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Section One: The Dead Sea Scrolls Manuscript Data



1. Do we have any copies of the Book of Daniel that either date BEFORE 165bc,
or somewhat later ones that virtually require the existence of the Book of Daniel
before that time?


Yes, we very probably have the latter.


The Dead Sea Scrolls have an extensive collection of both manuscripts of the
biblical book of Daniel, as well as discussions and references to his work in
other works.


There are now eight mss. of Daniel from Qumran (1QDan/a, 1QDan/b, 4QDan/a, 4QDan/b,
4QDan/c, 4QDan/d, 4QDan/e, pap6QDan). This represents every chapter of Daniel,
as Flint observes [HI:EMDSS:43]:


"Every chapter of Daniel is represented in these manuscripts, except for Daniel
12. However, this does not mean that the book lacked the final chapter at Qumran,
since Dan 12:10 is quoted in the Florilegium (4Q174), which explicitly tells
us that it is written in ‘the book of Daniel, the Prophet.’"


This group of documents represents the largest representation of ANY biblical
book at Qumran, exceeding even the number of Jeremiah scrolls.


In a more recent work, Flint gives this table of the major Daniel mss [HI:DS



??????????????? Manuscript
??????????????????????????????? Number
??????????????????????????????????????????????? Content Range
??????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????? Date Copied


??????????????? 1QDan(a)
??????????????????????????????? 1Q71
??????????????????????????????????????????????? 1:10 to 2:6
??????????????? ??????????????????????????????????????????????? Herodian


??????????????? 1QDan(b)
??????????????????????????????? 1Q72
??????????????????????????????????????????????? 3:22-30
??????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????? Herodian


??????????????? 4QDan(a)
??????????????????????????????? 4Q112
??????????????????????????????????????????????? 1:16 to 11:16
??????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????? Mid-1st c. BCE


??????????????? 4QDan(b)
??????????????????????????????? 4Q113
??????????????????????????????????????????????? 5:10 to 8:16
??????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????? Ca. 20-50 CE


??????????????? 4QDan(c)
??????????????????????????????? 4Q114
??????????????????????????????????????????????? 10:5 to 11:29
??????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????? Late 2nd c. BCE (note: Ulrich, DJD 16)


??????????????? 4QDan(d)
??????????????????????????????? 4Q115
??????????????????????????????????????????????? 3:23 to 7:23?
??????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????? Ca. mid-1st c. BCE


??????????????? 4QDan(e)
??????????????????????????????? 4Q116
??????????????????????????????????????????????? 9:12-17?
??????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????? 1st half of 2nd c. BCE (but this is presumably a typo; it is dated elsewhere
to Late 2nd c.)


??????????????? Pap6QDan
??????????????????????????????? 6Q7
??????????????????????????????????????????????? 8:16? To 11:38
??????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????? Ca. 50 CE



Please notice Items #5 and #7, portions from the last half of the Book of Daniel,
which were COPIED (not "WRITTEN"!) between 150 and 100 BC…


If these mss were COPIES of some antecedent mss, what might we reasonably infer
about its exemplar?


Think about this for a second. Let’s say you are part of the team that is excavating
the site, and you find this scroll. You look at the handwriting/layout/etc.
and recognize it to be that customary to 150-100 B.C. What are the possible
dates of the origination of the content of that scroll?


1.        1.        Whoever wrote the scroll, invented the content as they wrote it
(making the date of the scroll IDENTICAL TO the date of the content, and making
the copy the autograph itself).

2.        2.        Whoever wrote the scroll, made a copy from an anteceden
t scroll–a scroll itself older than the one YOU found, by definition. (Making the
content even older than the antecedent scroll, assuming THAT scroll-writer didn’t
invent the content).

3.        3.        [Number 2, but the copy is made from someone reading orally
the antecedent scroll.]


What this would mean for dating, of course, is that UNLESS THEY WERE MAKING
DANIEL UP ON THE FLY, this scroll would presuppose an earlier scroll (pushing the
content, again, earlier also).


And since the antecedent copy could also be  a copy of a copy, this cycle would
need to be repeated back to the original acceptance (not its writing, btw) of
the document as being "worthy of copying". In other words, the content must
be worthy of the expense/cost of copying, and the HIGHER the expense (and correlatively,
the HIGHER the number of copies found), the more valuable the content must be considered.


