This volume has been disparaged in some quarters because, it is alleged, it ignores the destructive criticism which is supposed to have led "all people of discernment" to abandon belief in the visions of Daniel.

The charge is not altogether just. Not only are some of the chief objections of the critics answered in these pages, but in proving the genuineness of the great central prophecy of the book, the authenticity of the whole is established, And the absence of a special chapter upon the subject may be explained. The practice, too common in religious controversy, of giving an ex parte representation of the views of opponents, instead of accepting their own statement of them, is never satisfactory, and seldom fair. And no treatise was available on the critics' side, concise enough to afford the basis of a brief excursus, and yet sufficiently full and authoritative to warrant its being accepted as adequate.

This want, however, has since been supplied by Professor Driver's Introduction to the Literature of the Old Testament, [1] a work which embodies the results of the so-called "Higher Criticism," as accepted by the sober judgment of the author. While avoiding the malignant extravagance of the German rationalists and their English imitators, he omits nothing which erudition can with fairness urge against the authenticity of the Book of Daniel. And if the hostile arguments he adduces can be shown to be faulty and inconclusive, the reader may fearlessly accept the result as an "end of controversy" upon the subject. [2]

Here is the thesis which the author sets himself to establish:

"In face of the facts presented by the Book of Daniel, the opinion that it is the work of Daniel himself cannot be sustained. Internal evidence shows, with a cogency that cannot be resisted, that it must have been written not earlier than c. 300 B.C., and in Palestine; and it is at least probable that it was composed under the persecution of Antiochus Epiphanes, B.C. 168 or 167."

Professor Driver marshals his proofs under three heads:

(1) facts of a historical nature;
(2) the evidence of the language of Daniel; and
(3) the theology of the Book.

Under (1) h
e enumerates the following points:

(a) "The position of the Book in the Jewish Canon, not among the prophets, but in the miscellaneous collection of writings called the Hagiographa, and among the latest of these, in proximity to Esther. Though little definite is known respecting the formation of the Canon, the division known as the ' Prophets' was doubtless formed prior to the Hagiographa; and had the Book of Daniel existed at the time, it is reasonable to suppose that it would have ranked as the work of a prophet, and have been included among the former."

(b) "Jesus, the son of Sirach (writing c. 200 B.C.), in his enumeration of Israelitish worthies, c. 44-50, though he mentions Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, and (collectively) the Twelve Minor Prophets, is silent as to Daniel."

(c) "That Nebuchadnezzar besieged Jerusalem and carried away some of the sacred vessels in 'the third year of Jehoiakim' (Daniel 1:1 f.), though it cannot, strictly speaking, be disproved, is highly improbable: not only is the Book of Kings silent, but Jeremiah, in the following year (Jeremiah 25, etc.), speaks of the Chaldaeans in a manner which appears distinctly to imply that their arms had not yet been seen in Judah."

(d) "The 'Chaldaeans' are synonymous in Daniel with the caste of wise men. This sense ' is unknown to the Assyro-Babylonian language, has, wherever it occurs, formed itself after the end of the Babylonian empire, and is thus an indication of the post-exilic composition of the Book' (Schrader)."…

(e) "Belshazzar is represented as King of Babylon; and Nebuchadnezzar is spoken of throughout chap. 5: (vv. 2, 11, 13, 18, 22) as his father."…

(f) "Darius, son of Ahasuerus, a Mede, after the death of Belshazzar, is 'made king over the realm of the Chaldaeans.' There seems to be no room for such a ruler. According to all other authorities, Cyrus is the immediate successor of Nabu-nahid, and the ruler of the entire Persian empire. "…

(g) "In 9:2 it is stated that Daniel 'understood by the books' the number of years for which, according to Jeremiah, Jerusalem should lie waste. The expression used implies that the prophecies of Jeremiah formed part of a collection of sacred books, which nevertheless it may be safely affirmed, was not formed in 536 B.C."

(h) "O
ther indications adduced to show that the Book is not the work of a contemporary, are such as the following": The points are the improbability, first, that a strict Jew would have entered the class of the "wise men," or that he would have been admitted by the wise men themselves; second, Nebuchadnezzar's insanity and edict; third, the absolute terms in which he and Darius recognize God, while retaining their idolatry.

I dismiss (f) and (h) at once, for the author himself, with his usual fairness, declines to press them. "They should," he admits, "be used with reserve." The mention of "Darius the Mede" is perhaps the greatest difficulty which confronts the student of Daniel, and the problem it involves still awaits solution. The unqualified rejection of the narrative by many eminent writers only proves the incapacity even of scholars of repute to suspend their judgment upon questions of the kind. The history of that age is too uncertain and confused to justify dogmatism, and, as Professor Driver justly remarks, "a cautious criticism will not build too much on the silence of the inscriptions, where many certainly remain to be brought to light". In Mr. Sayce's recent work [3] this caution is neglected. He accepts, moreover, with a faith which is unduly simple, all that Cyrus says about himself. It was obviously his interest to represent the acquisition of Babylonia as a peaceful revolution, and not a military conquest. But the Book of Daniel does not conflict with either hypothesis. Mr. Sayce here "reads into it," as is so constantly done, what it in no way states or even implies. There is not a word about a siege or a capture. Belshazzar was "slain," and Darius "received" the kingdom; but how these events came about we must learn from other sources. Professor Driver here admits in express terms "that 'Darius the Mede' may prove, after all, to have been a historical character"; [4] and this is enough for our present purpose.

The remaining points I proceed to discuss seriatim.

(a) This is rightly placed first, as being the most important. But its apparent importance grows less and less the more closely it is examined. Our English Bible, following the Vulgate, divides the Old Testament into thirty-nine books. The Jewish Canon reckoned only twenty-four. These were classified under three heads – the Torah, the Neveeim, and the Kethuvim (the Law, the Prophets, and the Other Writings). The first contained the Pentateuch. The second contained eight books, which were again classified in two groups. The first four – viz., Joshua, Judges, Samuel, and Kings – were called the "Former Prophets"; and the second four – viz., Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, and "the Twelve" (i.e. the minor prophets reckoned as one book) – were called the "Latter Prophets." The third division contained eleven books – viz., Psalms, Proverbs, Job, Song of Songs, Ruth, Lamentations, Ecclesiastes, Esther, Daniel, Ezra and Nehemiah (reckoned as one), and Chronicles. Now, an examination of this list makes either of two conclusions irresistible. Either the Canon was arranged under Divine guidance, or else the classification of the books between the second and third divisions was an arbitrary one. If any one adopts the former alternative, the inclusion of Daniel in the Canon is decisive of the whole question. If, on the other hand, it be assumed that the arrangement was human and arbitrary, the fact that Daniel is in the third group proves – not that the book was regarded as of doubtful repute, for in that case it would have been excluded from the Canon, but that the great exile of the Captivity was not regarded as a "prophet."

