Our List of 300 Religious Subjects

Book of Daniel

General Information

Daniel, a book in the Old Testament of the Bible, is listed with the Major Prophets by Christians and with the Writings (Ketuvim) by the Jews. It comprises six stories of the trials of Daniel and his companions while they served at the court of Babylon, as well as four visions of the end of the world. The book takes its name, not from the author, who is actually unknown, but from its hero, a 6th century Jew. Internal evidence indicates that the book was written during the Maccabean wars (167 - 164 BC).

Daniel is a form of Apocalyptic Literature rather than prophecy; it is cast in symbolic imagery about the end of time and is attributed to an earlier authority. The book was intended to encourage Jews in the face of religious persecution by the Hellenistic kingdom of the Seleucids and their Jewish sympathizers. Daniel contains the only certain Old Testament reference to bodily Resurrection, presents a form of the Son of Man tradition influential in the Gospel traditions about Jesus Christ, and was a primary source for the visions of the New Testament Book of Revelation.

Norman K Gottwald

Book of Daniel

Brief Outline

  1. Six narratives on the lives of Daniel and his friends; their education, his revelation of Nebuchadnezzar's dream-image the trial by a fiery furnace, his prediction of Nebuchadnezzar's madness, his interpretation of the handwriting on the wall, and his ordeal in the lion's den. (1-6)
  2. Four apocalyptic visions, predicting the course of world history. (7-12)

Chapters 2:4b-7:28 were composed in Aramaic. The rest was in Hebrew.


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