W. Sibley Towner writes: "Daniel is one of the few OT books that can be given a fairly firm date. In the form in which we have it (perhaps without the additions of 12:11, 12), the book must have been given its final form some time in the years 167-164 B.C. This dating is based upon two assumptions: first, that the authors lived at the later end of the historical surveys that characterize Daniel 7-12; and second, that prophecy is accurate only when it is given after the fact, whereas predictions about the future tend to run astray. Based upon these assumptions, the references to the desecration of the Temple and the 'abomination that makes desolate' in 8:9-12; 9:27; and 11:31 must refer to events known to the author. The best candidates for the historical referents of these events are the desecration of the Temple in Jerusalem and the erection in it of a pagan altar in the autumn of 167 B.C. by Antiochus IV Epiphanes. The inaccurate description of the end of Antiochus' reign and his death in 11:40-45, on the other hand, suggests that the author did not know of those events, which occurred late in 164 or early in 163 B.C. The roots of the hagiographa (idealizing stories) about Daniel and his friends in chaps. 1-6 may date to an earlier time, but the entire work was given its final shape in 164 B.C." (Harper's Bible Commentary, p. 696)
Louis F. Hartman writes: "Having lost sight of these ancient modes of writing, until relatively recent years Jews and Christians have considered Dn to be true history, containing genuine prophecy. Inasmuch as chs. 7-12 are written in the first person, it was natural to assume that Daniel in chs. 1-6 was a truly historical character and that he was the author of the whole book. There would be few modern biblical scholars, however, who would now seriously defend such an opinion. The arguments for a date shortly before the death of Antiochus IV Epiphanes in 164 are overwhelming. An author living in the 6th cent. could hardly have written the late Hebrew used in Dn, and its Aramaic is certainly later than the Aramaic of the Elephantine papyri, which date from the end of the 5th cent. The theological outlook of the author, with his interest in angelology, his apocalyptic rather than prophetic vision, and especially his belief in the resurrection of the dead, points unescapably to a period long after the Babylonian Exile. His historical perspective, often hazy for events in the time of the Babylonian and Persian kings but much clearer for the events during the Seleucid Dynasty, indicates the Hellenistic age. Finally, his detailed description of the profanation of the Temple of Jerusalem by Antiochus IV Epiphanes in 167 and the following persecution (9:27; 11:30-35) contrasted with his merely general reference to the evil end that would surely come to such a wicked man (11:45), indicates a composition date shortly before the death of this king in 164, therefore probably in 165." (The Jerome Biblical Commentary, vol. 1, p. 448)
J. Alberto Soggin writes: "The first difficulties in the historical classification of the book begin with the deportation of Daniel and his companions. We do not in fact know anything of a deportation which took place in the third year of Jehoiakim, i.e. in 607 BC. If we allow its basic historicity, the event might be connected with the conquest of Syria and Palestine by Nebuchadnezzar II a little later, after the battle of Carchemish in 605-4 and the victory over Egypt; it was on this occasion that Jehoiakim moved out of the sphere of Egyptian influence and into that of Babylon (cf. II Chron. 36.5). Complex problems of foreign policy followed, to which we alluded in our discussion of Jeremiah. Until recently the note in Chronicles was considered spurious, since there was no point of comparison, but discoveries during the 1950s of various unedited fragments of the Babylonian Chronicle have unexpectedly made sense of both this passage and II Kings 24.1ff. But even admitting the substantial historicity of the events narrated, there remains the problem of chronology, which is evidently some years out. Other elements are no less perplexing: in 5.11 Belshazzar is implicitly called the son of Nebuchadnezzar and in 7.1 he appears as king of Babylon. However, he was neither one nor the other, but the son of Nabonidus, one of Nebuchadnezzar's successors who came to the throne as the result of a plot. (The only other possibility is that 'son of . . .' is intended in a generic sense, as 'descendant of . . .', a usage which is attested in Akkadian.) On the other hand, the statement that Belshazzar was king may simply be imprecise wording: towards 553 he was resident in Babylon as a kind of lieutenant-general for the king during his numerous absences, and could therefore have been called king, at least by the people. Again, in 5.31, as we have seen, a certain Darius the Mede appears, who is considered to be king of Persia after the fall of Babylon. In 9.1 he appears as son of Xerxes, whereas in 6.29 Cyrus succeeds a Darius. If we are to be precise, the question arises what Daniel is doing at the court of the Medes before the Babylonian empire has fallen, always assuming that we take the term 'Mede' seriously. This question has never been answered. We must therefore accept that Media is in reality Persia. But the genealogy of the kings of Persia is well known: Cyrus, Cambyses, Darius I Hystaspes, Xerxes. If the Darius mentioned here was Darius I from the last quarter of the sixth century, how old would Daniel be? These are features which were already pointed out by the anti-Christian polemicist Celsus at the end of the second century AD." (Introduction to the Old Testament, p. 408)
James King West writes: "The same persecutions that provoked the Maccabean uprising also stimulated the development within Jewish circles of a new literary and theological form known as the apocalypse. The name itself (Greek apokalypsis) means 'revelation' or 'unveiling,' in reference to the revealed truths which such writings purport to convey. The book of Daniel, which comes from this period, is the only true apocalypse in the old Testament, though some portions of other books share close affinities with its style (Isa. 24-27; Ezek. 38-39; Zech. 1:7-6:8; Joel 2:1-11; 4:1-21). Between the second century B.C. and the end of the first century A.D., other books of this genre, both Jewish and Christian, became popular; the Revelation of John in the New Testament is one of its best-known representatives. The characteristic theology of the apocalypse is an eschatological dualism which depicts the present age of world history as about to give way to God's final agea climactic intervention by God himself for judgment and deliverance. This message is couched in a literary form marked by visions, bizarre imagery, cryptic numbers, and angelic interpreters. Authorship is generally pseudonymous, the works being consigned to some authoritative figure of the distant past, such as Enoch, Moses, Daniel, or Ezra." (Introduction to the Old Testament, pp. 417-418)
Jay G. Williams writes: "When the author of Daniel himself attempted to predict the future specifically, he, on the whole, proved to be incorrect. Antiochus did not die as he said nor did his kingdom come to a sudden end. The world still awaits the full manifestation of God's righteous rule upon earth. Still, he was right about one thing. Antiochus did not destroy Israel. On the contrary, the Maccabees (the 'little help' mentioned in 11:34) even led the people to a few moments of glory before the Roman armies put an end to their semi-independent nation. Perhaps our author was wrong in attempting to predict so precisely what was to occur, for the course of history is never easily determined in advance, even by a visionary prophet. He knew, however, that what his people needed was not general platitudes but a specific hope to which to cling. This he provided even at the risk of being wrong. Furthermore, his central, motivating thesis is one which faithful men can hardly reject. Essentially the book of Daniel is an affirmation of the faith that the God of Israel has dominion over the world and that in the end he will save his people. Daniel teaches that the faithful man must live expectantly, with the hope that the Kingdom of God is indeed at hand." (Understanding the Old Testament, p. 316)
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