To the superficial this may seem to be giving up the whole case. But using the word "prophet" in its ordinary acceptation, Daniel has no claim whatever to the title, and but for Matthew 24:15 it would probably never have been applied to him. His visions have their New Testament counterpart, but yet no one speaks of "the prophet John." According to 2 Peter 1:21 the prophets "spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost." This characterized the utterances of Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, and "the Twelve." They were the words of Jehovah by the mouth of the men who uttered them. The prophets stood apart from the people as witnesses for God; but Daniel's position and ministry were wholly different. "Neither have we hearkened unto Thy servants the prophets which spake in Thy name": such was his humble attitude. Higher criticism may slight the distinction here insisted on; but the question is how it was regarded by the men who settled the Canon; and in their judgment its importance was immense. Daniel contains the record, not of God-breathed words uttered by the seer, but of the words spoken to him, and of dreams and visions accorded him. And the visions of the latter half of his book were granted him after more than sixty years spent in statecraft – years the record of which would fix his fame in the popular mind as statesman and ruler.

The reader will thus recognize that the position of Daniel in the Canon is precisely where we should expect to find it. The critic speaks of it as being "in the miscellaneous collection of writings called the Hagiographa, and among the latest of these, in proximity to Esther." But, in adopting this from earlier writers, the author is guilty of what may be described as unintentional dishonesty. Daniel comes before Ezra, Nehemiah, and Chronicles in a group of books which includes the Psalms – those Psalms than which no part of their Canon was prized more highly by the Jews – those Psalms, many of which they rightly regarded as prophetic in the highest and strictest sense. [5] But Daniel, we are told, was placed "in proximity to Esther." What does the critic mean by this? He cannot wish to suggest that Esther is held in low repute by the Jews, for he himself declares that it came to be "ranked by them as superior both to the writings of the prophets and to all other parts of the Hagiographa." As to Esther coming before Daniel, he cannot have overlooked that it is bracketed in the Canon with the four books which precede it – the Megilloth. He cannot mean to imply that the books of the Kethuvim are arranged chronologically; and he certainly cannot wish to create an ignorant prejudice. The statement therefore is an enigma, and the discussion under this head may be dosed by the general remark that (a) implies that the Jews esteemed the books in the third division of their Canon as less sacred than "the prophets." But this is wholly baseless. In common with the rest, they were, as Josephus tells us, "justly believed to be Divine, so that, rather than speak against them, they were ready to suffer torture, or even death." [6]

(b) But little need be said in answer to this. Canon Driver admits that the argument is one "which, standing alone, it would be hazardous to press," and this is precisely its position if (a) be refuted. If it were a question of the omission of Daniel's name from a formal list of the prophets everything above urged would apply here with equal force; but the reader must not suppose that the son of Sirach gives any list of the kind. The facts are these. The Apocryphal Book of Ecclesiasticus, which is here referred to, ends with a rhapsody in praise of "famous men." This panegyric, it is true, omits the name of Daniel. But in what connection would his name be included? Daniel was exiled to Babylon in early youth, and never spent a single day of his long life among his people, never was openly associated with them in their struggles or their sorrows. The critic, moreover, fails to notice that the Son of Sirach ignores also not only such worthies as Abel, and Melchisedec, and Job, and Gideon, and Samson, but also Ezra, who, unlike Daniel, played a most prominent part in the national life, and who also gave his name to one of the books of the Canon. Let the reader decide this matter for himself after reading the passage in which the names of Daniel and Ezra ought to appear. [7] If any one is so mentally constituted that the omission leads him to decide against the authenticity of these two books, no words of mine would influence him.

(c) The historical statement with which the Book of Daniel opens is declared to be improbable on two grounds: first, because "the Book of Kings is silent" on the subject; and, secondly, because Jeremiah 25 appears inconsistent with it. The first point is made apparently in error, for 2 Kings 24:1 states explicitly that in Jehoiakim's days Nebuchadnezzar came up against Jerusalem, and that the Jewish king became his vassal. [8]

And the second point is overstated. Jeremiah 25 is silent on the subject, and that is all that can be said. Now the weight to be given to the silence of a particular witness or document on any matter is a familiar problem in dealing with evidence. It entirely depends on circumstances whether it counts for much, or little, or nothing. Kings being a historical record, its silence here would count for something. But why should a warning and a prophecy like Jeremiah 25 contain the recital of an event of a few months before, an event which no one in Jerusalem could ever possibly forget? [9]

But further discussion on these lines is needless, for the accuracy of Daniel's statement can be established on grounds which the critic ignores altogether. I refer to the chronology of the eras of the "servitude" and the "desolations." Both are commonly confounded with the "captivity," which was only in part concurrent with them. These several eras represented three successive judgments upon Judah. The chronology of these is fully explained in the sequel, and a reference to the excursus (within this work), or indeed a glance at the tables which follow, will supply proof absolute and complete that the servitude began in the third year of Jehoiakim, precisely as the Book of Daniel avers.

(d) I will refer under the second head of the inquiry to the philological question here involved. It is not in any sense a historical difficulty.

(e) The reade
r will find this point dealt with. Canon Driver remarks: "It may be admitted as probable that Belsharuzur held command for his father in Babylon; …but it is difficult to think that this could entitle him to be spoken of by a contemporary as king." If Belshazzar was regent, as the narrative indicates, it is difficult to think that a courtier would speak of him otherwise than as king. To have done so might have cost him his head! Daniel 5:7, 16, 29 affords corroboration here in a manner all the more striking because it is wholly undesigned. Nebuchadnezzar had made Daniel second ruler in the kingdom: why does Belshazzar make him third ruler? Presumably because he himself held but the second place. To avoid this the critics, trading upon a possible alternative rendering of the Aramaic {as given in the margin of the Revised Version}, conjecture a "Board of three." But assuming that the words used may mean a triumvirate in the sense of chap. 6:2, the question whether this is their actual meaning must be settled by an appeal to history. And history affords not the slightest hint that such a system of government prevailed in the Babylonian Empire. A true exegesis, therefore, must decide in favor of the alternative and more natural view, that Daniel was to rule as third, the absent king being first, and the king-regent second.

