Talk:Book of Daniel/Archive 8

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Archive 5 Archive 6 Archive 7 Archive 8 Archive 9

Debate or remove tags

The article currently has a neutrality tag (applied to the whole article) and an npov tag (Composition). I'd like to ask that these tags be defended/argued over the next few days with a view to resolving issues and removing them.PiCo (talk) 23:56, 31 October 2013 (UTC) Just to make a start, here are some points that I think are being made by other editors:

  • Composition section doesn't have all points of view because it treats exclusively the view that the book was composed pseudonymously in about 164 BCE (the major alternative being that the author is known and that it was a product of the 6th century).
Comment: This view of the book's composition and authorship is the standard view among biblical scholars - the sources used are all contemporary scholars teaching teaching at major institutions, and majority or consensus views have been identified wherever possible (phrases such as "most scholars agree" etc are quotes from sources).PiCo (talk) 00:10, 1 November 2013 (UTC)
  • The Later Influence section takes for granted the view that the book's symbols etc are about the events of the 2nd century BCE, and implicitly dismisses the later interpretation that sees them as genuine prophecy.
Comment: The view that the book was written as a commentary on events in the 2nd century is the consensus among mainstream biblical scholars, as established in the Composition section. The Later Influences section tries to trace the later interpretation of Daniel over a 2000 year period - not an easy task in a few paragraphs - with an entire paragraph about apocalypticism in modern America and interpretations of Daniel within that framework. It is a fact, however, that this interpretation is not accepted by mainstream scholarship today. PiCo (talk) 00:10, 1 November 2013 (UTC)
  • The Later Influences section also makes a passing reference to the the resurrection as "perceived", which suggests that it wasn't real - this is pov.
Comment: The source does use the phrase "preceived resurrection." Nevertheless, it wasn't intended to imply that the resurrection wasn't real - the idea is that the belief of Jesus' followers in his resurrection ensured the survival of Christianity. The wider point being made is that the belief in resurrection wouldn't have been possible without Daniel and other Hellenistic works - it doesn't exist prior to the Exile. Maybe we can rewrite this to clarify the point. PiCo (talk) 00:10, 1 November 2013 (UTC)
  • You already started a thread above on the reasons for the tags that isn't resolved yet. It cannot be neutral if it does not make clear that the Antiochus interpretation is but one of many, if it is going to endorse this interpretation to the exclusion of all others. And as I have mentioned several times, for any neutral Bible article readers usually expect the original verses to be provided also, not just biased interpretations of what they supposedly say. Til Eulenspiegel /talk/ 00:11, 1 November 2013 (UTC)
I thought it would be easier to have the debate if I brought all the points together - though looking at this thread, it's already getting hard to follow. To answer your point, the Antiochus interpretation isn't "one of many," it's the only game in town in terms of contemporary biblical scholars - or so my reading leads me to believe. Collins says that, so does Seow, so do the other single-volume commentators and also the tertiary sources. All of them are respected scholars. The very, very few who say otherwise are, frankly, not very impressive (a professor at Walla Walla University????? When I saw that I thought it must be in Australia, where they go in for names that look like that, but it turns out to be in America). Anyway, I believe that Due Weight means we can't really advance the idea that the book was written in the 6th century, and that by reflecting the current scholarly consensus we are, in fact, following npov. 00:22, 1 November 2013 (UTC)
There have been hotly disputed interpretations of Daniel for centuries, but the article cannot ever be neutral if it pretends a single interpretation or hypothesis is "the only game in town" and won't even honestly point out that it is merely an interpetation, and refuses to give the original verses that are being thus interpreted. Do you want the article to be taken seriously, it must have some semblance of neutrality. Til Eulenspiegel /talk/ 00:36, 1 November 2013 (UTC)
I'm sorry Til, but it does seem that this is "the only game in town". As our article says, "There is a broad consensus in mainline scholarship that the visions in chapters 7-12 of Daniel were composed in the Maccabean era." The source is Collins 2002. It also says, "The conclusion is that the account must have been completed near the end of the reign of Antiochus but before his death in December 164, or at least before news of it reached Jerusalem." The source there is Seow. Both are leading biblical scholars. I don't think we need to give any more background to this consensus than we already have - it would bog the article down - and anyone who wants more information can go to these and other sources. PiCo (talk) 01:02, 1 November 2013 (UTC)
When it comes to the time when the book of Daniel was written, the matter can easily be settled. Read the Antiquities of the Jews by Josephus book 11 chapter 8, where he tells what happened when Alexander approaches Jerusalem. In summary: The priests of Jerusalem show Alexander the book of Daniel, where it is stated that a Greek will conquer the Medo-Persian kingdom. Alexander, referring back to a vision he had back in Macedonia, acknowledges that he is the king of Daniels prophecy. He is much encouraged and offers the Jews what they ask for (to live by their own laws and tax exemption every 7th year). Now, since this happened 332 B.C. it is ridicules to claim that the book was written 150 years later - then there wouldn't have been a book Daniel to show Alexander. --PeriCH (talk) 15:08, 28 April 2014 (UTC)
Then this will never be a neutral article, because you are pretending your POV has an absolute stranglehold monopoly on all permissible discourse, and that's frankly bullshit. Til Eulenspiegel /talk/ 01:07, 1 November 2013 (UTC)
Til, if you want to advance your argument, you need sources. By all means, give us sources saying that there's still on-going debate as to whether Daniel was written in the 6th century or the 2nd, and whether chapters 7-12 refer to events in that time. Otherwise, let's both stand back and let other people comment. PiCo (talk) 01:13, 1 November 2013 (UTC)
Your only argument so far has been appeal to authority - it is "just-so" because your favorite authority said so. We already know who says Daniel pertains to Antiochus. Now we need to be honest and dig into why they say Daniel pertains to Antiochus, and just how they determined this, to have a useful article. Is this privileged information? Til Eulenspiegel /talk/ 01:21, 1 November 2013 (UTC)
You claimed there is ongoing debate among mainstream historians, you have to prove there is ongoing debate among mainstream historians. As you have been repeatedly told, Wikipedia is all about appeal to proper authority, take proper authorities out and there is no Wikipedia left. Tgeorgescu (talk) 01:42, 1 November 2013 (UTC)
As Tgeorgescu says, you have to provide sources saying there's a debate. What you call the appeal to authority is in fact the use of reliable sources, which lies at the heart of Wikipedia. The article already says that "the events leading up to the sacking of the Temple in 167 and the immediate aftermath are remarkably accurate (chapter 11:21-29)" using Seow as the source, and this, in my view, is all we need - any more would bog the article down in extraneous detail. Anyway, I won't comment any further,I want to hear from other editors.PiCo (talk) 01:47, 1 November 2013 (UTC)
I'm not saying any of the "authorities" should be removed or taken out, I'm saying explain how they arrived at such a conclusive conclusion, we'd all like to be convinced if possible, and state up front that it is in fact an interpretation and the actual verse itself doesn't have the word 'Antiochus' in it read forwards, backwards, or taking every third letter. I cannot call any article "neutral" so long as it presents a controversy in terms of a monolithic uncontested opinion, that is the definition of POV pushing. Til Eulenspiegel /talk/ 02:04, 1 November 2013 (UTC)
Actually, the book does have the name Antiochus in it - Nebuchadnezzar is a gemmatria, equivalent to Antiochus. PiCo (talk) 03:15, 1 November 2013 (UTC)
That's still an interpretation, some would say very far-fetched. It's a numerical calculation, not the actual word 'Antiochus'. Til Eulenspiegel /talk/ 03:18, 1 November 2013 (UTC)
Til, you're obfuscating. You say there's a controversy, but we have numerous reliable sources saying there isn't one. Your argument amounts to no more than "I don't believe it", and you've been around long enough to know that Wikipedia doesn't work on the basis of whether you, or I, or any other editor, believes something. You've also been around long enough to know that Wikipedia is built on reliable sources. So please produce some reliable sources saying there's a controversy. I'll give you til Friday, and then I'm removing the tags.PiCo (talk) 00:52, 2 November 2013 (UTC)
This is one of the most controversial books of all time, let alone of the Bible. To say there is no controversy on this book is to place one's head firmly in the pov sand. I assume you mean Friday the 8th November. That should be a reasonable amount of time for me to get the viewpoints of major commentators on this Book together. Til Eulenspiegel /talk/ 00:59, 2 November 2013 (UTC)
ALL - Not to insert myself too much in this back and forth dialogue or muddy the waters, but I have to say I agree with Til Eulenspiegel on this one. One low-hanging fruit is PiCo's (referenced) claim that Antichus Epiphanes = Nebuchadnezzar is simply that - "one" opinion (even if its shared by mult sources) - and is honestly one which I have not ever heard of, but then my scholarship tends towards the "Bible is actual history" variety (I, just like everyone, have my personal POV). I'm not casting aspersions, but it would appear, at first blush, that you are cherry-picking your sources PiCo. Isn't there room for the "traditional" version (i.e. 6th century authorship contemporary with the times/people identified) on this page? PiCo's major rewrite of the page has corrected many issues and improved the page, but the removal of content on a page always causes me to recheck the edits and I'm not 100% in agreement with some of the changes (not a complaint - just a statement). I'll hold back further comment/analyses until Til comes back with a referenced reply. Thanks - Ckruschke (talk) 20:33, 4 November 2013 (UTC)Ckruschke
Ckruschke, do you really mean Antiochus = Nebuchadnezzar, the thing about the gematria that I mentioned just above? That's not widely accepted in scholarship, and I haven't put it in the article. It was raised (I think) around the beginning of the 20th century, but demolished by John Goldingay in his commentary on Daniel which I think came out in the 1980s. I must say I'm not very convinced myself - Nebuchadnezzar is depicted in Daniel in na good king, one who acts against Daniel only reluctantly or when tricked by evil advisers, and always ends up admitting the superiority of Daniel's God; the "king of the north," in contrast, is depicted as evil without any redeeming feature. The accepted theory is that Antiochus is that second figure, the king of the north. PiCo (talk) 00:58, 5 November 2013 (UTC)

