New light on Daniel

New light on the book of Daniel from the Dead Sea scrolls

Recent publications of Dead Sea scrolls confirm the authenticity and the earlier dating for the book of Daniel.

Gerhard Hasel, PhD., is professor of Old Testament at the Theological Seminary, Andrews University, Berrien Springs, Michigan.

Recently two articles of vital interest on the Hebrew and Aramaic texts of the book of Daniel 1 were published from among the Dead Sea scroll textual finds made originally in 1952 in Cave 4 at Qumran. The publication by Professor Eugene Ulrich, "Daniel Manuscripts From Qumran," 2 gives us full insight into these pivotal textual finds and follows the one published two years earlier on other parts of these finds.3

From discovery until publication

Let me first briefly describe the outrageous delay that has occurred in the publication of many of the Dead Sea scrolls, discovered way back in 1947-1948. Biblical Archaeology Review (BAR) has played a major role in pushing for publication a number of articles over the past few years, especially in 1989 and 1990.4 There have been charges of a scandal because there are about "400 separate unpublished texts arranged on 1,200 different [photographic] plates" hidden for some 40 years from the scrutiny of the scholars. Hershel Shanks, the editor of BAR, says that "a reasonable guess is that 100 of these [unpublished texts] are biblical texts on 200 plates." 5

The charges regarding the nonpublication of these Dead Sea scroll texts were taken up in the summer of 1989 by the public press. For example, the New York Times in a July 9,1989, editorial, "The Vanity of Scholars," complained that "the scrolls were discovered in 1947, but many that are in fragments remain unpublished. More than 40 years later a coterie of dawdling scholars is still spinning out the work while the world waits and the precious pieces lapse into dust."6

Fortunately, various encouraging developments have taken place since the summer of 1991, and we can look for ward to a speedy publication of the remaining scroll fragments and texts. The significance of the Daniel fragments of the Dead Sea scrolls was voiced first in 1958 when Professor Frank M. Cross of Harvard University published The Ancient Library of Qumran, a comprehensive survey of the scrolls. In the second edition of the book (1961), Professor Cross refers to the fragments of the Daniel scrolls: "One copy of Daniel is inscribed in the script of the late second century B.C.; in some ways it is more striking than that of the oldest manuscripts from Qumran." 7

This was fantastic news from a scholarly point of view, for the text of Daniel has long been considered suspect by many scholars on various grounds we'll be discussing below. The question now was: How much of the book of Daniel is on this scroll, and precisely what sections are preserved and how does it compare with the rest of the Hebrew text of the book of Daniel?

In November 1989, more than 35 years after its discovery and more than 25 years after Cross made his astounding declaration, this text, along with others from Cave 4 on the book of Daniel, have finally been published. Only a few scraps of fragments from Cave 4, which contain but "five tiny fragments, all from the prayer in chapter 9 but none with more than one complete word," 8 remain to be published (i.e., the fragments of the scroll designated 4QDane).

The fragments of the Daniel scrolls from Cave 4 were assigned for publication to Cross9 as long ago as 1951. 10 He was a member of the original group of editors of the Dead Sea scrolls appointed in 1953. 11 But some time ago Cross entrusted the Daniel materials from Cave 4 to Eugene Ulrich of the University of Notre Dame,12 a former student of his. In 1987 Ulrich published the materials from one scroll of Cave 4, namely, 4QDana.

Now he has published the materials of the two other major scrolls, 4QDanb and 4QDan . At last we are able to see with our own eyes!

Contents of the Dead Sea scroll Daniel manuscripts

While these exciting new publications will have our major attention in this paper, we need to mention the other previously published Qumran materials on Daniel.

In 1955 D. Barthelemy published two scroll fragments:13 1QDana and 1QDanb. These contain parts of 22 verses from Daniel 1-3, that is, Daniel 1:10-17; 2:2-6 (1QDana); and 3:22-30 (1QDanb).