For example, take a couple of other manuscripts of Daniel from there: 4QDan(a)
and 4QDan(b). The latter is dated 20-50 AD, and t
he former is dated a century
earlier (50 BC). Ulrich studied the orthography and writes:


"Given this pair of facts, the fertile suggestion arises that 4Qdan(b) may have
been copied from 4Qdan(a)…by a scribe who was intent upon reproducing the text in
the more contemporary, more full and clear and interpretative orthography of the late Second
Temple period." [DSSOB:162]


This, of course, makes Dan(b) a century younger than its exemplar Dan(a). If we had
only found Dan(b)–with its date of 20-50ad–would we have been correct in ascribing
the content of Dan(a) to that time period? Of course not–in that case the content
was at least a century older.


Scribal copies (mss) are not like other archeological data. Other data may not
require an ‘antecedent’ dating. For example, a monument celebrating a specific
event may only witness to the date of that event (plus whatever time it took
to create the monument, get enough breathing room to do so, etc.). But a manuscript
copy, always (except in the miniscule probability that we have an actual autograph) re
quires the prior existence of an exemplar, and requires some period for that exemplar
to have become ‘worthy enough’ (to whoever funded the copying) to copy. In the
case of economic and legal texts, this period may be short; and in the case
of ‘claiming authority’ texts, a good bit longer. Therefore, a manuscript copy dated
at 100 BC, for example, witnesses to far more than the simple fact that its contents
were existence at that date–it rather represents an end-point to an earlier
(and generally much longer) process of conception, origination, distribution,
social acceptance, "canonizing" (in the secular sense of literature that becomes the
"important to read" lit), and then copying.


And, that these copies are themselves copies of copies can be seen from the fact that
it is generally accepted that Daniel was not written at Qumran:


"But not all texts found at Qumran were composed by the sect; many, like the
books of Enoch and Daniel, were part of the wider literary heritage of Judaism…Ther
e is no clear case of an apocalypse actually authored within the Qumran community. "
[Collins, HI:DSS50B:404]


"Further, not a single document which has been identified as an apocalypse appears
to have originated within the Qumran community…none of these documents was produced
by the Qumran community." [Aune, HI:DSS50B:626]


In other words, unless the Qumran community somehow had the "original, final,
canonical" copy of Daniel from which to make Dan(c) and Dan(e), then these manuscripts
were made from copies themselves–again pushing the date back. Since the Qumran
community is generally understood to have originated in 150 BC, this means that
Daniel (as we have it today) was in existence at that time (see the remarks
by Collins and Aune above).


Ulrich notes that the Daniel manuscripts in Qumran reflect a different textual
tradition than the Massoretic text:


"Moreover, since neither Qumran manuscript agrees with the MT in a single reading
against the other Qumran manuscript, we can conclude that 4Qdan(a) and 4Qdan(b) stan
d in one text tradition over against that exemplified in the Masoretic textus receptus.
" [DSSOB:162]


What this entails (since 60% of the DSS are proto-Massoretic) is that Daniel
had already circulated widely enough and been copied enough–prior to 150 BC–
to have created (at least) two textual "families". Minor textual variants, of
course, might mean very little for dating purposes, but textual ‘traditions’ presuppose
a "point of divergence" somewhere in the past. [This is a bit oversimplified,
since "cross-fertilization" of traditions is known to have occurred.] To create
a ‘tradition’ the document has to create multiple "generations" of copying (not
just lots of copying of the original), and to believe this occurred within some
15 years of the date of authorship (i.e., written in 165, and having been copied
many, many times–along separate linear paths– by 150) is quite a stretch.


To understand why this growth of two textual families within 15 years is highly
doubtful, one need only consider the "useful life" of a scroll. Since most literature
at the time was used for oral performance/reading, one didn’t need a lot of
copies. Accordingly, copies were made on an as-needed basis (and for personal library
reasons). Since scrolls might exist and be used for a century or more (we have mss
at Qumran that are dated 3rd century–a century before the Qumran community came into existence),
the need to make ‘generational’ copies simply wouldn’t exist–the exemplar itself
would have been available (and in good shape). [Older scholarship believed in
strong definitions of textual ‘families’, in which geographical isolation factors
would insure that the generational copying processes would not interact with
other, but this has been largely discounted.] What the existence of two textual
traditions before Qumran/150 means, is that the origination date of the "original
original" would most likely be much earlier than a miniscule 15 years.





