Page images

lot, d’Anville, Vincent, Mannert, and Hammer. Major Rawlinson, who has furnished the most recent account of this place, maintains that Shushan the palace' is the present Susan on the Kulan or Eulaeus, the Ulai of Scripture. See vol. ix. of the Journal of the Royal Geographical Society.

§ 2. GENUINENESS AND AUTHENTICITY OF THE BOOK OF DANIEL.Consideration of Objections.-Until a comparatively recent period, with some slight exceptions, the genuineness and authenticity of the Book of Daniel have been regarded as settled, and its canonical authority was as little doubted as that of any other portion of the Bible. The ancient Hebrews never called its genuineness or authenticity in question (Lengerke, Das Buch Daniel, Königsberg, 1835, p. 6; Hengstenberg, Die Authentie des Daniel, Berlin, 1831, p. 1). It is true that in the Talmud (Tract. Baba Bathra, Fol. 15. Ed. Venet.) it is said that “the men of the Great Synagogue wrote—13.70 the ap K. D. N. G.--that is, portions (xi. chs.) of the Book of Ezekiel, the prophet Daniel, and the Book of Esther;" but this, as Lengerke has remarked, (p. v.) does not mean that they had introduced this book into the canon, as Bertholdt supposes, but that, partly by tradition, and partly by inspiration, they revised it anew. But whatever may be the truth in regard to this, it does not prove that the ancient Jews did not consider it canonical. It is true that much has been said about the fact that the Jews did not class this book among the prophets, but placed it in the Hagiography, or Kethubim, oʻaan?. It has been inferred from this, that they believed that it was composed a considerable time after the other prophetic books, and that they did not deem it worthy of a place among their prophetic books in general. But, even if this were so, it would not prove that they did not regard it as a genuine production of Daniel; and the fact that it was not placed among the prophetic books may be accounted for without the supposition that they did not regard it as genuine. The usual statement on that subject is, that they placed the book there because they say that Daniel lived the life of a courtier in Babylon, rather than the life of a prophet; and the Jews further assert that, though he received divine communications, they were only by dreams and visions of the night; which they regard as the most imperfect kind of revelations. Horne, Intro. iv. 188. The place which Daniel should occupy in the sacred writings probably became a matter of discussion among the Hebrews only after the coming of the Saviour, when Christians urged

not writifedea in the tof Daniel happened.

whose of Antioces not 1. In a

80 zealously his plain prophecies (ch. ix. 24—27) in proof of the Messiahship of the Lord Jesus.

The first open and avowed adversary to the genuineness and authenticity of the Book of Daniel, was Porphyry, a learned adversary of the Christian faith in the third century. He wrote fifteen books against Christianity, all of which are lost, except some fragments preserved by Eusebius, Jerome, and others. His objections against Daniel were made in his twelfth book, and all that we have of these objections has been preserved by Jerome in his commentary on the Book of Daniel. A full account of Porphyry, and of his objections against the Christians, and the sacred books of the Old and New Testament, so far as can now be known, may be seen in Lardner, Jewish and Heathen Testimonies, vol. vii. pp. 390_470, of his works, Ed. London, 1829. In regard to the Book of Daniel, he maintained, according to Jerome (Pr. and Explan. in Daniel), “ that the book was not written by him whose name it bears, but by another who lived in Judea in the time of Antiochus, surnamed Epiphanes; and that the Book of Daniel does not foretell things to come, but relates what had already happened. In a word, whatever it contains to the time of Antiochus is true history; if there is anything relating to aftertimes it is falsehood; forasmuch as the writer could not see things future, but at the most only could make some conjectures about them. To him several of our authors have given answers of great labour and diligence, in particular Eusebius, bishop of Cæsarea, in three volumes, the 18th, the 19th, and the 20th. Apollinarius, also, in one large book, that is the 26th, and before them, in part, Methodius. As it is not my design,” says Jerome, “to confute the objections of the adversary, which would require a long discourse, but only to explain the prophet to our own people, that is, Christians, I shall just observe that none of the prophets have spoken so clearly of Christ as Daniel, for he not only foretells his coming, as do others likewise, but he also teaches the time when he will come, and mentions in order the princes of the intermediate space, and the number of the years, and the signs of his appearance. And because Porphyry saw all these things to have been fulfilled, and could not deny that they had actually come to pass, he was compelled to say as he did; and because of some similitude of circumstances, he asserted that the things foretold as to be fulfilled in Antichrist at the end of the world, happened in the time of Antiochus Epiphanes. Which kind of opposition is a testimony of truth; for such is the plain interpretation of the words, that to incredulous men the prophet seems not to foretell things to come, but to relate things already past. And though, as before said, it is not my intention to confute all his objections, I shall, as occasion offers, take notice of some of his weak arguments. And it may be proper for us, among other things, to observe now, that Porphyry argued that the Book of Daniel was not genuine, because it was written in Greek, and, therefore, was not the work of any Jew, but the forgery of some Greek writer. This he argued from some Greek words which are in the fable of Susanna, to which both Eusebius and Apollinarius returned the same answer, that the fabulous stories of Susanna, and Bel, and the Dragon, are not in the Hebrew, but are said to have been composed by a person of the tribe of Levi; whereas the sacred Scriptures assure us that Daniel and the three children, his companions, were of the tribe of Judah. And they said they were not accountable for what was not received by the Jews, nor was a part of the sacred Scriptures.” A few of the objections which Porphyry makes to the credibility of certain parts of Daniel, Jerome has quoted in his commentary on the particular passages referred to. These have been collected by Dr. Lardner, and may be seen in his works, vol. vii. pp. 402—415.

