Beside reading Thucydides the author of Daniel read Herodotus

by kepler 27 Replies latest watchtower bible

  • Vidqun

    Bobcat, some scholars view Darius the Mede as the uncle of Cyrus. As uncle and viceroy and/or vassal of Cyrus the Great, he would have been sidelined in the honor stakes by historians. Nevertheless, as you say, the question of his identity must remain open for the time being. Interestingly, Keil & Delitzsch in their Commentary had the following to say on Dan. 9:1:

    Darius given kingship. In the word hâmelake the Hophal is to be noticed: rex constitutus, factus est. It shows that Darius did not become king over the Chaldean kingdom by virtue of a hereditary right to it, nor that he gained the kingdom by means of conquest, but that he received it, (qabeil, Dan. 6:1) from the conqueror of Babylon, Cyrus, the general of the army.

    Goldingay mentions that it could refer to a title or throne name: “ Although Zech 1 links Jeremiah’s seventy-years prophecy with the events of 519, which are close to seventy years after the fall of Jerusalem in 587 b.c. , the Darius by whose reign chap. 9 is dated must be not Darius I (Porphyry) but the Darius of Median birth introduced in 6:1 [5:31]. His “being made king” of Babylon here may reflect his “acquiring/receiving” the kingship of Babylon there (and see Setting above). Ahashweros is the regular Biblical Hebrew equivalent of Old Persian Khshayarsha, Greek Ξ ερξης (Xerxes: so Old Greek here; Theodotion transliterates—cf. Revised Version); see Esther; Ezra 4:6. Historically, Darius I was the father of Xerxes I; the order of events in Ezra 4 might have suggested that Xerxes (v 6) preceded Darius (v 24). Khshayarsha, like Darayavaush itself, is probably a throne name, meaning “hero among rulers” (Frye, Heritage, 97), and Wiseman infers that it could thus have been borne by an earlier figure such as Darius the Mede’s father, though it seems a problem with this suggestion that Khshayarsha is a Persian name. In Esther, a Greek translation takes ahhswrws to refer to Artaxerxes, while in Tob 14:15, Ασυηρος (Asueros) denotes Uvakhshtra or Cyaxares the Median conqueror of Nineveh in 612 B.C. (Frye, Heritage, 72–73). He might be seen as Darius the Mede’s predecessor/ancestor/father, and ahhswrws is actually as close a transliteration of Uvakhshtra (Akkadian U-aksa-tar) as it is of Khshayarsha (see W. S. Auchincloss, “Darius the Median,” Biblioteca Sacra 66 [1909] 536–38; Torrey, Journal of the American Oriental Society 66 [1946] 7–8).” [1]

    [1] Goldingay, J. E. (1998). Vol. 30: Daniel. Word Biblical Commentary (239). Dallas: Word, Incorporated, 239.

  • Bobcat


    Thanks for the reference material. This reminds me a little of the "24 elders" thread a while back. Interesting to speculate, but still lacking the final word.

    I feel a little envious. It appears you have some major academic works on the computer (e.g. Word Biblical and HALOT). All mine are in paper.

    Take Care

  • Vidqun

    Yes, I have invested in Bibleworks and Logos. They come in very handy. Yes, I agree. Doesn't help being dogmatic on a shaky foundation. They are still unearthing valuable stuff. You never know, one of these days we might have the answer.

  • Bobcat

    Yes, I appreciate being able to share ideas peacefully. You never know what they might unearth someday. (Darius might be Kilroy!)

  • Vidqun

    Yes I can just see the headlines. Very important inscription unearthed. Kilroy was here! in Old Aramaic.

  • kepler

    G. C. McCaulay translation of Herodotus from the Greek - e.g., see Barnes and Noble edition, Donald Lateiner, editor.

    Book VIII, paragraph 114.

    During this time, while Mardonios was selecting his army and Xerxes was in Thessaly, there had come an oracle from Delphi to the Lacedemonians [Spartans], bidding them ask satisfaction from Xerxes for the murder of Leonidas and accept that which should be given to him. The Spartans therefore sent a heraldas quickly as possible , who having found the whole army still in Thessaly came into the presence of Xerxes a dn spoke these words:

    "O KING OF THE MEDES, the Lacedemonians and the sons of Heracles of Sparta demand satisfaction for murder, because you killed their king, finding in defense of Hellas." He laughed and then kept silence some time.

    Bobcat, Vidqun,

    Did you happen to notice something?

    Forget the scholarly opinion. Read Thucydides and Herodotus for yourself. In Greek if possible.

  • kepler

    Some updates on this matter based on reading two books.

    1. "Persian Fire" by Tom Holland, written in 2006 is a digestible recapitulation of the Persian Wars with the Greek city states in the 480s and 470s BC. Holland re-arranges the account of Herodotus to allow other connections to be made. I have not checked all of them, but I think he ran aground on an important one: the relationship of Astyages King of Media, Cyrus the future king of Persia, lieutenants of both individuals - and the subsequent King Darius I.

    In book one of the Histories, Herodotus relates how Astyages, inspired by a dream directs Harpargos to murder the young prince Cyrus. Regarding the dream, Astyages had consulted magi on this matter.Harpagos, having failed in that, Astyages kidnaps his son, butchers him and serves him in a stew to his father. Harpargos continued to serve Astyages but stewed as well in his own anger. He worked tirelessly in behalf of Cyrus and confronted Astyages after Cyrus captured him in the field of battle. Subsequently he served Cyrus as a general in campaigns through Asia Minor.

    In Herodotus, I can find no indication that Harpagos changed his name to Hystapes and became the father of Darius. Whether this is an error of Holland's, a pet theory or the tale of another ancient writer, I cannot say. But I certainly cannot find evidence to support this theory.

    2.) "Ebla" right now appears to be the more interesting of the two books, though it might not be appropriately named. Archeologists and scholars of ancient Jewish life, Chaim Bermant and Michael Weitzman collaborate here, describing Italian work on Tell Mardikh in Syria near Aleppo and the background surrounding it. Ebla is rich in ancient cuneiform, best described for now as Proto-Canaanite from the 3rd millenium BC. Somewhat like the Dead Sea Scrolls, Ebla created excitement and anticipation for the public, especially with regard to the Pentateuch and possible connections to this hardly known city ( a few brief references in the OT). The third chapter of the book gives a broad 25 page survey of Biblical controversies over presumed anachronisms, sources such as J, E, P and D, the tribal heritages, contradictions, etc. Arguments posted are pro and con for "inerrancy" for lack of better term.

    The fourth chapter was devoted to "Cuneiform without Tears" - and this is an exciting history of how the codes were cracked, starting with ancient Persian, largely off the testimony of Darius I in Behistun, Iran.

    Rawlinson, a British army attache to the Persian government, cracked the code by comparing the genealogy provided by Herodotus, another tablet with a suspected list of kings ( Darius, Xerxes, king, king of kings, Persia... etc.). We finally get in English translation "Darius the Great King, King of Kings, King of countries, son of Hystaspes, an Achaemenian..."

    Herodotus and Darius appear to be in agreement about both who his father was. Both Herodotus and Thucydides identify Medes as the invaders of Greece in 486 BC and Darius was king. Herodotus, as said above, calls out Xerxes as king of the Medes.

    Now try to get Daniel to match like that with anything - save for predicting a perpetually receding event.

  • mP

    Wheres Lars when you need him. Im sure many here have made errors with their numbers and dates, and Lars knows how to compute using his 68000.

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