But Belshazzar is called the son of Nebuchadnezzar. The reader will find this objection fully answered by Dr. Pusey (Daniel, pp. 406-408). He justly remarks that "intermarriage with the family of a conquered monarch, or with a displaced line, is so obviously a way of strengthening the newly acquired throne, that it is a priori probable that Nabunahit would so fortify his claim," and Professor Driver himself allows (p. 468) that possibly the King may have married a daughter of Nebuchadnezzar, "in which case the latter might be spoken of as Belshazzar's father (= grandfather, by Hebrew usage)." I will only add two remarks: first, the critics forget that even on their own view of Daniel the existence of a tradition is prima facie proof of its truth; and, secondly, if the usurper chose to be called the son of Nebuchadnezzar, though with no sort of claim to the title, no one in Babylon would dare to thwart him.

(g) Here are the words of Daniel 9:2 (R.V.): "I Daniel understood by the books the number of the years, whereof the word of the Lord came to Jeremiah the prophet, for the accomplishing of the desolations of Jerusalem, even seventy years." The prophecy here referred to is admittedly Jeremiah 25:11, 12. Now the word sepher, rendered "book" in Daniel 9:2, means simply a scroll. It may denote a book, as it often does in Scripture, or merely a letter. See ex. gr. Jeremiah 29:1 (the letter which Jeremiah wrote to the exiles in Babylon), or Isaiah 37:14 (Sennacherib's letter to King Hezekiah). Then, again, Jeremiah 36:1, 2 records that in the fourth year of Jehoiakim, the very year in which the prophecy of Jeremiah 25: was given, all the prophecies delivered up to that time were recorded in "a book." And in Jeremiah 51:60, 61 we find that some ten years later a further "book" was written and sent to Babylon. Where, then, is the difficulty? Professor Driver, moreover, himself supplies a complete answer in his own criticism by adopting "the supposition that in some cases Jeremiah's writings were in circulation for a while as single prophecies, or small groups of prophecies" These may have been the scrolls or "books" of Daniel 9.

But suppose, for the sake of argument, we admit that "the books" must mean the sacred writings up to that period, what warrant is there for affirming that no such "collection" existed in 536 B.C.? A more arbitrary assertion was never made, even in the range of controversy. Is it not absolutely incredible that the scrolls of the Law were not kept together? And considering Daniel's intense piety, and the extraordinary resources and means he must have had at his disposal under Nebuchadnezzar, may it not "safely be affirmed" that there was not another man upon earth so likely as himself to have had copies of all the holy writings? [10]

I now turn to the critic's second argument, which is based on the language of the Book of Daniel. He appeals, first, to the number of Persian words it contains; secondly, to the presence of Greek words; thirdly, to the character of the Aramaic in which part of the book is written; and, lastly, to the character of the Hebrew.

Underlying the argument founded on the presence of foreign words is the unexpressed assumption that the Jews were an uncultured tribe who had lived till then in boorish isolation. And yet four centuries before Daniel's time the wisdom and wealth of Solomon were spoken of throughout the then known world. He was a naturalist, a botanist, a philosopher, and a poet. And why not a linguist also? Were all his communications with his many foreign wives carried on through interpreters? He traded with near and distant nations, and every one knows how language is influenced by commerce. And can we doubt that the fame of Nebuchadnezzar attracted foreigners to Babylon? What his relations were with foreign courts we know not. Why may not Daniel have been a Persian scholar? The position assigned to him under the Persian rule renders this extremely probable. The number of Persian words in the book, according to Professor Driver, is "probably at least fifteen"; and here is his comment upon them:

"That such words should be found in books written after the Persian Empire was organized, and when Persian influences prevailed, is not more than would be expected"

But it was precisely in these circumstances that the Book of Daniel was written. The vision of chap. 10 was given five years after the Persian rule had been established, and these visions were the basis of the book. Notes and records the writer doubtless had of the earlier and historical portions of it; but it is a reasonable assumption that the whole was written after the visions were accorded him.

As regards the Aramaic and the Hebrew of Daniel, I can of course express no opinion of my own. But my position will be in no way prejudiced by my incompetency in this respect. In the first place, there is nothing new here. The critic merely gives in a condensed form what the Germans have urged; and the whole ground has been covered by Dr. Pusey and others, who, having examined it with equal erudition and care, have arrived at wholly different conclusions. But, in the second place, it is unnecessary; for the signal fairness with which Professor Driver states the results of his argument enables me to concede all he says in this regard and to dismiss the discussion of it to the sequel. Here axe his words:

"The verdict of the language of Daniel is thus clear. The Persian words presuppose a period after the Persian Empire had been well established; the Greek words demand, the Hebrew supports, and the Aramaic permits, a date after the conquest of Palestine by Alexander the Great (B.C. 332). With our present knowledge this is as much as the language authorizes us definitely to affirm" (p. 476).

May I restate this in other words? The Persian terms raise a presumption that Daniel was written after a certain date. The Hebrew strengthens this presumption, the Aramaic is consistent with it, and the Greek words used establish the truth of it. Problems precisely similar to this claim decision every day in our courts of justice. The whole strength of the case depends on the last point stated. Any number of argumentative presumptions may be rebutted; but here, it is alleged, we have proof which. admits of no answer: the Greek words demand a date which destroys the authenticity of Daniel.

Will the reader believe it that the only foundation on which this superstructure rests is the allegation that two Greek words are found in the list of musical, instruments given in the third chapter? At a, bazaar held some time ago in one of our cathedral, towns, under the patronage of the bishop of the: diocese, the alarm was given that a thief was at work: among the company, and two ladies present had lost their purses. In the excitement which followed, the stolen purses, emptied of course of their contents, were found in the bishop's pocket! The "Higher Criticism" would have handed him over to the police! Perhaps an apology is due for this digression; but, in sober earnestness, surely the inquiry is opportune whether these critics understand the very rudiments of the science of weighing evidence. The presence of the two stolen purses did not "demand" the conviction of the bishop. Neither should the presence of two Greek words decide the fate of Daniel. [11] The question would still remain, How did they come to be there? According to Professor Sayce, himself a hostile authority, the evidence of the monuments has entirely refuted this argument of the critics [12] It now appears that there were Greek colonies in Palestine as early as the days of Hezekiah, and that there was intercourse between Greece and Canaan at a still earlier period.

