When was the book of Daniel written?

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R.J. Furuli
Posts: 91
Joined: Sat Sep 28, 2013 10:51 am

Re: When was the book of Daniel written?

Postby R.J. Furuli » Mon Jan 01, 2018 12:55 pm

Dear Karl,

You wrote:
There’s one group of people whom I have learned that I cannot trust to give an accurate picture of ancient history, namely professional historians. I can give several examples of why I can’t trust them. You seem to trust them.

It comes down to a matter of trust, who do you trust? Cyrus and the professional historians on one side, or the Bible on the other? I trust the Bible.


I have been trained in the philosophy of science and in the methodology of scholarly studies. The scientific method requires that we make firsthand investigations of the original sources and do not take the conclusions of others for granted. I am certain that historians and archaeologists generally are honest persons who try the best they can to find the real data and interpret these data. However, their interpretations are built on the model (paradigm) they use, and on different axioms or auxiliary hypotheses (=conclusions drawn by scholars in different fields). Thus, their conclusions are not more certain than the auiliary hypotheses that they use.

I have taught Hebrew and Akkadian for more than a decade at the University of Oslo, and I am trained in the reading of astronomical tablets, which contain a kind of Akkadian "shorthand" (abbreviations), and in doing asronomical calculations. Therefore, I have been able to analyze the original sources. I have studied several thousand Akkadian and Persian cuneiform tablets, and I have studied all—I mean all (=less than 50)— astronomical tablets that relates to the Neo-Babylonian Empire and down to the reign of Artaxerxes I in the Persian Empire.

In many cases, ancient tablets and documents can be interpreted in different ways. And I do not claim that the chronology I have presented is the final word . But some conclusions build on such a straong basis that they cannot be rejected. One such conclusion is that the traditional Neo-Babylonian chronology is far too short.

The Bible claims to be the inspired word of God, and different writers claim that God has given them prophecies about what will happen in the future. All who read the Bible and work with ancient history are confronted with the following dilemma: Are the "prophecies" of Daniel and others history in prophetic disguise, or are they real prophecies about the future? As far as Daniel is concerned, the answer to this question is based on when the book of Daniel was written—in the second century BCE or in the sixth century BCE. When I, over several years, have studied the different relevant sources, and on this basis I wrote the book, When Was the Book of Daniel Written?, I did not foremost write for the readers, but I wrote for myself. I wrote in order to solve the mentioned dilemma for myself. My conclusion is that the book of Daniel contains real prophecies about the future. As for the different accounts in the book, I have not found any data suggesting that they have a mythologicl origin. But there are many data that support the view that they are true historical accounts.

Why not read my book? There is no other book in the past or present that both includes a thorough analysis of the Hebrew and Aramaic of Daniel together with a textcritical analysis, that has made a thourough analysis of all the passages in Daniel that have been applied to antiochus IV Epiphanes in the light of the history of this king, and that have translated the five Akkadian tablets believed to be history in prophetic disguise.


Best regards,

Rolf J. Furuli
Stavern
Norway






I have worked with the text of the Bible for more than fifty years, and on the basis of my studies, I have a very positive view of the Bible.

kwrandolph
Posts: 877
Joined: Sun Sep 29, 2013 12:51 am

Re: When was the book of Daniel written?

Postby kwrandolph » Mon Jan 01, 2018 7:59 pm

R.J. Furuli wrote:Dear Karl,

You wrote:
There’s one group of people whom I have learned that I cannot trust to give an accurate picture of ancient history, namely professional historians. I can give several examples of why I can’t trust them. You seem to trust them.

It comes down to a matter of trust, who do you trust? Cyrus and the professional historians on one side, or the Bible on the other? I trust the Bible.


I have been trained in the philosophy of science


I have been trained in science. One of the most important aspects of that training is how to recognize what is science, how to practice it, which includes the converse, how to recognize when a study doesn’t follow the rules of science and why that study is not science.

What I studied was modern science, also called “empirical science”. Unfortunately, more and more of what is called “science” today is post-modern science, which appears to be very similar to pre-modern science.

My experience with philosophy of science is that the philosophers who spout off about the philosophy of science often have no idea of what is science and how to practice it.

R.J. Furuli wrote: and in the methodology of scholarly studies.


Not all scholarly studies are amenable to be studied using the scientific method. That does not mean that they are not scholarly, merely that they are not science, according to the rules of modern, empirical science.

R.J. Furuli wrote: The scientific method requires that we make firsthand investigations of the original sources and do not take the conclusions of others for granted.