Comment There is a point where debate becomes mere disruption. There is no reason for this article to be flagged as problematic. It presents the overwhelming scholarly consensus about Daniel, and there is no raging debate that has been excluded from the article. For the topic to be structured/weighted as some above have suggested would itself represent a problematic POV, since it would represent an unacceptable departure from the mainstream views on this topic. The variants of IDONTHEARTHAT are not moving the discussion ahead, and amount to little more than an attempt to push a particular POV onto articles that correspond to an editors individual beliefs. Accusations of "cherry picking" without providing a list of the reliable sources that have allegedly been overlooked is not reasonable engagement. Now, this endless debate is tiring, tedious, unproductive and gotten close to the point of WP:DISRUPT. I suggest that the tags be removed, and subsequent disruptive editing be taken to AN/I. Eusebeus (talk) 07:50, 5 November 2013 (UTC)

I've told Til I'll wait till Friday, so let's do that. Also, I feel Ckruschke's warning that I might be cherry-picking my sources to reflect my own personal biases is no more than fair comment. PiCo (talk) 09:57, 5 November 2013 (UTC)
  • I always find it telling to see exactly which editors want to squelch debate or discussion and start complaining that it is "disruptive" - usually it's the same ones who lack any argument other than "appeal to authority". Well these editors need to get over their God complex, they don't get to tell everybody else to shut up because they have no real argument. I told you I would take this article all the way to arb-com if necessary because it is obviously a one-sided propaganda piece about the Bible promoting someone's pet "Antiochus" hypothesis while there are NUMEROUS other interpretations. And I'm not the only one who can put references here, anyone else is welcome to beat me to the punch and put sources for more viewpoints on this controversial book. The controversies regarding this book were NEVER RESOLVED AT ANY SPECIFIC POINT IN TIME BY SCHOLARS as certain editors here want to pretend, it seems these editors they are "not here" for any purpose other than intolerantly pushing their pet "Antiochus" hypothesis as if it were the only permissible "truth" and any other belief is heresy. Til Eulenspiegel /talk/ 14:35, 5 November 2013 (UTC)
There is a difference between "there are mainstream historians who disagree with it" and "there are kooks who disagree with it". You have to prove that mainstream historians disagree with it, instead of having some self-styled historians who beg to disagree. We can take it for granted that for any scholarly subject there will be wannabes who disagree with the mainstream consensus, see e.g the theory of evolution or the theory of relativity. Tgeorgescu (talk) 20:05, 5 November 2013 (UTC)
In this case the difference is strictly a matter of interpretations of arcane prophetic scripture. Calling one side or the other "kooks" is what we at wikipedia call a "point of view". There is no empirical proof of what interpretation is correct one way or the other. We are not supposed to declare our favorite point of view correct and militate against other points of view or interpretations: such is not neutral. By referring to "kooks" you have at least for the first time acknowledged the existence of parties that disagree with the Antiochus theory. Til Eulenspiegel /talk/ 20:25, 5 November 2013 (UTC)
I take for granted that there are Bible thumpers who believe that the book was written in the 6th century BCE. The problem is if they count as scholars or as kooks. Not anyone pretending to write history counts as a historian. It is your task to prove that there are mainstream historians who disagree with the mainstream view. They have to be historians, i.e. academics who study history by publish or perish and they have to be mainstream. I would not call mainstream historian somebody who took a formal oath that the Bible is inerrant and infallible, since for such persons evidence is irrelevant and the consequence is that they can't be mainstream. Tgeorgescu (talk) 21:26, 5 November 2013 (UTC)
So, state your sources and if needed we will take them to WP:RSN. Tgeorgescu (talk) 21:30, 5 November 2013 (UTC)
You are stating a priori that any sources not subscribing to the (totally unproven) Antiochus interpretation / hypothesis fail your litmus test and are "kooks". So it's a fool's errand to try and find sources that will satisfy you since you have made it clear beforehand that no source could satisfy you. Til Eulenspiegel /talk/ 04:38, 6 November 2013 (UTC)
Now, that's a very cheap way to avoid finding sources. It is your task to find them, and people at WP:RSN will judge whether they are written by mainstream historians or by kooks, it is not my exclusive prerogative to judge who's who among mainstream historians. You have to be able to reliably prove to the satisfaction of WP:RSN that they are written by mainstream historians and that they won't be judged ridiculous in the CHOPS test.
It is just that for mainstream historians evidence matters a lot, and there is simply enough evidence to assert that the Bible shouldn't be taken at face value in historical research. That's thoroughly agreed by mainstream historians and only kooks believe that something is true merely because the Bible says so. Tgeorgescu (talk) 20:28, 6 November 2013 (UTC)
I can think of several large churches with hundreds of millions of adherents and even sovereign governments that officially follow these churches doctrines as a state religion, that are therefore "kooks" by your rather extremist definition! Since when does "polemic" = "neutral"? Til Eulenspiegel /talk/ 21:47, 6 November 2013 (UTC)
Ok, so you do admit that it is theology and it just ain't history (as in mainstream history). Since when sovereign governments dictate what counts as mainstream history? Tgeorgescu (talk) 00:10, 7 November 2013 (UTC)
Oh, governments have always tried to dictate history and many competing views of history but NPOV means we don't treat any significant widely held view of history as correct or incorrect, we give all the competing views and let the reader decide remembering they are not children who need to be told what is correct with regard to theology, etc. I think that is something central you are not getting. Til Eulenspiegel /talk/ 00:16, 7 November 2013 (UTC)
I have no objection to rendering theology-as-theology. However, you should not conflate theology with mainstream history. It is you who has to produce proof that there is a lack of consensus about the dating of the Book of Daniel among mainstream historians. I did not deny that there are theologians who disagree with its dating for theological reasons, but it is you who has to prove that there are mainstream historians who disagree with it for historical reasons. You have to produce recent sources written by mainstream historians which show there is disagreement upon its dating among mainstream historians. These sources have to withstand review at WP:RSN as reliable historical studies and then you could claim it is proven that mainstream historians do not agree upon its dating. Otherwise, any kook could found a church and present his theology as mainstream history simply because he has theological reasons to disagree with mainstream historians. Tgeorgescu (talk) 00:25, 7 November 2013 (UTC)
I specified significant and widely held views, not some kook with 1500 followers of which there are several. I am more concerned about dissent from the Antiochus interpretation among commentaries, interpreters etc. and it being falsely presented as if it were conclusively proven but we can't know how. But as for the question of the date of composition, I can easily find scholars who disagree widely about that on non-theological grounds including some who think it is originally from the Persian era. Til Eulenspiegel /talk/ 00:36, 7 November 2013 (UTC)
The existence of Lamanites isn't considered a historical fact by any historian worth his salt, even if some theologians affirm that the existence of Lamanites was revealed by God. The existence of Lamanites is theology, it does not amount to history. So, Wikipedia may say that Mormons are deluded about the historical existence of Lamanites. Tgeorgescu (talk) 00:38, 7 November 2013 (UTC)
I'm no Mormon and know little about Lamanites, but it concerns me deeply that you think "Wikipedia may say Mormons are deluded" as if you think Wikipedia's purpose is to militate polemically against one set of beliefs in an attempt to eradicate them, while favoring other sets of beliefs. So according to you, Wikipedia now suddenly assumes the role of determining whose beliefs are ok and whose are heresy eh? And that's your definition of "neutrality"? Hah! 00:44, 7 November 2013 (UTC)
Wikipedia does take notice of the fact that no historian worth his salt considers it a historical fact, and renders such quasi-unanimous agreement among mainstream historians as fact. That's why the theory of evolution is presented as fact inside Wikipedia, while there are theological reasons to disagree with it: because biologists decide what constitutes biology. It is not up to theologians to decide what counts as biology. As simply as that, and Wikipedia remains neutral by presenting evolution as fact, simply because it is quasi-unanimously agreed among biologists who live by publish or perish. In science there is no controversy about evolution, therefore there is no controversy about it to be taught in biology classes. Tgeorgescu (talk) 01:20, 7 November 2013 (UTC)
Sounds Orwellian, "neutrality" means activistically trying to decrease the numbers of adherents of religions you don't like, and trying to increase the numbers of belief-systems you approve of. Good thing you get to do the approving, huh Tgeorgescu? Til Eulenspiegel /talk/ 01:33, 7 November 2013 (UTC)
"Everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not his own facts." Attributed to Daniel Patrick Moynihan. Tgeorgescu (talk) 11:41, 7 November 2013 (UTC)


