Date of Daniel FAQ

Wasn't Daniel a contemporary of Antiochus IV?
Who was Belshazzar?
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Wasn't Daniel a contemporary of Antiochus IV?

A. Scholars who don't believe that God could have inspired such an accurate prophecy as we find in the book of Daniel have denied that its author lived in ancient Babylon, and claim instead that it was the work of a contemporary of Antiochus IV, who wrote history and passed it off as divinely inspired prophecy. They cite alleged historical inconsistencies, and linguistic evidence. The Catholic Encyclopedia states: []
Over against this time-honored position which ascribes to Daniel the authorship of the book which bears his name, and admits 570-536 B.C. as its date of composition, stands a comparatively recent theory which has been widely accepted by contemporary scholars. Chiefly on the basis of historical and linguistic grounds, this rival theory refers the origin of the Book of Daniel, in its present form, to a later writer and period. It regards that apocalyptic writing as the work of an unknown author who composed it during the period of the Machabees, and more precisely in the time of Antiochus IV, Epiphanes (175-164 B.C.).
Bryan S. Rennie of Westminster College says: []
What explanation could make sense of these inconsistencies? The most obvious conclusion would be that the Book of Daniel was written at the time of the profanation of the Temple by Antiochus IV, during the Maccabean revolt which that sacrilege provoked. That would explain why the author is not very precise about sixth century events, why he is so precise about the time of Antiochus, and why he was never counted among the prophets.
These claims about a late date for the book of Daniel amount to a "conspiracy" theory, based on conjecture and ad hoc assertions. There's no positive evidence that such a conspiracy occurred. There is no mention of the sudden appearance of Daniel's prophecy in the books of Maccabees, for example. However some of the stories in Daniel are mentioned, as being authentic history.

And, there's no good evidence of any motive or intent for writing a fraudulent book of prophecy. Why would such a hypothetical author, hoping to encourage faithful Jews to resist the hellenistic reforms of Antiochus the king, write Daniel chapter 2? Daniel says to the king of Babylon, in Daniel 2:37:

Thou, O king, art a king of kings: for the God of heaven hath given thee a kingdom, power, and strength, and glory.
This would imply Antiochus also received his kingdom and power from God. Or why would he have written chapter 4, where the king of Babylon learned that it is God who rules? Daniel 4:23: "... the most High ruleth in the kingdom of men, and giveth it to whomsoever he will." His Jewish readers would apply the lesson of chapter 4 to Antiochus. According to Daniel, it was God who gave Antiochus IV his authority over the Jews. So why would the author of Daniel include this story, if he was promoting a fraud, attempting to stir up a revolt? Opposing the king would be opposing the rule of God. Scholars have really messed up on this one. More claims of a late authorship of the book of Daniel are refuted at

The prophecy of Daniel 8:14 was accurately fulfilled, taking the 2,300 "evening mornings" as representing 2,300 years. The period began when Daniel saw his vision, which is dated to "the third year of the reign of king Belshazzar" in vs. 1. That would be about 550 BC; the 2,300 years later would be about 1750 AD. By this time, Newton's discoveries were being studied around the world. So if indeed the book of Daniel was a fraud, containing history written by a contemporary of Antiochus IV, passed off as prophecy, how was the alleged author able to so accurately predict the date of the scientific revolution in astronomy, when man's knowledge of the heavens was "set right" or justified, and God's "sanctuary" was cleansed of the idea of a rigid, rotating sky?

Who was Belshazzar?

A.  Scholars used to say that there was no evidence Belshazzar was ruler of Babylon. However evidence has turned up that he was the son of Nabonidus. The following is from:

Nabonidus, who ruled the empire of Babylon from 555-538 B.C., mentions his firstborn son Belshazzar on an inscription found in the city of Ur in 1853. The inscription reads: "May it be that I, Nabonidus, king of Babylon, never fail you. And may my firtstborn, Belshazzar, worship you with all his heart."

Another piece of evidence for Belshazzar's reign in the city of Babylon comes from an inscription where he is referred to as the son of Nabonidus and is given authority to rule. "Putting the camp under the rule of his oldest son . . . His hands were now free; He entrusted the authority of the royal throne to him."
Yet even another piece of evidence comes from a tablet dating back to the sixth century in Babylon, where he is mentioned in the same light as his father: “In regards to the bright star which has appeared, I will undertake to interpret its meaning for the glory of my lord Nabonidus, Babylon’s king, and also for the crown prince, Belshazzar”. What is interesting to note is that on this oath, the man swore by both Nabonidus and Belshazzar. While on oaths dating back to other times, generally only the king is mentioned. This seems to indicate that Belshazzar had a co-reigning authority that was second only to his father throughout all the Empire.   

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