According to the rules of modern, empirical science that I was taught at the state universities and in secular science textbooks, the modern, empirical scientific method demands that we deal only with observable phenomena where the observations are repeatable.

Any study that deals with subjects that can no longer be observed, for example the past, or never observable in the first place, cannot be studied by science. That doesn’t mean those studies are invalid or not scholarly, merely that they’re not science.

The book of Daniel, which includes some autobiographical material, is an original source.

R.J. Furuli wrote: I am certain that historians and archaeologists generally are honest persons who try the best they can to find the real data and interpret these data. However, their interpretations are built on the model (paradigm) they use, and on different axioms or auxiliary hypotheses (=conclusions drawn by scholars in different fields). Thus, their conclusions are not more certain than the auiliary hypotheses that they use.


I didn’t intentionally impugn their motives, just their results, and for the reasons you mention in your paragraph above.

However, when you claimed that Darius the Mede never reigned over Babylon, it seems to me that you have swallowed some of their auxiliary hypotheses.

So what do you do when you have two sources: one a primary source—Daniel—and the other an auxiliary source, which one takes precedence?

R.J. Furuli wrote:I have taught Hebrew and Akkadian for more than a decade at the University of Oslo, and I am trained in the reading of astronomical tablets, which contain a kind of Akkadian "shorthand" (abbreviations), and in doing asronomical calculations. Therefore, I have been able to analyze the original sources. I have studied several thousand Akkadian and Persian cuneiform tablets, and I have studied all—I mean all (=less than 50)— astronomical tablets that relates to the Neo-Babylonian Empire and down to the reign of Artaxerxes I in the Persian Empire.


Quite an accomplishment, yet…

R.J. Furuli wrote:In many cases, ancient tablets and documents can be interpreted in different ways.


Isn’t that where you can become captive to the auxiliary hypotheses mentioned above?

R.J. Furuli wrote: And I do not claim that the chronology I have presented is the final word . But some conclusions build on such a straong basis that they cannot be rejected. One such conclusion is that the traditional Neo-Babylonian chronology is far too short.

The Bible claims to be the inspired word of God,


That is immaterial to this discussion here. The question here is, is this an accurate history? What are the clues that would indicate true or false?

One clue you mentioned in a previous message is that the Aramaic used is from the sixth century BC.

R.J. Furuli wrote: and different writers claim that God has given them prophecies about what will happen in the future. All who read the Bible and work with ancient history are confronted with the following dilemma: Are the "prophecies" of Daniel and others history in prophetic disguise, or are they real prophecies about the future? As far as Daniel is concerned, the answer to this question is based on when the book of Daniel was written—in the second century BCE or in the sixth century BCE.


One problem with those who want to say that the book was written after the events described in it, is that it accurately describes the Roman suppression of the Jewish revolt of 66–73 AD. Yet the book was known in the second century BC, if not earlier.

R.J. Furuli wrote: When I, over several years, have studied the different relevant sources, and on this basis I wrote the book, When Was the Book of Daniel Written?, I did not foremost write for the readers, but I wrote for myself. I wrote in order to solve the mentioned dilemma for myself. My conclusion is that the book of Daniel contains real prophecies about the future. As for the different accounts in the book, I have not found any data suggesting that they have a mythologicl origin. But there are many data that support the view that they are true historical accounts.

Why not read my book? There is no other book in the past or present that both includes a thorough analysis of the Hebrew and Aramaic of Daniel together with a textcritical analysis, that has made a thourough analysis of all the passages in Daniel that have been applied to antiochus IV Epiphanes in the light of the history of this king,


Off the top of my head, there’s only one prophesy concerning Antiochus IV Epiphanes in Daniel.

R.J. Furuli wrote: and that have translated the five Akkadian tablets believed to be history in prophetic disguise.


Best regards,

Rolf J. Furuli
Stavern
Norway

I have worked with the text of the Bible for more than fifty years, and on the basis of my studies, I have a very positive view of the Bible.


Karl W. Randolph.

R.J. Furuli
Posts: 91
Joined: Sat Sep 28, 2013 10:51 am

Re: When was the book of Daniel written?

Postby R.J. Furuli » Tue Jan 02, 2018 4:00 am

Dear Karl,

According to the rules of modern, empirical science that I was taught at the state universities and in secular science textbooks, the modern, empirical scientific method demands that we deal only with observable phenomena where the observations are repeatable.