I was reluctant and procrastinating when it was clear that any scholars not stating that BoD was tied to Antiochus' era would be a priori disqualified, while at the same time being asked to present scholars not stating this interpretation. Here are a couple of sources I dredged up once as only the tip of the iceberg. William H. Shea, Daniel, a Reader's Guide (2005), p. 27 after discussing the question for several pages, and acknowledging the view of the modern critical school, concludes "Thus the major developments in the study of the Aramaic language appearing in Daniel have all tended to move the date for that writing earlier than the critics believed. At present, Daniel's Aramaic is simply classified as "Imperial Aramaic" meaning that it fits well within the dates of the Persian Empire from the seventh through the fourth centuries B.C." Other peer reviewed scholars arguing extensively (for reasons of actual evidence, not "because so-and-so thinks so too") against such a late date for Daniel include Arthur J. Ferch, "Authorship, Theology and Purpose of Daniel" published in Symposium on Daniel p. 3-83 and Gerard Hasel, "Establishing a Date for the Book of Daniel" in the same publication, p. 84-164. The Antiochus view is only one of several interpretations that has been proposed for these arcane verses, the "critical" theory hasn't essentially changed since the anti-Christian polemic author proposed it around 280, and nothing new to come up has supported it. Til Eulenspiegel /talk/ 00:30, 9 November 2013 (UTC)

They are all Adventists, and the Adventists consider that the Bible is infallible (but not inerrant, see here). The Adventists subscribe to The Fundamentals, although they do not like being conflated with the gross of the fundamentalists (see here). So it is understandable that they have an ax to grind against historical criticism. My two cents are that they are therefore no mainstream historians, but I will like to hear what others think about this. Tgeorgescu (talk) 02:00, 9 November 2013 (UTC)
Really trying to be open minded here, but It appears any source that is actually a Christian is automatically disqualified by you. Is this your aim? Besides that, your "qualifying comments" are completely unnecessary considering the professional and neutral tone above. Ckruschke (talk) 02:31, 9 November 2013 (UTC)Ckruschke
Guys, could we cool the passions and the language? For what it's worth, I agree with Ckruschke, Til's posting was dispassionate and professional he deserves to be taken seriously. I'll post a reply later, now is not a good moment. PiCo (talk) 02:42, 9 November 2013 (UTC)
I'm technically an amateur, but thanks! Til Eulenspiegel /talk/ 02:48, 9 November 2013 (UTC)

@Til Eulenspiegel, thanks for your reply, and this is my response.

To recap, the question at issue is whether there is a scholarly consensus that Daniel in its current form is a work of the 2nd century, more precisely, a response to the crisis of 167-164 BCE. We have J.J. Collins and multiple others saying this.

Shea is arguing that the Aramaic of Daniel (Imperial Aramaic, also called Biblical or Literary Aramaic) fits the time-frame of the 7th-4th centuries. I think he's slightly wrong on this, as I gather that most scholars date the Aramaic of Daniel to the Hellenistic period and rate it as later than that of Ezra (The Aramaic Language in the Achaemenid Period: A Study in Linguistic Variation, page 41: "The Aramaic parts of Daniel are held by most scholars to be a later product of the Hellenistic period" - meaning later than Ezra).

But it doesn't matter, because a 4th century date for the Aramaic part of Daniel fits in well with current theories on the book's composition, i.e., a group of Aramaic folk-tales dating from Persian times was collected and edited into a book in the 3rd century, and that this was then expanded in the 2nd by the addition first of chapters 1 and 7 and then of chapters 8-12. In other words, Shea's argument on the date of the Aramaic tales fits with the current consensus,even if he's slightly wrong about the end-date for the Aramaic.

I don't have access to Ferch and Hasel - more accurately, I don't have access to the "Symposium on Daniel". But in 1983 Ferch published "The Book of Daniel and the 'Maccabean Thesis'" (downloadable pdf file), which seems to be on the same subject - the Symposium was published three years later, so perhaps they're identical. In the first paragraph Ferch says that the Exilic authorship theory "is only a minority view among Daniel scholars." That's pretty much what our article says, though inverted - we say that the Maccabbean view is the current consensus. Given that Ferch's article is thirty years old, the consensus might well be even stronger now.

As for Hasel, I gather his case involves at least two arguments, that Daniel speaks of the rebuilding of Babylon, and that the book was well-known at Qumran in the 2nd century. I can't comment on the first, but on the second, what he really needs to show is that it was well-known in the 3rd century, before the reign of Antiochus. As it is, and as our article says, there's no sign of any knowledge of Daniel among authors writing prior to the mid-2nd century.

So, I'm sorry, but your statement that "the Antiochus view is only one of several interpretations that has been proposed" isn't accurate - there aren't several interpretations, there's a majority view, as Ferch admits, and Collins calls it a consensus. On the basis of due weight, that's what our article has to reflect. PiCo (talk) 05:59, 9 November 2013 (UTC)


This is definitely, absolutely, the last time I'll post anything on Wikipedia. It's a time-waster, and God knows I'm far too weak-willed and willing to waste time. And I think it's only fair that I, as the one who made such a bouleversement on this article (and others), should stand back and let others decide. So goodbye, and thanks for all the fish :) PiCo (talk) 09:41, 9 November 2013 (UTC)

"To recap, the question at issue is whether there is a scholarly consensus that Daniel in its current form is a work of the 2nd century, more precisely, a response to the crisis of 167-164 BCE." No, those are the terms you use to cast it in. Even that is not neutral or even handed. But even so, you are ignoring a crucial point. What you are touting as the "consensus view" has never been established with supporting evidence, it has been established by consensus only. This is the pseudo-scientific method. It is wrong to claim things are "scientific fact" when they are no more than hypothetical opinion no matter how many agree. The fact that a "majority" of scholars in the modern critical school (I'd say more like 100% since obviously we have seen those who don't say "Antiochus" can't be in the club) doesn't make all the other widespread and significant schools of thought go away and disappear, doesn't resolve the controversy, doesn't prove anything logically, as it rest entirely on the logical fallacy of Appeal to Authority. So if you are going to insist that this rather pathetic Antiochus view is the only one allowed to be mentioned in the article, we still have a problem with one sidedness. Til Eulenspiegel /talk/ 15:30, 9 November 2013 (UTC)
I did not claim that Christians are disqualified from writing historical scholarship about the Bible. What I meant is that the Adventists are fundamentalists (in the original meaning of the term) and therefore unable and unwilling to analyze the Bible objectively and dispassionately. E.g. Richard W. Schwartz from the Department of History, Andrews University, has the dubious honor of inventing the supernatural defense against accusations of plagiarism. If it were written as theology, I would not object to such defense, since theology requires no evidence and needs no method. Instead, he presented such defense as a result of the historical method. This is an example showing how far-fetched is their apologetics in favor of the founders of Adventism, and as Adventists repeatedly state, they see the Bible as an authority superior to that of those founders, therefore their analysis of the Bible is biased. As the article Sanctuary Review Committee article shows, the Adventists are even unable to cope with criticism based upon Sola Scriptura, so we could not possibly expect them to cope with the historical-critical method and analyze the Bible sine ira et studio. These being said, it does not a priori disqualify them from making cogent arguments, but it makes them highly unlikely to be mainstream historians, at least in respect to Bible scholarship. They have an immense theological bias in their scholarship, that's why they cannot be considered mainstream. Tgeorgescu (talk) 19:49, 9 November 2013 (UTC)
To make it even clearer what I mean by theological bias Michael D. Coogan may disagree as much as he wants with the official views of the Catholic Church without fearing that he gets sacked because of this. Tgeorgescu (talk) 20:01, 9 November 2013 (UTC)

For Kitchen, the biblical story (at least from the time of Abraham) is true until proven otherwise. Needless to say, he is not troubled by postmodernism or deconstruction, which he dubs "the crown of all follies." His critiques of Lemche, Thompson and others are not without substance, but his own views are too blatantly apologetic to warrant serious consideration as historiography.

More sophisticated, but ultimately equally apologetic, is another volume published in 2003, Iain Provan, V. Philips Long, and Tremper Longman III, entitled provocatively, A Biblical History of Israel.

