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The Book of Daniel

Updated on February 6, 2010

Book of Daniel, considered by most scholars to have been composed during the reign of Antiochus IV (circa 165 BC) to strengthen the Jews under persecution during the attempt of Antiochus to substitute Greek religion for the worship of yahweh. The period it describes is that of Nebuchadnezzar. King of Babylon, and the following kings. The book falls into two subject divisions: (1) chapters i-vi, which tell how Daniel at the Babylonian court rises to high rank through his power of interpreting dreams; (2) chapters vii-xii. containing four prophetic visions. Chapters i-ii. 4 are written in Hebrew; chapĀ­ters iii - vii in Aramaic, the rest in Hebrew.

The most probable explanation is that the original Hebrew was translated into the vernacular Aramaic, and that the translation was later used to supply missing parts in the original. The discovery of fragments of the Book of Daniel in Caves I and IV at Qumran (see dead sea scrolls) has called into serious question the assumed Maccabean date for the original. The book is important for its influĀ­ence on Jewish apocalyptic writings, for its revelation of the doctrine of a Resurrection, and for the vision of the heavenly son of man which Christ applied to himself.

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