The “Teacher Of Righteousness” And The Book Of Daniel -- By: Dennis Ingolfsland
BSP 2:3 (Summer 1989) p. 69
The “Teacher Of Righteousness” And The Book Of Daniel
The book of Daniel claims to have been written by Daniel, (Dan. 7:15, 28, 8:1, 15, 9:2, 22, 10:2, 7, 12:5), a Hebrew prophet living during the time of Nebuchadnezzar (Dan. 1:1, 2:1), Belshazzar (5:1, 7:1), and Cyrus, king of Persia (10:1). But could it be that the book was really the work of an anonymous writer who lived over 300 years later? Although this question has been debated endlessly, Dr. John Trever, famous for his part in the Dead Sea Scroll discoveries, recently added his voice to the latter opinion. (Trever 1985 and 1987).
According to Dr. Trever it is “clear beyond any question of doubt the name ‘Daniel’ was a pseudonym deliberately chosen by the authors of the book to place the stories in an earlier century and thereby obscure the writers’ identities...” and to “lend more authority and a wider circulation to the writings” (1985: 100). This charge, of course, is certainly not new. What is new, however, is that Trever believes, on the basis of his studies in the Qumran manuscripts, that the writer or compiler of the book of Daniel was none other than the “founder and Right Teacher of the Qumran-Essene community”.
The importance of the issue has to do with the prophecies contained in Daniel. These prophecies cover the time period from Alexander the Great (333 B.C.) to Antiochus Epiphanes (168 B.C.) and many are given in minute detail. If Dr. Trever is right, these prophecies are in fact “prophetia ex eventu.” In other words they were written after the events had already occurred. On the other hand, if the book of Daniel was written during the Babylonian and Persian empires as it claims, then we have a genuine foretelling of events hundreds of years before they occurred. And since Daniel gives credit to God for his prophetic ability (Dan. 2:28), it would seem that this would be objective evidence for the existence of God and His work in history.
The purpose of this article is not specifically to argue for an early date ...
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