Monday, March 23, 2015

Daniel (pt 16): Greek Musical Instruments in Babylon

 Cultural Spread of Musical Instruments.

One of the most common musical instruments is
the STRINGED instrument,
and it has been made in various styles and forms,
and played in a variety of ways, from striking with sticks,
to plucking, to stroking with animal-hair bows.

You will find stringed instruments in every culture in the world,
stretching back to early antiquity.

The most popular stringed instruments in the Middle East
seem to have originated in ancient Greece and to have spread
from Cyprus to Egypt and Palestine.

 The Lyre 

- a stringed musical instrument known for its use in Greek classical antiquity and later. The word comes from the Greek lyra and the earliest reference to the word is the Mycenaean Greek ru-ra-ta-e, meaning "lyrists", written in Linear B syllabic script. The earliest picture of a lyre with seven strings appears in the famous sarcophagus of Hagia Triada (a Minoan settlement in Crete). The sarcophagus was used during the Mycenaean occupation of Crete (1400 BC). The recitations of the Ancient Greeks were accompanied by lyre playing.

The lyre of classical antiquity was ordinarily played by being strummed with a plectrum, like a guitar or a zither, rather than being plucked, like a harp. The fingers of the free hand silenced the unwanted strings in the chord. The lyre is similar in appearance to a small harp but with distinct differences.

The word lyre can either refer specifically to a common folk-instrument, which is a smaller version of the professional kithara and eastern-Aegean barbiton, or lyrecan refer generally to all three instruments as a family. In organology, lyres are defined as "yoke lutes", being lutes in which the strings are attached to a yoke which lies in the same plane as the sound-table and consists of two arms and a cross-bar.
We learn from writings, inscriptions and pictographs,
that musical instruments were imported very early from Greece
into the Mediterranean Islands such as Cyprus, North Africa, especially Egypt, and indeed into King's Courts all over the Middle East.

Its no surprise that Greek names for various musical instruments
also penetrated into many languages as 'loan words' to name
and identify Greek musical instruments, or instruments which
were based on earlier Greek designs.

Musicians and their instruments were both hired and captured from
many foreign locations and imported into Middle Eastern courts of kings.

The three musical instruments mentioned by Daniel several times
in chapter 3 are not 'anachronistic' or surprising at all, given that
Greek musical instruments had already been imported into Egypt
and other kingly courts centuries before Daniel lived.
Both the skilled players and teachers, and the instruments' names
would have been naturally imported alongside
the renowned Greek music that was coveted by wealthy patrons
in kingly courts all over the world.

Thus the presence of these possibly Greek loan-words to indicate
ancient musical instruments is not any evidence at all for a date
of composition any different than that claimed by the book
or expected to be assigned if its contents were authentic and
contemporary with the Babylonian Captivity.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Daniel (Pt 15): Linguistic Nonsense

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


[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:
‘…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.).’

S.R. Driver, ‘An Introduction to the Literature of the Old Testament’, page 508, (1891, reprinted 1956)
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).
Recently, scholars (with less bias, and less urgent agendas)
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:

-The Sacred Books of the Old Testament; a critical edition of the Hebrew text Footnotes,  p.21 (vol. 18 - Daniel, 1896, Leipzig)

Just in passing, its worthwhile to examine another absurdity in
the footnote (1) offered by Derenbourg/Jastrow (1887):

In the text they claim the work was composed in Palestine (i.e., Israel),
NOT Babylon, as the text itself essentially claims.

"It is a Palestinian work (1) of the year 169 or 168 [B.C.]..."

The idea they want to sell is that this was not composed anywhere near
Babylon, but is really all about Judaea and Jerusalem being persecuted
under the Seleucid Greeks from Turkey and Syria.

For "proof" they offer this in the footnote:

"1. Apart from the linguistic point of view, which in itself is decisive,
the contents of chapter 9, referring to Jerusalem, removes all further doubts."

But these same authors argue that the book is tainted with "Persian loan words".
These Persian loan words, rather than being simply acknowledged
as evidence of composition in Babylon by Daniel in 538 B.C.,
are now ignored, or rather assumed to have been part of late Aramaic in
The Persian flavour of Daniel is now interpreted as the style of Aramaic
in Seleucid Palestine! Its a no-win situation for Daniel, Ezra, and Chronicles.
These books which naturally reflect a Persian flavour are now made into
the assumed new standard for Palestinian Aramaic of the 2nd century.

Thus, evidence that should naturally be seen as Persian influence,
has been turned into 'evidence' of a 'late Palestinian dialect',
for which the only examples are works previously classed as
"Middle Persian Aramaic" of the 6th century B.C.

