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.
Rolf J. Furuli
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.