But let us admit, for the sake of argument, that the words are really Greek, and that no such words were known in Babylon in the days of the exile. Is the inference based on their presence in the book a legitimate one? While some apologists of Daniel have pressed unduly the hypothesis of a revision, such a hypothesis affords a most reasonable explanation of difficulties of this particular kind. Why should we doubt the truth of the Jewish tradition that "the men of the great synagogue wrote" (that is, edited) the Book of Daniel? And if true, these Greek words may be easily accounted for. If in the list of musical instruments, and in the title of the "wise men," the editors found terms which were foreign and strange to them, how natural for them to substitute words which would be familiar to the Jews of Palestine. [13] How natural, too, to spell such names as Nebuchadnezzar and Abednego in the manner then become usual. These are precisely the sort of changes which they would adopt; changes of no vital moment, but fitted to make the book more suitable for those on whose behalf they were revising it.

The critic's last ground of attack is the theology of the Book of Daniel. This, he declares, "points to a later age than that of the exile." No charge of error is suggested, for Professor Driver is careful at the outset to repudiate what he calls the" exaggerations" of the German rationalists and their English imitators. But his alliance with such men warps his judgment, and betrays him into adopting statements begotten of their mingled ignorance and malice. Let one instance suffice. "It is remarkable also," he says, "that Daniel – so unlike the prophets generally – should display no interest in the welfare or prospects of his contemporaries." Not even in theological controversy could another statement be found more flagrantly baseless and false. In the entire history of the prophets, in the whole range of Scripture, the ninth chapter of Daniel has no parallel for touching, earnest, passionate "interest in the welfare and prospects" of contemporaries.

Now the question here is, not whether the doctrine of the Book be true, for that is not disputed, but whether truth of such an advanced and definite character could have been revealed at so early a period in the scheme of revelation. It is not easy to fix the principles on which such a question should be discussed. And the discussion may be avoided by raising another question, the answer to which will decide the whole matter in dispute. We know the "orthodox view" of the Book of Daniel. What alternative does the critic propose for our acceptance? Here he shall speak for himself, and the two quotations following will suffice:

"Daniel, it cannot be doubted, was a historical person, one of the Jewish exiles in Babylon, who, with his three companions, was noted for his staunch adherence to the principles of his religion, who attained a position of influence at the Court of Babylon, who interpreted Nebuchadnezzar's dreams, and foretold as a seer something of the future fate of the Chaldaean and Persian empires" (p. 479).

"On the other hand, if the author be a prophet living in the time of the trouble itself, all the features of the Book may be consistently explained. He lives in the age in which he manifests an interest, and which needs the consolations which he has to address to it. He does not write after the persecutions are ended (in which case his prophecies would be pointless), but at their beginning, when his message of encouragement would have a value for the godly Jews in the season of their trial. He thus utters genuine predictions; and the advent of the Messianic age follows closely on the end of Antiochus, just as in Isaiah or Micah it follows closely on the fall of the Assyrian: in both cases the future is foreshortened" (p. 478).

The first of these quotations refers to Daniel himself, the second to the supposed author of the Book which bears his name. In the first we pass for a moment out of the mist and cloud of mere theory and argument into the plain, clear light of fact. "It cannot be doubted," or, in other words it is absolutely certain, that Daniel was not only "a historical person," but "a seer"– that is to say, a prophet. But plunging back again at once into the gloom, we go on to conjecture the existence of another prophet in the days of Antiochus – a real prophet, for "he utters genuine predictions" for the encouragement of "the godly Jews in the season of their trial."

Now the position of the skeptic is in a sense unassailable. He is like the obstinate juror who puts his back against the wall and refuses to believe the evidence. But mark what this suggested compromise involves. As already noticed, Daniel had no pretensions to the prophet's mantle in the sense in which Jeremiah and Ezekiel wore it. He himself laid no claim to it (see chap. 9:10). He, moreover, passed his life in the splendid isolation of the Court of Babylon, while they were central figures among their people – one in the midst of the troubles in Jerusalem, the other among the exiles. It would not be strange therefore if Daniel's name and fame had no such place as theirs in the popular memory. But here we are asked to believe that another prophet, raised up within historic times, whose "message of encouragement" must have been on every man's lips throughout the noble Maccabean struggle, passed clean out of the memory of the nation. The historian of this struggle cannot have been removed from him by more than a single generation, yet he ignores his existence, though he refers in the plainest terms to the Daniel of the Captivity. [14] The prophet's voice had been silent for centuries; with what wild and passionate enthusiasm the nation would have hailed the rise of a new seer at such a time! And when the issue of that fierce struggle set the seal of truth upon his words, his fame would have eclipsed that of the old prophets of earlier days. But in fact not a vestige of his fame or name survived. No writer, sacred or secular, seems to have heard of him. No tradition of him remained. Was there ever a figment more untenable than this?

No such compromise between faith and unbelief is; possible. From either of two alternatives there is no escape. Either the Book of Daniel is what it claims. to be, or else it is wholly worthless. "All must be true or all imposture." It is idle to talk of it as; being the work of some prophet of a later epoch. It dates from Babylon in the days of the Exile, or else it is a literary fraud, concocted after the time of Antiochus Epiphanes. But how then could it come to be quoted in the Maccabees – quoted, not incidentally, but in one of the most solemn and striking passages in the entire book, the dying words of old Mattathias? And how could it come to be included in the Canon? The critics make much of its position in the Canon: how do they account for its having a place in it at all?

It is reasonably certain that the first two divisions of the Canon were settled by the Great Synagogue long before the days of the Maccabees, and that its completion was the work of the Great Sanhedrin, not later than the second century B.C. And we are asked to suppose that this great College, composed of the most learned men of the nation, would have accepted a literary fraud of modern date, or could have been duped by it. This is one of the wildest and most reckless hypotheses imaginable. Nor would this argument be sensibly weakened if the critics should insist that the Canon may still have been open for a hundred years after the death of Antiochus. [15] If it was thus kept open, the fact would be a further pledge and proof that the most jealous and vigilant care must have been unceasingly exercised. The presence of the Book of Daniel in the Jewish Canon is a fact more weighty than all the criticisms of the critics.

