Course Hero. "Old Testament Study Guide." Course Hero. 27 Apr. 2018. Web. 22 May 2018. <https://www.coursehero.com/lit/Old-Testament/>.
Course Hero. (2018, April 27). Old Testament Study Guide. In Course Hero. Retrieved May 22, 2018, from https://www.coursehero.com/lit/Old-Testament/
(Course Hero, 2018)
Course Hero. "Old Testament Study Guide." April 27, 2018. Accessed May 22, 2018. https://www.coursehero.com/lit/Old-Testament/.
Course Hero, "Old Testament Study Guide," April 27, 2018, accessed May 22, 2018, https://www.coursehero.com/lit/Old-Testament/.
Chapters 1–6 of Daniel consist of stories about Daniel and his friends living in exile in Babylon.
Chapters 7–12 relate a series of apocalyptic visions revealed to Daniel that are meant to predict major historical events from the Babylonian Empire in the 6th century BCE down to the rule of the Seleucid king Antiochus IV over Palestine c. 175–165 BCE.
The book of Daniel unites two different types of literature from Judaism in the Second Temple period around the figure Daniel and the motif of interpreting dreams and visions. The situation for Jews living under foreign rule in exile is precarious in these stories, but it is not entirely bleak. Wise and virtuous figures such as Daniel and his friends are able to prosper as long as they remain faithful to the worship of Yahweh alone and obedient to the stipulations of the Torah. When crises of persecution do arise, they are miraculously delivered. Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah surviving the fiery furnace and Daniel surviving the lions' den are examples of this.
Daniel 7–12 has a much different flavor and reflects a time of more immediate crisis. The visions Daniel sees predict the succession of ruling empires in the Near East down to the Seleucid rule of Palestine in the 2nd century BCE. By Chapter 11 it is obvious that the vision specifically addresses the period of crisis when Antiochus IV disrupted Jewish worship in the Jerusalem. At Daniel 11:40, the vision begins to predict future resolution and divine intervention. From that point forward, the description is vague. But it seems to align with what actually transpired, which allows this portion of Daniel to be dated between 167 and 164 BCE. That makes Daniel the latest dated book in the Hebrew Bible.
The visions of Daniel 7–12 are an excellent example of the genre of apocalyptic literature that flourished in the Second Temple period. This genre is characterized by supernatural visions, angelic guides/interpreters, symbolic imagery (including fantastic beasts), and a pessimistic view of history that requires dramatic divine intervention to set things right. The heightened role of angels in Jewish theology of this period is prominent in Daniel's apocalyptic visions. Daniel 12:2 also makes the clearest statement in the Hebrew Bible of a view of resurrection of the dead for both reward and punishment. A dominant principle in these theological developments seems to be that the present status quo is so far from how life ought to be that dramatic and decisive divine intervention is needed to set things right.