Hanukkah celebrates Maccabean Revolt: Was the Book of Daniel written then or when the Bible claims?

Bible Prophecy vs. History (Daniel 11:1-19)


Wikipedia notes:

Hanukkah (Hebrew: חֲנֻכָּה‎, Tiberian: Ḥănukkāh, usually spelled חנוכה pronounced [χanuˈka] in Modern Hebrew, also romanized as Chanukah, Chanukkah, or Chanuka), also known as the Festival of Lights, is an eight-day Jewish holiday commemorating the rededication of the Holy Temple (the Second Temple) in Jerusalem at the time of the Maccabean Revolt of the 2nd century BCE. Hanukkah is observed for eight nights and days, starting on the 25th day of Kislev according to the Hebrew calendar, which may occur at any time from late November to late December in the Gregorian calendar.


Conservative Bible scholars hold the Book of Daniel was written in the 6th century B.C as the Bible claims. However, liberal scholars and skeptics hold it to be written around 165 B.C.

Take a look at what J.P.Holding had to say:

Outside of the Pentateuch, no book of the OT has been subjected to as much scrutiny as the Book of Daniel. The detailed and accurate prophecies contained in that book have motivated many, Skeptic and professed believer alike, to subscribe to the theory of a late date of composition for Daniel in the time of the Maccabees.

Generally, the Maccabeean theory holds that the Book of Daniel was written around 168-165 BC. Most modern radical critics hold that the book was completed in its final form at that time, but some allow for parts of Daniel (mainly chapters 1-6) to have an earlier date prior to 168-165. Some say the editor in the 2nd century used certain traditions to compose the final form of Daniel.

Others have said that the book has many authors (one scholar says that there were six authors). All of them agree, however, that the final form of the book was completed around 165 BC. We will show that such late date hypotheses are NOT indicated by the evidence.

Let me suggest some good articles on this subject. One is by Charles Ray and most of his article is based the research of my good friend Dr. Stephen R. Miller, professor of Old Testament, Mid-America Baptist Theological Seminary, Germantown, Tennessee. Dr. Miller is the author of Daniel (Nashville, TN: Broadman & Holman Publishers, 1994; New American Commentary Series). IVOR C. FLETCHER wrote another fine article too.

Here is my input on the matter:


Traditional Church View v. Critic’s View
The time Daniel lived was 620 BC approx to 530 BC approx which would make him somewhere in his eighties when he died. If he died in 539 then he would be in his early 80’s but in 530 then he would be almost 90. Now Daniel Chapter 11 gives exact details of what happened from 330 BC to 160 BC and Chapter 2 and 7 and 8 give  details about the four world empires and that is why critics have always said the Book of Daniel was written in the time of the Maccabean rebellion around 160 BC. The traditional view of the church has been that Daniel was written in the 6th century BC around 530 BC at the latest by Daniel himself who actually saw these 6th century events with his own eyes.

How would a Maccabean author know these details? [1] Belshazzar was ruling during the last few years of the Babylonian Empire. [2] The Babylonians executed individuals by casting them into fire, but the Persians threw the condemned to the lions. [3] The practice in the 6th Century was to mention first the Medes, then the Persians. [4] Laws made by Persian kings could not be revoked. [5] In the sixth century B.C., Susa was in the province of Elam (Dan. 8:2). [6] Nebuchadnezzar had a pride problem (Dan. 4:30) and often boasted about his great building projects. These claims by Daniel have all been supported by tablets and historical records found in Babylon. J.P. Holding rightly notes that the existence of the Book of Daniel in the Dead Sea Scrolls dated in the 2nd century indicates that they were written previously.

Let me just take a few of these 6 examples mentioned above and show how amazing these facts are. Lets look at [4] Laws made by Persian kings could not be revoked.The critic Lacocque observes: “Diodorus of Sicily (XVII, 30) in fact, reports the case of a man put to death under Darius III (336-330) even though he was known to be perfectly innocent. (Darius III) immediately repented and blamed himself for having committed such a great error, but it was impossible to have undone what had been done by royal authority” (Andre Lacocque, The Book of Daniel, Atlanta: John Knox, 1979, p. 113). Of course, this is the same thing that happened to Daniel when he got thrown in the lions den in chapter 6!!!!! The king regretted that he had signed the law that condemned Daniel but he could not revoke the law. The same thing happened in the Book of Esther where the Persian King could not change a law after it had been signed (Esther chapters 7 and 8).

Now when I call someone a critic then they have late dated the Book of Daniel to the 2nd century BC around 160 AD and Andre Lacocque is a critic but he gives Daniel credit on this point.

Again, Daniel was correct when he placed Susa in the province of Elam (Dan. 8:2). Dr. Gleason Archer, Jr., notes: “From the Greek and Roman historians, we learn that from Persian times Susa, or Sushan, was the capital of the province of Susiana; and Elam was restricted to the territory east of the Eulaeus River. Nevertheless, we know from cuneiform records that Sushan was part of the territory of Elam back in Chaldean times and before. It is very striking that Daniel 8:2 refers to ‘Susa in the province of Elam’­ an item of information scarcely accessible to a second-century B.C. author” (Archer, p. 19).

Since Daniel was an eyewitness to 6th-century events, he could accurately record historical details. The conservative scholar Dr. Stephen R. Miller (Dr Miller is a friend of mine from Memphis and has written the foremost respected Southern Baptist Commentary on Daniel released in 1994) notes: “In fact, the author of Daniel exhibited a more extensive knowledge of Sixth Century events than would seem possible for a second-century writer.”

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