Any study that deals with subjects that can no longer be observed, for example the past, or never observable in the first place, cannot be studied by science. That doesn’t mean those studies are invalid or not scholarly, merely that they’re not science.


The philosophy of science does not consist of highflying specualtions. But as it is taught at the University of Oslo, it deals with the rules of basic logic, what can be achieved by inductive and deductive methods, and why are some conclusions valid while others are invalid.

Only a small part of the natural sciences deals with "observable phenomena where the observations are repetable." So, I do not see the big contrast between "observable science" and "historical science" that deals with the past. Interestingly, a great part of the historical sciences consist of empirical studies. To study cuneiform tables and royal inscriptions from the past certainly is an empirical endeavor. But the material must be interpreted as all scientific material. Dated business tablets never lie, but inscriptions of kings often lie and exaggerate conquests and other events.

Below are two quotations that in my view give a very fine description of the situation in modern scientific studies:

"One could nominate a fifth principle—that the business of the scientific community is to diminish error rather than to discover truth. Perhaps not all scientists will agree with this. All that testing can do, however, is to detect error. We can never be sure, therefore, that error will not be detected in any presently accepted scientific proposition at some time in the future." (Boulding, K.E. “Towards an evolutionary theology.” In A. Montague, ed., Science and Creationism. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1984, 147)

"There is a widespread belief among the public that the statements of science are provable. Scientists and philosophers now agree this is wrong. No scientific statement is ever fully proved. Science is made up of statements that may be proved false but that have not, in fact, been proved false by the most rigorous tests." (Hardin, G. “‘Scientific Creationism’—Marketing Deception as Truth.” In A. Montague, ed., Science and Creationism, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1984, 162.)

I recommend the book: The Logic of Scientific Discovery by Karl Popper. It describes what science really is, what it can achieve and what it cannot achive. It supports the conclusions in the two quotations above.

However, when you claimed that Darius the Mede never reigned over Babylon, it seems to me that you have swallowed some of their auxiliary hypotheses.


Here you have misunderstood my words; I have never said that Darius the Mede never reigned over Babylon. I understand why so many scholars doubt the existence of Darius the Mede—he is not mentioned by any person in ancient times who gave historical information. However, Claudius Ptolemy who connected astronomical observations to a list of kings, only listed those who reigned one year or more. According to the writer of the book of Daniel, Darius the Mede "received" the kingdom (from someone else). As I mentioned, the information about Ugbaru fits the information of Darius the Mede. If this identification us correct, Darius the Mede (Ugbaru) reigned over Babylon a few weeks in the year 539 BCE. Some would say that Darius the Mede must have reigned a long time, because of all the things that happened during his reign, as described in the book of Daniel. However, if you take one account at a time and count the minimum of time for each event, you will see that all events could have happened during one single week.


Best regards,


Rolf J. Furuli
Stavern
Norway

kwrandolph
Posts: 877
Joined: Sun Sep 29, 2013 12:51 am

Re: When was the book of Daniel written?

Postby kwrandolph » Tue Jan 02, 2018 10:21 am

Dear Rolf:

R.J. Furuli wrote:
According to the rules of modern, empirical science that I was taught at the state universities and in secular science textbooks, the modern, empirical scientific method demands that we deal only with observable phenomena where the observations are repeatable.

Any study that deals with subjects that can no longer be observed, for example the past, or never observable in the first place, cannot be studied by science. That doesn’t mean those studies are invalid or not scholarly, merely that they’re not science.


The philosophy of science does not consist of highflying specualtions.


Apparently you haven’t read some of the philosophers I’ve read.

R.J. Furuli wrote: But as it is taught at the University of Oslo, it deals with the rules of basic logic, what can be achieved by inductive and deductive methods, and why are some conclusions valid while others are invalid.


Good logic is needed for any valid study. Not only those contained within modern empirical science.

R.J. Furuli wrote:Only a small part of the natural sciences deals with "observable phenomena where the observations are repetable."


What I was taught is that this is the foundation of empirical modern science and how to differentiate between science and non-science. When I noticed that definition in one science textbook, I then asked several professors in biology, chemistry and physics, and read many science textbooks, and they were unanimous in that description.

It is upon this foundation that hypotheses and theories are built, and against which they are tested.

R.J. Furuli wrote: So, I do not see the big contrast between "observable science" and "historical science" that deals with the past.