The second "proof" in the footnote is also equally absurd:

The fact that Daniel mourns and prays over Jerusalem and his own people,
while captive in Babylon, is somehow construed as evidence of a
Palestinian Jew whining about the persecutions of General Antiochius IV
(Epiphanes) against Jews in Palestine in 167-164 B.C., when
in fact, the Maccabeans were violently fighting and eventually routed
the Greeks, securing their autonomy for the future Hasmonean Dynasty.

Nothing however, in the entire chapter 9, other than the mention of
Jerusalem, shows any connection whatever to events in Palestine
under the Greek persecutions of the Seleucids, in particular Antiochius IV.

Far from "removing all doubts", Daniel ch 9 cries out for an explanation:

Why the lack of any reference at all to any acts of Antiocius IV ?

Why no mention of such acts as putting to death of Jews who obeyed
the laws of Moses, or refusal to participate in Greek sports,
or resistance to Greek culture and influence, or the defiling of the Temple?

Why are there no connections at all to Greek cultural invasion?
Not even a single Greek loanword or phrase even unconsciously used
by the author, who according to the critics is now living in a Palestine
dominated by Greeks and Greek culture for over 160 years?

If the Greeks had no impact at all, even on the content of Daniel,
what was the war about?
How could a 2nd century Maccabean author keep utterly silent about
the main points of terrorizing contention between Greeks and Jews?

The theory of the critics was that Daniel was to inspire Jews to resist
Greek invasion, both physically and culturally.

Where is any sign that the author was even aware of 2nd Century Greek
culture, apart from the mention in chapter 3 of three apparently ancient
Greek or at least Mediterranean musical instruments?
Instruments that had been imported into Egypt and Babylon centuries before Daniel?

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Daniel (Pt 14): Dead Sea Scroll Evidence for Masoretic Text of Daniel

A few have complained about the general nature of our charts.

But these are provided for educational and illustrative purposes only.

When we delve into the real detailed evidence,
we find an abundance of evidence for the authenticity of
Isaiah, Jeremiah, and Daniel.

Take for instance the impact of the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls
has had on the dating and timelines for the Hebrew Canon:

I will here quote Dr. James Price's excellent summary of the
detailed evidence and its meaning and impact on evaluating
Isaiah, Jeremiah, and Daniel.

Price is responding to an overly skeptical extremist rant by Till:

 The Skeptical Review Online (1998)

The Book of Isaiah

A complete manuscript of the book of Isaiah (1QIsaA) exists from the second century B. C., and it has about 95% agreement with the Masoretic text. Another manuscript of Isaiah (1QIsaB) contains much of the text of 46 chapters of the book. This manuscript is almost identical with the current form of the Masoretic text. Tov (pp. 31-32) listed a catalogue of the types of differences between 1QIsaB and BHS (Biblia Hebraica Stuttgartensia), the accepted form of the Masoretic text today: (1) Orthography (spelling differences), 107; (2) Added waw conjunctive, 16; (3) Lack of waw conjunctive, 13; (4) Article (added/ omitted), 4; (5) Difference in consonants 10; (6) Missing letter, 5; (7) Different grammatical number, 14; (8) Differences in pronouns, 6; (9) Different grammatical form, 24; (10) Different proposition, 9; (11) Different words, 11; (12) Omission of words, 5; (13) Addition of words, 6; (14) Different sequence, 4.
That amounts to 234 differences of any kind "all of which concern minutiae" (Tov, p. 31). However, items 1, 2, 3, 4 and 14 have little or no effect on meaning, so they may be disregarded as insignificant. This leaves only 90 differences that may be regarded as of any possible significance.
There are 66 chapters in the book of Isaiah, 1291 verses, 16,930 words, and 66,884 letters in the current Masoretic text of Isaiah. If the number of words in 1QIsaB is estimated as 16,930 x 46/66 x .66 = 7,788 words, then 1QIsaB agrees with BHS (7,788 - 234) / 7,788 = 97.0%; or if the insignificant variations are excluded, the texts agree (7,788 - 90)/ 7,788 = 98.8%. That is about the kind of agreement that any manuscript of the Masoretic text has.

The Masoretic Text of the Hebrew O.T.

Regarding the Masoretic text in the era of the Dead Sea Scrolls, Tov, who is liberal in his approach the Biblical text, wrote:

  • "Similar analysis is suggested by Andersen-Freedman... in their analysis of 4QSamB, one of the earliest Qumran texts: `(I)nsofar as there is nothing un-Masoretic about the spelling in 4QSamB, we can infer that the Masoretic system and set of spelling rules were firmly in place in all principles and particulars by the third century BCE.'"Because of the meticulous care of those who were involved in the copying of [the Masoretic text], the range of differences between the members of the [Masoretic] group was from the outset very small. One should remember that the temple employed professional magihim, "correctors" or "revisers," whose task it was to safeguard precision in the writing and transmission of the text (Tov, p. 32).
Such correctors or revisers were not responsible for altering the text, but for correcting or revising manuscript copies that varied from the official exemplar in their care. It was this meticulous care of the text that led scholars like these in the next generation to confirm that the Masoretic text was the authentic tradition. This places the textual tradition behind the Masoretic text at least in the fourth and likely in the fifth century.

