Discernment from Daniel
by Bernie L. Calaway
Authors Press

"The history, themes, and prophecies nestled into the book of Daniel are not far removed from what we envision to have been in the minds and experiences of its early readers."

The enigmatic and complex biblical book of Daniel is tackled in scholarly depth but handily interpreted for general readers in this commentary. The author begins with "settings and a history lesson. The remainder is a development or commentary on the book of Daniel itself."

Daniel and his three upper-class companions are taken from Jerusalem as captives by King Nebuchadnezzar II. The young men live exemplary lives for three years, schooled by the royal training academy in the studies of "astronomy, philosophy, mantic wisdom, and the difficult Akkadian language" and "groomed for eventual service in the royal court." When conquered, the religious piety of Judah has degraded and is under reform, so the foreign domination by an even more worldly and pagan culture is considered a punishment by God. The biblical narrative promotes a message of faith and perseverance during the difficulties of cultural and religious persecution—in this case, seventy years of exile. Ultimately, Daniel serves his own and his captors' culture with his uncanny abilities as a dream interpreter and prophet. His messages resonate not only within Judaism but are directed at "the nations"—the greater world.

Calaway aptly presents many scholarly, theological, and popular questions arising from readings of this literary apocalypse over the centuries. Expertly discussed are topics that run the gamut from random questions of the sort expected about contemporary celebrities and media influencers to the more serious debates by modern biblical scholars about why the narrative is written in two sections in Aramaic and Greek, the question of whether it was written in the sixth or the second century BC, as well as the questions and debates about the nature of Daniel's prophecies and Christian eschatology. This work may especially appeal to serious students of the Bible.

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