“historical science” is not the same as “modern empirical science”, the biggest difference being the lack of repeatability. For example, in archaeology, where an artifact is found is often as important, if not more important, than the artifact itself. But in removing the artifact so that it can be studied, that information is destroyed. Any later researcher has to take on faith the claims of the archaeologist.

Repeatability is one of the central pillars of modern empirical science, without which modern empirical science fails.

R.J. Furuli wrote: Interestingly, a great part of the historical sciences consist of empirical studies.


Yes, many of the tools and techniques developed for the study of science can be used also for the study of non-repeatable observations.

R.J. Furuli wrote: To study cuneiform tables and royal inscriptions from the past certainly is an empirical endeavor.


But how do you know you deal with genuine articles and not clever forgeries? Or artifacts taken from a different place than claimed? You take that on faith, not observation. Furthermore, that observation cannot be repeated.

I don’t mean sloppy forgeries that leave obvious clues that they are forgeries.

Your quotes (which I didn’t repeat here) as well as the citation of Popper leave out how theories are proven false, but never proven true. Central to that is that modern empirical science deals with repeatably observable phenomena.

One thing that muddies the waters here is the practice of post-modern science, which differs from modern, empirical science in important ways.

R.J. Furuli wrote:
However, when you claimed that Darius the Mede never reigned over Babylon, it seems to me that you have swallowed some of their auxiliary hypotheses.


Here you have misunderstood my words; I have never said that Darius the Mede never reigned over Babylon. I understand why so many scholars doubt the existence of Darius the Mede—he is not mentioned by any person in ancient times who gave historical information. However, Claudius Ptolemy who connected astronomical observations to a list of kings, only listed those who reigned one year or more.


What was the historical evidence available to Claudius Ptolemy? How accurate was it? We know he didn’t have accurate records concerning the Persian empire, because Alexander the Great destroyed them.

R.J. Furuli wrote: According to the writer of the book of Daniel, Darius the Mede "received" the kingdom (from someone else).


Yes, he received it from Belshazzar. He didn’t have to build the empire from scratch.

R.J. Furuli wrote: As I mentioned, the information about Ugbaru fits the information of Darius the Mede.


Not at all. The description given in Daniel is that Darius was the overall ruler of the whole empire, not a minor official under another authority.

R.J. Furuli wrote: If this identification us correct, Darius the Mede (Ugbaru) reigned over Babylon a few weeks in the year 539 BCE. Some would say that Darius the Mede must have reigned a long time, because of all the things that happened during his reign, as described in the book of Daniel. However, if you take one account at a time and count the minimum of time for each event, you will see that all events could have happened during one single week.


Very unlikely within one week. The plot against Daniel alone most likely took months, if not years.

R.J. Furuli wrote:Best regards,


Rolf J. Furuli
Stavern
Norway


With best wishes for the new year, Karl W. Randolph.
Last edited by kwrandolph on Tue Jan 02, 2018 11:50 am, edited 1 time in total.

R.J. Furuli
Posts: 91
Joined: Sat Sep 28, 2013 10:51 am

Re: When was the book of Daniel written?

Postby R.J. Furuli » Tue Jan 02, 2018 11:49 am

Dear Karl,

We have been moving away from the Hebrew language, so I will just make one comment.

But how do you know you deal with genuine articles and not clever forgeries? Or artifacts taken from a different place than claimed? You take that on faith, not observation. Furthermore, that observation cannot be repeated.


Babylonian business tablets are contracts dealing with buying and selling objects and leasing objects. The names of the witnesses of the transactions are written on the tablets. There are several thousand such tablets dated to the kings of the Neo-Babylonian Empire. No one would fake such a tablet, because it could not be sold for a good price. There are 90 such tablets from Babylonia whose dates show that the time of the existence of the Empire must be expanded. I have collated and taken photos of severel of these tablets at Vorderasiatische Museum in Berlin and at British Museum in London. So, my dealing with these tablets does not buld on faith but on observation.

As for astronomical tablets, there could be motives for faking them, either to sell the foregeries for a price, or to "prove" a particular chronology. There are some strange things in connection with the very important tablet VAT 4956. The 19 year old E.F. Weidner, who became an expert on cuneiform tablets, published one line of this tablet in 1906. However, when I collated the tablet in 2005, the signs in this line on the reverse side were hardly readable. So it seems that someone had tampered with the tablet after 1906. There were also several strange things in connection with the publication of the tablet—it was not avaialble for inspection for many years. However, if the tablet is a forgery, Weidner must have known about it, or even made the foregery. But it is very hard to believe that a highly resepcted scholar like Weidner should have forged the tablet. Morover, a it looks like a genuine tablet. However, a scholar must always take into consideration the possibility of forgeries.