The Aramaic Targum of Jeremiah

But the witness of the Aramaic translation known as the Targum gives good reason to place the Masoretic text of Jeremiah in at least the sixth century. Concerning the Aramaic Targum, Ernst Wurthwein, a recognized authority on Old Testament textual criticism, stated: "The Jewish tradition associating it (the Targum) with Ezra (cf. Neh. 8:8) may well be correct" (The Text of the Old Testament, Trans. by Erroll F. Rhodes Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmans, 1979, p. 75). Now the importance of the Aramaic Targum of the book of Jeremiah is that it was translated from a Hebrew text of the Masoretic tradition (Tov, p. 149). If Wurthwein is correct, and there is no reason to doubt him, then the Masoretic tradition of Jeremiah was already well established as authoritative in the fifth century B. C. This gives reason to accept the sixth-century origin of the book with little reason to doubt it. Not a shred of textual evidence exists that suggests that the date of Jeremiah's prophecy was ever altered.


If such evidence exists I'm sure Mr. Till would have called it to our attention.

Multiple Corroboration of Historical Witnesses and Texts

This is supported by several fifth- or sixth-century witnesses to the existence of the book, and the prophecy under debate in particular:

(1) the author of the Chronicles (2 Chron. 36:22-23),
(2) the author of Ezra-Nehemiah (Ezra 1:1-5),
(3) the prophet Zechariah (Zech. 1:12; 7:5), and
(4) the sixth-century prophet Daniel (Dan. 9:2).

These very early witnesses knew Jeremiah's book, and the prophecy under debate in particular. All of these witnesses accepted Jeremiah as a historical person and the author of the prophecy. All regarded the prophecy as genuine, not fraudulent.

The Witness and Date for Daniel

In fact, Daniel read Jeremiah's prophecy before it was fulfilled (Dan. 9:1-2). This is evident from the fact that Daniel did not record the fulfillment of the prophecy--something that would have been significant to the content of his ninth chapter. I know Mr. Till rejects the date and authorship of Daniel, and I am not interested in debating that question. But there is no reason to late-date Daniel except Mr. Till's anti-supernatural presupposition. In my own opinion, Daniel is a valid witness because his contemporary, the prophet Ezekiel, validated his date and existence (Ezek. 14:14, 20; 28:3). This does not include the mention of the prophet Jeremiah by the historian Josephus, the authors of some of the Apocryphal books (Sirach 49:6; 2 Macc 2:1, 5, 7; 15:14, 15; 1 Esdras 1:28, 32, 47, 57; 2:1; 4 Esdras 2:18), the Mishnah and the Talmud. All these ancient sources regarded the prophet and his writings to be authentic.

Daniel (Pt 13): Destroying the Prophecies of Christ

Its worth underlining the whole point of all this effort by critics.

Its actually a bit of shuffling and handwaving when they say:
"deciding on one [interpretation] doesn't actually matter too much...
Whichever scenario one deems best, the final message is the same: God's eternal kingdom will break down and outlast any and every human kingdom.

This is just some reassuring nonsense to put your defences off.

When they say "it doesn't matter", they really mean it doesn't matter
whether you choose "Emperor No-Pants" or "Emperor Dwarf-Boy".

The main thing is NOT to select the obvious traditional Christian and Jewish
interpretation, because:
...the Roman Empire is outside the historical scope of Daniel. ... equating the legs, feet, and toes with Rome and the ecclesiastical divisions that follow is an attempt to make Daniel fit with Revelation. This reads Revelation back into Daniel."

We'll get to whether Daniel and Revelation connect later.

The point is, Rome must not be identified in any part of Daniel (according to critics).


Look again at the chart:

Two Separate Prophecies in Daniel involve ROME:

(1) The Advent of the Messiah in the 490 years (70 'weeks') of Daniel 9:24.

(2) The Destruction of the Four Empires by the Kingdom made without Hands in Daniel 2:44.

Thus, eliminating Rome and stunting "the scope of Daniel"
completely removes the prophecy of Jesus the Christ's coming (30 A.D.),
and the equally remarkable Victory of Christ's Kingdom in
the Edict of Emperor Constantine (313 A.D.) legalizing Christianity,
and the founding of the Holy Byzantine Empire.

