The Book of Daniel: Composition and Reception I & II


I haven’t done any works relevant to my dissertation since I got to Waverly. I have been worrying about it, but my friend Emile emailed and comforted me with kind words:

Don’t worry too much about working on your dissertation while you are in Iowa. You have too much to do teaching, and that is a very valuable experience for you to add to your vita. I would suggest instead of writing formal parts of the dissertation that you read books and articles on your bibliography, and try informal ‘journaling’ about what you read every night.

I decided to read and review The Book of Daniel: Compostion and Reception I & II (Edited by John J. Collins and Peter W. Flint; Boston; Leiden: Brill Academic: Publishers, Inc., 2002). This two volumes set offers me a borad view for all issues of the book of Daniel. It has eight parts:

Part 1: General Topics

Part 2: Daniel in Its Near Eastern Milieu

Part 3: Issues in Interpretation of Specific Passages

Part 4: Social Setting

Part 5: Literary Context, Including Qumran

Part 6: Reception in Judaism and Christianity

Part 7: Textual History

Part 8: The Theology of Daniel

John J. Collins as one of the editor of the book offers an outline of the eight chapters in his introductory article, “Current Issues on the Study of Daniel” (pp. 1-15). He introduces the eight chpaters with issues of Daniel such as (1) text, (2) Compostion and Genre, (3) Social Setting, (4) The History of Interpretation, and (5) Theology and Ethics.

Collins denies to read Daniel as fundamentalist read it as a prophecy of western political history. Then, he presupposes the scholarly research of the eight chapters as follows:

It is agreed that Daniel is pseudepographic: the stories in chapters 1-6 are legendary in character, and the visions in chapters 7-12 were composed by persons unknown in the Maccabean era. the stories are almost certainly older than the visions, but the book itself ws put together shortly after the Maccabean crisis. It must be read, then, as a witness to the religiosity of that time, not as a prophecy of western political history or of the eschatological future (Collins 2002, 2).

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