صور الصفحة
PDF
النشر الإلكتروني

viii. 12 ff., 24 ff., ix. 25 ff., x. 9 b, xii. 11, and the greater part of ch. xi. The only part of the Book in which a better style prevails is the prayer of ch. ix.; but here the thought expresses itself almost entirely in phrases borrowed from earlier writings (esp. Deut. and Jer.).

The supposition that Daniel may have unlearnt in exile the language of his youth does not satisfy the requirements of the case : it does not explain, viz., how the new idioms which he acquired should have so exactly agreed with those which appeared in Palestine independently 250 years afterwards.

Daniel himself, also, it is probable, would not (unlike both Jer, and Ezek.) have uniformly written the name Nebuchadnezzar incorrectly (see the note on i. 1).

It is evident that the author is more at home in Aramaic than in Hebrew, and writes it much more idiomatically and fluently. No doubt it was the language which was spoken around him, and which he would use naturally himself (cf. p. lix, note). •The recently discovered fragments of the original Hebrew of Ecclesiasticus shew,' however, ‘that a very fair imitation of classical Hebrew was written in the Greek period' (W. H. Bennett in A Biblical Introduction, 1899, p. 226). The Heb. style of Daniel is not, however, identical with that of Ben-Sira, any more than it is identical with that of Ecclesiastes. The age was a transitional one; and different writers adopted different styles, according to choice. The author of Ecclesiastes yielded himself largely to the “New Hebrew,' which had already developed considerably, especially in the schools. The author of the book of Daniel wrote sometimes in Hebrew, sometimes in Aramaic: in his Hebrew, like the Chronicler, he writes in imitation of the older Biblical style, though constantly, in idiom and vocabulary, betraying his later date. Ben-Sira did the same, and in some respects with better success than either of these other writers: his general style is decidedly more flowing and idiomatic than theirs, but his vocabulary is marked by a greater proportion of Aramaic and New Hebrew words.

It may interest the reader to see Delitzsch's judgement on this subject (Herzog's Real-Encyklopädie, s.v. DANIEL, p. 470); “The Hebrew of Daniel attaches itself here and there to Ezekiel (cf. Yp ny time of the end, xi. 35, 40, xii. 4, viii. 17, with YP 119 ny time of the iniquity of the end, Ez. xxi. 30, 34, xxxv. 5; 078 ya son of man in the address to the seer, viii. 17, as regularly in Ezekiel)?; and also to

i Delitzsch means that the writer borrows particular expressions from Ezek. He might have added one or two more: as 287 the

Habakkuk (cf. xi. 27, 29, 35, with Hab. ii. 3); in general character it resembles the Hebrew of the Chronicler, who wrote shortly before the beginning of the Greek period [B.C. 333), and, as compared either with the ancient Hebrew or with the Hebrew of the Mishnah, is full of singularities (Sonderbarkeiten) and harshnesses of style 1.'

The verdict of the language of Daniel is thus clear. The Persian words presuppose a period after the Persian empire had been well established : the Greek words demand, the Hebrew supports, and the Aramaic permits, a date after the conquest of Palestine by Alexander the Great (B.C. 332). With our present knowledge, this is as much as the language authorizes us definitely to affirm; though ouubovia, as the name of an instrument (considering the history of the term in Greek), would seem to point to a date somewhat advanced in the Greek period.

(iii) The theology of the Book (in so far as it has a distinctive character) points to a later age than that of the Exile. It is true, this argument has sometimes been stated in an exaggerated form, as when, for instance, it is said that the doctrine of the resurrection, or that of distinctions of rank and office among the angels, is derived from Parseeism, or that the asceticism of Daniel and his companions, and the frequency of their prayers, &c., are traits peculiar to the later Judaism. For exaggerations such as these there is no adequate foundation : nevertheless it is undeniable that the conception of the future kingdom of God, and the doctrines of angels, of the resurrection, and of a judgement on the world, appear in Daniel in a more developed form than elsewhere in the 0.T., and exhibit features

beauty, viii. 9, and '1817 798, the land of beauty, xi. 16, 41 (cf. v. 45), of Canaan (comp. Jer. iii. 19, Ezek. xx. 6, 15); 55p nuni, burnished brass, x. 6, Ezek. i. 7; 0'731 mrab, clothed in linen, xii. 6 f., Ezek. ix. 3. The statement in Smith's Dict. of the Bible (ed. 1) and the Speaker's Comm. (p. 227), that the language of Daniel bears the closest affinity' to that of Ezek. is altogether incorrect, and seems indeed to be due merely to a misunderstanding of Delitzsch's expression in Herzog (ed. 1).

Comp. Breasted, Hebraica, vii. (1891), p. 246.

