I’ve been having a discussion with one of my chess buddies at http://www.chessgames.com on the Book of Daniel. I take it as I find it. But he, following the lead of various Biblical scholars, believes Daniel was written not by Daniel sometime in the Sixth Century B.C., but by unidentified persons circa 150 B.C. (give or take a few decades). By then, the events prophesied by Daniel would have already happened–making the book not prophecy, but a pretended prophecy: in a word, a deception.
Believing this, he says, makes no difference to his Christian faith. Well, who am I to judge that? But it would make a difference to my faith if I thought big chunks of the Bible were a load of humbug.
In Chapter 11, Daniel accurately predicts the turbulent, complicated history of the Holy Land and the successors to Alexander the Great’s empire–including the long, see-saw struggle between the Seleucid Empire, centered in Syria, and the Ptolemaic Empire, in Egypt. The prophecy does not give the names of the individuals who make this history, but it does describe their actions–in great detail.
Because these predictions are so accurate, “scholars” say the book could only have been written after all those things had happened. They begin their analysis from the presupposition that there is no such thing as prophecy–that accurate and detailed predictions of the future are simply impossible.Then they hunt up “evidence” to support their position.
I don’t have a lot of time for scholars.
If my friend’s faith can survive “Biblical scholarship,” my hat is off to him. I presuppose the truth of God’s word–not to mention its fundamental honesty!–and reason upward from that basis.
Sure–I want to know a lot more about the persons, places, and events described in the Bible. I consult historians and archeologists. After all, it was a “scientific” finding–satellite photos showing the course of a once-mighty river that flowed across Arabia into southern Mesopotamia, now buried under the desert: a river that was hidden many thousands of years ago, yet is nevertheless remembered in Genesis 2:11-13 as one of the original “rivers of Eden”–that years ago shocked me out of my indifference toward the Bible. (They’ve even named this long-lost river: the Kuwait River.)
So don’t accuse me of despising knowledge. I just despise knowledge that only claims to be knowledge, and isn’t.