Historical Problems in the Book of Daniel

Topics: Book of Daniel, Antiochus IV Epiphanes, Seleucid Empire Pages: 12 (4014 words) Published: May 26, 2013
Historical Problems in the Book of Daniel


A Paper

Presented to

Dr. Michael Heiser

Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary


In Partial Fulfillment

of the Requirements for the Course

OBST 592_D03_201240_ 2012



Wendy Robyn Foster


December 9, 2012

Table of Contents


Known authenticating issues and anecdotes4

Belshazzar and Darius



Validation of Canonicity9



Many questions have risen out of the book of Daniel and the Bible as a whole. Due to numerous issues, many historians consider Daniel a narrative rather than a historical document. This is despite its placement in the canon by the founding fathers. Among the many problems are dating, names, and the usage of Greek and Persian in a book that is otherwise Hebrew and Aramaic. Despite the fact that Daniel is considered a book written after the occurrence, even a forgery, critical thinking and research are necessary for proper understanding, as well as its proper placement in history. Rather than do extended research on the subject, it has been easier to give up and not search further for truth. This paper will aim to prove that not only was Daniel indeed a real man that wrote the book bearing his name but also that it is not a work of fiction; rather, a historical work completely inspired by God. It will further correlate the book with Babylonian history to find its place in the history of the world. It is the prayer of this author that the research found will also shine the same authenticity on the entire Word of God; as the genuinness and historicity of the Bible is at stake as well. For bible believers, there has to be an answer to this. Are people just to accept the book of Daniel without proof? Pure belief that the bible is true just is not enough to satisfy Daniel as fact. Finding the truth in Daniel is the master key in establishing the bible as truth.

Known authenticating issues and anecdotes
In deciding whether the book of Daniel is authentic, many scholars have approached some obstacles that have discouraged further study. Seemingly, there are those that do not want to claim Daniel historical because that would require validating the entire Bible, and ultimately, God. Many historians find it easier to claim the book to be a story and anything found within to have happened as something it is not. They claim anything that relates to what the prophecy looks like it could be, but not what it really is. This paper will start with the most serious historical problem of Darius the Mede. Belshazzar and Darius

This is the most difficult issue in substantiating the book. Firstly, there is no Belshazzar as king of the time. As amazing as it is that a hand should appear without a body and write on a wall, there is no record outside of Daniel of its occurrence. Scholars have believed this a serious error that shifted the book away from being historical. Likewise, there is no Darius found in any document proving his existence. There are those that say, of course that he did not exist at all. To define who this is would be a major step in proving Daniel as truth. Daniel 5:30 and 31 tell us that Darius the Mede conquered Babylon. He killed Belshazzar who was king according to Daniel. The prophet goes on to say in the following chapter that Darius was king; however, neither is there mention of a Darius in the History books. Mid-20th century literature records these figures as myths. “…the view that the chapter Dan 5 originated in the Maccabean period was thoroughly discreditable.” The Nebonides Chronicle sheds a lot of light on these issues. According to Dr Gary Yates, the Nebonides Chronicle states that Nebonides went to Tema to rest and Belshazzar ruled in his stead while gone. In...
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