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.


  • RD

    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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