According to the biblical book bearing his name, Daniel is a wise man whom King Nebuchadnezzar takes captive during the invasion of Jerusalem. Daniel rises to power and prestige in the Babylonian court because he can interpret dreams better than the king’s own magicians can. Although Daniel interprets the king’s dreams and visions throughout chapters 2-6, in chapters 7-12 it is Daniel who receives visions that he himself cannot interpret.
Did you know…?
- There is a Hebrew edition of Daniel that consists of 12 chapters, which was actually written in both Hebrew and Aramaic. This edition was completed around 163 B.C.E.
- There is a Greek edition of Daniel that reorders the tales found in the Hebrew version and contains additional tales. This edition was completed around 100 B.C.E.
Dan 12:1-3provides the first reference to the idea of individual resurrection found in the Hebrew Bible/Old Testament.
- The Book of Daniel provides the first references to Michael and Gabriel as named angels in the Hebrew Bible/Old Testament.
- The Book of Daniel heavily influenced the Gospels’ references to the Son of Man and to the angel Gabriel. It also influenced the symbols and ideas found in the Book of Revelation.
Does Daniel predict a timeline for the end of the world?
Daniel’s visions talk about the end a great deal, but neither the book of Daniel nor the character of Daniel ever gives one precise timeline for the end. In fact, the character of Daniel provides many different calculations and depictions of the end! Not only that, but what Daniel means by the end seems to change from one chapter to another. In most English translations of
There are several calculations of the end of Antiochus IV’s persecution of the Jews or the end of the desecration of the Jerusalem temple.
Was Daniel an actual person who lived during the Babylonian exile?
The dates and calculations for the end refer to events that took place between 167 and 164 B.C.E, during the period of the Maccabean revolt rather than the period of the Babylonian exile. Extra-biblical records and accounts suggest that some materials from the first half of the book of Daniel may be based on Neo-Babylonian realities. Notably, Nebuchadnezzar’s exile (