Old Greek Daniel's Son of Man

by peacefulpete 56 Replies latest watchtower bible

  • KalebOutWest

    I have been approached by several scholars of now popular, mainstream Bible translations who had questions about how everyday liturgical Hebrew users employ certain things. I got a chance to ask them how they settle things when they "favor" one view over another.

    For the most part, they agreed to always do the same thing. Do the most painful, and follow the data of someone who checks your methodology for bugs. If your method is solid and your conclusion has support, that is what you "favor."

    But never go with your gut. Don't follow your belief system. Don't choose what you like. Reject what sounds novel. If someone checks your method and says, "Sorry kid, do it again..." Well, it doesn't feel good, but you got to let it go.

    When in doubt, throw it out. If it's right, there'll be light.

    "I don't know" is also a correct answer.

  • peacefulpete

    I'll take that.

  • peacefulpete

    I had to account for the usage of the book by both the Anti-Hellenist Maccabeans and those Anti-Hellenists that came to oppose their reforms as apostasy (Qumran). What yet remains a nagging question is the Sadducean, who are often said to have come from the Maccabean priesthood, apparent agnosticism regarding books like Daniel. Who knows. Religious ideas shift. If you can offer anything , please do.

  • KalebOutWest

    What I often tell students is there is one question just as important as "What is true?" And that is: "Why are you asking?"

    While most of what we understand about the authors of Scripture is based on critical theory and thus subject to change as we gather more data and understand it better, we do have a clear conclusions made by sound methodology and agreed consensus.

    In Judaism we have something called "argument for the sake of heaven" meaning debate between sages for the sake of finding a right answer or solution. There is also "argument for sake of victory" which one does with an opponent just to win a battle for the sake of pride.

    When there are sound answers based on sound, proven critical methods, one should employ them. If one does not trust them, one should learn the methods used to arrive at the answers. Many scholars and academics over many generations often worked hard to arrive at finding the solution they have provided, 'arguing for the sake of heaven,' so to speak.

    But one cannot come to a solution on their own. A critical answer is not a critical answer if it is not tested by independent and disinterested parties and then the work approved and accepted by consensus. Otherwise it is just a personal opinion. When you stick to this view and worse, try to promote it view debate, it is an "argument for the sake of pride."

    There are many possible solutions to who wrote Daniel but there is also a general consensus on the matter based on a very sound critical methodology. In fact, there is almost no tradition whatsoever used for Daniel's authorship. It comes from Judaism and is highly critical of both the religion, the history of my people, and the history of the Hasmoneans themselves.

    For many exJWs this is not easy. Trust in authority is not something they are likely to do a second time in life, even if it comes from a "trusted source," or especially if it comes from a so called "authorized" source. Most I've talked to from the Watchtower do not avail themselves of mainstream materials but cling to something or more often someone with a particular unique idea. They seem to identify with the independent over the learned, and I don't blame them when the Governing Body lied to them by claiming they were learned and authorized though they were neither.

    Also learning the various methods is not something that is simple without personal experience. Sometimes taught in primary educational systems, it usually isn't found until secondary, and most Jehovah's Witnesses aren't ever taught how it is done, especially in reference to Biblical studies.

    Instead of inventing the wheel, I can only offer the advice of finding out for yourself why you are searching for answers that already have a consensus. Why are you not satisfied with what is out there? If it is because you are a learned scholar, I understand. But you would not be here. Academics don't learn in a vacuum. Scholars have jobs with schools and academies, etc. You learn with other academics.

    Only you you can answer this question. You can't find the answers you need until this one gets settled.

  • KalebOutWest

    My trip resumes today. I will be out of range for quite some time. All my best.

  • peacefulpete

    I agree with everything said. Well mostly. I find academia like any profession can get contented with stasis quo, well argued 'novel' ideas can sometimes kick the machinery back to life. We may not agree on that. I have a half dozen retired professors in my circle of codgerly friends. It's funny, when we have our recurring lunch together, they seem to be studying me as a specimen of homo non-academia sapiens.

    So to clarify for you, I have a purely academic interest in these topics. What started out a quarter of a century ago as a cathartic mission of discovery/recovery has evolved into a genuine interest in the topics as an intellectual exercise. I have to imagine something similar happened in your process. You certainly had the cultural advantage of being surrounded by this material and history, and your choice of career immersed you in ways my blue-collar skills didn't. While not gifted with the acumen of some posters over the years, I have eventually seen the logic of those who are. I was a clock and watchmaker (among other things) and feel an unrelenting need to grasp how wheels perform as part of the train. I'm not slaying dragons anymore, I'm studying them.