As long as you elminate the support of Daniel for these
two FUNDAMENTAL Events in the history of Christianity,
you can have any interpretation of Daniel you want.

Just remember that according to critics,
its a 'pious forgery' by a lying Jew from 167 B.C.,
a stupendous monument of wishful thinking and fraud for God.

This is what the commentators, critics, scholars, professors, philosophers,
atheists, and secular historians want to sell you
the Jewish and Christian public, on the topic of Daniel.

- Or you can accept the traditional Jewish and Christian understanding of the Book of Daniel as a historical and prophetic book by Daniel the Prophet, preserved in the courts of Babylon, cherished by Jews awaiting
the fulfillment of its prophecies, written around 538 B.C.,
and accepted as Holy Scripture by the two major religions of the world.

These two incredible and accurately timed prophecies
make the real authentic Daniel the Prophet,
the last and greatest Prophet of the Hebrew Bible.

Friday, March 13, 2015

Daniel (Pt 12): Dwarf - Boy

In our previous examination, we noted Four obvious 'kingdoms' (Empires),
Each distinguishable from the last, because each introduces a new nation
and a new 'king' (Emperor) with new cultural values.

The Kingdoms are easily demarcated because each is brought in by
a world-size (Empire-size) Conqueror who vanquishes the previous one.

Nechabudnazzar ushers in the Babylonian Empire:
Cyrus ushers in the Mede/Persian Empire,
Alexander ushers in the Greek Empire, and
Pompey ushers in the Roman Empire and rule over Palestine (Israel).

Each respectively heralds the beginning of a cultural invasion into the area .

In place of this we have Porphyry's lame attempt to get rid of the Roman Empire 
by making the Greek become (in his mind) TWO Empires.
This is hardly credible however, since Alexander's reign is not
at all conquered, but simply divided into provinces,
while extending the very same influence and cultural invasion.
Furthermore, Daniel does not allow Alexander to be a whole "Kingdom",
and his successors a separate "Kingdom".   Daniel 8 is clear on the point that both Alexander and his successors are ONE Greek Empire with several kings (horns).

The modern critics, in adopting Porphyry's general plan to dump Rome,
attempt to extend the Medio-Persian Empire into TWO Empires,
i.e., the Median Empire and the Persian Empire.
The problem with this new solution is that its hardly any more plausible
than Porphyry's original schema, and only gives a surface-appearance
of a solution.  Daniel 2 (the main image) plainly describes SUCCESSIVE Empires,
and the Medes and Persians CO-ruled at the same time, pretty much as
ONE Empire as far as anyone can tell.

The modern adjustment, while restoring the statue's pants,
leaves him a midget.

Now "modern" Critical Commentaries on Daniel
invoke yet another level of sophistication and obfuscation into the process,
all in order to confuse Christian readers and erode their confidence in Daniel.

They don't openly push the 'critical viewpoint' anymore,
as it is too obvously anti-prophecy and ant-Christian in its impact.
Never mind the impact on commentary sales.

So they instead they present "three views", obscurantizing the flaws,
and also smokescreening the real differences.
Then they 'recommend' the critical view as the 'most reasonable',
without proper evaluation or comparison.

Here is a perfect example of this smoke-screening obfuscation:

Westark Church of Christ on Daniel

First, the lecturer tells the reader that it doesn't matter which interpretation
of Daniel's vision we adopt (even though only ONE points to Christ).

Then the lecturer presents each as having a 'small problem' or flaw,
making them 'equally plausible'.

Next the lecturer 'helps' the reader by recommending the one
endorsed by "experts" (who are really heretical and skeptical infiltrators).

Finally, the lecturer presents three charts which are made to look
virtually identical, giving more support to the idea that it "doesn't matter",
its all the same.

The Perversions and Deformities of the alternate "interpretations" are completely hidden.

The Perverse doctrines that inspired the alternate "interpretations" are also omitted.

The Three Stooges

One final point must be made regarding the new fadish 'interpretations' of Daniel's Vision.

(1) No Jew has ever or ever will accept these modern interpretations of Daniel.

(2) No historical Christian has ever knowingly embraced these radical schemes of "interpretation" until after the late 18th century, and those who do believe them today have never been told who inspired them and what must be sacrificed to embrace them.

But there is more:

(3) The real (pseudo)Author of Daniel is a complete FAILURE according to critics, because, all Jews and Christians who believed him to be the real Daniel believed the wrong interpretation of his visions.
Thus Daniel succeeded by being unanimously misunderstood for 2,000 years.  The story of the real author becomes a tragedy-comedy of errors.

But the story is even more incredible that one can imagine:

(4) The pseudo-author of Daniel was such a deep, and incredibly sophisticated forger that he anticipated and survived  the harshest and most meticulous examination and analysis, and still left the world's experts in history and linguistics divided,  unable to reconcile their views about this fraud into a single coherent picture.

