[Editor’s note: this is part of an interaction with a questioner who feels my treatment of Peter Enns’ book How the Bible Actually Works is not fair. The article is found here: https://evidenceforchristianity.org/a-review-of-peter-enns-book-how-the-bible-actually-works/ ]


I have worked my way through some fairly lengthy portions of your sermon at the Boston Church of Christ on Daniel.  I wanted to focus on one item right off since you emphasized this at length – the Book of Daniel in the DSS.  The clear implication in your sermon that any gentle listener would have taken away is that there is among the DSS corpus a complete and very accurate book of Daniel (corresponding to the complete and very accurate 4th and 5th C Greek translationS corresponding to the complete and accurate 10th C Hebrew text…J).  Needless to say, I was enthused but wanted to check the source data.  I have two books which presumably contain all that is available in English from the DSS.  The Wise, Abegg and Cook text provided the most material (but corresponded with the Hermes text).  What we in fact have – according to this text – is a FEW, BARE FRAGMENTS – amounting to perhaps less than one or two vss as a whole.  Much of the material is not really Daniel but simply references Daniel AND provide essentially zero content as to the actual text. Now then, I ran into another site – an evangelical apologist site (whom, sadly, I have learned to always distrust) – which indicates all kinds of material from Daniel from the DSS – but I never found anything specific…..  I have yet to more thoroughly investigate. My question to you – what am I missing that you have to make such claims as you did ….?????


I am well aware of the fragmentary evidence from Daniel in the Dead Sea Scrolls. In my book Daniel, Prophet to the Nations (www,ipibooks.com), I never state that most of Daniel is found in the Dead Sea Scrolls. Neither did I say this in the sermon you listened to. I have consistently said that the Dead Sea Scroll fragments come from about 125 BC or later and that they demonstrate that Daniel was considered canonical by this date. I believe that what I have written and what I have said publicly is essentially accurate.

I did look back at the evidence from the DSS.  The data is that there are eight fragments, which contain all or part of 197 verses in Daniel (some of that being overlap).   The list of the fragments, estimated dates of their having been written, and the verses of Daniel found in them are below. There are 357 verses in Daniel, so we have all or part of about 50% of the verses in Daniel represented in these eight fragments.  There are parts of every chapter in Daniel except ch 12 in these DSS.  So, your statement rather significantly underestimates the amount of material, to put it mildly.   I am not sure about your source Wise Abegg and Cook, but perhaps you are misinterpreting what they say.  It seems that the evangelical site that you mistrusted might be close to the truth in this case.  I cannot judge the potential bias of your source, as I do not know to what they refer.

Like I said, the number of fragments of Daniel and their estimated dates establishes as extremely likely that Daniel was considered canonical in the late second century BC, which strongly argues for it having been written, almost certainly by 200 BC and more likely some time before 250 BC in order that:

1. It be read, studied, considered, and accepted by the consensus of Jewish scribes    and

2. It be accepted by the Jewish leaders as being, not a forgery and a misrepresentation of the truth about the actual person Daniel.

Proof?  No.  Most reasonable conclusion?  Yes.

Do people like Enns take this into account, or are they more influenced by their presuppositions?  That is my concern. Enns, like many other liberal scholars, takes the late date of writing of Daniel as a given, whereas, as I point out in my book, all the actual evidence points to a much earlier date.

John Oakes

4Q114 Danielc

Language: Hebrew

Date: 150-75 B.C.

Location: Qumran Cave 4

Contents: Daniel 10:5-9, 11-16, 10:21-11-2, 11:13-17, 25-29

4Q112 Daniela

Language: Hebrew (1:16-21 and 8:1-11:16) and Aramaic (2:9-7:28)

Date:  75-25 B.C.

Location: Qumran Cave 4

Contents: Daniel 1:16-21; 2:9-10, 19-35, 37-49; 3:1-2; 4:32-33 (Aramaic 4:29-30); 5:5-7, 12-14, 16-19; 7:5-6, 25-28; 8:1-5; 10:16-20; 11:13-16

1Q71 Daniela

Language: Hebrew (1:10-17; 2:2-4a) and Aramaic (2:4b-6)

Date: Between 125 B.C. and 50 A.D.

Location: Qumran Cave 1

Contents: Daniel 1:10-17; 2:2-6

4Q116 Daniele

Language: Hebrew

Date: Between 150 B.C. and 75 A.D.

Location: Qumran Cave 4

Contents: Daniel 9:12-17

1Q72 Danielb

Language: Aramaic

Date: Between 125 B.C. and 50 A.D.

Location: Qumran Cave 1

Contents: Daniel 3:22-30

4Q113 Danielb

Language: Aramaic (5:10-7:28) and Hebrew (8:1-16)

Date:  Between 30 B.C. and 50 A.D.

Location: Qumran Cave 4

Contents: Daniel 5:10-12, 14-16, 19-22; 6:7-22, 26-28; 7:1-6, 11, 26-28; 8:1-8, 13-16

4Q115 Danield

Language: Aramaic

Date: 30 B.C. – 68 A.D.

Location: Qumran Cave 4

Contents: Daniel 3:5-10, 23-25; 4:8-12, 15-19 (Hebrew 4:5-9, 12-16); 7:15-23

6Q7 PapDaniel

Language: Hebrew, on Papyrus

Date: About 50 A.D.

Location: Qumran Cave 6

Contents: Daniel 8:16-17, 20-21; 10:8-16; 11:33-36, 38


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