What is the purpose & message of Daniel.
àRESISTANCE LITERATURE: It was written as an encouragement to fellow Jews to resist Antiochus IV Epiphanies policy. The people faced increasing pressure of the Hellenistic culture, which was different from the Hebrew tradition. ( eating pork)
àTO MOTIVATE: To those experiencing anxiety & Despair, the book brought Hope & assurance that YHWH would intervene & deliver them from the present plight & establish his kingdom.
à TO ENCOURAGE: The Lord was not only in control of History but also the end of History. The people of God will be completely vindicated, but till the we need to be faithful to God & his Law.
336-324: Hellenization under Alexander. Alexander’s dream was to conquer the wholi world, before he died he had established 70 Greek colonies. After he died his officers kept hellenization alive.
322-198: The Ptolemites of Egypt ruled Palestine kept Hellenization alive thro persuasion without force.
198-164: This changed under the Selucids (Syrian) rule.
167-164: The crises began under the rule of Antiochus IV Epiphanes.
- Externally his kingdom was minced from the E, W & S. à finance, hence pillage.& Plunder of Jerusalem
- Internally his kingdom was unstable because the population consisted of different races & cultures. No unification , hence repression.& Hellenization
à He prohibited religious customs of Judaism
à Imposed Greek Religious customs & culture, under pain of death.
SETTING OF THE VISIONS. Ch 1-6. Contains 6 stories of faithfulness
Ch 1-7 contain 4 visions. These visions pertain to the religious crises that the Jews were undergoing under Antiochus IV Epiphanes.
1. Daniel is an interpreter of Visions.
He is the recipient & narrator of the dreams
2. D is spoken in the 3rd person.
He narrates visions in the 1st. Person
3. In both sections the message is the same
LITERARY FORMS OF VISIONS : APOCALYPTIC.
à The book of Daniel is Apocalyptic in character, meaning unveiling or uncovering of divine revelation. These books are in a symbolic language & pseudonymous in authorship.
à This Apocalyptic form of writing flourished between 200BC – 200AD.
à It has been observed that apocalyptic thinking & writing arose out of historical situations:
- The problem of evil: Israel suffered though faithful to God.
- The emergence of ‘righteous remnant’ they were loyal to God against prevailing mood of compromise.
- The cessation of prophecy to explain historical plight
à The major function of the apocalyptic book was to
Explain: Why the righteous suffered
Why the kingdom of God was delayed in coming.
To Communicate: The assurance that God would intervene.
4 Basic elements in apocalyptic thought:
1. Apocolyptic thoughts are always Eschatological. An apocaliptist always write of : end of the world; future oriented; signs of the end.
2. They are dualistic: Believes in the existence of 2 supernatural power (God & satan) 2 worlds heaven & hell; 2 ages. Present age under control of satan 7age to come golden age under Gods control.
3.Rigid determination: Every thing take place according to God’s predetermined plan & time schedule. It is Predestined. God will be victorious, don’t worry why evil prospers.
4. Apocalyptic thought is extremely pessimistic with regards to the present world.
The book of Daniel is supposedly written in the 6th centaury BC by one Daniel who is himself a Jewish exile. It is however now felt that this book was written in the 2nd centaury BC. Probably in the yr 165 BC during the persecution. In the reign of king Selucid, & Antiochus IV Epiphanes.(175-164 BC)
à The vocabulary & style of the Aramaic & Hebrew in which it is written cannot be of the 6th centaury BC
à The book is quite detailed on the later years of Antiochus IV Epiphhanes who died in 164 BC.
à He knows of Antiochus desecration of the Jerusalem temple in 167 BC
à Prior to the 2nd centaury Bc there is no mention of this book.
à The composition of the book may be 2nd centaury, but the stories from ch 1-6. come from an earlier period.
à The book from ch 1-6 is written in Aramaic & the rest was written in Hebrew
The author is unknown. The book is not by / of Daniel, but on Daniel.
Daniel is a Jew of the 2nd centaury BC, written by an Hebrew exile 400 yrs before.
The purpose of the writer was not to confuse the reader, but to establish a single authorship of both the parts of the book. The authors of Daniel recorded their own dreams & visions of the end & ascribe them to ancient worthies whose names were4 honored in the long tradition of Israel.
The ancient worthy in whose name the book Daniel was written appeared to have lived in Babylon at the time of the exile.
An ancient hero of this name did belong to an Hebrew tradition
In Ezekiel for example the name appears appears in the name of Dan’el, with Noah, & Job.