And the critics expect us to consider that on the one hand

(5) The author of Daniel was a criminal GENIUS of forgery,
yet wrote for the lame and short-sighted purpose of "inspiring Jews during the Maccabean Revolt" to not lose hope.

How can the author be so subtle and sophisticated a linguistic genius, and such a hillbilly provincial simultaneously?
How could such a forger, such a jaded secular humanist even half-heartedly encourage fellow believing Jews to sacrifice themselves and die for what he himself as a crook and a forger must have regarded as the stupidest ideology in history, just as his neo-platonic critics also must also think?

"If only He had used his power for niceness, instead of evil." - Maxwell Smart (Agent 86, C.O.N.T.R.O.L.)

This means that every Christian who ever lived from the time of Christ until the Reformation believed in Daniel and Christ on a mistaken premise, by adopting the spurious writing of a pseudo-prophet who impersonated an ancient hero, and Christ Himself must have been mistaken to quote him as an authority, if we accept the modern view of the book of Daniel.

This is the Trojan Horse these perverts are offering to unsuspecting Christians.

These are easily proven "doctrines of satan" infilterated into the Church by unbelieving moderns.

Daniel (Pt 11): The Joke of German Scholarship

As previously noted, Porphyry (c. 300 A.D.) was a non-Jew, a neo-Platonist philosopher,
who decided to write fifteen volumes against Christianity,
called lamely, "Against the Christians".

Up until this point, no one had seriously doubted the historicity of Daniel.

Christian apologists defended Daniel and shredded Porphyry's arguments and claims,
for the next two centuries, and by about 500 A.D. things were back to normal.

A comprehensive response to Porphyry was made by Jerome (c. 400 A.D.)
in his Commentary on Daniel, who quoted him several times.

There was no serious subsequent challenge over the book of Daniel until 1771:

 Beginning in 1771, influenced by the Enlightenment, academics began to revive the old Maccabean date theory about the Book of Daniel. They all agreed that every accurate prediction in Daniel was written after the events took place.
                  - David Guzik Commentary on the Bible

Thus for nearly 1,400 years, neither Christians, nor Jews, nor critics
had challenged the basic authenticity and dating of the Book of Daniel.

It should be noted that even during the most heated
and violent disputes between Christians and Jews (i.e., over the question of Jesus as Messiah),
Jewish opponents did not discredit the book of Daniel itself
in order to dispute with Christians, but rather rejected the interpretation
of Daniel on a couple of points.

If identifying the book of Daniel as a 'pseudonomous late forgery'
had been an option for Jews, they as experts on their own national literature
would have been in the best position to make this claim.

However, right up until at least 300 A.D., both Christians and Jews
openly accepted the book of Daniel as authentic and Canonical,
and the book of Daniel remains in the Jewish (Hebrew) Canon to this day.

The Hebrew Canon has not been changed or reopened to debate since 90 A.D.,
and this is true for pretty much all denominations and sects of Judaism.

The Canon is believed to have been permanently closed before the Greek period (c. 331 B.C.)

The Jews unilaterally had rejected all manor and types of books which were written
in the Maccabean period, including those accepted by early Jewish Christians
who used the ancient Greek translations of the O.T.

This alone makes the theory that a Jew forged the book of Daniel
as late as 167 B.C. and somehow got it accepted into the Hebrew Canon
one of the most implausible ideas in the history of (German) Biblical criticism. *

These observations did not however, stop 18th and 19th century critics from
re-opening the case and reviving Porphyry's claims about the book of Daniel.

They chose to continue building on this edifice of sand,
because the rejection of tradition, and the rise of skepticism and materialism was simply too attractive to abandon.

Porphyry's original arguments had obvious weaknesses,
so 'modern' critics from 'the Enlightenment' attempted to repair, modify,
and bolster the theory with many more supplemental arguments.

These viewpoints became popular in the 19th century,
and took over the universities of Europe and the USA.

As a result, many commentaries on the book of Daniel
began to be published which covertly or openly took the position
that the book of Daniel was a late forgery
, and useless as an
example of Biblical prophecy for the Christian Messiah.

Naturally, conservative Christian scholars who held the traditional view
of the authenticity of Daniel got little useful help from Jewish scholarship
on either the integrity or the interpretation of Daniel.
The Jewish intellectual world was an entity which remained largely to itself.


* the question arises, what are some even more implausible theories
spawned by 19th century critics?

A great example is the paranoid Conspiracy Theory that
'the Massoretic Jewish copyists had tampered extensively with the Hebrew Text.'

