so I appreciate any help you can provide on this topic.  Sorry that I seem to get so deep on some of this stuff, but you almost have to in order to leave no stone left unturned in answering apologetic arguments!!

 

Thanks so much!

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I don't know how I messed up the title of this topic, but I couldn't edit, so disregard Kthe-- it doesn't mean anything other than I don't know how to type, and I don't proofread effectively!!

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I guess what I am really asking is-- can we still support the theory that this book was written around 165bce-- even if manuscripts are found that are close to the autograph date?  I would like to believe we can.  How accurate is the dating of manuscripts anyway?  Is there a lot of room for inaccuracy or speculation?

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I can appreciate not wanting to leave any stone unturned and working through these issues, but I think you’re missing the bigger picture here. Let’s start small and work our way out.

 

The book of Daniel has plenty of historical and linguistic problems that, when evaluated, make it look laughable for the fundys you speak of to be trotting it out. Look into them. They should provide all the reassurance you need that there’s no reason for anyone to be running around going, “ZOMG! Fulfilled prophecy! Everything in Christianity is now true.” The writer(s) of Daniel screwed up dating from the first verse, continuity in the first and second chapters, historical facts throughout, etc. when discussing events and political situations from the 6th century; and yet displayed a remarkably accurate knowledge of events of the second century…up to a point. Making it pretty damned easy to figure out when at least the second part was written.

 

Second, look at the following and tell me which ones are the more ordinary claims requiring less extraordinary evidence to support them:

  1. Parts of Daniel may have originated as early as the 3rd century BCE, but the apocalyptic visions were completed around 165 BCE, copied to a scroll in 125 BCE and deposited at Qumran.
  2. Parts of Daniel may have originated as early as the 3rd century BCE, but the apocalyptic visions were completed around 165 BCE, copied to a scroll that has been erroneously dated to 125 BCE and deposited at Qumran later than is thought.
  3. The book of Daniel was written in the 6th century and recounts actual events like a giant hand writing on a wall, amazingly accurate prophecies (except when they’re wrong), three men not being burned up in a furnace with a pre-incarnate Christ/angel walking among them, a man put into a den of hungry lions and living to tell about it, the ruler of Babylon briefly converting to Judaism, and all of the chronological and historical problems somehow having the contorted solutions that apologists propose.

There is no need for anyone making claim number 1 to provide extraordinary evidence as it fits best with what we know about reality coupled with the rest of the available data and current scholarship. Anyone making claim 2 isn’t really suggesting anything too outlandish. Anyone making claim 3 has a mountain of extraordinary evidence they would need to submit to overcome the vast superiority of the other 2 claims that are quite ordinary by comparison. “Forty years just doesn’t seem like it’s long enough for a good number of copies to be in circulation” ain’t gonna cut it.

 

Finally, so what? So what if Daniel was written in the 6th century and made accurate predictions? Therefore Christianity is true? Not by a long shot.

 

Kris, you don’t have to go over the entire Bible with a fine-tooth comb. You’re far enough into this thing that you can already clearly see the bullshit. If you want to keep at it as a hobby or something, go for it. That’s what I do. But don’t fret over this stuff. There’s a mountain of evidence that says Christianity is bullshit. Just keep that smell fresh in your nostrils and these little rabbit trails will bother you less and less.

 

If you want some good stuff on the book of Daniel there are a couple of Yale lectures I recommend: here and here. When you see it placed in the proper historical context you'll wonder how anybody can seriously think it dates from the 6th century BCE.

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Here's some questions:

- What was written on the scrap? Was it part of the prophecy fulfilled in 165 BCE?

- How much variation exists in Daniel manuscripts? My Orthodox study bible had a couple of extra stories in its version of Daniel.

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From what I can find, the scraps of DSS regarding Daniel that are the oldest are from Chapter :10, 5-9, 11-16, and 21.  Then from Chapter 11: 1,2,13-17 and 25-29.  Basically the scholarship states that these fragments are written only a half-century after the book of Daniel was composed.  So, I am trying to surmise whether that is still in line with what we believe to be true-- that most of this book was written in 165bce or so and addresses historical events occuring during that time. 

 

Hymenaeus-- I honestly don't even want to be thinking about Daniel at all-- Unfortunately, I get twisted up in the semantics of things and can't seem to let go until I have an argument that helps me get past my initial confusion.  In this case, what started the Daniel issue for me is that I really enjoy using this in my mind as a way to show that bible prophecy failed-- but I got a little shook up with the early dating of these certain DSS scrolls and the assertation by some that this book had to be written much earlier than 165bce.  I have read all the arguments against the historical accuracy and like what they have to say, but want to find a logical arguement for this early dated version of Daniel.  That is where I kieep getting hung up.

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 I have read all the arguments against the historical accuracy and like what they have to say, but want to find a logical arguement for this early dated version of Daniel.  That is where I kieep getting hung up.