— John J. Collins, The Bible after Babel. Historical Criticism in a Postmodern Age.
My view (see [1]) is that something is either apologetics or historiography; it cannot be both at the same time. Something which starts from the assumption that the Bible is infallible and seeks to show that the Bible is infallible is definitely apologetics, not historiography. Now, there is nothing wrong with apologetics, and it may be rendered in the article that according to Seventh-Day Adventist Church, the Book of Daniel does not refer to Antiochus. But in as far as we talk about what would be taught as history in Cambridge, Harvard, Oxford, Princeton and Sorbonne, theology alone does not establish historical facts, but mainstream historian decide what counts for a fact and what it could be taught there as historical fact. It is of course appeal to authority, but not a sophism. As Roy Burtonson argued, the professors at those universities cannot sort everything out just by themselves, instead they have to trust those who pass as authorities upon that matter among mainstream historians and they teach what the authorities have spoken on that matter. Tgeorgescu (talk) 03:38, 11 November 2013 (UTC)

The Bible is the voice of God, not the voice of scientists. If we want the voice of scientists, we ask the scientists. Most of them do advocate the Big Bang, abiogenesis, and evolution as the most visible means of how the world came to be. Whether or not this was God's doing is up to the reader to decide. If the scientists are mistaken, this has to be shown to them on their own grounds, which anti-evolution folks are not really doing, because they are not reading up on the same literature, they are not using the same standards and experiments, and they are not speaking in the same circles nor getting published in the same journals. If it does not walk like a duck, does not talk like a duck, and avoids ducks like the plague, there is little reason to assume its a duck. Or scientist, in this case. I'm not saying the anti-evolution folks are wrong, I'm just saying that they are not mainstream scientists. This is why they're not consulted for the voice of scientists. Now, they can be consulted for what they think if their views are notable.

Quoted by Tgeorgescu (talk) 03:38, 11 November 2013 (UTC)
You wrote "it may be rendered in the article that according to Seventh-Day Adventist Church, the Book of Daniel does not refer to Antiochus." That sounds reasonable, what about a few other large denominations that might be sourceable? Til Eulenspiegel /talk/ 03:55, 11 November 2013 (UTC)
As long as those theological views are notable, they could be rendered, but as theology, not as history. Tgeorgescu (talk) 18:36, 11 November 2013 (UTC)
  • A. A late comment on the philosophical dispute; not realy a dispute but anyway, congrats/kudos to Tgeorgescu (et al) for his patience and endurance; I'm just reiterating in short what he has explained again and again and again:
    Appealing to the scientific method and/or invoking an argument from authority fallacy when arguing for a paranormal non naturalistic non logicoempirical non testable claim against a naturalistic logicoempirical testable one, i.e. a scientific claim, is at least trivially wrong and possibly ill intentioned; in other words the argument from authority in such a case is not a fallacy, it's just *part A presents real data and relevant logical arguments under what has been named methodological naturalism, *part B says "it's true because I believe it to be true". No comparison, just pseudophilosophy, pseudoscience. The only way out of this, which is a trivial and ultimately a useless one, is to claim that scientific claims are not really testable etc, i.e. to go to universal impossibility of objectivity, knowledge etc. Good luck on the latter. Limiting the discourse to the former, in this case the acceptable and probably welcomed to be (if presented as what they really are, i.e. not the consensus) thing to do is to provide scholarly sources that under methodological naturalism's framework argue for a different view(s) than the one of the scholarly consensus. Addition of text and sources describing what has been historically believed in the religious sense of the word is also acceptable and probably welcomed by others.
  • B. A late comment on Zeus and God, mythology and religion:
    God = Zeus; according to some and at least but not necessarily when understood as a god. Even using expressions like God vs/XOR Zeus shows an inherent bias. Abrahamic religion from a non abrahamic perspective is or could be considered equal to mythology, at least if the reverse is considered acceptable to be said. So just like spinning philosophical/scientific concepts (A) to support religious paranormal untestable claims is absurd, it's also absurd to invoke religious persecution and bias against one's own religion when one is denying respect, plausibility etc to the religion of other people(which in this case was a propos practically eradicated through every means possible by the family of religions of the accuser of his or similar views being a victim of religious or atheistic persecution/bias against), claiming unique existence and credibility of one's own supposedly only true/real god and religion.
    P.S.Personal Note: In fact when things like interpretatio graeca are considered, i.e. when considering that the followers of Zeus (et al) didn't make such unique exclusive absolutist claims against the (various) followers of Jehovah (formerly in the company of Asherah et al), it's very very sad to some people that the Hellenes and the Hellenists lost (lost meant as at least to some degree), at the Maccabean period or later... ;-) Thanatos|talk|contributions 14:40, 29 November 2013 (UTC)
Til Eulegenspil says, "the Antiochus interpretation is but one of many", and he is wrong. My study Bible says that it's "doubtless" that the "prince who is to come" is Antiochus. My Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church says that it's the consensus of modern, critical scholars that Daniel was written in the 160s BC. TE wants the consensus of scholarly opinion to be treated as merely an opinion, and that's a violation of WP:NPOV. TE has a history of trying to value his own viewpoint with the consensus viewpoint (as if they're both merely "viewpoints"). Let me know if you need any special help to enforce WP policy on a page where TE is violating it. Leadwind (talk) 22:38, 27 April 2014 (UTC)

King James Version (KJV)

Please glance at the words used in the King James version of the Bible text (Daniel 1), my bold to highlight:

"5 And the king appointed them a daily provision of the king's meat, and of the wine which he drank: so nourishing them three years, that at the end thereof they might stand before the king.

6 Now among these were of the children of Judah, Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah:

7 Unto whom the prince of the eunuchs gave names: for he gave unto Daniel the name of Belteshazzar; and to Hananiah, of Shadrach; and to Mishael, of Meshach; and to Azariah, of Abednego.

8 But Daniel purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself with the portion of the king's meat, nor with the wine which he drank: therefore he requested of the prince of the eunuchs that he might not defile himself.

9 Now God had brought Daniel into favour and tender love with the prince of the eunuchs.

10 And the prince of the eunuchs said unto Daniel, I fear my lord the king, who hath appointed your meat and your drink: for why should he see your faces worse liking than the children which are of your sort? then shall ye make me endanger my head to the king.

11 Then said Daniel to Melzar, whom the prince of the eunuchs had set over Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah,

12 Prove thy servants, I beseech thee, ten days; and let them give us pulse to eat, and water to drink.

13 Then let our countenances be looked upon before thee, and the countenance of the children that eat of the portion of the king's meat: and as thou seest, deal with thy servants.

14 So he consented to them in this matter, and proved them ten days."

From Daniel 10:

"2 In those days I Daniel was mourning three full weeks.

3 I ate no pleasant bread, neither came flesh nor wine in my mouth, neither did I anoint myself at all, till three whole weeks were fulfilled."[[2]]

See the small changes I made to the text.32cllou (talk) 16:29, 28 April 2014 (UTC)

Ok. And? What is your proposed edit to this page? Ckruschke (talk) 17:48, 28 April 2014 (UTC)Ckruschke
[[3]]32cllou (talk) 19:08, 28 April 2014 (UTC)
I reverted your edit on the basis that it had nothing to do with the paragraph you were editting. The "Visions of the Kings of the North and the South" is a general overview of Chaps 10-12 and thus a direct quote selected from two sentences out of those three chapters when the rest of the text discusses Daniel 10-12 in broad overview terms is out of place and overkill. Ckruschke (talk) 20:13, 28 April 2014 (UTC)Ckruschke
I'll just replace those two words completely (most commonly used/accepted translation), and not add to Chapter 10.32cllou (talk) 23:21, 28 April 2014 (UTC)32cllou (talk) 00:27, 29 April 2014 (UTC)
That's agreeable.
However, next time, please DO NOT revert my edit to make a small change - my revert was a justifiable rollback of your previous edit. Just make your changes and move on. When I saw your revert, I assumed you had started an edit war... Ckruschke (talk) 11:43, 29 April 2014 (UTC)Ckruschke

Found it by accident

This paper (Daniel To The Reader) summarizes the main difference between the OG (Old Greek) and the Theodotion versions of the Book of Daniel. I think there should be a couple of sentences how the complete OG text passed on to this modern day. And maybe how the Book of Daniel is translated into other liturgical languages (Slavonic, Syriac). Komitsuki (talk) 04:33, 5 May 2014 (UTC)

Tags on article

Neutrality and other tags are not intended to be used as a "badge of shame" and just sit on articles for months or years but as a signal to editors to discuss and improve the article. There have been tags on this article since October, I do not see any effort being put in to resolve whatever is in dispute. Is there still a dispute here, and if so, what is it? Smeat75 (talk) 11:56, 8 May 2014 (UTC)

Looks like Pico tried to resolve it after Til Eulenspiegel put the tag up. I don't have an opinion about the validity of the tag, but I agree that the tag should either be dropped or the issue be resolved - crazy that its been up for 7 months... Ckruschke (talk) 17:34, 9 May 2014 (UTC)Ckruschke

Definitive interpretation of the 'abomination of desolation' personage: Til Eulenspiegel is technically right. While it is commonly accepted that the personage effecting the 'abomination of desolation' was first Antiochus IV Epiphanes, there is credible theological reason to qualify such a statement: the person was never given a name, but his actions of breaking intimate relationship with God was paramount as a archetype and shadow, both physical in defiling the holy place, and spiritual in the banning of Judaism. Thus, the correlation is drawn betwixt this first personage, the anti-christ as defined by actions in 2Cor 11:4 / 1John 2:22, and Messiah prophesying a yet future 'abomination of desolation' in Matt 24:15. It is only fair to examine the possibility of other and future anti-christs, and abominations, such as in the Garden of Eden acceding to the will of the Serpent (a historical spiritual abomination), the Dome of the Rock (a geographic abomination and ongoing reminder), the Temple of Jupiter (a then immediate geographic abomination), the anti-Christ (a current spiritual abomination), and the Beast world religion (a future spiritual and immediate abomination) as delineated in Revelation.