Thousands there are who cling to the Book of Daniel, and yet dread to face this destructive criticism lest faith should give way under the influence. And yet this is all it has to urge, as formulated by one of its best exponents. Of all these hostile arguments there is not so much as one which may not be refuted at any moment by the discovery of further inscriptions. In presence of some newly found cylinder from the as yet unexplored ruins of Babylon, [16] all this theorizing about improbabilities and peddling over words might be silenced in a day. And this being so, it is obvious to any one in whom the judicial faculty is not wanting that the critics exaggerate the importance of their criticisms. Even if all they urge were true and weighty, it should lead us only to suspend our judgment. But the critics are specialists, and it is proverbial that specialists are bad judges. And here it is possible for one who cannot pose as a theologian or a scholar to meet them on more than equal terms. With them it is enough that evidence of a certain kind points in one direction. But they in whom the judicial faculty is developed will pause and ask, "What is to be said upon the other side?" and "Will the proposed decision harmonize with all the facts?" Questions of this kind, however, have no existence for the critics. If they ever presented themselves to Professor Driver's mind, it is to be regretted that he failed to take account of them when stating the general results of his inquiry. And if ignored by an author so willing to reach the truth, they need not be looked for in the writings of the skeptics and apostates.

I have hitherto been dealing with presumptions and inferences and arguments. To deny that these have weight would be both dishonest and futile. It may be conceded that if the Book of Daniel had been brought to light within the Christian era, they would suffice to bar its admission to the Canon. But to the Christian the Book is accredited by the Lord Jesus Christ Himself; and in presence of this one fact the force of these criticisms is dispelled like mist before the sun. The very prediction which the rationalists most cavil at, He has adopted in that discourse which is the key to all unfulfilled prophecy (Matthew 24); and if Daniel be proved a fraud, He whom we own as Lord is discredited thereby.

Such an argument as this the rationalists of the German school despise. And with them the mention of Daniel in the Book of Ezekiel counts for nothing, though according to their own canons it ought to outweigh much of the negative evidence they adduce. Daniel is not mentioned by other prophets; therefore, they argue, Daniel is a myth. Three times the prophecies of Ezekiel speak of him; therefore, they infer, some other Daniel is intended. Their argument is based on the silence of the sacred and other books of the Jews. A man so eminent as the Daniel of the exile would not, they urge, have been thus ignored. And yet they conjecture the career of another Daniel of equal, or even greater eminence, whose very existence has been forgotten! It is not easy to deal with such casuists. But there is one argument, at least, which they cannot rob us of.

They have got rid of the second chapter and the seventh, and the closing vision of the Book, but the great central prophecy of the Seventy Weeks remains; and this affords proof of the Divine authority of Daniel, which cannot be destroyed. Let them fix the date of the Book where they will, they fail to account for this. From one definitely recorded historical event – the edict to rebuild Jerusalem, to another definitely recorded historical event – the public manifestation of the Messiah, the length of the intervening period was predicted; and with accuracy absolute and to the very day the prediction has been fulfilled.

To elucidate that prophecy this volume has been written, and as the result constitutes my personal contribution to the controversy, I may be pardoned for explaining the steps by which it has been reached. The vision refers to 70 sevens of years, but I deal here only with the 69 "weeks" of the twenty-fifth verse. Here are the words:

"Know therefore and discern that from the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem unto the Messiah, the Prince, shall be seven weeks and threescore and two weeks: it shall be built again with street and moat, even in troublous times." [17]

Now it is an undisputed fact that Jerusalem was rebuilt by Nehemiah, under an edict issued by Arta-xerxes (Longimanus), in the twentieth year of his reign. Therefore, notwithstanding the doubts which controversy throws upon everything, the conclusion is obvious and irresistible that this was the epoch of the prophetic period. But the month date was Nisan, and the sacred year of the Jews began with the phases of the Paschal moon. I appealed, therefore, to the Astronomer Royal, the late Sir George Airy, to calculate for me the moon's place for March in the year in question, and I thus ascertained the date required– March 14th, B.C. 445.

This being settled, one question only remained, Of what kind of year does the era consist? And the answer to this is definite and clear. That it is the ancient year of 360 days is plainly proved in two ways. First, because, according to Daniel and the Apocalypse, 31/2 prophetic years are equal to 1, 260 days; and, secondly, because it can be proved that the 70 years of the "Desolations" were of this character; and the connection between the period of the "Desolations" and the era of the "weeks" is one of the few universally admitted facts in this controversy. The "Desolations" began on the 10th Tebeth, B.C. 589 (a day which for four-and-twenty centuries has been commemorated by the Jews as a fast), and ended on the 24th Chisleu, B.C. 520.

Having thus settled the terminus a quo of the "weeks," and the form of year of which they are composed, nothing remains but to calculate the duration of the era. Its terminus ad quem can thus with certainty be ascertained. Now 483 years (69 x 7) of 360 days contain 173, 880 days. And a period of 173, 880 days, beginning March 14th, B.C. 445, ended upon that Sunday in the week of the crucifixion, when, for the first and only time in His ministry, the Lord Jesus Christ, in fulfillment of Zechariah's prophecy, made a public entry into Jerusalem, and caused His Messiahship to be openly proclaimed by "the whole multitude of the disciples." (Luke 19)

I need not discuss the matter further here. In the following chapters every incidental question involved is fully dealt with, and every objection answered. [18] Suffice it to repeat that in presence of the facts and figures thus detailed no mere negation of belief is possible. These must be accounted for in some way. "There is a point beyond which unbelief is impossible, and the mind, in refusing truth, must take refuge in a misbelief which is sheer credulity."


