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2. The Unity of the Book

The Unity of the Book of Daniel is now generally admitted. No one thought of questioning it in days before the dawn of criticism, but in 1772 Eichhorn and Corrodi doubted the genuineness of the Book. J. D. Michaelis endeavoured to prove that it was "a collection of fugitive pieces," consisting of six historic pictures, followed by four prophetic visions.6666   Orient. u. Exeg. Bibliothek, 1772, p. 141. This view was revived by Lagarde in the Göttingen Gel. Anzeigen, 1891. Bertholdt, followed the erroneous tendency of criticism which found a foremost exponent in Ewald, and imagined the possibility of detecting the work of many different25 hands. He divided the Book into fragments by nine different authors.6767   Daniel neu Übersetz. u. Erklärt., 1808; Köhler, Lehrbuch, ii. 577. The first who suspected the unity of the Book because of the two languages was Spinoza (Tract-historicopol, x. 130 ff.). Newton (Observations upon the Prophecies of Daniel and the Apocalypse, i. 10) and Beausobre (Remarques sur le Nouv. Test., i. 70) shared the doubt because of the use of the first person in the prophetic (Dan. vii.-xii.) and the third in the historic section (Dan. i.-vi.). Michaelis, Bertholdt, and Reuss considered that its origin was fragmentary; and Lagarde (who dated the seventh chapter a.d. 69) calls it "a bundle of flyleaves." Meinhold and Strack, like Eichhorn, regard the historic section as older than the prophetic; and Cornill thinks that the Book was put together in great haste. Similarly, Graf (Der Prophet Jeremia) regards the Aramaic verse, Jer. x. 11, as a marginal gloss. Lagarde argues, from the silence of Josephus about many points, that he could not have had the present Book of Daniel before him (e.g., Dan. vii. or ix.-xii.); but the argument is unsafe. Josephus seems to have understood the Fourth Empire to be the Roman, and did not venture to write of its destruction. For this reason he does not explain "the stone" of Dan. ii. 45.

Zöckler, in Lange's Bibelwerk, persuaded himself that the old "orthodox" views of Hengstenberg and Auberlen were right; but he could only do this by sacrificing the authenticity of parts of the Book, and assuming more than one redaction. Thus he supposes that xi. 5-39 are an interpolation by a writer in the days of Antiochus Epiphanes. Similarly, Lenormant admits interpolations in the first half of the Book. But to concede this is practically to give up the Book of Daniel as it now stands.

The unity of the Book of Daniel is still admitted or assumed by most critics.6868   By De Wette, Schrader, Hitzig, Ewald, Gesenius, Bleek, Delitzsch, Von Lengerke, Stähelin, Kamphausen, Wellhausen, etc. Reuss, however, says (Heil. Schrift., p. 575), "Man könnte auf die Vorstellung kommen das Buch habe mehr als einen Verfasser"; and König thinks that the original form of the book may have ended with chap. vii. (Einleit., § 384). It has only been recently questioned in two directions.

Meinhold thinks that the Aramaic and historic sections26 are older than the rest of the Book, and were written about b.c. 300 to convert the Gentiles to monotheism.6969   Beiträge, 1888. See too Kranichfeld, Das Buch Daniel, p. 4. The view is refuted by Budde, Theol. Lit. Zeitung, 1888, No. 26. The conjecture has often occurred to critics. Thus Sir Isaac Newton, believing that Daniel wrote the last six chapters, thought that the six first "are a collection of historical papers written by others" (Observations, i. 10). He argues that the apocalyptic section was written later, and was subsequently incorporated with the Book. A somewhat similar view is held by Zöckler,7070   Einleit., p. 6. and some have thought that Daniel could never have written of himself in such highly favourable terms as, e.g., in Dan. vi. 4.7171   Other critics who incline to one or other modification of this view of the two Daniels are Tholuck, d. A.T. in N.T., 1872; C. v. Orelli, Alttest. Weissag., 1882; and Strack. The first chapter, which is essential as an introduction to the Book, and the seventh, which is apocalyptic, and is yet in Aramaic, create objections to the acceptance of this theory. Further, it is impossible not to observe a certain unity of style and parallelism of treatment between the two parts. Thus, if the prophetic section is mainly devoted to Antiochus Epiphanes, the historic section seems to have an allusive bearing on his impious madness. In ii. 10, 11, and vi. 8, we have descriptions of daring Pagan edicts, which might be intended to furnish a contrast with the attempts of Antiochus to suppress the worship of God. The feast of Belshazzar may well be a "reference to the Syrian despot's revelries at Daphne." Again, in ii. 43—where the mixture of iron and clay is explained by "they shall mingle themselves with the27 seed of men"—it seems far from improbable that there is a reference to the unhappy intermarriages of Ptolemies and Seleucidæ. Berenice, daughter of Ptolemy II. (Philadelphus), married Antiochus II. (Theos), and this is alluded to in the vision of xi. 6. Cleopatra, daughter of Antiochus III. (the Great), married Ptolemy V. (Epiphanes), which is alluded to in xi. 17.7272   Hengstenberg also points to verbal resemblances between ii. 44 and vii. 14; iv. 5 and vii. 1; ii. 31 and vii. 2; ii. 38 and vii. 17, etc. (Genuineness of Daniel, E. Tr., pp. 186 ff.). The style seems to be stamped throughout with the characteristics of an individual mind, and the most cursory glance suffices to show that the historic and prophetic parts are united by many points of connexion and resemblance. Meinhold is quite unsuccessful in the attempt to prove a sharp contrast of views between the sections. The interchange of persons—the third person being mainly used in the first seven chapters, and the first person in the last five—may be partly due to the final editor; but in any case it may easily be paralleled, and is found in other writers, as in Isaiah (vii. 3, xx. 2) and the Book of Enoch (xii.).

But it may be said in general that the authenticity of the Book is now rarely defended by any competent critic, except at the cost of abandoning certain sections of it as interpolated additions; and as Mr. Bevan somewhat caustically remarks, "the defenders of Daniel have, during the last few years, been employed chiefly in cutting Daniel to pieces."7373   A Short Commentary, p. 8.


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