Thus for the article to truly remain neutral, allowance needs must be made for there to actually be still prophetic value in the book of Daniel based upon certain archetypes and Hebrew idioms then in usage and found throughout the Bible. Korruptor23 (talk) [2014 05-14][03:07am PST]Korruptor23

Scholarly consensus regarding interpreted symbolism: The supplied 'historical scholarly consensus' is pointedly one sided: the empires / kingdoms listed ignore the Roman Empire, which is about universally held to have been the Iron Empire / Iron-toothed Beast, and consequently the Bronze / Leopard empire Greece, and the Silver / Bear empire is the Median-Persian Empire[1][2][3]. That Daniel or the author themselves effectively combine the Median and Persian empires under a single banner is attested to no less than 3 times by the text, 5:28, 6:8, 12, and 15. It is proposed by modern authors as to the meanings of the metal / animal symbolism, yet it is clear said authors did not take into account the texts own interpretation of such. One such cited reference is Daniel by W. Sibley Towner wherein the author states with no supporting evidence:

Again with reference to chapter 2, the bear (7:5) must be equated with the statue's silver chest and arms (2:32, 39); it should be the Median kingdom. If the leopard (7:6) equals the bronze belly of the statue (2:32, 39) and stand for Persia, as is commonly if not universally held, then the fourth, terrible beast with the iron teeth and the ten horns (7:7) must equal the legs and feet of iron and clay (2:33, 40) which stood for the Greek empire introduced into the Middle East, 332-331 BC.

I do not consider this alternate interpretation to be definitive, though in light of the archealogy, the primary weaponry of Greece being bronze in nature, opposed to the weaponry of Rome being iron in nature, is substantially more congruent with the imagery, symbolism, and historical accolades. However, the BoD page postulates from its indicated sources that the interpretation of empires, and symbolism, currently presented is singular and uncontested, when a simple search provides ample evidence to the contrary.

I would also suggest a revision of the page order. The Themes and Symbolism section seem more pertinent to a concise study or examination of the text. While themes and symbolism may be the hardest to nail down, they are the inherent foundation upon which the prophetic visions and dreams are predicated upon. A first understanding of those is thus conducive to understanding the context of the prophecies and history of the text. Korruptor23 (talk) [2014 05-14][03:07am PST]Korruptor23

Tags and Talk page: This talk page seems to have focused upon a singular nature and aspect, ignoring other discrete issues, such as I brought up above. In fact, I found it difficult to focus on what in particular was in dispute. Should there not be headers here in the talk page to address each and every discrete issue, again such as I have done above? Korruptor23 (talk) [2014 05-14][03:07am PST]Korruptor23

The four kingdoms and the little horn (Daniel 2 and 7): The consensus among scholars is that the four beasts of chapter 7, like the metals of chapter 2, symbolise Babylon, Media, Persia and the Seleucids, with Antiochis IV as the "small horn" that uproots three others (Antiochus usurped the rights of several other claimants to become king). Unfortunately, there is no such consensus, as demonstrated above. The text itself unites the Medes and Persians, again 8:20. Korruptor23 (talk) [2014 05-14][03:07am PST]Korruptor23

with Antiochis IV as the "small horn" that uproots three others (Antiochus usurped the rights of several other claimants to become king). While the citation suggests that the little horn imagery of Daniel 7 is immediately applicable to Daniel 8 as Antiochus IV, this interpretation runs foul of certain elements in the text which suggest instead an 'end times' application, Revelation 13:5. This beast, in correlation with the statue, must continue to the end of time, effectively till the Second Coming. This 'dominion for ever and ever,' 'judgement before the great throne,' can hardly be conflated with having been ended with the Maccabees, thusly the section should take into account the possibility this is yet prophetic. Korruptor23 (talk) [2014 05-14][03:07am PST]Korruptor23

The ram and he-goat (Daniel 8): The explanation is inherently flawed. The he-goat had a single horn, Alexander the Great, which became four and four kingdoms, which consolidated power under two separate kingdoms, Seleucid and Ptolemaic as in the bronze thighs. A ram has two horns, suggesting two kingly personages, as already defined in the text (ten horns = ten kings), invalidating the authors conjecture that the ram is Persia alone, but should properly be interpreted as the Medes and Persians, a chest of silver and two arms. This does naturally suggest the bear raised on one side as being both Mede and Persian, indicating the Persians as the side raised up. The selected reference ignores the sections own interpretations in v20 and v21. This section also contradicts the above corresponding Contents section. Korruptor23 (talk) [2014 05-14][03:07am PST]Korruptor23

The anointed ones and the seventy years (Chapter 9): These verses from a different book, namely Jeremiah, should be noted for ready reference and corroboration. Jeremiah's promise was obviously not true – the gentiles still oppressed the Jews, and the "desolation of Jerusalem" had not ended, should be stricken from the symbolism section, as posited, for Jerusalem was re-inhabited, the Temple rebuilt. Cited author also fails to provide the relevant passage for Daniel's re-evaluation, which he may or may not be doing if one assumes that any exposition automatically revokes previous prophecy as opposed to adding further layers of compounding prophecy, namely Deuteronomy 12 / Leviticus 26:12 for v13-19. Korruptor23 (talk) [2014 05-14][03:07am PST]Korruptor23

Kings of north and south: [T]he death of Antiochus – which, in the event, was not accurate. This section should be qualified and contrasted with that of Chapter 8, wherein the text states He shall even rise up against the Prince of princes, yet by no human hand he shall be broken, of which there is nothing inaccurate in said statement as Antiochus died suddenly of disease. This section, or the corresponding Content section, fails to include the 'line in the sand' as referenced by 11:18, a distinctly singular event noted in the Antiochus page. Also, as v40-45 make no indication of which personage they are attesting, it is highly likely there is a temporal projection in the narrative, as evidenced by the phrase at the time of the end and give no heed to the gods of his fathers, which in particular makes no sense in connection with the religious views of Antiochus IV. Korruptor23 (talk) [2014 05-14][03:07am PST]Korruptor23

Predicting the end-time (Daniel 8:14 and 12:7–12): Verse 12:11 was presumably added after the lapse of the 1,150 days of chapter 8, and 12:12 after the lapse of the number in 12:11. The indicated presumption should be stricken from the page. A simple bit of math easily produces the required time frame from Dec 167 to Dec 164, the latest likely date for Chanukah. The Dating section cites the writing of chapter 8-12 in the interval of 167-164 BC, but there is no logical reason to append extra days for a time frame that hasn't lapsed yet. It also makes no sense to extend a time frame when simple revision, considering being appended at the very end of the book, is as easy as striking from the page from a book that hasn't finished being written. Korruptor23 (talk) [2014 05-14][03:07am PST]Korruptor23

Time, times, and half a time and 1260 days should be noted with their relevant Revelation references, wherein the same idiom, an important Hebrew device, is repeatedly used and equated in Rev 11:3, 12:6, 12:14, 13:5, and Dan 7:25. If nothing else it should be noted as relevant as being the basis for numerous correlations in Revelation. Korruptor23 (talk) [2014 05-14][03:07am PST]Korruptor23 — Preceding undated comment added 10:10, 14 May 2014 (UTC)

If you want to state theology-as-theology, the Towner source looks like a reliable source, if he actually says all of the above (page numbers are required for verification). But as far as mainstream history is concerned, it can never validate the occurence of miracles, such as precognition. Perhaps you will want to do a Google or YouTube search for Bart Ehrman and miracles in order to find out why the historical method refuses to work with miracles as historical facts. Tgeorgescu (talk) 22:11, 14 May 2014 (UTC)
Otherwise historical journals could accept papers like "Historical proof that Attila the Hun was possessed by evil spirits", "Vespasian's godly status confirmed through archaeological finds" and "The role of elves and fairies in World War II combats". Tgeorgescu (talk) 15:21, 17 May 2014 (UTC)
I can't read past the first sentence of that screed by Korruptor23, it makes my eyes glaze over. It doesn't seem to answer my question about why there is a "disputed" tag sitting on this article with no discussion as to what can be done to resolve the dispute. Ckruschke says it refers to a dispute from months ago between editors who are no longer participating here, in that case I think the tags should be removed.Smeat75 (talk) 16:31, 21 May 2014 (UTC)
Remove it with no prejudice against it being replaced by an editor so long as they start a new section here with explicit explanations of what is disputed. Dougweller (talk) 17:31, 21 May 2014 (UTC)
Thanks, I have done that.Smeat75 (talk) 18:12, 21 May 2014 (UTC)


Deleting interpretations

There should be no interpretations in this article. To interpret something that would seem to happen in the future is a matter of opinion. In this case, the United States is the criminal by whoever decided to predict the future from reading the Book of Daniel. -- JudeccaXIII (talk) 19:23, 11 September 2014 (UTC)

Too much drastic one sided editing.

