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of the book of Daniel, and the integrity of the book of Zechariah. The latter subject occupies a small part of the volume. It is the former only that we shall advert to, in the present article.
Having called the attention of our readers to this work, we may perhaps be expected to furnish a particular account of its contents. We have mentioned it, indeed, chiefly because we thiok it worthy of a more emphatic notice than could well be given to it in a catalogue of recent publications, and because we wish to let the public know what the signs of the times are in the great officina of the learned world. Still we are not unwilling to present an outline of the author's argument. Let it be premised, however, that it is impossible, in such a sketch, to exhibit those qualities which give the work its distinctive excellence. Those qualities are learning, ingenuity, and judgment, displayed for the most part in the detection of plausible fallacies and covert falsehood. Those who would estimate the author's powers, therefore, must read his arguments at length and in detail. We shall attempt no more than to give the substance of such parts as will admit of condensation, without servile adherence to the order or terms of the original.
To destroy the credit of the book of Daniel, has been all along a favourite object with the foes of revelation, whether open or disguised; pagans, deists, or neologists. All the attacks upon it have, indeed, proceeded from that quarter. The Jewish Synagogue and the Orthodox Church, have, with one consent, received it as a part of revelation. Bertholdt has attempted, it is true, to show, by quotations from the Talmud and from Origen, that the book was of old rejected, both by Jews and Christians. That no such conclusion can be fairly drawn from the expressions cited, Dr. Hengstenberg has clearly shown, (pp. 2, 3.)
In the early part of the 18th century, Edward Wells asserted that the first chapter was written after Daniel's death. Sir Isaac Newton and Beausobre went still further, and denied the genuineness of the first six chapters, asserting, however, in the strongest terms, the divine authority of the whole. These we believe, are the only exceptions to the striking unanimity which has prevailed among the friends of revelation. We must look elsewhere, then, for the desperate attempts which have been made to overthrow this strong prophetic pillar. Porphyry, who wrote in the third century,
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filled one of his fifteen books against Christianity, with an attempt to prove that the pretended book of Daniel was written in Greek, in the days of Antiochus Epiphanes. He was answered by Eusebius, Methodius, Apollinarius, and Jerome. To the latter we owe the preservation of such fragments as continue extant, the work itself having been burnt by order of the Emperor.
The English deist, Collins, was the first in modern times, who undertook to overthrow the credit of this book; for Hobbes and Spinoza went no further than to intimate their doubts. Collins, however, had not learning for the task. The age of learned skepticism had not yet arrived. Even Sember, who stands next upon the list of adversaries, argues altogether from the singular position, that the book was wholly void of moral and religious value!
John David Michælis was the first who made it a learned controversy. He was very far, however, from adopting Sember's sentiments. He questions the genuineness of four chapters only (iii.--vi.) and candidly confesses, with respect to them, that the further he examined, the less he felt disposed to doubt. The divine authority of the other chapters he explicitly admits.
Eichhorn went further; yet even he, in the earlier editions of his introduction, rejects the first six chapters only. Hezel maintains the same opinion, and distinctly grants, that as a witness in behalf of revelation, Daniel may be called the most important of the prophets.
The first assailant of the book of Daniel who boldly took his stand upon the ground of rationalism, was Corrodi; and on that same ground stand all who have succeeded him-Bertholdt, Griesinger, Gesenius, Bleek, de Wette, Kirms. It deserves to be recorded, too, that no sooner did Corrodi take this step, than Eichhorn doffed his mask, and went to all lengths with the rest. Facilis descensus Averni! !
These enemies of the truth differed among themselves (as might have been expected) in relation to two points, the design of the book, and the number of its authors. To the former we shall have occasion to allude anon. The latter we may spare ourselves the trouble of discussing. No writer since Bertholdt, (who, with true German sagacity, detected the indicia of NINE different authors) has been absurd or bold enough to follow in his train. Gesenius, de Wette, Bleek, and Kirms, not only admit the unity of the book, but prove
it: thereby furnishing us with arguments, not on that point merely, but in support of the very doctrine which they wrote to overthrow.
We have already mentioned some of those who answered Porphyry. The principal modern writers on the same side, are Luderwald, Studlin, (who changed his mind, however, more than once, and at the best, is only half-way in the right,) Jahn, (who has been the most conspicuous champion of the orthodox opinion) and Dereser, who adopts and vindicates the principles of Jahn. To these might be added many valuable articles in literary journals, both in Germany and Holland.
The grounds on which the genuineness of the book of Daniel has been questioned or denied, are chiefly these:
I. The occurrence of Greek words which indicate, it is said, a period not carlier, at the furthest, than the middle of the reign of Darius Hystaspis, when Daniel could not have been living
Of these words Bertholdt reckons ten. Four of them have, by later critics, heen traced to the old Persian—and Gesenius himself maintains, that the Chaldees and Assyrians were of Medo-Persian origin. Another of the ten is admitted by the same distinguished scholar to be Syriac. The remaining four are the names of musical instruments occurring in the fifth verse of the third chapter. The similarity of these to certain Greek words, may be accounted for in either of three ways. 1. From the ancient intercourse between the Greeks and Babylonians, mentioned by Strabo, Quintus Curtius, and Berosus. 2. On the supposition that the Shemitish and Greek languages bore a common relation to an older tongue. 3. On the supposition, that the names of musical instruments were in the first instance onomapoetic, and might therefore be analogous in languages totally distinct.