Dr. Lardner (vol. vii. p. 401], remarks respecting Porphyry, “that Porphyry's work against the Christians was much labored, and that in this argument he displayed all his learning, which was very considerable. Hence, we can perceive the difficulty of undertaking an answer to him, for which very few were fully qualified ; in which none of the apologists for Christianity seem to have answered expectations.” We cannot now form a correct opinion of the argument of Porphyry, for we have only the few fragments of his work, which Jerome and others have seen proper to preserve. We are in danger, therefore, of doing injustice to what may have been the real force of his argument, for it may have been stronger than would be indicated by those fragments that remain. It is impossible to recover his main objections; and all that can now be said is, that, as far as is known, he did not make any converts to his opinions, and that his objections produced no change in the faith of the Christian world. : No further attack on the genuineness and authenticity of Daniel seems to have been made, and no further doubt entertained, until the time of Spinoza. Spinoza was by birth a Jew; was born at Amsterdam in 1632; became professedly converted

known, ons; and all that it is impokould

to Christianity in consequence of supposing that his life was in danger among the Jews, but was probably indifferent to all religions. He gave himself up to philosophical inquiries, and is commonly understood to have been a pantheist. He maintained (Tractat. Theol. Politicus, c. 10, T. i. p. 308, Ed. Paulus) that the last five chapters of Daniel were written by Daniel himself, but that the seven previous chapters were collected about the time of the Maccabees, from the chronological writings of the Chaldeans, and that the whole was arranged by some unknown hand. Edward Wells, who lived in the first part of the eighteenth century, maintained that the work was composed by some one soon after the death of Daniel. Antony Collins, one of the British Deists, maintained also that it was not written by Daniel. In more recent times, the genuineness of the book has been doubted or denied, in whole or in part, by Corrodi, Gesenius, Lüderwald, Dereser, Scholl, Lengerke, Eichhorn, De Wette, Griesenger, Bertholdt, Bleek, Ewald, Hitzig, and Kirms; it has been defended by the English writers generally, and among the Germans, by Staudlin, Beckhaus, Jahn, Havernick, Hengstenberg, and others. The general ground taken by those who have denied its genuineness and authenticity is, that the book was written at or about the time of the Maccabees, by some Jew, who, in order to give greater authority and importance to his work, wrote under the assumed name of Daniel, and laid the scene in Babylon in the time of the captivity.

The various arguments urged against the genuineness of the book, may be seen in Bertholdt, Eichhorn, Lengerke, Kirms (Commentatio Historico Critica, Jenae, 1828), and De Wette. The best defence of its authenticity, probably, is the work of Hengstenberg, (Die Authentie des Daniel, Berlin, 1831). We propose, in this Introduction, merely to examine the objections of a general character which have been made to the work. These have been concisely arranged and stated by De Wette (Lehrbuch der Historisch-kritischen Einleitung, etc., Berlin, 1845, pp. 382—389,) and in the examination of the objections we shall consider them in the order in which he has stated them.

The view which De Wette entertains of the book is stated in the following manner : “that in the time of Antiochus Epiphanes, when the spirit of prophecy among the Jews had been a long time extinct, a Jewish friend of his country endeavoured to encourage and strengthen his contemporary

the the various aren in Bertholat Jenae, 1828); is the work we

sufferers, and those who were contending for their liberty, through these apocalyptic prophecies respecting the former ascendency of the theocratic principle, which, in order to give the work greater reputation and authority, he ascribed to an ancient Seer of the name of Daniel, of whom probably something had been handed down by tradition. Designedly he suffered the promises to extend to a great length of time, in order to make them appear the more certain. After the manner of the ancient prophets, also, he inwove much that was historical, and especially such as would be fitted to excite and arouse the martyr-spirit of his own people." Lehrbuch, p. 390.

I. The first objection which is urged against the genuineness of the book is derived from what is denominated the fabulous contents — Mährchenhaften Inhalte — of its narrative parts. This objection, in the words of De Wette, is that “the book is full of improbabilities (ii. 3, ff. 46, f. ii. 1, 5, f. 20, 22, 28, f. iï. 31, ff. 31, f. v. 11, f. 18, ff. 29, vi. 8, ff. 26, ff.); of wonders, (ü. 28, ii. 23, ff. v. 5, vi. 23, 25); its historical inaccuracies are such as are found in no prophetic book of the Old Testament, and are founded on the same type (Comp. ii. 2411, with iv. 4. v. 8. ii. 4—12, 26–30, with vi. 8-18, 21–24.) This seeking after wonders and strange things, and the religious fanaticism nourished through these persecutions, which it breathes, place the book in the same condition as the second Book of the Maccabees, as a production of the time of Antiochus Epiphanes, and the similarity of the former of the two books betrays the fictitious character (Dichtung) of the book.” Lehrbuch, pp. 382, 383.

In reference to this objection, which turns on the marvellous character of the Book, and the improbable historical statements in it, the following remarks may be made :

(a) As to the alleged contradiction between Daniel and the historical accounts which we have of the affairs to which he refers, it may be proper to observe in general-(1.) That, for anything that appears, Daniel may be as accurate a historian as any of the heathen writers of those times. There is, in the nature of the case, no reason why we should put implicit confidence in Berosus, Abydenus, Xenophon, and Herodotus, and distrust Daniel ; nor why, if a statement is omitted by them, we should conclude at once, that if mentioned by Daniel, it is false. It is an unhappy circumstance, that there are many persons who suppose that the fact that a thing is men

denus, Her we should here is, in the

« PreviousContinue »