When was Daniel Written?
Evidence Supporting 6th Century BCE Authorship Date
After Removing Naturalist Bias
Naturalists use 165 BCE as the date of authorship for the book of Daniel. Even if we use 165 BCE as the date of authoring Daniel based on Naturalist bias, Daniel's 70-weeks prophecy contains a very accurate forth telling of the Christian faith. Six credible prophecies were fulfilled. Based on the evidence, modern scholars (Naturalists) are biased against the reality of prophecy at the 98.5% confidence level. There are only 14 chance in a 1,000 that this conclusion is not true (due to random error).
Below are reference web sites that successfully defend that the book of Daniel appears to have been authored in the 6th BCE. As you review the evidence presented at these web sites, keep in mind that we have shown that Naturalists are biased against the reality of prophecy.
The Einstein Method reveals that Daniel received words from outside time-space through the Archangel Gabriel. Since the future was revealed, it appears that God has revealed spiritual truth to humankind. Daniel's words foretold of a Messiah that would be killed at Jerusalem before the temple and Jerusalem were destroyed in 70 CE. Christians logically accept and believe that Jesus fulfilled these prophetic words. In addition, archaeological finds continue to be found that support the Christian faith.
Only a Being living outside the control of time can consistently reveal the future. The data supports that we live in a universe under supernatural control. To this end, conservative scholars take the position that the book of Daniel was written centuries before 165 BCE. The evidence is very sound. Let's review the evidence.
Evidence No. 1: Documents written in 5th century BCE Egypt (~495 BCE TO ~402 BCE) reveal unique textual and linguistic styles from that era. These documents are called the Elephantine Papyri. By comparing the texts of the Elephantine Papyri to the texts of Daniel, scholars have concluded that the textual style of Daniel places the book within the era of the 5th century BCE. Even Naturalists accept that the style of writing would place the book of Daniel centuries earlier than the 2nd century BCE. However, Naturalists favor the 165 BCE date due to their bias.
Common Sense Placement for Daniel
Perhaps the easiest way of understanding why Daniel was written about 530 BCE is by using the English language from another era. Have you ever read Chaucerian English (14th century - 700 years ago) or Miltonian English (17th century - 300 years ago)? Consider the following example from the 14th century written by Chaucer:
But for to tellen yow of his array,
His hors were goode, but he was nat gay.
Of fustian he wered a gypon
Al bismotered with his habergeon,
For he was late ycome from his viage,
And wente for to doon his pilgrymage.
Language changes over time. This is a true statement for English as it is for Aramaic and Hebrew. The style of writing and word usage date when the literature was written. Consider the following example from the 17th century written by Milton:
When such musick sweet
Their hearts and ears did greet,
As never was by mortall finger strook,
Answering the stringed noise,
As all their souls in blisfull rapture took:
The Air such pleasure loth to lose,
With thousand echo's still prolongs each heav'nly close.
Many of the words take time to decipher for someone used to reading 21st century English. In the same way, the Aramaic found in the book of Daniel does not fit the era of 165 BCE.
In support of this conclusion by analogy, Naturalists believe it is okay to place the initial six chapters of the book of Daniel as being written at an earlier time than 165 BCE. Since there is no prophecy in the initial six chapters, that is acceptable to Naturalists. However, the writing style for the entire book of Daniel requires that it be dated much earlier than 165 BCE. (Another indication of bias against the reality of prophecy).
Finally, if you would like to get a better feel on why the book of Daniel does not fit in with the Dead Sea Scrolls era, take the time to watch a science fiction movie entitled, "Millennium." In this movie, a person comes to the 20th century from the 30th century to snatch away people who happen to be flying on an aircraft that is about to crash. The point of watching such a movie is to show how the person from the 30th century does not fit into the 20th century.
Evidence No. 2: Another textual evidence that Daniel was written centuries before 165 BCE are the texts of the Dead Sea Scrolls (written from 150 BCE to 50 CE). Scholarly comparison of the unique textual and linguistic styles support that Daniel was written centuries before the Dead Sea Scrolls. Dating Daniel to 165 BCE is not credible.
Naturalist's views for dating the book of Daniel are based on false assumptions about prophecy. Since we can verify Daniel's prophetic ideas came true, then Daniel's words appear to come from outside time-space. The date for writing the book of Daniel must be pushed back to match the text and linguistic style of the 5th century BCE.
Evidence No. 3: Jesus called Daniel a prophet. "
spoken of through Daniel the prophet (Matthew 24:15 [NASB]).