So, if an early copy/ text were found at Qumran at all (and we were sure the
content wasn’t written there), how far back could we safely infer its origination?


What is strange here, is that even non-conservative scholars will say ‘Pre-Maccabean’
to this question (because of the time requirement for ‘literary diffusion’)–EXCEPT FOR


Waltke complains out this inconsistency [BibSac?V133 #532,Oct 1976,p.322; emphasis


"The discovery of manuscripts of Daniel at Qumran dating from the Maccabean
period renders it highly improbable that the book was composed during the time
of the Maccabees.


"In Apercus preliminaires Dupont-Sommer reports that ?The owners of seventeen
different fragments of Daniel are known, but there are certainly several others.?
This evidence demonstrates the popularity of Daniel with the Qumran Covenanteers.
One Dead Sea scroll cannot be dated later than 120 B.C. on the basis of its paleography.


"Equivalent manuscript finds at Qumran of other books where the issue of predictive
prophecy is not in question have led scholars to repudiate a Maccabean date
for their compositions. For example, Brownlee, professor of religion at the Claremont Graduate
School, writes:


‘Frank Cross has indicated that one of the Psalms manuscripts from Cave Four
attests so-called Maccabean psalms at a period which is roughly contemporary
with their supposed composition. If this is true, it would seem that we should abandon the
idea of any of the canonical psalms being of Maccabean date, for each song had
to win its way in the esteem of the people before it could be included in the
sacred compilation of the Psalter. Immediate entr?e for any of them is highly improbable.’


"Burrows follows the same line of reasoning with respect to the date of Ecc


‘The script [of two scrolls of Ecclesiastes f
ound in Cave Four] indicates a
date near the middle of the second century B.C. This is not much later than
the time at which many scholars have thought the book was originally written. We cannot
?tell, of course, how old the book was when this particular copy was made,
but the probability of its composition in the third century, if not earlier,
is somewhat enhanced by finding the manuscript probably not written much after
150 B.C.


"Likewise, Myers, professor of Old Testament at the Lutheran Theological Seminary,
Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, wrote, ?The discovery of a fragment of Chronicles at Qumran render
s a Maccabean date virtually impossible for any part of Chronicles.?


"But critical scholars have refused to draw the same conclusion in the case of Daniel even though
?the evidence is identical. For example, in the work cited above by Brownlee, he avers
the 165 B.C. date in spite of the evidence. His refusal to allow the evidence to lead
him to the more probable conclusion that Daniel was composed before the Maccabean
era is the more astonishing because along with others he thinks that the late
pious forger of Daniel made a mistake in one of his predictions. He reasoned, ?The predicted
end of Antiochus in 11:40?45  differs from the stories of his death in I and
II Maccabees and hence it presumably represents real prediction on the part
of the author of Daniel which was never fulfilled.? But if this be so, it seems
incredible that the alleged contemporaries would have held his work in such
high regard referring to him as ?Daniel the prophet,? a title bestowed on him in a florilegium
found in 4Q."



In fact, in the case of the Psalms, they were re-dated from post-Maccabean to
Persian period dates, because of this ‘literary diffusion time’ requirement!:


"The literary criticism of Daniel must now be reassessed against the manuscript
discoveries at Qumran, where several copies of the work were found. In addition,
two fragments located in Cave 1 have proved on examination to be related palaeographically
to the large Isaiah scroll (1QIsaa), dated by Millar Burrows about 100 B.C.
All these documents, of course, are copies from the Maccabean age or later,
making it necessary to remark, as Burrows has observed, that the originals came
from a period several centuries in advance of the earliest date to which these
manuscripts and fragments can be assigned on any basis of reckoning. [M. Burrows, The
?Dead Sea Scrolls (New York: Viking, 1955), p. 118

] Part of the reason for this is that the ancient Hebrews generally allowed
an interval of time to elapse between the autograph and its recognition as canonical
Scripture by its readers. This process had the effect of ensuring the consonance of
the particular work with the ethos of the Torah, which constituted the standard
of revelation and spirituality.