 

I'd say you've got a couple already. Either the paleographer was wrong or the copy of Daniel found among the DSS is only 40-60 years removed from the original. Either explanation works fine. When they find a copy from the third century BCE let me know. ;)

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Yeah-- that is kind of what I was thinking as well-- I think the argument would be a loser for us if in fact there was enough evidence to prove that this book was written in 300bce, or even 600 bce-- but there still seems to me that there is enough wiggle room for a 125bce date to make it plausible that the book was written sometime in 165bce or so-- the Livius site has a nice page that discusses Daniel Chapter 11 and explains how the "history" in it directly corrolates to Antiochius and his family right up to the very end.  And chapter 11 is one of the old DSS scraps-- perhaps it was written not long before it started getting copied-- weren't books about the end times extememely popular during this time-- and isn't it likely that they might be copied and passed around more than others?

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As I understand the issue, some scholars have dated one of the fragments from the Book of Daniel found in the Dead Sea caves to 125 bce.  Some argue that since a fragment of Daniel is dated to125 bce, that brings into doubt the current 165 bce scholarly dating of Daniel because there is just no way that in a "mere" 40 years, copies of the book could be made and distributed.

 

Step back and think logically for a moment about this argument.  By their reasoning, there could theoretically never be a firm date set for the book.  Each time an older parchment is found, then the alleged original is pushed further and further back ad infinitum (which is, of course, what they want).  So, if somehow someone were to find a copy of Daniel which could be definitively dated to 165 bce, then to them that could not be the date it was written even though that could possibly be the original.

 

To me it comes down to one thing and only one thing.  If we assume that the date of 125 bce for that fragment is accurate, it's one more strike against them for an earlier date because all that find really tells us is that in 125 bce, the community at Qumran had at least a partial copy of Daniel.  If that is the earliest fragment in existence (and I think it may be), then it doesn't take the book back any further than 125 bce.  And that's a strike against the older dating in my opinion.

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Ok-- first of all, I have to gush for a moment-- because Overcame Faith is back!!   I am so very happy to hear from you-- and as always, your response has such a tone of reason to it, which I appreciate so much!!    Just hearing from you made me so happy, I wouldn't even have cared if you had said-- Kris, you are such an idiot, get your head out of your butt!!  Which may have been what you were thinking, but you were nice enough to respond to me in a nice logical way-- ok, gush is now over!!

 

I agree with you in the sense that this text only proves the possibility that as of 125bce, there were texts floating around-- which easily could have been copied for the last 40 or so years.  As I mentioned before in a post, I think this type of literature was really prevalent around this time, so this being a popular book would not be out of the realm of possibility.  In fact, it may be more likely that you would see DSS scraps of this book more readily than any others of the books of the bible.

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Ok-- first of all, I have to gush for a moment-- because Overcame Faith is back!!   I am so very happy to hear from you-- and as always, your response has such a tone of reason to it, which I appreciate so much!!    Just hearing from you made me so happy, I wouldn't even have cared if you had said-- Kris, you are such an idiot, get your head out of your butt!!  Which may have been what you were thinking, but you were nice enough to respond to me in a nice logical way-- ok, gush is now over!!

 

I agree with you in the sense that this text only proves the possibility that as of 125bce, there were texts floating around-- which easily could have been copied for the last 40 or so years.  As I mentioned before in a post, I think this type of literature was really prevalent around this time, so this being a popular book would not be out of the realm of possibility.  In fact, it may be more likely that you would see DSS scraps of this book more readily than any others of the books of the bible.

 

I'm happy to have been able to respond, Kris.

 

There was one other thing I found in a few scholarly articles that I quickly looked at prior to writing my response which may very well have significance.  Based on the way the words were written and some other things (which I do not pretend to understand), there are those which argue that Daniel was not a canonical text to the inhabitants of Qumran.  If that is true, that would seem to suggest that when they had their copy of Daniel dated 125 bce, it did not have enough age for it to have "earned" its way into their canon.  That would make sense especially if they knew the book had only been written a mere 40 years or so earlier.

 

I also agree that 40 years is plenty of time for copies of the text to have made their rounds.  Forty years was a lifetime back then.

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What kind of got me going on this topic was an article I had read a few months ago about the DSS and how more if them were being sold off. One of the buyers was apparently the Green family-- you know, the Hobby Lobby people. Their representative, Jerry Pattengale stated that they had some small scraps from Gen-Lev Jeremiah, Jonah, Ezekiel, Micah, Nehamiah, a psalm and an extra-biblical document known as the instruction text. He stated that even though the scraps were small, there was one rather amazing discovery-- but he wouldn't disclose what it was-- so I started looking at these books and ran across the Daniel stuff. I hope the amazing discovery turns out to be something lame!!

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What kind of got me going on this topic was an article I had read a few months ago about the DSS and how more if them were being sold off. One of the buyers was apparently the Green family-- you know, the Hobby Lobby people. Their representative, Jerry Pattengale stated that they had some small scraps from Gen-Lev Jeremiah, Jonah, Ezekiel, Micah, Nehamiah, a psalm and an extra-biblical document known as the instruction text. He stated that even though the scraps were small, there was one rather amazing discovery-- but he wouldn't disclose what it was-- so I started looking at these books and ran across the Daniel stuff. I hope the amazing discovery turns out to be something lame!!

