Daniel in the Critics' Den

Daniel in the Critics' Den
Year of publication: 

The book of Daniel has been heavily attacked during the last two centuries by negative Bible critics, who support that it is not authentic and genuine but falsely inscribed as such, written about the year 165 B.C. by so­me unknown Jew, bringing again in mind the forgotten argu­mentation of the Neo-platonic philosopher Porfyrius (232-304 A.D.). The reasons which make them assert this are more reasons of “worldview”, because they deny 3 priori the possibility of miracles and the prediction of the future; besides, all their classic arguments, such as, hypothetical historical inaccuracies, the use of verbal expressions posterior to those of the 6th century, or the existence of developed eschatology and theology etc., are all personal views and explanations, which cannot stand a serious investigation.

In contrast with these groundless arguments of the Bible critics, the positive testimonies of authenti­city and genuineness are serious and convincing. This very book reveals the prophet Daniel as its writer, (Dan. 7:1, 8:26, 12:4) on the other hand, the inner testimonies speak for the coherence of the book in an uncontradictable way.

The authenticity of the book had been always recognized by the ancient Jewish scribes, and the testi­monies which come from Talmud, from the 1st book of Maccabees of the 1st century D.C., from Seder Olam Rabbah (2nd century D.C.) and from the Jewish historian Josephus (1st century A.D.) support the traditional view that the book had its origin in Daniel. The book had been enlisted from early time in the canon of the Hebrew scriptures which was completed in the 5th century D.C. and was translated by the seventy scribes (LXX) in the 3rd century D.C. Parts of the book dated back to the 2nd century D.C. were discovered among the manuscripts of the Dead Sea scrolls. Archaeological discoveries have revealed that the writer of the book had excellent information about the way of life, the customs and ethics of the Babylonians and Persians of the 6th century D.C. He refers to facts and persons that no other ancient historian could have kept (Belshazzar, erection and decora­tion of Babylon by Nebuchadnezzar etc.). This means that the writer must have been a contemporary to the facts mentioned in his book.

Last but not least, our Lord Jesus Christ rejects with the divine authority of his words any doubt about the authenticity of the book, because he applies to Himself the messianic title “son of man” of Daniel's prophecy. (Dan. 7:13· Matt. 26:64). Jesus also pinpointed that “the disgusting thing causing desolation” prophesied by Daniel, had a future fulfillment.

There are 25 parallel points between Daniel's book and the johannine Revelation, a fact which again testi­fies the authenticity and harmony of the book with the rest books of the Holy Scriptures.

Ecclesiastic writers from the 2nd to the 6th centu­ry A.D., such as Justin Martyr, Clement of Alexandria, Origen, Hippolytus of Rome, Augustinus, Chrysostomos, Theodoritos, Ephrem the Syrian and others, acknowledged the book as authentic and genuine.

Above all these, the fulfillment of prophecies of the book which refer to much later times than the year 165 D.C., such as the messianic prophecy of the seventy weeks in the 9th chapter, as well as the prophecies in the 2nd and 7th chapters referring to the march of the world powers, the fulfillment of which reaches our era, testify in a way beyond any doubt that the book is not only authentic, but that it is also inspired by God. The message of the book is the destruction of the human beast-like political world powers, by the “son of man” and by God's Kingdom which will remain forever and will cover the whole earth like a mountain.