Who Wrote Daniel -- By: Paul J. N. Lawrence

Journal: Bible and Spade (Second Run)
Volume: BSPADE 28:1 (Winter 2015)
Article: Who Wrote Daniel
Author: Paul J. N. Lawrence

Who Wrote Daniel

Paul J. N. Lawrence

The stories in the book of Daniel are some of the best-known in the Bible. Daniel’s three friends are delivered from the fiery furnace and Daniel himself is delivered from the lions’ den, but perhaps the most striking feature of the book is its dreams and visions. Daniel has several perplexing dreams and visions, and the Babylonian king Nebuchadnezzar (605-562 BC) has a dream as well in which he sees future history.

The book of Daniel purports to relate events that happened during the reign of Nebuchadnezzar and his successors down to the Persian capture of Babylon in 539 BC—in short, in the early and middle sixth century BC.1

Daniel And His Friends In The Cuneiform Record?

It is recorded early in the book of Daniel that Daniel was given the Babylonian name Belteshazzar (Dn 1:7). His three friends, Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah, received the names Shadrak, Meshak and Abednego respectively (Dn 1:7).

William Shea has argued that Daniel occurs twice in the cuneiform record, not as Belteshazzar but as Belshazzar.2 This Belshazzar is not to be identified with the regent/king who held the great feast described at the end of Daniel chapter 5. Shea argues that since Daniel’s Babylonian name contained the name Bel, a name referring to Marduk the chief god of Babylon, the writer of the book sought to disguise this with the addition of an extra letter, a -.3 Two texts, one from the second year of Nebuchadnezzar’s successor Amel-Marduk (562-560 BC)—the Evil-Merodak of 2 Kings 25:27—and the other from the reign of the usurper Neriglissar (560-556 BC), mention Belshazzar šaqû šarri, “chief officer of the king.”

Shea has also argued that Daniel’s three friends are mentioned in Prism 7834 of Nebuchadnezzar, now housed in the Istanbul Archaeological Museum. Hananiah (Shadrak) occurs as Hananu, “chief of royal merchants,” in 4:19; Mishael (Meshak) occurs as Mushallim-Marduk, “overseer of slave-girls,” in 4:10; and Abednego occurs as Ardi-Nabu, “secretary of the Crown Prince,” in 4:15.4

Daniel Denied As Author Of The Book Of Dani...
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