Up until 1960 the oldest copy of the Hebrew Bible was from the Middle Ages,
and it was easy to claim that a lot could have happened between
the time of Jesus and the 19th century.

However, in the late 1950s the Dead Sea Scrolls were discovered:
10 or 11 caves full of scrolls dating from about 200 B.C. to 100 A.D.
Manuscripts and fragments were found of just about every book in the Bible,
and two whole copies of Isaiah showed that the text hadn't changed significantly
during copying for at least 1,500 years, from the time of Jesus
until the invention of the printing press.

All the exaggerated speculations about Hebrew Bible tampering
had to be quietly abandoned by sensible scholars.

Nobody in academia however apologized,
for having slandered Jewish copyists for centuries.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Daniel (Pt 10): Porphry was an Idiot

The first critic who dismissed Daniel as a pseudo-forgery from the 2nd century B.C. was a Neo-Platonic philosopher (read goofball).

This jerk (reportedly an 'ex-Christian': read - never got it), saw clearly that one of the strongest arguments for Christianity was the prophecy of the Messiah in Daniel.

So he proposed that Daniel wasn't really Daniel at all, but a 2nd century Jewish forger who faked all his prophecies by posing history as prophecy.

This required Porphry to date the book as late as possible (c. 165 BC),
and claim that all the descriptions were in fact prophecies about the Maccabean Revolt.

Of course even Porphry was aware that the book of Daniel also prophesied the Roman Empire as one of FOUR Empires, extending his prophetic vision far into the future and beyond 165 B.C.

Thus it wasn't enough to argue that Daniel chapter 8 was mere history.
Porphyry had to get rid of the Statue in Daniel Chapter 2.

our previous chart showed how Porphyry developed his own system for interpreting the difficult problem of the Four Empires, and mentioned that this nonsense was also adopted by modern critics, starting in about the 18th century.

In this new chart, the juxtaposition of the three different prophecies under consideration shows that even when we date the Book of Daniel as late as 165 B.C., this date slices through the middle of all three prophecies.

Thus the solution doesn't solve the problem.

More than this however, this still doesn't leave us free to adopt any old dating for Daniel.  Because as the chart also shows, the Hebrew Canon was closed around 330 B.C., with Daniel in existence and included, and this is not easily refuted.

Furthermore, even the later Hebrew books like the Writings were all being translated into Greek well before the cut-off date (165 BC) being proposed.

And if the Book of Daniel was translated into Greek (in any condition) prior to the Maccabean revolt, it could not have been composed during that time to encourage persecuted Jews, nor could it contain the detailed description of that severe persecution (if the critics' theory of no prophecy allowed is maintained).

Josephus and Philo also mention the translation of the LXX, and for our purposes it matters not whether the Letter or Aristeas is fake, or whether Josephus is off on his dates.   There is no way that loyal Jews were going to be happily translating Hebrew into Greek during the violent war and rebellion against imposed Greek cultural invasion.  Nor would they be enthusiastic about it after this period, when they finally won their autonomy for a spell.

Its also humorous to note that Porphyry died in 305 A.D., just before Constantine decided to convert the Empire into Christianity.

So he missed the most important event of the 4th century A.D.,
another prophecy of Daniel.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Homoioteleuton Errors in Modern NT Translations

Every single one of these translations uses a critical Greek text
which mutilates the New Testament by deleting some 200 whole and half-verses.

They did this on the flimsy basis that these were added to the text by
editors and copyists, in part by accident but mostly by intent,
for explanatory purposes or to reinforce or invent favorite doctrines.

However, modern scientific scholarship has shown that these are almost
all simply scribal errors, and accidental omissions mainly by homoioteleuton,
that is, lines were dropped due to similar endings or beginnings.

For the real statistical knowledge about scribal errors, these articles
should be consulted, which show that the general tendency was to omit,
not add text to the New Testament.

General Articles on Errors:
J. Wetstein (1751): Older MSS - Older not = Better!
J. Burgon (1882): Haplography - mechanics of error
B. Weiss (1887): Omissions - & most common errors
F.W. Shipley (1904): Dittography - & omissions
H. Gamble (1977): Interpolation - Identifying Marks
L. Haines (2008): Scribal Habits - 'Shorter Reading'?
J.Royse (2008) Shorter Reading? - & Griesbach
W. Pickering (2009) Oldest = Best MSS? - early errors
T. Holland (2009) "Oldest & Best MSS" - & Byzantine

Errors in Specific MSS:

B.B. Warfield (1887): Haplography - examples from א
S. F. Kenyon (1901): Haplography - more ex. from א/B
H. von Soden (1911): Omissions - in Codex א/B
H.A. Sanders (1912): Haplography - in Codex W
E.C. Colwell (1969): Haplography - & P45, P66, P75
D.A. Carson (1979) & homoeoteleuton - Lk 14:26
Jongkind (2005): א - tests Singular Readings Method!
J. Hernandez (2006): Errors of א in Rev - singular OMs
J. Royse (2008): Scribal Habits - P45,46,47,66,72,75
J. Royse (2008) homoeoteleuton - singular omissions
J. Krans (2010) GA-3 - famous insertion: 2 Cor 8:4
Scrivener (2010) homoeoteleuton - P-Oxy-1780 new!