About the RFC: help us decide whether treating God the same as Zeus would constitute a violation of WP:NPOV, or, on the contrary, not treating God the same as Zeus would violate NPOV. By equal treatment I mean having the same editorial standards, and, more specifically, calling them both "mythology". Tgeorgescu (talk) 22:26, 18 October 2013 (UTC)

It seems to me that since this is an encyclopedia, then this topic, especially given the wide range of viewpoints, should cover more than just a single viewpoint. The issue here is not which is the best understanding of the Book of Daniel, but in showing that there is more than a single view. The traditional view of Daniel has had a large impact on the world for centuries, to act as if it never happened is trying to rewrite history in support of a specific view. The removal of sourced material just to support a single view biases the article and gives the readers an incomplete and inaccurate understanding of the importance that the Book of Daniel has had throughout history. --RoyBurtonson (talk) 04:08, 13 October 2013 (UTC)

If Wikipedia had been available around the fourth century B.C., it would have reported the view that the Earth is flat as a fact and without qualification. And it would have reported the views of Eratosthenes (who correctly determined the earth's circumference in 240BC) either as controversial, or a fringe view. Similarly if available in Galileo's time, it would have reported the view that the sun goes round the earth as a fact, and Galileo's view would have been rejected as 'original research'. Of course, if there is a popularly held or notable view that the earth is flat, Wikipedia reports this view. But it does not report it as true. It reports only on what its adherents believe, the history of the view, and its notable or prominent adherents. Wikipedia is inherently a non-innovative reference work: it stifles creativity and free-thought. Which is A Good Thing.

Cited by Tgeorgescu (talk) 19:14, 13 October 2013 (UTC)
If something cannot be taught as history (not as theology) at Princeton, Cambridge, Oxford, Harvard and Sorbonne, then Wikipedia cannot claim that it would be a historical fact. Tgeorgescu (talk) 19:21, 13 October 2013 (UTC)
Boy! Another convenient way to censor and bias wikipedia............. --RoyBurtonson (talk) 14:50, 17 October 2013 (UTC)
In matters of historical facts, we let mainstream historians decide what constitutes a fact, while minority and fringe historians are only mentioned to the extent they are notable and never allowed to establish historical facts. Fundamentalist Christians and very conservative evangelicals are either marginal or fringe in respect to mainstream historical scholarship. I presented more arguments about such allegations of "bias" at WP:ABIAS. Wikipedia does have a "bias" for mainstream science, but that does not amount to a violation of WP:NPOV: mainstream historians and marginal historians are not treated equally, that's the very core of having scientific consensus or scholarly consensus. If something is principally unworthy for being taught as history as those top universities, you cannot claim that it would constitute mainstream history or historical fact. You may also want to read WP:RNPOV, which has definitively settled the matter. Tgeorgescu (talk) 22:12, 17 October 2013 (UTC)
Coming back to the first message, of course, many people bought into the claim that Daniel has truly written the book. But that's not mainstream historical scholarship nor could it be used to establish as a fact that Daniel did write the book. Mainstream historians would call it a naive, uncritical idea which amounts to sub-standard scholarship. So, while I do agree that many naive people have understood that way the Book of Daniel, Wikipedia cannot claim that their understanding would establish authorship of the book as a fact of history. Otherwise we could fire all Bible scholars and just read ourselves the Bible, taking it at face value. 300 years of scientific studies of the Bible made clear to mainstream historians that the Bible cannot be taken at face value and that taking it at face value is foolish and unscientific (unscholarly). While I do admit that there are certain fundamentalist theology faculties which teach that Daniel has written the Book of Daniel, that isn't history and would be unequivocally derided as preposterous at the indicated top universities. So, outside of preaching to the choir, such claim does not even amount to scholarship. Tgeorgescu (talk) 22:54, 17 October 2013 (UTC)

A neutrality / NPOV tag is needed for this article, all it does is impose a theological point of view based on the hypotheses of militant atheists. Til Eulenspiegel /talk/ 12:05, 18 October 2013 (UTC)

The main problem is that they do not regard any other views but their own as legitimate or "reliable", it is entirely circular reasoning based on a litmus test for "reliability" on this theological topic, and arbitration looks to be the only remedy since after years of this it is clear that they will not cease trying to impose their personal theology on wikipedia. Til Eulenspiegel /talk/ 12:07, 18 October 2013 (UTC)

"Militant atheists" is an ad hominem, besides it's false: many historians involved in Bible scholarship are Christians, albeit most of them are not of the fundamentalist sort. Besides, we were not talking theology, we were talking history, namely we were talking about historical facts, not about theological claims. History and theology are two very different areas of scholarship. Since you have an user page dedicated to the defense of fundamentalism inside Wikipedia, your bias was and continues to be "if it disagrees with fundamentalism, then it's an attack upon Christian theology". That does not work, since most Christians aren't fundamentalists. E.g. the Pope has officially recognized the relevance of secular historical scholarship upon the Bible (secular does not mean atheist). You are conflating theology with fundamentalism and secularism with atheism. Inside Christianity, fundamentalists may get a lot of press, but they are nevertheless a minority. Tgeorgescu (talk) 18:52, 18 October 2013 (UTC)
And you're still using the tired technique of redefining my position in your own terms, then attacking that. But you are missing the mark because I have never professed "fundamentalism" nor do I have a page defending it. Nice strawman. Til Eulenspiegel /talk/ 20:21, 18 October 2013 (UTC)
By that user page I meant User:Til Eulenspiegel/Religious narratives as sacred canon. In the context of WP:RNPOV, such user page is a defense of extreme views pertaining to fundamentalism. If you aren't a fundamentalist, why pretend that Wikipedia should take the Bible, Koran, Vedas, etc., at face value instead of trusting historians and religion scholars to explain them? Why then claim each time historical-critical research is rendered that it would violate WP:NPOV?

For instance, while Mormons have a story that describes the divine transmission of their holy book, Christians by and large have rarely made such claims. In fact, the theory of inerrancy -- a word never used in the Bible -- was only coined only a century ago by fundamentalist Christians seeking to defend the Bible from recent discoveries about its historical origins and fallible conclusions in the realms of history and science.

Quoted by Tgeorgescu (talk) 20:36, 18 October 2013 (UTC)
You may as well argue that that page is defending Hinduism, Judaism, Islam and Mormonism, and therefore by extension I must be a Hindu, Jew, Muslim and Mormon. But you'd still be missing the point. The point of the page is to show that a significant and sizeable body of opinion attacks and rejects the pov characterization of modern world religions as "mythology" - not to defend any of them per se. Til Eulenspiegel /talk/ 20:42, 18 October 2013 (UTC)
I did not claim that you would advocate Islam and Hinduism at the same time. What you advocate is fundamentalism in its general meaning, regardless of specifics. Most of religion is mythology, whether believers like that or not. Wikipedia cannot regard those books as the True Revelation of the Only True God or Gods, that would be special pleading. It cannot give them special status over the works of Hesiod, Plutarch or over the preachings of Jim Jones. For Wikipedia, both Jesus and Jones are real people who some believe about them that they were divinely inspired. Jesus has to be treated with the same methods which are used to study Julius Caesar, Alexander the Great and Adolf Hitler. And of course, there are theological claims about Jesus and Jones, but apart from establishing fame, the theological claims about Jesus are not given priority over the theological claims about Jones. In matters of theology, we may only agree to disagree. There is no such thing as mainstream theological view, since each world religion is a minority view, therefore all theological views are minority views and have to be rendered as such, simply stating that the Pope claims that Mary remained a virgin, instead of affirming in Wikipedia's voice that Mary remained a virgin. The virginity of Mary is mythology, since it is preposterous to assume that a woman who naturally gave birth to a child could remain a virgin. And since most people aren't Christians, Christian miracles cannot be presented as objective facts, so "Mary remained a virgin" will never amount to an objective fact, even if we don't know if miracles are possible. Claims about the God of Abraham aren't radically different from claims about Zeus. If claims about God aren't mythology, then claims about Zeus aren't mythology, either, and the word mythology is rendered meaningless. Tgeorgescu (talk) 21:02, 18 October 2013 (UTC)
Your assertion that all religion = mythology is at one extreme of the POV spectrum, and the origins of this extreme can easily be traced to their respective philosophers, but I fear you are trying to impose that school of thought on wikipedia, the neutral encyclopedia. Til Eulenspiegel /talk/ 21:20, 18 October 2013 (UTC)
There is no serious reason why on Wikipedia Allah and Krishna should be handled differently than Zeus and Quetzalcoatl. I mean the same standards of sourcing should be applied to all of them, and whether you call it theology or mythology makes no real difference. They will still have to be handled as entities for which there is no jot of evidence, apart from hearsay. I do believe in God (Spinoza's God, to be sure), but to claim that Wikipedia should treat my God differently than Zeus would be special pleading and it would violate WP:NPOV. You know, Zeus is still being worshiped, so there is no essential difference between the claim "God rules the world" and the claim "Zeus rules the world" (or "the Flying Spaghetti Monster rules the world"). Objectively seen, evidence is lacking for all of these claims, so one should not be prioritized over the others. You did not argue that mythology would be a meaningless concept, you have argued that it violates NPOV. Well, my argument is that treating Zeus differently than God is a violation of NPOV. Tgeorgescu (talk) 21:41, 18 October 2013 (UTC)
You are ignoring the most obvious and basic distinction: There is no significant number of people today who say they seriously believe there is a Zeus or a flying spaghetti monster. A significant proportion of the Earth's population today do claim to be adherents of the major world religions. We neutrally reflect the world and the entire landscape as it is today, not as you would wish it to be. Til Eulenspiegel /talk/ 22:04, 18 October 2013 (UTC)
What you ignore is that Hellenic polytheistic reconstructionism cannot be treated differently than Catholic Church, meaning that the same editorial standards and the same quality of sources is required for both articles. Just as it would be discrimination for a court to treat Native Americans accused of murder differently than White Anglo-Saxon Protestants accused of murder. Same laws apply to all of them. It is true that there are over a billion Catholics and there are 2000 Hellenists, but that belongs to statistics, it does not influence Wikipedia's editorial standards. What you ignore is that neither Allah nor Zeus are objective realities and each believer would seek to prioritize his/her own god over the gods of other people. That is not done, that is why the NPOV policy was adopted: all gods are treated with the same editorial standards and no god is given special status over other gods, regardless of how many adepts it has around the world. Wikipedia editors have very diverse backgrounds and the least thing you'd want is a Hellenist accusing you of smearing his faith by calling it "mythology" and by claiming that your faith isn't mythology. According to WP:RNPOV, terms are employed in their scholarly meaning, even some believers may be offended. Wikipedia is not censored for their protection. If mainstream scholars call something mythology, then mythology it is for Wikipedia. I will begin a RFC about this to end this matter. Tgeorgescu (talk) 22:20, 18 October 2013 (UTC)