In 1962 Maurice Baillet published a papyrus fragment from Cave 6, contain ing possibly parts of Daniel 8:16, 17, 21, 22; and clearly 10:8-16; 11:33-36, 38. 14

The most extensively preserved scroll of the book of Daniel from Qumran is one from Cave 4: 4QDana, which contains large portions of Daniel. Preserved are parts of Daniel 1:16-20; 2:9-11, 19-49; 3:1,2; 4:29, 30; 5:5-7,12-14,16-19; 7:5- 7,25-28;8:1-5; 10:16-20; 11:13-16. Scroll 4QDanb contains Daniel 5:10-12, 14-16, 19-22; 6:8-22,27-29; 7:1-6,11(7), 26-28; 8:1-8,13-16; and 4QDanc has Daniel 10:5- 9, 11-16, 21; 11:1, 2, 13-17, 25-29. 15

This means that we have at our disposal from the Dead Sea scrolls parts of all chapters, except Daniel 9 and 12. Of course, the unpublished 4QDane is to have a few words of various parts of Daniel 9.

There is also an overlap of a number of passages in Daniel 1, 5, 7, 8, 10, and 11. A reference to Daniel 12 is made in 4QFlorilegium, an anthology of midrashic materials on 2 Samuel and Psalms 1, 2. 16

Significance of the scrolls

It is a highly surprising phenomenon that no fewer than eight manuscripts of Daniel have been identified among the materials discovered in three of the 11 caves of Qumran. In order to appreciate the significance of this fact, we need to compare it with the manuscript finds of other biblical books from the same caves.

To my knowledge, the most recent listing of published materials from the Dead Sea scrolls appeared in 1977. The listing speaks of 13 fragments of scrolls from the Psalms; nine from Exodus; eight from Deuteronomy; five from Leviticus; four each from Genesis and Isaiah;17 and no fewer than eight scrolls representing Daniel. Although we have no sure knowledge yet of the total scrolls that have been preserved from the Bible at Qumran, it is evident from this comparison that the book of Daniel was a favorite book among the Qumran covenanters. 18

At this juncture we need to make another point. According to current historical-critical opinion, the book of Daniel originated in its present form in the Antiochus Epiphanes crisis, that is, be tween 168/167-165/164 B.C. It seems very difficult to perceive that one single desert community should have preserved such a significant number of Daniel manuscripts if this book had really been produced at so late a date. The large number of manuscripts in this community can be much better explained if one accepts an earlier origin of Daniel than the one proposed by the Maccabean hypothesis of historical-critical scholarship, which dates it to the second century B.C.

Date of the Daniel Dead Sea scrolls and its significance

Dates for the Daniel scrolls, published in 1955, were given by John C. Trever as the Herodian period for 1QDana and late Herodian period for 1Qdan". 19 In other words, these manuscripts could come from about 60 A.D.20 or earlier.

This date is still very significant be cause the Masoretic text (MT) from which our Bibles are translated comes from a major manuscript that is dated to 1008 A.D.21 In other words, we are able to compare for the first time in history the Hebrew and Aramaic of the book of Daniel with manuscripts of the same book that are about 1,000 years older. A comparison between the MT and the earlier manuscripts contained in 1Qdana, 1Qdanb, and 6QDan, based upon a careful study of the variants and relationships with the MT, reveals that "the Daniel fragments from Caves 1 and 6 reveal, on the whole, that the later Masoretic text is preserved in a good, hardly changed form. They are thus a valuable witness to the great faithfulness with which the sacred text has been transmitted." 22 These textual witnesses demonstrate that the MT was faithfully preserved and confirm that the Hebrew and Aramaic text of Daniel is reliable.

The date for the three Daniel manuscripts most recently published is also of great importance, along with those of the earlier publications. Some of the recently published scrolls on Daniel are even older than the previously published ones. The date of 4QDana is assigned to about 60 B.C.23 and 4QDanb to about 60 A.D.24 The oldest manuscript of Daniel by far is 4QDanc, which Cross dated in 1961 to the "late second century B.C." 25 Scholars who support a date for the writing of the book of Daniel in the Maccabean crisis at about the middle of the second century B.C. will be able to say that 4QDanc is "only a half century later than the composition of the book of Daniel."26 This means for supporters of this dating that the manuscript evidence for Daniel is as close to the autograph as the Rylands papyrus is to the Gospel of John. I quote: "It is thus, for the Hebrew Bible, comparable to the Rylands manuscript of the Johannine Gospel for the New Testament." 27 The latter comparison means that the papyrus fragment of the Gospel of John, published in 1935, that is, Rylands 457, which was dated in the first half of the second century A.D., effectively refuted claims of scholars who had at tempted to date the Gospel of John to the latter part of the second century A.D. The Rylands papyrus was within 25 to 50 years of the writing of the Gospel of John.

