Book of Daniel in the Bible Encyclopedia - ISBE

LITERATURE I. Name. The Book of Daniel is rightly so called, whether we consider Daniel as the author of it, or as the principal person mentioned in it. II. Place in the Canon. In the English Bible, Daniel is placed among the Major Prophets, immediately after Ezk, thus following the order of the Septuagint and of the Latin Vulgate (Jerome's Bible, 390-405 A.D.) In the Hebrew Bible, however, it is placed in the third division of the Canon, called the Kethuvim or writings, by the Hebrews, and the hagiographa, or holy writings, by the Seventy. It has been claimed, that Daniel was placed by the Jews in the third part of the Canon, either because they thought the inspiration of its author to be of a lower kind than was that of the other prophets, or because the book was written after the second or prophetical part of the Canon had been closed. It is more probable, that the book was placed in this part of the Hebrew Canon, because Daniel is not called a nabhi' ("prophet"), but was rather a chozeh ("seer") and a chakham ("wise man"). None but the works of the nebhi'im were put in the second part of the Jewish Canon, the third being reserved for the heterogeneous works of seers, wise men, and priests, or for those that do not mention the name or work of a prophet, or that are poetical in form. A confusion has arisen, because the Greek word prophet is used to render the two Hebrew words nabhi' and chozeh. In the Scriptures, God is said to speak to the former, whereas the latter see visions and dream dreams. Some have attempted to explain the position of Daniel by assuming that he had the prophetic gift without holding the prophetic office. It must be kept in mind that all reasons given to account for the order and place of many of the books in the Canon are purely conjectural, since we have no historical evidence bearing upon the subject earlier than the time of Jesus ben Sirach, who wrote probably about 180 BC. III. Divisions of the Book. According to its subject-matter, the book falls naturally into two great divisions, each consisting of six chapters, the first portion containing the historical sections, and the second the apocalyptic, or predictive, portions; though the former is not devoid of predictions, nor the latter of historical statements. More specifically, the first chapter is introductory to the whole book; Dan 2 through 6 describe some...

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