Daniel foretold of the destruction of Jerusalem, which happened to occur in 70 CE (about 235 years after the modern scholars date of 165 BCE, showing Daniel to be prophetic). There are many reasons why we would expect Jesus to foretell of the coming destruction of the temple and Jerusalem.
- Reason No. 1: Jesus claimed to be the Messiah foretold by the prophets (including Daniel).
- Reason No. 2: According to Daniel 9:26, the Messiah would be killed at Jerusalem some time before the destruction of the temple and Jerusalem were to occur. Jesus walked inside and taught people within the temple courts.
- Reason No. 3: Jesus knew and understood Daniel as a prophet. Since Jesus claimed to be the Messiah, Jesus expected both the temple and Jerusalem to be destroyed after his time on earth. Daniel foretold these events. Jesus accepted Daniel as a prophet and carried through with the prophecy.
- Reason No. 4: Jesus' followers knew of his prophecies about the coming destruction of Jerusalem and wrote Jesus' words into the gospel accounts.
- Reason No. 5: In the book of Acts, the first Christian martyr named Stephen was accused of telling about Jerusalem's coming destruction, "For we have heard him say that this Jesus of Nazareth will destroy this place" (Acts 6:14). The book of Acts shows that early Christians expected the temple and Jerusalem to be destroyed (this expectation was commonplace).
Both the message of Daniel's 70-weeks prophecy and the words of Jesus foretold that Jerusalem would be destroyed. Based on Jesus' claim to being the Messiah, it would be expected of him to foretell the coming destruction of the temple and Jerusalem.
Evidence No. 4: Josephus called Daniel, ". . . one of the greatest of the prophets [Antiquities Book 10, Chapter 11, paragraph 7 Search for "GREATEST OF THE PROPHETS on the linked site"] because Daniel's prophecies are "time-oriented" and reveal "WHEN" future events would occur. Why did Josephus hold such a high view of Daniel?
Since Josephus lived in the years 37 to 100 CE, he is closer to reality than modern scholars, who are more than 2,000 years removed from the biblical culture. Since the study of Daniel shows that modern scholars are biased against the reality of prophecy at the 98.5% confidence level, Josephus' view of Daniel appears to be correct.
Evidence No. 5: Dead Sea Scrolls community members referred to . . . Daniel the Prophet (book entitled "Florilegium" or commentary). Eight copies of Daniel were found at the Qumran community with one copy dated to 125 BCE using carbon dating techniques. Therefore, it is highly unlikely that Daniel was written in 165 BCE. Would people living in 165 BCE accept Daniel as a prophet if Daniel was written at that time?
Evidence No. 6: Scholarly remarks about the Dead Sea Scrolls community accepting Daniel as a prophet. Some modern-day scholars find it incredible that if Daniel were indeed written in 165 BCE, the Dead Sea Scroll community would have accepted Daniel as a prophet. Again, the Naturalist views are questionable based on their doubts about Daniel being accepted as a prophet after only 40 years. Would Daniel be renowned as a prophet if it were known that he had lived a mere 40 years earlier? In that event, he would have been a contemporary person writing fiction. Refer to "The Dead Sea Scrolls Bible" translated and with commentary by Martin Abegg, Jr., Peter Flint & Eugene Ulrich, dated 1999, page 484.
Evidence No. 7: Internal textual evidence that compares the book of Daniel to the Dead Sea Scrolls. The Dead Sea Scrolls are known to have been written in the era of 170 BCE to 50 CE. There is a definitive textual style and linguistics for this era. However, the textual style and linguistics for the book of Daniel are very different. Both conservative and liberal scholars acknowledge that the textual style and linguistics for the book of Daniel supports that it was written centuries before the Dead Sea Scrolls community came to exist. Naturalists override this evidence due to their bias against the reality of prophecy.
Evidence No. 8: Jesus' life meets Daniel's prophecy about a Messiah that would be killed. Jesus fulfilled Daniel's prophecy by being crucified (supported by numerous sources). Based on Daniel, after the Messiah's death, Jerusalem and the temple were to be destroyed. It is apparent that Jesus knew and understood the book of Daniel. It would only be expected that Jesus would foretell of the temple and Jerusalem's destruction. Christians accept all these facts as the basis for believing Jesus fulfilled Daniel's "time-oriented" prophecy. It would be expected that Jesus would foretell of the temple and Jerusalem's destruction before those events were to occur.
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