It was not till after the preceding pages were in print that Archdeacon Farrar's Daniel reached my hands. Some apology is due, perhaps, to Professor Driver for bracketing such a work with his, but The Expositor's Bible will be read by many to whom The Introduction is an unknown book. Both writers agree in impugning the authenticity of the Book of Daniel; but their relative positions are widely different, and no less so are their arguments and methods. The Christian scholar writes for scholars, desirous only to elucidate the truth. The popular theologian retails the extravagances of German skepticism for the enlightenment of an easily deluded public. As we turn from the one book to the other, we are reminded of the difference between a criminal trial when in charge of a responsible law officer of the Crown, and when promoted by a vindictive private prosecutor. In the one case the lawyer's aim is solely to assist the Court in arriving at a just verdict, In the other, we may be prepared for statements which are reckless, if not unscrupulous.

And here we must distinguish between the Higher Criticism as legitimately used by Christian scholars in the interests of truth, and the rationalistic movement which bears that name. If that movement leads to unbelief, it is in obedience to the law that like begets like. It is itself the offspring of skepticism. Its reputed founder set out with the deliberate design of eliminating God from the Bible. From the skeptic's point of view Eichhorn's theories were inadequate, and De Wette and others have improved upon them. But their aim and object are the same. The Bible must be accounted for, and Christianity explained, on natural principles. The miracles therefore had to be got rid of, and prophecy is the greatest miracle of all. In the case of most of the Messianic Scriptures the skepticism which had settled like a night mist upon Germany made the task an easy one; but Daniel was a difficulty. Such passages as the fifty-third chapter of Isaiah could be jauntily disposed of, but the infidel could make nothing of these visions of Daniel. The Book stands out as a witness for God, and by fair means or foul it must be silenced. And one method only of accomplishing this is possible. The conspirators set themselves to prove that it was written after the events it purports to predict. The evidence they have scraped together is of a kind which would not avail to convict a known thief of petty larceny – much of it indeed has already been discarded; but any sort of evidence will suffice with a prejudiced tribunal, and from the very first the Book of Daniel was doomed.

Dr. Farrar's book reproduces every shred of this evidence in its baldest and crudest form. His original contributions to the controversy are limited to the rhetoric which conceals the weakness of fallacious arguments, and the dogmatism with which he sometimes disposes of results accredited by the judgment of authorities of the highest eminence. Two typical instances will suffice. The first relates to a question of pure scholarship. Referring to the fifth chapter of Daniel he writes:

"Snatching at the merest straws, those who try to vindicate the accuracy of the writer…think that they improve the case by urging that Daniel was made 'the third ruler in the kingdom' – Nabunaid being the first, and Belshazzar being the second! Unhappily for their very precarious hypothesis, the translation 'third ruler' appears to be entirely untenable. It means 'one of a board of three.'"

"Entirely untenable!" In view of the decision of the Old Testament Company of the Revisers on this point, the statement denotes extraordinary carelessness or intolerable arrogance. And I have authority for stating that the Revisers gave the question full consideration, and that it was only at the last revision that the alternative rendering, "rule as one of three," was admitted into the margin. On no occasion was it contemplated to accept it in the text. [19]

The right rendering of ch. 5:29 is admittedly "the third ruler" in the kingdom; but the authorities differ as to verses 7 and 16. Professor Driver tells me that, in his opinion, the absolutely literal rendering there is "rule as a third part in the kingdom," or, slightly paraphrasing the words, "rule as one of three" (as in R.V. margin). Professor Kirkpatrick, of Cambridge, has been good enough to refer me to Kautzsch's Die Heilige schrift des alten Testaments, as representing the latest and best German scholarship, and his rendering of verse 7 is "third ruler in the kingdom," with the note, "i.e., either as one of three over the whole kingdom (compare 6:3), or as third by the side of the king and the king's mother." And the Chief Rabbi (whose courtesy to me here I wish to acknowledge) writes:

"I cannot absolutely find fault with– for translating the words 'the third part of the kingdom, 'as he follows herein two of our Hebrew Commentators of great repute, Rashi and Ibn Ezra. On the other hand, others of our Commentators, such as Saadia, Jachja, etc., translate the passage as 'he shall be the third ruler in the kingdom.' This rendering seems to be more strictly in accord with the literal meaning of the words, as shown by Dr. Winer in his Grammatik des Chaldaismus. It also receives confirmation from Sir Henry Rawlinson's remarkable discovery, according to which Belshazzar was the eldest son of King Nabonidus, and associated with him in the Government, so that the person next in honor would be the third."

It is perfectly clear, therefore, that Dr. Farrar's statement is utterly unjustifiable. Is it to be attributed to want of scholarship, or to want of candor?

Again, referring to the prophet's third vision, Archdeacon Farrar writes:

"The attempt to refer the prophecy of the seventy weeks primarily or directly to the coming and death of Christ…can only be supported by immense manipulations, and by hypotheses so crudely impossible, that they would have made the prophecy practically meaningless both to Daniel and to any subsequent reader" (p. 287).

It is not easy to deal with such a statement with even conventional respect. No honest man will deny that, whether the ninth chapter of Daniel be a prophecy or a fraud, the blessings specified in the twenty-fourth verse are Messianic. Here all Christian expositors are agreed. And though the views of some of them are marked by startling eccentricities even the wildest of them will contrast favorably with Kuenen's exegesis, which, in all its crude absurdity, Archdeacon Farrar adopts. [20]

Professor Driver's opinions are entitled to the greatest weight within the sphere in which he is so high an authority. [21] But I have ventured to suggest that his eminence as a scholar lends undue weight to his dicta on the general topics involved, and that he shares in the proverbial disability of experts in dealing with a mass of apparently conflicting evidence. The tone and manner in which his inquiry is conducted shows a readiness to reconsider his position in the light of any new discoveries hereafter. In contrast with this there are no reserves in Dr. Farrar's denunciations. For him retreat is impossible, no matter what the future may disclose. But to review his book is not my purpose. The only serious counts in the indictment of Daniel have been already noticed. His treatise, however, raises a general question of transcendent importance, and to this I desire in conclusion to refer.

With him the Book of Daniel is the merest fiction, differing from other fiction of the same kind by reason of the multiplicity of its inaccuracies and errors. Its history is but idle legend. Its miracles are but baseless fables. It is, in every part of it, a work of the imagination. "Avowed fiction" (p. 43), he calls it, for it is so obviously a romance that the charge of fraud is due solely to the stupidity of the Christian Church in mistaking the aim and purpose of "the holy and gifted Jew" (p. 119) who wrote it.

