In the 19th and early 20th century, Daniel's critics
expanded their arguments by attempting to use linguistic evidence
to assign the book of Daniel a late date, for the purpose of
discrediting its prophecies.
As usual, the poisonous skepticism and unbelief came from Germany,
and was transmitted to France (the seat of apostacy),
and then translated and transferred to Britain:
The Greek Words in the Book of Daniel
Hartwig Derenbourg and Morris Jastrow, Jr.
Vol. 4, No. 1 (Oct., 1887), pp. 7-13
THE GREEK WORDS IN THE BOOK OF DANIEL.
BY PROF. HARTWIG DERENBOURG. [France]
[Translated from the French by Prof. Morris Jastrow, Jr., Ph. D.]
"The conquests of Alexander, in the year 332 B.C., gave the Greek language a preponderating influence in Palestine. Hebrew grammar, indeed, firmly resisted the Macedonian sway, as it formerly presented an inflexible front against Persian rule; but the vocabulary was enriched by the addition of a number of foreign words, imported with new conceptions for which there existed no equivalents in the national tongue. It is of the Greek elements in the Book of Daniel that I propose to treat.
The date and composition of the Book of Daniel have been fixed with an absolute certainty. It is a Palestinian work (1) of the year 169 or 168[B.C.] before the Christian era.
Hebrew and an Aramaic dialect, known as biblical Aramaic, are used alternately, as in the Book of Ezra. But our author goes even further, and does not hesitate to give his work a still stronger polyglottic character by the introduction of Persian and Greek words. M. Haug, in a learned monograph, has traced the etymologies of the former [the Persian words],(2) and I shall endeavor to do the same for the latter [the Greek words]."
(1) Apart from the linguistic point of view, which in itself is decisive, the contents of ch. IX., referring to Jerusalem, removes all further doubts.
(2) M. Haug, in Ewald's (ed.) Jahrbuecher d. Bibl. Wissenschaft (1853), V., pp. 151-164.
Note that this 'brilliant scholarship' is based on secondary work
done in the 1850s in the case of the alleged 'Persian' loan words in Daniel,
and work prior to 1887 for the supposed 'Greek loan words'.
Most importantly, note that the 'certainty' is inversely proportional to
the ignorance of the critics.
These idiots actually claim to be able to date the composition of the
entire book of Daniel down to within ONE YEAR of accuracy,
with a handful (3) of apparent Greek loan words. - in 1887.
This imported fad from Germany and France is exactly what
S.R. Driver based his own supposed dating for the book of Daniel upon,
in his "The Book of Daniel" (Cambridge, 1922).
In fact, the linguistic knowledge at that time (1880-1940)
was near-worthless for narrowing down the composition
and cultural influences, and hence establishing the date.
Yet somehow, Driver's work has been quoted ever since,
as if it were a scientific fact based on actual scientific, historical,
and linguistic data.
Driver argued:Recently, scholars (with less bias, and less urgent agendas)
‘…the Greek words demand, the Hebrew supports, and the Aramaic permits, a date after the conquest of Palestine by Alexander the Great (332 B.C.).’Generalising statements such as Driver’s often lead people to believe that Daniel is littered with Greek words and phrases, betraying the Maccabbean culture in which it was written. This is not the case. There are only three Greek terms in Daniel, and they are found in only one chapter of the entire book, and all three of them are musical instruments (Daniel 3:5, 3:7, 3:10, 3:15).
S.R. Driver, ‘An Introduction to the Literature of the Old Testament’, page 508, (1891, reprinted 1956)
have openly acknowledged the need to update the assessment
of the evidence pertinent to dating Daniel linguistically.
Regarding the Aramaic language itself, K.A. Kitchen summarises as follows:
"There is today ample scope for reassessment. The inscriptional material for Old and Imperial Aramaic and later phases of the language is constantly growing. Oone need only mention the Brooklyn and Borchardt-Driver documents published in 1953 and 1954 or the Aramaic documents from Qumran and other cave-sites of Graeco-Roman palestine. Furthermore, some earlier views require revision in the light of facts hitherto unknown or neglected.
In dealing with the book of Daniel, theological presuppositions are apt to colour even the treatment and dating of its Aramaic. The only fair way to proceed is to leave open the whole period c. 540-160 BC until the end of any inquest on the Aramaic, as far as its date is concerned.
- The Aramaic of Daniel, D.J. Wiseman, Ed.,
Notes on Some Problems in the Book of Daniel, K. A. Kitchen, p.31-32, (1965, Tyndale Press)
Yet in the Critical Edition of the Hebrew O.T. of which Driver himself was involved (he wrote volume on Leviticus), the textual critical situation already
admitted the precariousness of relying on at least one of these supposed 'Greek loan words', which under the rules of textual criticism of the day would have ben flagged as 'Harmonizations' and expunged from the text as 'glosses' or insertions: