Aug 20, 2012

The Book of Daniel and Belshazzar

Late dating the Book of Daniel and questioning its historical accuracy is ubiquitous in modern scholarship. So I found the following comment from Alan Millard interesting.
"Unlike every other known ancient author writing about the fall of Babylon, Daniel preserves the name of Belshazzar, son of the last king of Babylon, according to cuneiform texts. Xenophon is in partial agreement with Daniel, giving an account of a banquet and a king slaughtered (Cyropaedia 7.5.15, 21, 25-30)."

Millard's observation is interesting in two regards. First, the use of Belshazzar argues against a late date. If Daniel was written in the second century BC, as many presume, then how or why would Daniel alone preserve the name of Daniel? Second, the fact that Xenophon agrees, at least in part, with Daniel supports the book's historical reliability. 

Alan R. Millard, “Daniel in Babylon: An Accurate Record?” in Do Historical Matters Matter to Faith: A Critical Appraisal of Modern and Postmodern Approaches to Scripture, ed. James K. Hoffmeier and Dennis R. Magary (Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2012), 279.

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