Daniel in the Critic's Den - APPENDIX VII - PROFESSOR DRIVER


THE following is a brief summary of Professor Driver’s indictment of the Book of Daniel.
He enumerates under nine heads "facts of a historical nature" which point to an author later than Daniel (pp. xlvii—1v1).
These are :—
I. The position of the Book in the Jewish Canon.
(As to this see pp. 57—61, and 103—108, ante.)
2. The omission of his name from Ecclesiasticus.
(See pp. 57, 98 n., ante.)
3. That the Book of Kings is silent as to the siege mentioned in Dan. i. 1. (See p.15 and App. I., ante.)
4. The use of the term "Chaldean." (See p. 45 a., ante.)
5. That Beishazzar is spoken of as king, and as son of Nebuchadnezzar. (See p. 23 if., ante.)
6. The mention of Darius the Mede as King of Babylon. (See p. 31ff. and i65, ante.)
7. The mention of "the books" in Dan. ix. 2.
The word sepher means simply a scrolL It often denotes a book; often a letter (as, e.g., Jer. xxix. i, or Isa. xxxvii. 14.) Then again Jer. xxxvi. I, 2 records that Jeremiah’s prophecies up to that time were recorded in a "book." And ten years later a further "book" of them was sent to Babylon (Jer. ii. 6o, 61). Or if any one insists that "the books" must here mean a recognised canon, where is the difficulty? The statement that no such "collection" existed in B.C. 536 is one of those wanton assertions that abound in this controversy. It may "safely be affirmed" with certainty that the scrolls of the Law were kept together. And there was no man on earth more likely to possess them than the great prophet-prince of the Captivity.
8. "The incorrect explanation of the name Bel-shazzar in iv. 8." (As Dr. Driver goes on to describe this as "doubtful" (p. liv.), I have not deemed it necessary to notice it.)
9. The "improbability" that strict Jews would have accepted a position among the "wise men" (see p. 13, ante), and other like "improbabilities." (As Dr. Driver goes on to admit that these do not possess weight, and "should be used with reserve," I have not dwelt upon them.)
His second ground of attack is the language of the book (lvi.-lxiii.). This has been fully discussed in these pages (ch. iv.).
And the third ground is "the theology of the book." After deprecating the "exaggerations of the rationalists" under this head, he proceeds:- "It is undeniable that the conception of the future Kingdom of God, and the doctrines of angels, of the resurrection, and of a judgment on the world, appear in Daniel in a more developed form than elsewhere in the Old Testament." Far be it from me to deny it! It is largely on this very account that the Christian values the book, remembering as he does, what Professor Driver ignores, that its teaching in all these respects is definitely adopted and developed in the New Testament. And if he finds that the later Jewish apocalyptical literature resembles the book in some respects, he has no difficulty in accounting for the resemblance. (See p. 57, ante.)
I make the critic a present of the entire argument under this head of "the theology of the book," save on three points. And they are points which would never have been urged by an English Christian writer save under the influence of German infidelity.
i. It is not true that the interest of the book culminates in the history of Antiochus. As all Christian expositors with united voice maintain, it culminates in the prophecy of Messiah's advent and death. And as all students of prophecy recognise, it reaches on to the time of the treat Antichrist of whom Antiochus was but a type.
2. Daniel's passionately earnest prayer recorded in ch. ix. is a complete answer to the statement that he took "little interest in the welfare and prospects of his contemporaries."
3. We are told that "the minuteness of the predictions embracing even special events in the distant future, is also out of harmony with the analogy of prophecy." If this were sustained it would not affect the book as a whole, but serve merely to accredit the suggestion urged by some writers that part of chap. xi. is an interpolation. But in view of the facts this allegation is as strange as that under (2) supra, and as many others in Professor Driver's book. What about the minute predictions scattered through the Old Testament respecting the Nativity and the Passion? And the last eight chapters of Ezekiel contain a mass of predictions which still await fulfilment, as minute as anything in Daniel
This is all that the Higher Criticism has to urge against the Book of Daniel.