For those supporting the historical-critical date of the book of Daniel, new issues are being raised. Since there is a manuscript of Daniel that supposedly dates within 50 years of the autograph, is there enough time for the supposed traditio-historical and redaction-critical developments allegedly needed for the growth of the book? Supporters of the Maccabean dating hypothesis of Daniel will be hard put to explain all of this in their reconstructions. To express it differently, do the early dates of the fragments from Cave 4 leave enough room for the developments, editorial and redactional as well as other, that are so often proposed?28 The verdict seems to be negative, and an earlier date for Daniel than the second century is unavoidable.

Dead Sea scrolls and the original Hebrew/Aramaic text of Daniel

Before the discovery of the Dead Sea scrolls, many scholars questioned the faithfulness of the Hebrew text and took great freedom in amending, changing, and adjusting the Hebrew text. This freedom has been significantly curtailed by the Qumran findings.

With regard to Daniel, many scholars have regarded the Hebrew and Aramaic text as of no greater authority than such ancient translations such as the Septuagint (the oldest Greek translation of the Old Testament) and the version attributed to Theodotion. Among the reasons given is that the Septuagint treatment of Daniel is less literal, less closely related to the MT, than the treatment given to the rest of the Old Testament. This fact has led some to assume that the MT of Daniel is of relatively little value.

Moreover, the Septuagint version of the book of Daniel, available in only two ancient manuscripts,29 is said to be periphrastic and expansionistic, containing considerably more material than the MT, aside from such deutero-canonical additions as the Story of Susanna, the Prayer of Azariah, and the Song of the Three Young Men.30

The official Greek translation of Daniel used in ancient times was that of Theodotion, an Ephesian (c. 180 A.D.). His translation, which has antecedents,31 has "the distinction of having supplanted the current version of the book of Daniel." 32 Further, around 400 A.D. Jerome ventured the opinion that the Septuagint "differs widely from the original [Hebrew], and is rightly rejected." 33 Thus we have two ancient Greek versions of Daniel, and only the one by Theodotion has a close affinity with the MT.

These, along with some other considerations, have caused leading modern scholars to have little confidence in the MT. Professor Klaus Koch is a supporter of the hypothesis that there is no authoritative, original text for the book of Daniel available. He suggests that while we have a Hebrew/Aramaic text and two Greek versions, none of these three is original, and that an original text is to be reconstructed with the best tools avail able.34 This essentially is also the view of L. Hartman and A. A. Di Leila, who point out that there are "no iron rules or golden rules" in this process of textual reconstruction.35 These and other scholars assume that the book of Daniel in its entirety was written originally in the Aramaic language and that the Hebrew parts of the book are translations from Aramaic into Hebrew.36 Other scholars, however, oppose this hypothesis.

Evidently this is a complex picture. The newly published Daniel materials from Qumran appear to throw important new light on the issue of the original text of Daniel. We say this because there is a great harmony between the MT and the Cave 4 finds of the book of Daniel. Thus it no longer seems permissible to dismiss the Hebrew-Aramaic text as unreliable.

We need to note the following: 1. When it comes to variants, the eight Dead Sea scroll Daniel manuscripts, for the most part, are very close to each other.

