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The book of Daniel is one of the Bible’s most attacked books. Recent scholarship has produced critics who labeled it as a fraudulent document that was forged by a second century B.C. pseudonymous author who used theological fiction to convey the ideas found in this book. However, the biblical evidence suggests that a historical Daniel who lived in the sixth century B.C. is the author of the book. Through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, the amazing prophecies he gave came to pass as God had shown him. Thus, Daniel comes under the critical spotlight of skeptics who defy the Bible’s own testimony because of their disbelief of predictive prophecy.
While the book of Daniel claims to be written around 530 BC, critics of the OT claim that it was written in 167 BC, during the Maccabean era. They claim that this book was written for the purpose of encouraging Jews who were revolting against the tyranny of Antiochus Epiphanes IV, who was a savage Greek tyrant, intent on suppressing Israel. While modern critics hold to this perspective, there are many reasons for believing in the biblical authorship of Daniel. Many conservative scholars are of the opinion that Daniel (worshipper of God), the prophet, wrote the book that bears his name under the guidance of the Holy Spirit.
Many conservative scholars are of the opinion that Daniel (worshipper of God), the prophet, wrote the book that bears his name under the guidance of the Holy Spirit. In 605 B.C., Nabopolassar’s son, Nebuchadnezzar (634-532 B.C.) led the Babylonian armies against the allied forces of Assyria and Egypt and defeated them at Carchemish. This victory gave political supremacy to the Babylonians over the other nations of the Ancient Near East (ANE) and their vassals. Nabopolassar died the same year and Nebuchadnezzar was crowned king. He invaded Judah the same year and took some royals, nobles, and wise men of whom Daniel was a part to Babylon (Daniel 1:1-3). The chronicler informs his audience that the Temple at Jerusalem was also plundered, and important vessels and items were taken from it to Babylon, where the king placed them in the house of his gods (c.f. 2 Chronicles 36; Daniel 1:2). This was Judah’s first deportation for the land experienced three deportations: the first in 605 B.C., the second in 597 B.C., and the final one in 586 B.C. Nebuchadnezzar served as God’s instrument of judgment on Judah for her idolatry, unfaithfulness, and disobedience (Jeremiah 25:9). Daniel arrived in Babylon as a teenager, with a number of scholars speculating that he might have been between the ages of fourteen and eighteen in the year of the first deportation. Evidence for Daniel’s age is inferred by the use of the Hebrew word ‘yeled’ (Daniel 1:17), which indicates that he was a youth in the prime of life. The biblical evidence further suggests that Daniel continued serving in the office of a public servant until the days of Cyrus (600-530 B.C), the great Persian king who founded the Achaemenian empire, centered on Persia (Daniel 1:21) and liberated the Jews from the Babylonian captivity. From the book’s introductory chapter, Daniel is portrayed as an accomplished scholar together with his three friends who “achieved remarkable proficiency and expertise in many disciplines along with his three colleagues.”
Moreover, Daniel far superseded all the other wise men of Babylon and the gentile nations. God granted him the spiritual ability to see visions and interpret dreams and languages. In the book that bears his name, Daniel uses his wisdom to counsel kings and give them advice on important issues. Moreover, he is the only one who is able to interpret the kings’ dreams and troublesome spiritual manifestations such as the handwriting on the wall. His life is also filled with miraculous deliverances of his friends from the fiery furnace (Daniel 3) and his life from the den of lions (Daniel 6). Daniel is well known for his life of prayer and devotion to the God of his fathers, even in the face of danger. Near the end of his life, it is assumed that he was part of the Great Assembly that comprised of Jewish great scholars, teachers, priests, and prophets who restored and preserved the original language of the prayers of Moses
The Book of Daniel The book of Daniel is part of the Jewish and Christian canon written in “a narrative woven with mystery and prophecy, containing cryptic descriptions of future events, mystical interpretation of dreams, profound visions about the Messiah and the revival of the dead at the end of days.” In its first six chapters, the book carries stories that are recorded in the third person that covers the life of Daniel and his three friends in the reigns of Nebuchadnezzar, Belshazzar, Darius I, and Cyrus II. The second half of the book contains Daniel’s three visions and his dream, which differs slightly from the narration of the first six chapters in that, the account is written in the first person. It is the nature of these predictive dreams and visions that have given skepticism to the book’s authenticity and dating. Having looked at some important background issues, this writer now turns to the problems of dating.