Such are the results of his criticisms. What action shall we take upon them? Shall we not sadly, but with deliberate purpose, tear the Book of Daniel from its place in the Sacred Canon? By no means.

"These results," Dr. Farrar exclaims, "are in no way derogatory to the preciousness of this Old Testament Apocalypse. No words of mine can exaggerate the value which I attach to this part of our Canonical Scriptures.. .. Its right to a place in the Canon is undisputed and indisputable, and there is scarcely a single book of the Old Testament which can be made more richly profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, completely furnished unto every good work" (p. 4).

This is not an isolated statement such as charity might attribute to thoughtlessness. Like words are used again and again in praise of the book [22] Daniel is nothing more than a religious novel, and yet "there is scarcely a single book of the Old Testament" of greater worth!

The question here is not the authenticity of Daniel but the character and value of the Holy Scriptures. Christian scholars whose researches lead them to reject any portion of the Canon are wont to urge that, in doing so, they increase the authority, and enhance the value, of the rest. But the Archdeacon of Westminster, in impugning the Book of Daniel, takes occasion to degrade and throw contempt upon the Bible as a whole.

Bishop Westcott declares that no writing in the Old Testament had so great a share in the development of Christianity as the Book of Daniel. [23] Or, to quote a hostile witness, Professor Bevan writes:

"In the New Testament Daniel is mentioned only once, but the influence of the book is apparent almost everywhere." [24] "There are few books," says Hengstenberg, "whose Divine authority is so fully established by the testimony of the New Testament, and in particular by our Lord Himself, as the Book of Daniel."

Just as mist and storm may hide the solid rock from sight, so this truth may be obscured by casuistry and rhetoric; but when these have spent themselves it stands out plain and clear. In all this controversy one result of the rejection of the Book of Daniel is entirely overlooked or studiously concealed. If "the Apocalypse of the Old Testament" be banished from the Canon, the Apocalypse of the New Testament must share in its exclusion. The visions of St. John are so inseparably interwoven with the visions of the great prophet of the exile, that they stand or fall together. This result the critic is entitled to disregard. But the homilist may by no means ignore it. And it brings into prominence the fact so habitually forgotten, that the Higher Criticism claims a position which can by no means be accorded to it. Its true place is not on the judgment seat, but in the witness chair. The Christian theologian must take account of much which criticism cannot notice without entirely abandoning its legitimate sphere and function.

No one falls back upon this position more freely when it suits his purpose, than Archdeacon Farrar. He evades the testimony of the twenty-fourth chapter of St. Matthew by refusing to believe that our Lord ever spoke the words attributed to Him. But this undermines Christianity; for, I repeat, Christianity rests upon the Incarnation, and if the Gospels be not inspired, the Incarnation is a myth. What is his answer to this? I quote his words:

"But our belief in the Incarnation, and in the miracles of Christ, rests on evidence which, after repeated examination, is to us overwhelming. Apart from all questions of personal verification, or the Inward Witness of the Spirit, we can show that this evidence is supported, not only by the existing records, but by myriads of external and independent testimonies."

This deserves the closest attention, not merely because of its bearing on the question at issue, but as a fair specimen of the writer's reasoning in this extraordinary contribution to our theological literature. Here is the Christian argument:

"The Nazarene was admittedly the son of Mary. The Jews declared that He was the son of Joseph; the Christian worships Him as the Son of God. The founder of Rome was said to be the divinely begotten child of a vestal virgin. And in the old Babylonian mysteries a similar parentage was ascribed to the martyred son of Semiramis, gazetted Queen of Heaven. What grounds have we then for distinguishing the miraculous birth at Bethlehem from these and other kindred legends of the ancient world? To point to the resurrection is a transparent begging of the question. To appeal to human testimony is utter folly. At this point we are face to face with that to which no consensus of mere human testimony could lend even an a priori probability." [25]

On what then do we base our belief of the great central fact of the Christian system? Here the dilemma is inexorable: to disparage the Gospels, as this writer does, is to admit that the foundation of our faith is but a Galilaean legend. By no means, Dr. Farrar tells us; we have not only "personal verification, and the Inward Witness of the Spirit, but we have also myriads of external and independent witnesses." No Christian will ignore the Witness of the Spirit. But the question here, remember, is one of fact. The whole Christian system depends upon the truth of the last verse of the first chapter of St. Matthew – I will not quote it. How then can the Holy Spirit impart to me the knowledge of the fact there stated, save by the written Word? I believe the fact because I accept the record as God-breathed Scripture, an authoritative revelation from heaven. But to talk of personal verification, or to appeal to some transcendental instinct, or to tens of thousands of external witnesses, is to divorce words from thoughts, and to pass out of the sphere of intelligent statement and common sense. [26]

-- R. A.


[1] An Introduction to the Literature of the Old Testament, by S. R. Driver, D. D., Regius Professor of Hebrew, and Canon of Christ Church, Oxford. Third edition. (T. & T. Clark, 1892.) I wish here to acknowledge Professor Driver's courtesy in replying to various inquiries I have ventured to address to him.

[2] In accordance with the plan of the work, Chapter 11. opens with a precis of the contents of Daniel, together with exegetical notes. With these notes I am not concerned, though they seem designed to prepare the reader for the sequel. I will dismiss them with two remarks. First, in his criticisms upon chap. 9:24-27 he ignores the scheme of interpretation which I have followed, albeit it is adopted by some writers of more eminence than several of those he quotes; and the four points he enumerates against the "commonly understood" Messianic interpretation are amply dealt with in these pages. And secondly, his comment on chap. 11., that "it can hardly be legitimate, in a continuous description, with no apparent change of subject, to refer part to the type and part to the antitype," disposes with extraordinary naivete of a canon of prophetic interpretation accepted almost universally from the days of the post-Apostolic Fathers down to the present hour!

[3] The Higher Criticism and the Verdict of the Monuments, by the Rev. A. H. Sayce.

[4] Page 479, note. But the author's appeal under (f) to "all other authorities" is scarcely fair, as Daniel is the only contemporary historian, and the exploration of the ruins of Babylon has yet to be accomplished. And as regards (h) but little need be said. Professor Driver candidly owns that "there are good reasons for supposing that Nebuchadnezzar's lycanthropy rests upon a basis of fact." No student of human nature will find anything strange in the recorded action of these heathen kings when confronted with proofs of the presence and power of God We see its counterpart every day in the conduct of ungodly men when events which they regard as Divine judgments befall them. And no one accustomed to deal with evidence will entertain the suggestion that the story of Daniel's becoming a "Chaldean" would be invented by a Jew trained under the strict ritual of post-exilic days. The suggestion that Daniel would have been refused admission to the college in the face of the great king's order to admit him really deserves no answer.