2. There is no significant abbreviation and no lengthy expansion in any of the manuscript fragments. "The text of Daniel in these [Cave 4] Daniel scrolls conforms closely to later Masoretic tradition; there are to be found, however, some rare variants which side with the Alexandrian Greek [Septuagint] against the MT and Theodotion." 37 3. These manuscript fragments do not contain any of the additions that are in all the Greek manuscripts, such as the Prayer of Azariah, the Song of the Three Young Men, and the Story of Susanna. 4. The change from Hebrew into Aramaic is preserved for Daniel 2:4b in 4QDana as it was previously in 1Qdana. Thus two different manuscripts give evidence to this change. The change from Aramaic into Hebrew in Daniel 8:1 is clearly manifested in both 4QDana and 4QDanb, just as in the MT.38

Based on the overwhelming conformity of these Qumran Daniel manuscripts with each other and with the MT, despite the few insignificant variants that agree with the Septuagint, it is evident that the MT is the well-preserved key text for the book of Daniel. An eclectic approach, using the Hebrew/Aramaic text, the Greek, and other versions as if they were all on the same level without giving priority to the Hebrew text is no longer supportable, if it ever was previously. The Hebrew/ Aramaic Masoretic text of the book of Daniel now has stronger support than at any other time in the history of the interpretation of the book of Daniel.

The Daniel Dead Sea scrolls and canonical book of Daniel When Professor D. Barthelemy published in 1955 the first fragmentary Daniel manuscripts from Cave 1 of Qumran, that is, 1Qdana and 1Qdanb, he ventured the opinion that "certain indications permit the thought that Daniel had perhaps not yet been considered at Qumran as a canonical book." 39 This idea perpetuated itself for years afterward. In 1964, how ever, F. F. Brace stated that the book of Daniel "may well have enjoyed canonical status among them [the Qumran sectaries]." 40 In his 1989 Daniel commentary, written before the newest publications of the Qumran Daniel manuscripts were accessible, John Goldingay stated, "There are no real grounds for suggesting that the form of the Qumran manuscripts of Daniel indicates that the book was not regarded as canonical there, though neither for affirming that it was." 41

These doubts and uncertainties about the canonicity of Daniel among the Qumran people can now be laid aside for good. They have been based largely on the "roughly square proportions of the columns of 1Qdana and because pap6QDan is written on papyrus." 42 But Professor Ulrich now says, "From Cave 4 we now have overriding evidence on both points from manuscripts of books indisputably authoritative or 'canonical,' including Deuteronomy, Kings, Isaiah, and Psalms.... However one uses in relation to Qumran the category of what is later called 'canonical.' The book of Daniel was certainly in that category." 43

Canonicity is supported also by the so-called 4QFlorilegium, a fragment that employs the quotation formula "which is written in the book of Daniel the prophet."44 Such a formula is typical of quotations from canonical Scripture at Qumran. It is similar also to Matthew 24:15, where Jesus refers to "Daniel the prophet."

Inasmuch as Daniel was already canonical at Qumran at about 100 B.C., how could it have become so quickly canonical if it had just been produced a mere half century before? While we do not know exactly how long it took for books to become canonical, it may be surmised that insofar as Daniel was reckoned to belong to the canonical books, it had a longer existence than a mere five decades, as the Maccabean dating hypothesis suggests. Both the canonical status and the fact that Daniel was considered as a "prophet" speak for the antiquity of the book of Daniel. An existence of a mere five decades between the production of a biblical book in its final form and canonization does not seem reasonable.

Thus the canonical acceptance of the book of Daniel at Qumran suggests an earlier origin of the book than the second century B.C. In 1969, based on the evidence available at that time regarding the Qumran Daniel texts, Roland K. Harrison had already concluded that the second century dating of the book of Daniel was "absolutely precluded by the evidence from Qumran, partly because there are no indications whatever that the sectaries compiled any of the biblical manuscripts recovered from the site, and partly be cause there would, in the latter event, have been insufficient time for Maccabean compositions to be circulated, venerated, and accepted as canonical Scripture by a Maccabean sect." 45

Subsequent to this, he stated that based on the Qumran manuscripts, "there can no longer be any possible reason for considering the book as a Maccabean product." 46 The most recent publications of Daniel manuscripts confirm this conclusion.47

1. The book of Daniel is written in two languages. The Hebrew language is used in Daniel 1:1-2:4a and 8:1-12:13, and the Aramaic language is used in Daniel 2:4b-7:28.