    Again enjoy your trip.

  • peacefulpete
    Yet we know from both 1 and 2 Maccabees that in the second century B.C.E. a group or party developed, associated with the Maccabees, who called themselves Chasidim, as reflected in the Greek term asidaioi (faithful).

    Reciting Psalm 30 on Chanukah: A Biblical Custom? - TheTorah.com

    Daniel’s apocalypse offers a perspective of the events leading up to Chanukah that differs markedly from that of First and Second Maccabees. While the latter books take the perspective of the Maccabees, a political group of guerrilla fighters, Daniel reflects the point of view of some of the scribes, the “knowledgeable among the people (maskilim).” A fragile alliance formed between these two groups, but much distrust as well.....What actually happened may have been unimaginable to Daniel’s more passive group: the Judeans won. After a protracted campaign, Antiochus’ beleaguered successor, Lysias, entered into negotiations with the Maccabees, which led to the independent state ruled by the Maccabees and their successors. It was at this time that the rededication of the Jerusalem temple, the event that Chanukah celebrates, occurred. The unknown authors of the apocalyptic visions never wrote the end of the story, or if they did, it was not preserved.

    The Lead up to Chanukah in the Book of Daniel - TheTorah.com

    As much as I dug, I found no 'consensus' that the book of Daniel was written by the Maccabees themselves. It would seem to answer more questions if we conclude that the author/s were 'associated' with the Maccabees but having clear differences regarding the use of literal swords. It probably sounds pedantic but my subtle difference of opinion seems sound. Many commentators have observed and elaborated on the distinctly different outlook of the would-be martyrs of Daniel and the must-be warriors of 1 Maccabees.

    The Book of Daniel is generally agreed to have been written at some point during the persecutions of Antiochus IV Epiphanes, around 167–165 BCE. Compared to the more secular stance of 1 Maccabees that advocated direct military action under the leadership of the Hasmonean family, Daniel appears to have a more spiritual and apocalyptic approach to the crisis, suggesting that God would directly intervene to punish the Seleucids. It appears to suggest more of a passive resistance and praises martyrdom; thus, the most important thing for the faithful was to remain 'pure' in their Judaism to maintain God's favor.... One common point of speculation is that the author of Daniel was a member of the Hasideans, or at least a good example of how the Hasideans thought. Scholars favoring this include Martin Hengel, Victor Tcherikover, and James A. Montgomery.[16][2Hasideans - Wikipedia
    1 Maccabees relates that at the start of the conflict around 167–166 BCE, some of those "who had rejected the king's command" forbidding traditional Jewish practices such as circumcision and Jewish dietary laws had escaped into the wilderness. (Qumran?) The empire's soldiers had attacked them on the Sabbath, they declined to defend themselves, and were killed. Hasideans - Wikipedia
    Dan 11:33Those with insight will instruct many, though for a time they will fall by sword or flame, or be captured or plundered.
    34Now when they fall, they will be granted a little help, (Maccabee initial campaigns) but many will join them insincerely. (perhaps a reference to a group of Hasidim that, after the massacre, decided to join the Maccabean army mentioned in 1 Macc 2 :42,43)

    Perhaps this betrayal of their pacifist stance, emboldened the Hellenist High Priest Alcimus (appointed by Antiochus) to feign a peaceful confab with a group of them, and executing the trusting bunch.

    Then a group of scribes appeared in a body before Alcimus and Bacchides to ask for just terms. The Hasideans were first among the Israelites to seek peace from them, (the Seleucids) for they said, 'A priest of the line of Aaron has come with the army, and he will not harm us.' Alcimus spoke peaceable words to them and swore this oath to them, 'We will not seek to injure you or your friends.' So they trusted him; but he seized sixty of them and killed them in one day (...) Then the fear and dread of them fell on all the people, for they said, 'There is no truth or justice in them, for they have violated the agreement and the oath that they swore.'
    — 1 Maccabees 7:12-16, 18[8]

    I believe we have enough of the picture to tentatively connect the Hasidim with the book of Daniel. The further connections to Qumran appear probable.

Share this