[5] As the Psalms came first in the Kelhuvim they gave their name to the whole; as ex. gr. when our Lord spoke of "the Law of Moses, the Prophets, and the Psalms" (Luke 24:44) He meant the entire Scriptures.

[6] Against Apion, 1. 8.

[7] This section of Ecclesiasticus begins with chap. 44., but the passage here in question is chap. 49: vv. 6-16.

[8] Possibly the critic means to question whether Jerusalem was actually captured, i. e. carried by storm, at this time. I have, I admit, assumed this in these pages. But Scripture nowhere says so. Taking all accounts together, we can only aver that Nebuchadnezzar came up against Jerusalem, and laid siege to it, that, in some way, Jehoiakim fell into his hands and was put in chains to carry him to Babylon, and that Nebuchadnezzar changed his purpose and left him as a vassal king in Judaea. He may have gone out to the Chaldean king, as his son and successor afterwards did (2 Kings 24:12); and it is very probable that Jehoiachin's action in this respect was suggested by the leniency shown to his father.

[9] The words "as it is this day," in ver. 18, appear to be an allusion to the accomplished subjugation of Judaea. According to ver. 19, Egypt was next to fall before Nebuchadnezzar; and chap. 46:2 records Nebuchadnezzar's victory over the Egyptian army in this same year.

[10] Professor Bevan's suggestion on this point is, in my opinion, untenable. But I refer to it to show how an advanced exponent of the Higher Criticism can dispose of (g). Commentary on Daniel, p. 146. I have no doubt whatever that if Leviticus was before Daniel, as well it might be, it was the law of the Sabbatical years he had in view and not 26:18, etc.

[11] I speak of two Greek words only, for kitharos is practically given up. Dr. Pusey denies that these words are of Greek origin. (Daniel, pp. 27- 30.) Dr. Driver urges that in the fifth century B. C. "the arts and inventions of civilized life streamed then into Greece from the East, and not from Greece Eastwards." But surely the figure he uses here distorts his judgment. The influences of civilization do not "stream" in the sense in which water streams. There is and always must be an interchange; and arts and inventions carried from one country to another carry their names with them. I am compelled to pass by these philological questions thus rapidly, but the reader will find them fully discussed by Pusey and others. Dr. Pusey remarks, "Aramaic as well as Aryan words suit his real age," and "his Hebrew is just what one would expect at the age in which he lived" (p. 578).

[12] Higher Criticism and the Monuments, pp. 424 and 494.

[13] On this subject see the Bishop of Durham's article in Smith's Bible Dictionary.

[14] 1 Maccabees 2:60; see also chap. 1:54. The First Book of Maccabees is a history of the highest repute, and the accuracy of it is universally acknowledged.

[15] The Sanhedrin, though scattered during the Maccabean revolt, was reconstituted at its close. See Dr. Ginsburg's articles "Sanhedrin" and "Synagogue" in Kitto's Cyclopaedia.

[16] The ruins of Borsippa are practically unexplored; and considering the character of the inscriptions found on other Chaldean sites, we may expect to obtain hereafter very full State records of the capital.

[17] I follow the marginal reading of the R. V., which was the reading adopted by the American Company.

[18] See chaps. 5-10.

[19] As I have taken up this as a test question I have investigated it closely.

[20] His chapter on The Seventy Weeks provokes the exclamation, Is this what English theology has come to! I do not allude to such vulgar blunders as calling Gabriel "the Archangel" (p. 275), or confounding the era of the Servitude with that of the Desolations (p. 289), but to the style and spirit of the excursus as a whole. For "immense manipulations" and "crudely impossible hypotheses" no recent English treatise can compare with it.

[21] I allude to his attempt to fix the date of the Book by the character of its Hebrew and Aramaic. This, moreover, is a point on which scholars differ. I have already quoted Dr. Pusey's dictum. Professor Cheyne says: "From the Hebrew of the Book of Daniel no important inference as to its date can be safely drawn" (Encyc. Brit., "Daniel," p. 804); and one of the greatest authorities in England, who has been quoted in favor of fixing a late date for Daniel, writes, in answer to an inquiry I have addressed to him: "I am now of opinion that it is a very difficult task to settle the age of any portion of that Book from its language. I do not think, therefore, that my name should be quoted any more in the contest."

[22] See ex. gr. Pp. 36, 37, 90, 118, 125.

[23] Smith's Bible Dict., "Daniel."

[24] Com. Daniel, p. 15.

[25] A Doubter's Doubts, p. 76

[26] Professor Driver has since called my attention to a note in the "Addends" to the third edition of his Introduction, qualifying his admissions respecting Belshazzar. He has also informed me that Professor Sayce is the "high Assyrio-logical authority" there referred to. This enables us to discount his retractation. When writing on (e) in the above Preface, I had before me pp. 524-9 of the Higher Criticism and the Monuments, and I was impressed by the force of the objections there urged against the Daniel story of Belshazzar. Great was my revulsion of feeling when I discovered that Professor Sayce's argument depends upon his misreading of the Annalistic tablet of Cyrus. That tablet admittedly refers throughout to Belshazzar as "the son of the King"; but when it records his death at the taking of Babylon, Professor Sayce reads "wife of the King" instead of" son of the King," and goes on to argue that, as Belshazzar is not mentioned in the passage, he cannot have been in Babylon at the time! That "contract tablets" would be dated with reference to the reign of the King, and not of the Regent, is precisely what we should expect.

I have dealt fully with the Belshazzar question in my Daniel in the Critics' Den, to which I would refer also for a fuller reply to Dean Farrar's book. Having regard to the testimony of the Annalistic tablet, that question may be looked upon as settled. And if, when writing that work, I had had before me what the Rev. J. Urquhart brings to light about Darius the Mede, in his Inspiration and Accuracy of Holy Scripture, I should have considered that this, the only remaining difficulty in the Daniel controversy, was no longer a serious one.