"In support of this position, as noted above, is the fragmentary copy of the
Psalter from Qumran (4QPsaa), which shows quite clearly on the same grounds
that the collection of canonical psalms had already been fixed by the Maccabean
period. [F.M. Cross, The Ancient Library of Qumran and Modern Biblical Study (Ga
rden City, N.Y.: Doubleday, 1961), p. 165.] As a result, scholars have advanced
those compositions formerly regarded as "Maccabean psalms" to the Persian period.
?All future literary-critical studies of Daniel will have to take proper account
of this objective evidence.


"Although the literary criticism of certain other OT books is inconclusive in
some areas, it is now evident from the findings at Qumran that no canonical
writing can be dated later than the end of the Persian period, i.e., much beyond
350 B.C. Compilations of material such as the Psalter must also be governed by
this principle, as noted above, even though individual compositions may come
from widely separated periods." [R.K. Harrison, "Historical and Literary Criticism
of the New Testament", in EBC, vol. 1]



Now, if the playing field were really level, we could pack up and go home, confident
that the manuscript evidence was allowed to speak, but it’s not quite that easy.
As long as we have Daniel commentators starting out with frameworks like this:


"We need to assume that the vision [of Daniel 8] as a whole is a prophecy after the fact.
Why? Because human beings are unable accurately to predict future events centuries
in advance and to say that Daniel could do so, even on the basic of a symbolic revelation
vouchsafed to him by God and interpreted by an angel, is to fly in the face
of the certainties of human nature. So what we have here is in fact not a road map
of the future laid down in the sixth century B.C. but an interpretation of the
events of the author’s own time, 167-164 B.C…" [Towner, Daniel, Interpeter’s Bible, Joh
n Knox:1984, p. 115, cited in [DLIOT:332]]


Or even careful scholarly statements like this:


"Dan. 11.40-45 describes the military campaign of Antiochus Epiphanes against
Egypt in the form of a prophecy, and attaches to the events a genuine prophecy
about the ‘end of times’. The text then, with the exception of the concluding v.
45, is a vaticinium ex eventu, that is a record of the events of the recent past in
the form of a prophecy for the future. The concluding verse, however–the foretelling
of the death of Antiochus Epiphanes–is a genuine prophecy, from a time before this
death. The genuineness of the prophecy is guaranteed by the subsequent unfolding
of events. The events prophesied in Dan. 11.45 do not happen, or rather do not happen
in the manner foretold." [HI:TTHT:80; in other words, if the prediction is TRUE,
then it is not prophecy; if it is FALSE, then it IS prophecy…btw, most evangelical
commentators don’t believe 11.40-45 is prophecy about Antiochus at all–but
rather that this refers to an eschatological Anti-Christ figure instead]


then the manuscript evidence will not be allowed to speak (as it is allowed
to speak  in cases not involving predictive prophecy).


(Is it any wonder the conservative evangelical feels frustration at this apparent
double-standard, this Procrustean approach to the manuscript evidence?)


This is not, of course, to assert that all who hold to a late-date of Daniel
are anti-supernaturalists! There are many good, "moderate" evangelicals who
hold to this view–although I suspect it is more often due to the realities
of controlling paradigms in scholarly discussion. Controlling paradigms are necessary
for extended research, and actually for finding the holes in the paradigm. For
specialists outside of a specific field (e.g. paleography), trying to utilize
insights and results from a different field (e.g., Danielic studies), dependence
on the latter’s controlling paradigms may be the only option–there being no
practical way for them to validate it outside of their specialty.  So, by themselves,
they are not ‘evil’. But when the paradigm becomes a ‘social force’ against renewal,
innovation, new paradigm suggestion, and self-critical analysis, it takes its
place in the hall of "stifling and oppressive traditions"…In the final section
of this series, I will show how I think a late-d
ate view can be harmonized (in
good conscience) with high-views of Scripture and Jesus’ words in the Gospels.
I think the position is difficult to maintain, but I do feel that it can be
granted as possible/reasonable.




Let’s try to see further WHY the presence of a MSS of Daniel at Qumran would
normally imply a pre-Maccabean date. [The non-conservative quotes above already
pointed this out–the issue of ‘time for acceptance’ requirements.]


