Daniel and the Fundamentalists

It is standard fare among Old Testament scholars to assume that the biblical book of Daniel was written in the second century B.C.—well after the fulfillment of the prophecies contained in that book. Jim Hamilton highlights a 1990 essay by Gerhard Hasel that shows the implausibility of the late date in light of evidence from the Dead Sea Scrolls. Hamilton concludes:

“This evidence inclines me to think that those who persist in dating Daniel to the Maccabean era do so for uncritical, dogmatic reasons. Namely, their religion (historical critical naturalism with its priesthood of archeologists and orthodoxy of unbelief) dictates that they must not believe in a God who inspires predictive prophecy.

“At any rate, primary source testimony, manuscript evidence, and historical probabilities are not dictating their conclusions.”

In other words, an early date for Daniel does not rely on fundamentalist ignorance of the historical record. Quite the opposite is the case. The fundamentalists in this debate are those who are so enslaved to critical orthodoxy that they can’t even consider evidence that contradicts their hypothesis.

7 Responses to Daniel and the Fundamentalists

  1. Derek September 6, 2010 at 11:17 am #

    It’s always interesting to watch how people try to “explain away” OT prophecy, especially in Daniel and Isaiah.

  2. Stephen September 6, 2010 at 2:59 pm #

    I always enjoy reading Jim hamilton’s work on OT issues. SBTS is blessed to have him as a professor!

  3. Dave September 6, 2010 at 9:23 pm #

    I’ve always enjoyed the blog, but am troubled by the disparaging manner that you utilize the word “fundamentalist.” Why?

  4. Denny Burk September 6, 2010 at 11:58 pm #

    I don’t mean any disparagement. I mean to turn the label back on critical scholars who might use the term to describe people who hold to an early date of Daniel (like I do).

  5. Mark September 7, 2010 at 1:24 am #

    That is what happens when unregenerates read Scripture.

  6. Dave September 7, 2010 at 11:11 am #


    I guess we view the label differently.


  7. RD September 7, 2010 at 7:15 pm #

    I hesitate to consider the debate on the dating of the Book of Daniel to be settled simply because one scholar feels it was written during the time of the Babylonian invasion. The vast majority of scholarship is not in agreement with this thinking. Of course, there is absolutely no way to know for certain when the text was written. All we have are copies of copies. No original manuscript exists.

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