Here I continue and conclude my discussion of short stories in the Hebrew Bible, with some of the favorite Sunday School stories of all time, found in the book of Daniel. Again, I draw here on my college textbook, The Bible: A Historical and Literary Introduction to the Early Christian Writings.
The book of Daniel is counted among the Major Prophets of the English Bible, but in the Hebrew Bible it is not one of the prophets at all; it is included in the Writings. This is almost certainly because it was the last book of the Hebrew Bible to be written (as we will see later), and when it came to be placed in circulation and more widely known, the collection of Latter Prophets was already considered to be a closed canon, containing, like the Former Prophets, four scrolls: Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, and The Twelve.
In some respects it makes sense that Daniel is included as a book among the prophets in English Bibles, both because the main character is portrayed making prophetic utterances and because he has visions of prophetic importance. But in another sense this book is very different from the other prophets of the Jewish Scriptures. Daniel is not a historical figure who makes real-time proclamations to the people of Israel in light of their dire situation and almost certain coming destruction. The first six chapters of the book are a collection of short stories about a wise young man Daniel, taken to Babylon after the destruction of Jerusalem. The final six chapters contain a number of apocalyptic visions that Daniel allegedly had. There are good reasons for thinking that these two portions of the book originated separately from one another as different traditions associated with this person Daniel, and that they were put together only after both had been in circulation for a time. One of the most obvious reasons for thinking so is that they are in fact of different genres of literature.
The stories of chapters 1-6 are obviously post-exilic, as they are all about life in exile. They are probably to be dated to the fourth or third century b.c.e. One of the peculiarities of the book is that
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