Let’s couple this gap of 15 years (maximum, from authorship to copy), between
the alleged date of Daniel and this existing copy, with the status of Daniel at Qumr
an [Flint, HI:EMDSS:44]:


"The fourth issue: What was the status of the book of Daniel at Qumran? Was
?it regarded as Scripture, or only as an important writing alongside many others?
We may conclude that Daniel was regarded as a scriptural book at Qumran for
two reasons. First, the large number of preserved copies is a clear indication
of Daniel’s importance among the Qumran covenanters. Second, the way in which
Daniel was used at Qumran is indicative of its authoritative status; for instance,
the Florilegium (4Q174) quotes Dan 12:10 as ‘written in the book of Daniel,
the Prophet’ (frgs. 1-3 ii 3-4a). This reference has two implications: that
Daniel was regarded by the writer as Scripture and that it may have belonged
among the ‘Prophets’."


And 11QMelch:15ff:


"This is the day of peace about which God spoke of old through the words of
Isaiah the prophet, who said: How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet
of the messenger who announces peace, of the messenger of good who announces
salvation, saying to Zion: ‘your God reigns’. Its interpretation: the mountains are
the prophets…And the messenger is the anointed of the spirit about whom Daniel spoke…an
d the messenger of good who announces salvation is the one about whom it is
written that he will send him to comfort the afflicted, to watch over the afflicted
ones of Zion"

Now, let’s consider the timing of this carefully.


The later-dater scholars would have to have Daniel written (1) during the Revolt–VERY
QUICKLY!; or (2) after the revolt, when the gentile powers had been overcome.
Since this last option is much more probable (given the generally time-consuming
nature of an armed revolt), this would put the pseudonymous composition somewhere
no earlier than 165 bc. [But this removes, by the way, some of the argument
as to WHY the book was composed. If it was composed to ‘encourage’ the resistance,
it would have been produced during the revolt, somehow given authoritative/scriptural
status–in spite of its unknown authorship, and widely distributed, ALL WITHIN


The Qumran community probably moved to the Dead Sea area around 150 BC. Interaction
with the religious community outside it at that point would have been very limited,
and largely polemical. This would have meant that Daniel would have had to have
been accepted as FULLY INSPIRED Scripture (not just ‘likeable’)  by the event
of separation–some 10-15 years after its alleged origination! What kind of
social forces could have produced such a miracle?! It was an allegedly pseudonymous
work, chapters 1-6 were even supportive of cooperation with foreign rule(!!!!),
and it even contained a ‘prediction’ (or many, depending on the commentator)
which was patently false (under the normal interpretation of the text)–how
could this possibly have been overwhelming to a separatist group? To all Israel?
And especially so quickly?


These folk at Qumran called Daniel a ‘prophet’. They–eyewitnesses of these
events–considered his words prophetic of the times/events. They ‘were there’
and they did not consider Daniel’s words to have been merely a ‘description’
of the past; He was describing THEIR future. And this is NOT a group removed in
time from the Revolt, remember.

The numbers simply don’t add up. You just cannot get from questionable authorship
and dubious milieu to full acceptance (of the WHOLE BOOK) as a codified piece
of Scripture(!) by a contemporary, rigorist, separatist group in 10-15 years [this, of
course, is what the non-conservative scholars are conceding in the above quotes].
It MUST have been considered scriptural LONG before the break, and anything
long enough to create this authority puts the window earlier than the events
in question–and we are back to ‘real, predictive prophecy’.


Remember, too, that this was not simply a matter of they ‘liked Daniel, because
they liked apocalyptic literature’. There were tons of books and writings they
"liked", but they never ascribed ‘prophetic status’ to these. There were tons
of works they considered "authoritative", but they never ascribed ‘prophetic status’
to these.



Pushback: "Whoa, whoa, whoa, Glenn…what about the Book of Jubilees? It was
written 160 BC, and was accepted by Qumran as scripture, being used in prooftexts,
even. This could support the ‘within 15 years’ possibility…"


Good question, but the ‘rub’ is in the difference between ‘authoritative’ and
‘scripture’…they are NOT the same, and the difference is very important.


Take, for example, the structure of "authority" in traditional Protestantism.
We begin with sacrosanct Scripture, which everyone (every traditional Protestant,
that is) has to ascribe "primary" or "ultimate" authority to. The various sub-groups
(i.e., denominational bodies), however, have somewhat different interpretation

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