Nothing more need be added than a statement of the fact, that the latest writer, on the wrong side of the question, (Kirms) has yielded this whole ground of opposition as untepable.
II. The Hebrew of this book, it is asserted, is too impure for its alleged antiquity. Bertholdt, who is the author of this charge, attempts no proof of it, but merely expresses a vague hope that future critics will supply a demonstration. In this he has been sadly disappointed. Bleek observes very justly, that the relics of that period are too scanty to enable us to draw so bold an inference. Gesenius places ihis book in
the same rank as to language, with Esther, Chronicles, Jonah, and Ecclesiastes--one degree only below Ezra, Nehemiah, Zechariah, Malachi—and one above Ezekiel, whom he explicitly asserts to be the most incorrect and anomalous of all. Now if Ezekiel, who, though an exile, was surrounded by the other captured Jews, and had thus an opportunity and motive to preserve his native language, is so very incorrect, how can we be surprised that Daniel, an officer of state, compelled ex officio to employ another language, and cut off from the society of other Hebrews, should exhibit the same fault, though in a less degree? Still greater was the difference between his situation and that of Ezra, Nehemiah, Haggai, and Zechariah, residing in Judea, where the language, though declining, was not yet extinct. From these considerations, it is also clear, that no more probability attaches to the theory of this book's being written by a Jew of Palestine, in the days of the Maccabees, than to that of its being written, as we hold, by Daniel. For the impurity complained of is no more accounted for by the circumstances of such a Jew, in regard to time and place, than by Daniel's circumstances at the court of Babylon.
III. A third argument is founded on the fact, that Daniel is not mentioned by the Son of Sirach, when eulogizing the worthies of his nation. If this proves any thing, it proves too much. It proves that no such man as Daniel ever lived-nor Ezra, nor Mordecai, nor any of the minor Prophets-none of whom are mentioned.
The credit of this notable argument belongs to Bleek. None of his predecessors lay the slightest stress upon the fact alluded to.
IV. A fourth objection is, that the book of Daniel stands near the end of the Hagiographa, and not among the Prophets.
This circumstance, Bertholdt explains by saying, that this third division of the Old Testament was not formed until after the other two were closed. The compilers, or authors of the canon, he supposes, intended to make two great classes, the law and the prophets. The books of Joshua, Judges, Samuel, and Kings, were included in the second, merely because there was no third. A third was eventually formed to receive those writings which afterwards laid claim to inspiration.
To this explanation, Hengstenberg objects, that it rests on nere assumptions, and is Hatly contradicted by all Jewish authorities. His own solution may be briefly stated thus: The distinction between the Prophets and the Hagiographa, is not of a chronological kind at all, but is founded on the peculiar character and office of the writers. The prophetic gift must be discriminated from the prophetic office. The one was common to all who were inspired; the latter to the regular, official Prophets, who communicated the divine will to the Jewish nation. The books written by these Prophets, as such, formed the second great division. The third, our author thinks, contains the inofficial prophecies. Why else should Jeremiah's Lamentations be disjoined from his Prophecies?
As to the relative position of the book among the Hagio. grapha, it evidently proves neither one thing nor another; as the book of Ezra is placed after it, and a slight inspection shows that no regard was had to date in the arrangement of the parts.
V. To the argument derived from the contempt with which the authors of the Talmud and the modern Jews are said to regard the book of Daniel, our author replies that the Talmudists have been misapprehended, and that the modern Jewish prejudice has naturally sprung from their hatred to the Gospel, and whatever goes to prove its authenticity.
VI. A sixth argument is founded on the words of the book itself. “ In the first year of his reign, I, Daniel, understood by Books, the number of the years, whereof the word of the Lord came to Jeremiah the prophet, that he would accomplish seventy years in the desolations of Jerusalem.” (Dan. ix. 2.) The Hebrew word translated books, has the article prefixed. This, Bleek considers as synonymous with biblia or the Scriptures, and a decisive proof that the Old Testament canon was already closed, and in the hands of the writer of this book.
To this it may be replied: 1. That we have no proof of these books containing any other matter than the prophecies of Jeremiah. 2. That the technical term in use among the later Jews to designate the canon, was not "the books,” but “the writings.” 3. That the supposititious forger of the book of Daniel never would have hinted at the canon's being closed, when his very object was to have his book included in it. 4. That before the adjustment of the canon, there were private collections of the sacred books, as appears not only from the nature of the case, but from the fact, that Jeremiah quotes and imitates Moses, Isaiah, Obadiah, and Micah, a circum