RoyBurtonson and Til Eulenspiegel, could you please be a little more specific: exactly what do you think is being wrongly left out/put in/distorted or whatever? PiCo (talk) 22:26, 18 October 2013 (UTC)

It's one-sided in endorsing the hypothesis that the text has anything to do with events of the 160s BC. That is disputed and has never been proven, the "evidence" is also flimsy. Til Eulenspiegel /talk/ 22:34, 18 October 2013 (UTC)

That's what mythicists claim about the existence of Jesus: that evidence is flimsy. However, Wikipedia editors are not entitled to evaluate the evidence behind mainstream scholarship, instead they trust mainstream scholars to evaluate evidence in peer-reviewed publications. Tgeorgescu (talk) 22:48, 18 October 2013 (UTC)
The Protestant movement, which was a major movement in Western Civilization, was fueled largely by the belief that the book of Daniel was written in the 5th century BC and that it's prophecies are indeed prophecies. It was from Daniel and Revelation that the Protestants derived their understanding of the Papacy as the anti-christ and that the church needed to be reformed. Millions of people died for their stands for and against these interpretations of the books. Therefore it is important at the very least from a historical perspective to report how the Book of Daniel was perceived by millions of people. To only report the position of modern skeptics or revisionists is giving a one sided, biased, shallow account. It does not matter who is right or wrong about who wrote the book or when it was written. History was greatly impacted by the historistical interpretation of Daniel and Revelation and so it deserves to be mentioned and explained by those who believed it. This would bring a NPOV to the article. --RoyBurtonson (talk) 23:04, 18 October 2013 (UTC)
In this case, the evidence for the Antiochus Epiphanes interpretation is not solid enough to call it anything more than a hypothesis. It has not been a compelling argument since it was originated by Porphyry. The article certainly should not present this hypothesis as conclusive and it is woefully deficient on the range of viewpoints and interpretations. Til Eulenspiegel /talk/ 23:27, 18 October 2013 (UTC)
It is not required that certain Wikipedia editors find it compelling, it is more than enough that many mainstream historians find it compelling. By default, historians consider it postdiction, not clairvoyance, see e.g.:

I can't find a single reliable source in the field which holds that Muhammad is mentioned in the Bible, however. Which of course makes sense: Even the newest Biblical texts were written 450–500 years before Muhammad's birth, which strongly suggests it would be impossible, barring time travel or clairvoyance. --Atethnekos (DiscussionContributions) 08:43, 15 October 2013 (UTC)

Quoted by Tgeorgescu (talk) 23:43, 18 October 2013 (UTC)
Many sources don't find it compelling because it doesn't get out of the hypothesis stage. It isn't conclusive, it lacks any kind of proof, and it is only one interpretation, dating as I said to Porphyry, of all sources. You can't keep up "Because I say so" or "because authority x said so" indefinitely and expect people to just accept that. Sooner or later, someone is going to have to show exactly how that conclusion was arrived at. Til Eulenspiegel /talk/ 23:49, 18 October 2013 (UTC)
Again, Wikipedia editors indulging in original research does not work for the existence of Jesus nor for the existence of Muhammad, why should it work for the Book of Daniel? Tgeorgescu (talk) 23:52, 18 October 2013 (UTC)
Your constantly trying to justify your stances through weak analogies to other situations is tiresome; surely you know that is not very strong logic? "We already did what we want there, why should we have to explain our logic here in a completely different situation on a completely different topic? That's too hard!" Til Eulenspiegel /talk/ 23:56, 18 October 2013 (UTC)
The same principle applies to all of these situations: mainstream scholars make the call. We may debate upon whether mainstream scholars have reached some sort of consensus for this specific situation, but only as seen through the works of mainstream scholars themselves. The principle that mainstream scholars make the call is not being challenged. Tgeorgescu (talk) 00:12, 19 October 2013 (UTC)
You can't keep up "Because I say so" or "because authority x said so" indefinitely and expect people to just accept that. Sooner or later, someone is going to have to show exactly how that conclusion was arrived at. I'm sure you want to keep it out of the article because it is embarrassingly weak, and just leave it as an appeal to authority. Til Eulenspiegel /talk/ 00:15, 19 October 2013 (UTC)
An appeal to the authority of proper experts (i.e. mainstream scholars) does not constitute a logical fallacy. You may want to read Argument from authority#Forms and . Tgeorgescu (talk) 00:21, 19 October 2013 (UTC)
No, there has to be some reason why they would say it. It doesn't simply become so by their fiat, and there are many others who disagree. Seemingly they don't pass your circular litmus test of reliability, but they speak for significant and widespread points of view and interpretations of Daniel nonetheless. Til Eulenspiegel /talk/ 00:23, 19 October 2013 (UTC)
That historians cannot prove paranormal causation and that historians have no access to God are not open for debate. So, just principally considered, the chances for the traditional view being a fringe historical claim are considerable. Tgeorgescu (talk) 00:32, 19 October 2013 (UTC)
No, that's your imposing your viewpoint. For nearly all parts of the Bible, there are conflicting interpretations and doctrines, and often major disputes. It's our job to cover them. I didn't know that for the Book of Daniel, a book of visions, allegorical dreams, and prophecies, that there was only one permissible interpretation. And that of Porphyry at that. Til Eulenspiegel /talk/ 00:38, 19 October 2013 (UTC)
Look, parapsychologists study the paranormal for a living and even they have no smoking gun (showing that the paranormal truly exists or getting parapsychology beyond the pseudoscience status). So I would not expect that such smoking gun could be offered through historical scholarship. If historians could prove paranormal claims, then you should expect peer-reviewed history articles like "Have leprechauns dictated the Book of Isaiah? An alternative theory for the claim that angels have dictated the Book of Isaiah." "Historians have no access to God" is a quote from Bart Ehrman, when he explained why historians cannot prove that God helped the Protestants fight the Catholics. He said that only theologians could claim such, since it is a theological claim, not a historical one (unless one is a Catholic theologian...). The problem is that the traditional view frames the problem in terms which are historically impossible. So maybe Porphyry was wrong, but that would not imply that the traditional view is likely. Tgeorgescu (talk) 01:08, 19 October 2013 (UTC)
So I noticed this Request for Comment, but it seems to be an invitation to join in a philosophical or religious discussion / argument, and that is not really what article talk pages are for. No, you cannot treat the book of Daniel as if it is history or accept anything in it at face value. Fundamentalist approaches to Biblical text are very much minority views and the article should make that very clear. It is best to avoid referring to living religions as "mythology" however since although strictly speaking the word may not mean "an untrue story" it carries that idea in popular use.Best not to say "God is the same as Zeus" either as that will be read by some as saying "this article has to have the viewpoint that God does not exist". Other than that, it would be useful to know what specific problems or conflicts there are with editors on this article.Smeat75 (talk) 00:57, 19 October 2013 (UTC)
Well, I did not mean to include "God is the same as Zeus" inside this very article, it was more a principal matter of Wikipedia's editorial standards (namely a problem of "my god is better than yours"), since Til has repeatedly stated that it is not historians' call, since theology isn't mythology. Tgeorgescu (talk) 01:08, 19 October 2013 (UTC)