1

approximating to (though not identical with) those met with in the Book of Enoch (which was written probably, for the most part, during the century following the rise of the Maccabees). Whether the 'one like unto a son of man’ in vii. 13 symbolizes the Messiah or the ideal people of Israel (see p. 104 f.), the representation of the judgement upon heathen powers, and of the manner in which the Divine kingdom is inaugurated upon earth (vii. 9-14, 26, 27), is unlike any other representation of the same facts contained in the Old Testament: let the reader study, for example, successively Am. ix. 9-15; Hos. i. 10—ii. 1, xiv. 4–8; Is. ii. 2—4, iv. 2–6, ix. 1—7, xi., xxviii. 18—24, xxix. 18–24, xxxii. 1-8; Jer. xxiii. 148, xxxi., xxxiii.; Ez. xxxiv. II -31, xxxvi. ; Is. liv., lv., lx.; and he can hardly fail to feel that when he comes to Dan. vii. he is in a different circle of ideas : on the other hand, the representation in Daniel (as shewn on pp. 85 f., 106 f.) has many traits resembling those appearing shortly afterwards in the Book of Enoch. Angels, again, have in Daniel ‘special personal names (viii. 16, ix. 21, X. 13, 21, xii. 1), special ranks (x. 13, 20, xii. 1), and the guardianship of different countries (x. 13, 20, 21). These representations go far beyond those of Ezek., and Zech., and are relatively identical with those of Tobit, and other Jewish writings of the first cent. B.C. Daniel plainly teaches a personal resurrection of both the righteous and the wicked (xii. 2). This also is a decided advance upon the doctrine taught elsewhere in the O.T: ...... Thus while the determination of the date of an 0.T. writing from its religious doctrines is always a delicate procedure, yet, as far as a doctrinal development can be found in the O.T., the Book of Daniel comes after all other O.T. writings, and approximates most closely to the Jewish literature of the first cent. B.C.'3

Even though there should be no truth in the opinion that these developments have been even partially moulded by foreign

1 See further the notes on iv. 13, viii. 16, x. 13.
2 Comp. p. xc ff.
3 Curtis in Hastings' Dict. of the Bible, i. 554.

influences', they undoubtedly mark a later phase of revelation than that which is set before us in other books of the 0.T. And the conclusion to which these special features in the Book point is confirmed by the general atmosphere which breathes in it, and the tone that prevails in it. This atmosphere and tone are not those of any other writings belonging to the period of the Exile: they are those of a stage intermediate between that of the early post-exilic and that of the early post-Biblical Jewish literature.

A number of independent considerations, including some of great cogency, thus combine in favour of the conclusion that the Book of Daniel was not written earlier than c. 300 B.C. And there are certainly grounds, which though they may not be regarded as demonstrative, except on the part of those who deny all predictive prophecy, nevertheless make the opinion a highly probable one, that the Book is a work of the age of Antiochus Epiphanes. The interest of the Book manifestly culminates in the relations subsisting between the Jews and Antiochus. Antiochus, it is admitted on all hands, is the subject of viii. 9-14, 23—25; and, as pointed out on pp. 99 f., there are cogent exegetical reasons for supposing that he is likewise the 'little horn' of vii. 8, 21, 24-26, and that events of his reign are described in ix. 25—27. The survey of Syrian and Egyptian history in ch. xi. leads up to a detailed description of his reign (vv. 21–452): xii. 6, 7, 10—12 revert again to the persecution which the Jews experienced at his hands. This being so, it is certainly remarkable that the revelations respecting him should be given to Daniel, in Babylon, nearly four centuries previously: it is consonant with God's general methods of providence to raise up teachers, for the instruction or encouragement of His people, at the time when the need arises. It is remarkable also that Daniel—so unlike the prophets generally-should display, as remarked above (p. viii), so little interest in the welfare, or prospects, of his contemporaries; that his hopes and Messianic visions should attach themselves, not

1 Comp. below, p. xciv ff.

2 Cf. p. 193

(as is the case with Jer., Ezek., Isa. xl.lxvi.) to the approaching return of the exiles to the land of their fathers, but to the deliverance of his people in a remote future. The minuteness of the predictions, embracing even special events in the distant future, is also out of harmony with the analogy of prophecy. Isaiah, Jeremiah, and other prophets unquestionably uttered predictions of the future; but their predictions, when definitel, relate to events of the proximate future only; when (as in the case of Jeremiah's prediction of 70 years' Babylonian supremacy) they concern a more distant future, they are general and indefinite in their terms. And while down to the period of Antiochus's persecution the actual events are described with surprising distinctness, after this point the distinctness ceases : the closing events of Antiochus's own life are, to all appearance, not described as they actually occurred (see on xi. 40—45); and when the end of his life has been reached, the prophecy either breaks off altogether (viii. 25, ix. 27), or merges in an ideal representation of the Messianic future (vii. 27, xii. 1-3). Judged by the analogy of other prophecies (e.g. Is. viii. 1—ix. 7; X. 5-xi. 16), these facts would imply that the author wrote during the period of Antiochus's persecution itself.

As a matter of fact, this supposition explains consistently all the features of the Book. The author lives in the age in which he manifests an interest, and which needs the consolations which he has to address to it. He does not write after the persecutions are ended (in which case his prophecies would be pointless), but while they are in progress, when his message

of encouragement would have a value for the godly Jews in the season of their trial.

It is hardly possible to fix the actual year in which the book was written; but the inexactness respecting the closing events of Antiochus' life renders it almost certain that these were still in the future when the author wrote: the general tenor of chs. ix., xi., and xii. makes it

1 As Is. viii. 4; Jer. xxviii. 16. See more fully the writer's Sermons on the Old T'estament, pp. 107–113. Prophecies relating to the future kingdom of God stand upon a different footing: comp. p. Ixxxvii ff.

« السابقةمتابعة »