Best regards,


Rolf J. Furuli
Stavern
Norway

kwrandolph
Posts: 877
Joined: Sun Sep 29, 2013 12:51 am

Re: When was the book of Daniel written?

Postby kwrandolph » Tue Jan 02, 2018 12:44 pm

R.J. Furuli wrote:Dear Karl,

We have been moving away from the Hebrew language, so I will just make one comment.

But how do you know you deal with genuine articles and not clever forgeries? Or artifacts taken from a different place than claimed? You take that on faith, not observation. Furthermore, that observation cannot be repeated.


Babylonian business tablets are contracts dealing with buying and selling objects and leasing objects. The names of the witnesses of the transactions are written on the tablets. There are several thousand such tablets dated to the kings of the Neo-Babylonian Empire. No one would fake such a tablet, because it could not be sold for a good price. There are 90 such tablets from Babylonia whose dates show that the time of the existence of the Empire must be expanded. I have collated and taken photos of severel of these tablets at Vorderasiatische Museum in Berlin and at British Museum in London. So, my dealing with these tablets does not buld on faith but on observation.


Oh, so the original place where these tablets were found was the Vorderasiatische Museum in Berlin and the British Museum in London? That they were not found somewhere else and brought to the museums? I’m exaggerating here, but for a reason, namely that you are taking on faith what the museums say about the original provenance of those tablets.

I agree with you that the probability of the business tablets being faked is rather low. And there’s no reason that I can ascertain why the museums would deliberately mislabel those tablets. But that still leaves open the possibility of mistakes.

The biggest problem I see with the astronomical tablets is that many of the astronomical phenomena are cyclical, that the same readings could be accurate for several different dates.

Getting back to the subject is Daniel’s description of Darius the Mede—he is described as the overall ruler of the empire, even over Cyrus. The satraps of the different provinces reported to him, not to anyone else. All the descriptions given by Daniel is that the Medes ruled first, the Persians later took over. Assuming that Daniel is an original resource, and that he contradicts auxiliary sources such as the interpretations of astronomical tablets, which should I trust?

All the best, Karl W. Randolph.

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SteveMiller
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Re: When was the book of Daniel written?

Postby SteveMiller » Sun Jan 07, 2018 10:29 pm

R.J. Furuli wrote:Dear Steve,

You wrote:

Thanks Rolf,
Yes, "70 years at Babylon" is much more definite than "70 years for Babylon", and makes more sense.
"When 70 years are completed at Babylon, I will visit you" - Would not that mean that the 70 years start from Jeconiah's captivity in Jer 29:2, which was in the 1st year of Zedekiah, 10 years before the destruction of Jerusalem?


You are correct when you say that the words "when 70 years are filled at Babylon" in Jeremiah 29:10 do not tell when these years started. However, if we take the words "all these nations round about" (כָּל־הַגּוֹיִ֥ם הָאֵ֖לֶּה סָבִ֑יב) in Jeremiah 25:9 as referreing to the tribes and clans of Israel and Judah, the desolate state mentioned in 25:10, 11 must refer to Judah with representatives of other tribes. Thus, the 70 years mentioned in 25:11-12 must refer to the exile of the Jews and not with the exiles of other nations. This accords with all the passages in Jeremiah referreing to a desolate condition of the land, that I mentioned in a previous post.

The right approach to single verses, in my view, is to make a careful analysis, and then ask, 1) Which part(s) of the verse explcitly state one meaning or can only have one reference?, and, 2) which part(s) of the verse can have different meanings and different references? Then we compare the verses that may be ambigious with other verses, or the context, that have explicit statements.

In connection with the length of the exile, Daniel 9:2 and 2 Chronicles 36:21 explicitly show that the 70 years relate to the time when Judah and Jerusalem were desolate—an alternative interpretation is not linguistically possible. Both Daniel and the Chronicler refer to Jeremiah's prophecy. And that support the connection with the desolate state mentioned i Jeremiah 25:10, 11 with the 70 years mentioned in 25:11, 12.


Thanks much, Rolf. I think you have given solid reasoning for the 70 years beginning with the destruction of Jerusalem, especially 2Chron 36:21. As you said, I can't see another way to read it and still do justice to the text.
Sincerely yours,
Steve Miller
Detroit
http://www.voiceInWilderness.info
Honesty is the best policy. - George Washington (1732-99)


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