For specific information on the actual verses that modern (per)versions
leave out, or place in the margin or footnotes, or bracket as if they were
unreliable or in doubt, or possible additions, look at these examples:

Daniel (Pt 9): The Emperor Has No Pants!

We are now in a position to diagram what the skeptics and critics
do to the Book of Daniel and its prophecies.

The earliest the Book of Daniel can have been completed (by Daniel) is 535 B.C.

The latest the Book of Daniel could have been compiled is admitted to be 167 B.C.,
because most importantly, the book is known to have been in circulation in the Maccabean period,
and is independently quoted and referenced by various authors in that time.
Finally, it was already translated into Greek (the LXX) by about this time (167 B.C.)

It is said by critics to cover events up to the Maccabean period
and is said to have been written to encourage Jews in that time of persecution.

Skeptics date the book at the latest possible point for two basic reasons:

(1) Prophecy is impossible as an axiom.

(2) All the contents posed as prophecy can be assumed to be historical,
and be dated to before this time (167 B.C.),

which is how the critics explain why the book appears to be an accurate prophetic book.

However, the flaws with these axioms are obvious.

The most glaring problem is that Axiom (2) can really only explain
the contents of Daniel chapter 8, and perhaps some of 11 and 12.

The prophecy of Daniel chapter 2 remains a massive stumbling block to
skeptics, because it appears to predict the Roman Empire, which would
then again be a prophecy, so Axiom (1) fails.

The solution for critics is to simply eliminate one Empire (the Roman), and pretend that
the Greek Empire counts for TWO Empires.
That is, Alexander himself is one whole kingdom (the "Third Empire"),
and all the Greek rulers who followed count as the "Fourth Empire".

The "Iron Legs" move over to position 3, and so Empires 3 and 4
are squeezed into the spot just before the latest possible date that
the book can be given.

Voila! The Emperor has no Pants!

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Daniel (pt 8): Overview with Daniel 2

In the 2nd chapter of Daniel, the first Dream is given of the Statue of four/five parts:

Head of Gold (Babylon)
Chest of Silver (Media-Persia)
Loins of Brass (Greece)
Legs of Iron (Rome)
Feet of Iron/Clay Mixture (Post-Roman Broken Empire)

And of course the Stone from Heaven, the Kingdom made without Hands (Christianity)

Again we offer a High resolution and Low resolution version
for online viewing and zooming in:

Its both remarkable and important that the kingdoms are not named until
years later (in chapters 7, 8, 9 of Daniel), and are fleshed out in later visions.

Nonetheless there is no doubt at all about the intended identities of these empires:

Click for Large Version

Daniel, AFTER surviving the fall of Babylon to the Media-Persians, certainly knows
who the Second 'Kingdom' (Media-Persia) is, and the angel now names both
Persia and the following Third 'Kingdom' (Greece) in chapter 8:20-21.

It seems natural that Daniel is told of their identity at a point in history when
they are now known to exist and their names have become known.

Even so, this is a remarkable prophecy since Daniel receives a prophecy of
WHO will replace the Persian Empire (which he could hardly be certain of
by normal means, and would not even live to witness), namely the Grecian Empire.
Even at this late point in time (circa 535 B.C.) several contenders for succession would be possible.

Friday, March 6, 2015

Daniel (pt 7): Roman Period

The important thing about this period is obviously the identification of
the Roman Empire (and following broken empire) as the IRON LEGS
and IRON/CLAY feet of Daniel's vision in the early part of Daniel.

We must sadly put up with a lot of disinformation in the old commentaries,
especially those produced from German scholarship after the 'Enlightenment',
and throughout the 19th century, when over-critical explanations of
Daniel's amazing prophecies were rampant.

Now is a good time to take a small diversion to look at those attempts
to discredit Daniel and the prophecies, which were done for the rather
transparent purpose of destroying the Christian interpretation of Daniel,
and of course discrediting Christianity itself.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Daniel (Pt 6): Esther Star of Daniel

Let us on this day of Purim, a festival in honour of God's Salvation
accomplished in Babylon through the bravery of Queen Esther,
look at the remarkable prophetic harmony in God's Plan
for all humankind found in the prophecy of Daniel (chapter 9):

small size (850 pixels): click to enlarge

Large size: click to enlarge

What is remarkable is the happy coinciding of actually three 490 year periods.