Kris, someone who says there is an "amazing" discovery but they do not share the details in complete and honest detail, does not merit even a second thought. People can say and believe anything, but the truth is something else. The truth is open and honest, not closed and secretive.

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I agree with you in the sense that this text only proves the possibility that as of 125bce, there were texts floating around-- which easily could have been copied for the last 40 or so years.  As I mentioned before in a post, I think this type of literature was really prevalent around this time, so this being a popular book would not be out of the realm of possibility.  In fact, it may be more likely that you would see DSS scraps of this book more readily than any others of the books of the bible.

     From the fragments present it may not have been all that popular (Wikipedia):

 

Book       Number found
Psalms          39
Deuteronomy     33
1 Enoch         25
Genesis         24
Isaiah          22
Jubilees        21
Exodus          18
Leviticus       17
Numbers         11
Minor Prophets  10
Daniel           8
Jeremiah         6
Ezekiel          6
Job              6
1 & 2 Samuel     4
Sirach           1
Tobit    Fragments

     These numbers could give us a relative idea of the popularity of these various texts or, of course, it could have been extremely popular and this is all that has survived until today and these numbers are skewed.  The idea is, however, the more copies at the start the more we have today (with an "all things being equal" sort of attitude).

 

     Also, depending on use and quality (we know papyrus came in different qualities that affected price...I have no idea what any of these fragments are considered in this regard), I could imagine that a text might need copied fairly often.  Imagine this as an actual library where people actively looked at these scrolls.  If this is the case, then, as with a modern library the books (scrolls) wear out quickly the more they're used and/or depending on how they're stored (I can't imagine they were stored in jars in climate controlled caves if they were actively being read).  So they would be accidentally damaged and just wear out over time.

 

          mwc

 

 

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mwc-- thanks for that thought. Hard to say what any of these people were doing-- experts can't even fully agree if this was a library where people resided or if this was just a storage spot for those escaping Jerusalem during the war-- so, who really knows what these texts were used for.

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Overcame--- I guess the Green Collection has plans to publish a book on their DSS, along with some other ancient papers so he told the reporter interviewing him that he is under a "non-disclosure" agreement regarding one of the scraps as a "rather amazing discovery" was found. Not sure what this might mean-- the word "rather" seems to indicate it is not earth- shattering, like if Jesus name showed up in the DSS content, but could be related to dating? I am just trying to guess. Then again, it could be something really minimal to us, but bug to people who study ancient manuscripts. As usual though, it made me nervous because i just don't want yet another thing trotted out that purports to support bible accuracy that I will have to spend hours having to mentally debunk!! I guess I will just have to wait to see what this dude is talking about!!

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What kind of got me going on this topic was an article I had read a few months ago about the DSS and how more if them were being sold off. One of the buyers was apparently the Green family-- you know, the Hobby Lobby people. Their representative, Jerry Pattengale stated that they had some small scraps from Gen-Lev Jeremiah, Jonah, Ezekiel, Micah, Nehamiah, a psalm and an extra-biblical document known as the instruction text. He stated that even though the scraps were small, there was one rather amazing discovery-- but he wouldn't disclose what it was-- so I started looking at these books and ran across the Daniel stuff. I hope the amazing discovery turns out to be something lame!!

Kris, someone who says there is an "amazing" discovery but they do not share the details in complete and honest detail, does not merit even a second thought. People can say and believe anything, but the truth is something else. The truth is open and honest, not closed and secretive.

 

This part above.

Remember all that stuff about academic integrity. If a source doesn't have it, skip "is this true??" and go straight to: lying scumbags. Real, honest, academicians and archaeologists don't have "disclosure agreements" or whatever keeping them from sharing, that's what publishing priority is all about. It's why Darwin, despite personal fears, published Origin of Species in the first place - he heard that he was about to get scooped by some other scientist. Although priority is an explicit rule in science, it's definitely there, implicitly, in the humanities, like history. This is supposedly archaeology, which is as "history-like" as science gets. They're not playing by the rules.

 

You're really giving people way, way too much credit for being honest-hearted truth searchers, and nowhere near enough for being deceptive sleazy slimeballs. Remember, a source being a lying, cheating cheater is ALWAYS a possibility, no matter who they are. No matter what they say their motives are. No matter what they believe. I know it's a tough habit to break, and flies in the face of all your cultural conditioning, but I suspect you give people moral credit, just for being Christian, as opposed to seeing belief as a possible conflict of interest in honest research.

 

Have you gotten to the Jim and Penny Caldwell Archaeological Findings thread yet? I think, Kris, that it is an urgent "must read" for you, given that it thoroughly covers the ground you're walking on right now.

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Hi Ex-Booster,

 

I did get a chance to read the Caldwell thread and it was helpful. I think you are right--I do tend to give people way more credit and bekieve what they say. I am trying to work on that, but it is really hard. I am still gullible to things in the Christian world. Maybe it is fear, or even guilt that brings this on. I am not sure!

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