2. Eugene Ulrich, "Daniel Manuscripts From Qumran, Part 2: Preliminary Editions of 4QDanb and 4QDanc , BASOR 274 (May [October] 1989): 3-26.

3. , "Daniel Manuscripts From Qumran, Part 1: APreliminary Edition of 4QDana," BASOR 268 (November 1987): 3-16.

4. Hershel Shanks, "New Hope for the Unpublished Dead Sea Scrolls," BAR 25, No. 6 (1989): 55, 56, 74, 75; "What Should Be Done About the Unpublished Dead Sea Scrolls," BAR 25, No. 5 (1989): 18-22; "The Dead Sea Scroll Scandal," BAR 25, No. 4 (1989); "At Least Publish the Dead Sea Scroll Timetable," BAR 25, No. 3 (1989): 56-58; "Dead Sea Scroll Variation on 'Show and Tell' It's Called 'Tell, But No Show,' " BAR 16 (1990): 18-21.

5. , "What Should Be Done About the Unpublished Dead Sea Scrolls," p. 20.

6. Quoted from BAR 25, No. 5 (1989): 20.

7. Frank M. Cross, Jr., The Ancient Library of Qumran, 2nd ed. (Garden City, N.Y.: Doubleday and Co., 1961), p. 43.

8. Ulrich, "Daniel Manuscripts From Daniel, Part 2," p. 3.

9. Frank Moore Cross, Jr., "Editing the Manuscript Fragments for Qumran: Cave 4 of Qumran (4Q)," Biblical Archaeologist 19 (1956): 86.

10. P. Benoit, "Editing the Manuscript Fragments From Qumran," Biblical Archaeologist 19 (1956): 76, notes with precision that the Daniel fragments from Cave 4 were given to Professor Cross for future publication. The scientific excavations of Cave 4 took place from September 22-24, 1952.

11. Shanks, "What Should Be Done About the Unpublished Dead Sea Scrolls," p. 18.

12. ______, "The Next Generation of Scroll Scholars," BAR 25, No. 3 (1989): 57. Ulrich received all of Patyrtick Skehan's unpublished plates after Skehan died in 1980. Ulrich has also received most of Frank Moore Cross's biblical manuscripts with the understanding that he could reassign them.

13. D. Barthelemy and J. T. Milik, Qumran Cave I. Discoveries in the Judaean Desert, 1 (Oxford: Clarendon, 1955), pp. 150-52. The plates were published subsequently by John T. Trever, in "Completion of the Publications of Some Fragments From Qumran Cave I," Revue de Qumran 5 (1964-1966): 523-544, pis. 5, 6.

14. M. Baillet and J. T. Milik, Les 'Petites Grottes' des Qumran, 1, Texte. 2. Planches, Discoveries in the Judaean Desert of Jordan (Oxford: Clarendon, 1962), pp. 114, 115, pi. 23.

15. Ulrich, "Daniel Manuscripts From Qumran: Part 1," p. 18.

16. The most recent extensive publication of this material is in George J. Brooke, Exegesis at Qumran. 4QFlorilegium in Its Jewish Context. JSOT 29 (Sheffield: JSOT Press, 1985), pp. 84-128.

17. Joseph A. Fitzmyer, The Dead Sea Scrolls. Major Publications and Tools for Study (Missoula, Mont.: Scholars Press, 1977), pp. 11-39.

18. This holds even if Cross (The Ancient Library of Qumran, p. 43) is correct in asserting that in Cave 4 there are 14 manuscript copies of Deuteronomy, 12 manuscript copies of Isaiah, and 10 manuscript copies of the Psalms. There are four manuscript copies from Daniel.

19. Trever, "Completion of the Publication of Some merits From Qumran Cave I," pp. 323-336.

20. Louis F. Hartman and Alexander A. Di Leila, The Book of Daniel, vol. 23, Anchor Bible (Garden City, N.Y.: Doubleday, 1978), p. 72.

21. E. Wurthwein, The Text of the Old Testament, 2nd ed. (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1979), p. 35.

22. A. Mertens, Das Buch Daniel im Lichte der Texte vom Toten Meer, Stuttgarter Biblische Monographien 12 (Wurzburg: Echter Verlag, 1971), p. 31. The Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary (Washington, D.C.: Review and Herald Pub. Assn., 1955), vol. 4, p. 744, had concluded the same on the basis of a study of lQDanaand lQDanb: "The list [of variants] shows that the differences [between the MT and these two manuscript fragments] are so insignificant that they would not be noticeable in translation. This is a strong proof that the Masoretic text of Daniel is now in substantially the same form as it was at least in the time of Christ."

23. Ulrich, "Daniel Manuscripts From Qumran, Part 1," p. 17: "The date of 4QDana is about one century ... later than the book's composition" in c. 168-165 B. C.

24. Ibid.

25. Cross, The Ancient Library of Qumran, p. 43.

26. Ulrich, "Daniel Manuscripts From Qumran, Part 1," p. 17.

27. Ibid.

28. A recent example is the commentary by Klaus Koch, Daniel, BKAT XXII/1 (Neukirchen-Vluyn: Neukirchner Verlag, 1986), pp. 20-24.

29. We refer to the Chisian manuscript, Codex 88, from the ninth to the eleventh centuries, as printed by H. B. Swete, The Old Testament in Greek According to the Septuagint, 4th ed. (Cambridge: Clarendon, 1912), vol. 4, pp. 498-593: and to the Cologne fragments of the Papyrus 967 from the early third century A.D., published by A. Geissen Der Septuaginta-Text des Buches Daniel 5-12 sowie Esther 1-2, 15 (Bonn: R. Habelt, 1968); Winfried Hamm, Der Septuaginta-Text des Buches Daniel 1-2 (Bonn: R. Habelt, 1969); Der Septuaginta-Text des Buches Daniel 3-4 (Bonn: R. Habelt, 1977).

30. See C. A. Moore, Daniel, Esther, and Jeremiah: The Additions, vol. 44, Anchor Bible (Garden City, N.Y.: Doubleday, 1977).

31. A. Schmat, Stammtersoqenannle "Theodotion"-Text bei Daniel wirklich von Theodotion? (Gottingen: Vandenhoeck and Ruprecht, 1966).

32. Sidney Jellicoe, The Septuagint and Modern Study (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1968), p. 84.

33. Quoted in Jellicoe.

34. Klaus Koch et al., Das Buch Daniel, Ertrage der Erforschung 144 (Darmstadt: Wissenschaftliche Buchgesellschaft, 1980), pp. 22, 23; idem Daniel, pp. 16-21.

35. Hartman and Di Leila, p. 75.

36. So recently Hartman and Di Leila, p. 73; Koch, Daniel, pp. 16-18. Among earlier scholars who took this view are H. Preiswerk, R. H. Charles, and H. L. Ginsberg, as mentioned by Koch (Daniel, p. 16).

37. Cross, "Editing the Manuscript Fragments From Qumran," p. 86.

38. So most clearly not Ulrich, "Daniel Manuscripts From Qumran, Part 2," pp. 3, 4.

39. Barthelemy and Milik, p. 250.

40. F. F. Bruce, Second Thoughts on the Dead Sea Scrolls, 2nd ed. (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1964), p. 57.

41. John E. Goldingay, Daniel, vol. 30, "WordBiblical Commentary" (Dallas: Word Books, 1989), p. xxvii.

42. Ulrich, "Daniel Manuscripts From Qumran, Part 1," p. 19.

43. Ibid.

44. Cited in Brooke, p. 93.

45. R. K. Harrison, Introduction to the Old Testament (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1969), p. 1127.

46. ______, "Daniel, Book of," International Standard Bible Encyclopedia (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1979), vol. 1, p. 862.

47. For detailed additional information on the new manuscript finds and Daniel 8:14 and other important passages in the book of Daniel, see Gerhard F. Hasel, "The Book of Daniel Confirmed by the Dead Sea Scrolls," Journal of the Adventist Theological Society 1, No. 2 (1990): 37-49.

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Gerhard Hasel, PhD., is professor of Old Testament at the Theological Seminary, Andrews University, Berrien Springs, Michigan.

January 1992

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