And herein could be an explanation for the somewhat puzzling story in Matthew of the Magi.

For it was Daniel who had indeed saved the Magi (Wise men of Babylon)
from certain destruction at the hands of the violent Emperor.

And having proven himself possessing great wisdom must have instructed
those people in the ways of the LORD as Daniel knew them.

Thus it was Daniel himself who saved the profession of the Magi,
and so it is reasonable to presume their presence in the court
of the Media-Persia a generation or so later, when Esther was born,
and ascended to the Throne of Persia, saving her people from destruction.

In light of this stunning story,
and with the Magi in place and possessing the teachings and prophecies of Daniel,
it is perhaps not so remarkable that they would have retained that knowledge.

Not knowledge of star-gazing, or astrology, which are worthless professions,
but the knowledge of God's Timetable, granted through Daniel.

The birthplace of the Messiah was already known through the prophecy of
Micah 5:2.

Thus, there was no need to physically follow a physical star.
More pertinent for a successful rendevous was the TIMING,
and that was given by Daniel.

Thus the Final Command to rebuild Jerusalem, coinciding with
the recent salvation wrought through Esther, was enough for the Magi
to establish both the PLACE and the TIME of Jesus' birth.

This knowledge would have been kept by the Magi in Babylon and Persia,
until it would have been of use in meeting with, assisting,
and paying homage to the Messiah fortold for half a millenium.

Astronomers and historians have looked unsuccessfully, perhaps in vain,
for astronomical conjunctions, or sightings, but these efforts may
in fact miss the most obvious and important connection of the Magis,
and explain an otherwise inexplicable story which yet must have historical foundation.

I would suggest that the Star was in fact Esther, whose birth would
mark the countdown of 490 years to the birth of Jesus.

This was the Star that the Magi followed, which led them certainly
and accurately to the place AND TIME of the coming of the Messiah.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Daniel (pt 5) : The Seventy times Seven: Seventy Weeks of Chapter 9

Now we come to the most amazing prophecy in the Book of Daniel.

The prophecy given by the Angel Gabriel, of the Seventy Weeks. 

Daniel had previously been contemplating the 70 Year Prophecy of Jeremiah,
which he himself had become a witness to, and in chapter 8 of the Book of Daniel, his own response is recorded; a long prayer and plea on behalf of his people's transgression of the Covenant.

In the middle of this prayer, Gabriel shows up and gives him an extraordinary new prophecy, that of the Advent of the Messiah. 

He is told by Gabriel:

"Seventy Weeks (seventy x seven = 490 years) are determined upon your people, 
and upon your Holy City (Jerusalem), to finish the transgression, and to make 
an end of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to complete (seal up) the vision and the prophecy, 
and to anoint the Most Holy.

Know then and understand, from the going forth of the Commandment to build Jerusalem (The 3rd Decree of Artaxerxes, 457-460 B.C., cf. Ezra) until the Messiah the Prince will be seven weeks (49 years) plus 62 weeks (+ 434 more years) the street and the (city) wall will be built again, even in troubled times. (total: 69 weeks = 483 years).

 And after the (final) 62 weeks (434 years) the Messiah will be cut off, but not for himself; and the people of the prince will come and destroy the city and the Temple; and the end of it will be like a flood, and desolations will be determined until the end of the war.

 And He shall confirm the Covenant with many for one (final) week (7 more years = 490 years), and in the middle of the week (3.5 years) he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease, and for the overspreading of the abominations He shall make it desolate, even until the consummation, and what is determined will be poured upon the desolate."

 This is probably the most amazing prophecy in Daniel,
not least for its extended time-length!

Skeptical scholars have tried to date the Book of Daniel at around or just after 165-150 B.C., because it is inconceivable in their minds that Daniel could have predicted the rise and fall of two whole Empires (Medo-Persian, and Greek),
and have gotten the incrediblly accurate details right (the Rise of Alexander, and the immediate splitting of his Empire into Four parts under his generals).

But Daniel has the last laugh, because his final prophecy here extends from the time of Ezra (who separated the people and re-dedicated them to the Covenant of Moses) to the time of Jesus!

This prophecy is just as detailed and difficult as was the prophecies about Alexander.

And more importantly, the timing is again impeccable, given the impossibility of nailing exact years at this late stage.

The point is, every complaint about chapter 9 fails utterly, because the Book of Daniel is known to have been translated already into ancient Greek during the Hellenistic rule of the Ptolemies, some 200 years before Jesus the Christ.

Thus, on the basis of scholarly theories about prophecies, the book should be dated no earlier than Jesus, but this is impossible, since it was already in circulation for at least 150 - 200 years before that!