The article only gives one interpretation where there are numerous other interpretations. First of all, it is certain the text we have in most Bibles today was extensively revised in the 1st century. We have some fragments of an older text from Qumran, but scholars can only guess at the rest of the Hebrew based on the "Old Greek" (pre-Theodotion) Daniel. And many interpretations don't even take this into account. There has never been agreement that any part of it portrays Antiochus since this was first proposed by Porphyry, and no one since him has proved that hypothesis conclusive. Til Eulenspiegel /talk/ 01:10, 19 October 2013 (UTC)
The principle to go by is WP:WEIGHT. "Neutrality requires that each article or other page in the mainspace fairly represents all significant viewpoints that have been published by reliable sources, in proportion to the prominence of each viewpoint in the published, reliable sources. Giving due weight and avoiding giving undue weight means that articles should not give minority views as much of, or as detailed, a description as more widely held views. Generally, the views of tiny minorities should not be included at all, except perhaps in a "see also" to an article about those specific views." There may be a variety of interpretations but the consensus view of modern mainstream scholars, if that can be established, is the one that should be preferred. Views which may have been held in the past could be mentioned if significant historically, but they or religiously motivated views such as "this is true because it is in the Bible and the Bible is divinely inspired" should not be given as much weight, if any, as modern mainstream Biblical scholarship.Smeat75 (talk) 01:42, 19 October 2013 (UTC)

This thread is going noplace. I have some idea now what Til Eulenspiegel and RoyBurtonson want, and I'm opening two new threads, one each, to address their concerns. PiCo (talk) 01:52, 19 October 2013 (UTC)

What does "treating God the same as Zeus" mean? Reading some of the responses, I infer something of a debate about whether scripture should be presented as fact or mythology, but I honestly don't know what the specific goals of this RfC are.--Wikimedes (talk) 22:14, 9 November 2013 (UTC)

It is a point upon whether Roy Burtonson's God gets preferential treatment in respect to other gods. Tgeorgescu (talk) 22:18, 9 November 2013 (UTC)
According to the ground rules since I've been here, the existence of Zeus may be treated as a "fringe theory" on account of the fact that probably around 1000 people in the world today might maybe seriously entertain it, if that many (that's what "fringe" means). There is no precedent for treating modern living world religions like defunct ones. To try to have any hope of bringing this on topic: if modern day Zeus-worshippers have a pov on the Book of Daniel, it might fail significance for inclusion, since there are much more significant and widespread views we should present information on. There are some here who I have to wonder if they are comfortable enough in a background of comparative religion to even be able to say what the major world religions and thought systems are that dominate in the various countries of the world today. And there are even some here who seem like they are "not here" for anything other than militating polemically against the inclusion of widespread world views they don't happen to like or any scholars that don't toe their line. Til Eulenspiegel /talk/ 22:36, 9 November 2013 (UTC)
In matters of religion civilized people have agreed to disagree. Since there can be no consensus on the true religion, it is futile to argue that Zeus would be a fringe theory. Just as Judaism isn't fringe because it is very small in comparison to the number of believers of Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, etc. Judaism is notable for its historical significance, more than for how many believe in it. The same applies to Zeus: it is a historically notable faith, although not very popular nowadays. Don't conflate notability with popularity. The idea that Zeus no longer matters because Greek-Roman paganism was kind of eradicated by Christianity is one-sided propaganda. For historians and religion scholars, Zeus is just as notable as Yahweh and scientists may never claim that Zeus isn't worthy of being worshiped, since that is a theological claim, not a scientific one. Tgeorgescu (talk) 21:36, 10 November 2013 (UTC)

The same Liberal scholars who denigrate Isaiah likewise denigrate or late date the prophet Daniel as well likely because they refuse to acknowledge the supernatural inherent in prophecy. Lewisharry (talk) 01:59, 16 February 2014 (UTC) Sources, "Things to come"J Dwight penticaust ...J Vernon McGee commentaries ...IB Baptist seminary... The harmony of ALL scripture Lewisharry (talk) 01:59, 16 February 2014 (UTC)

The same Liberal scholars who denigrate Isaiah likewise denigrate or late date the prophet Daniel as well likely because they refuse to acknowledge the supernatural inherent in prophecy. Lewisharry (talk) 02:01, 16 February 2014 (UTC) Sources, "Things to come"J Dwight penticaust ...J Vernon McGee commentaries ...IB Baptist seminary... The harmony of ALL scripture Lewisharry (talk) 02:01, 16 February 2014 (UTC)

The scholarly agreement on a second century date for Daniel is not based on bias against the supernatural, since most respected commentators are Christian (including evangelicals like Goldingay). It is simply based on the overwhelming weight of evidence. --Sineaste (talk) 09:13, 16 July 2014 (UTC)

Is it possible to tag editor statements with the <fact> tag. It seems to me that the statement "since most respected commentators are Christian" needs to be supported by some reliable third party source. Otherwise this looks like an Original Research statement. Or is it acceptable for editors to make sweeping statements as if their word settles the issue. --RoyBurtonson (talk) 23:57, 30 July 2014 (UTC)
Bible scholars are mostly Christian, so it is not an unlikely assertion. OR is a problem inside the article, inside the talk pages it may be tolerated. If you need a source see Bart Ehrman's public comments (e.g. inside YouTube debates) about his sophisticated Christian friends who do critical-historical research upon the Bible. He says they agree with most of what he publishes, but for them clearly Christ is the Lord. Tgeorgescu (talk) 00:25, 31 July 2014 (UTC)
If editors can make blanket statements without anything to back them up then, in contentious topics, it comes down to just opinion and who can outnumber the opinions of an opposition to get an opinionated consensus. Opinions don't mean crap. It seems to me that OR should not be tolerated anywhere. --RoyBurtonson (talk) 07:17, 31 July 2014 (UTC)
Well, as a general idea, you're right, editors should not be trusted merely because they that say something is true. But in this case, the affirmation is very probable, e.g. there is a discussion at Talk:Historicity of Jesus wherein a fringe-pushing editor accuses Bible scholars of Christian bias and there is no easy refutation of such claim. If you want Bart Ehrman's view see , where he affirms there aren't many agnostic and atheist Bible scholars. Of course, he says nothing about Hindus, Muslims and New Age believers, but it is highly improbable that many of them are willing to get MDivs and PhDs in Christian theology in order to become Bible scholars. Tgeorgescu (talk) 00:22, 1 August 2014 (UTC)

The proof that this article is ridiculously biased is that it doesn't even mention the dates that are traditionally believed in - let alone any of the evidence that supports it. e.g. Josephus wrote in Antiquities XI 8:5 that Alexander the Great was actually presented with a copy of Daniel. (talk) 18:27, 16 February 2014 (UTC)

The Josephus account is clearly legendary and what you call ridiculous bias represents wide scholarly agreement. The battles over a sixth century date for Daniel were fought in the 19th century and were essentially over by the beginning of the twentieth century. --Sineaste (talk) 09:13, 16 July 2014 (UTC)

User:Lewisharry's arguments could be fine and dandy as theology (namely apologetics), but they are crap as history. About IP's argument: Josephus is no mainstream contemporary scholar, and mainstream contemporary scholars make the call, not historians from Antiquity. Tgeorgescu (talk) 21:21, 14 May 2014 (UTC)
As Bart Ehrman said:

This isn’t simply the approach of “liberal” Bible professors. It’s the way historians always date sources. If you find a letter written on paper that is obviously 300 years old or so, and the author says something about the “United States” — then you know it was written after the Revolutionary War. So too if you find an ancient document that describes the destruction of Jerusalem, then you know it was written after 70 CE. It’s not rocket science! But it’s also not “liberal.” It’s simply how history is done. If someone wants to invent other rules, they’re the ones who are begging questions!

Quoted by Tgeorgescu (talk) 12:37, 22 October 2014 (UTC)
Coming back to the God vs. Zeus debate, Wikipedia is God-neutral, Zeus-neutral and God-vs.-Zeus-neutral. That's what NPOV means: God does not get preferential treatment in respect to Zeus. Wikipedia is neutral in respect to each and every god. Tgeorgescu (talk) 14:15, 2 November 2014 (UTC)
In order to draw the logical conclusion from the quote above: we have a word for "Isaiah has predicted Cyrus", it is called pseudohistory. This is the consensus in any bona fide history department of every US and European university. It may be fine and dandy as theology, but presented as history, it is pseudohistory. Tgeorgescu (talk) 01:10, 7 November 2014 (UTC)


The dating section references Hammer, Raymond (1976). The Book of Daniel. Cambridge University Press. and Collins, John J. (1984). Daniel: With an Introduction to Apocalyptic Literature. Eerdmans. A lot has happened since then, beginning with the publication of Ulrich, E. (1987). Daniel Manuscripts From Qumran, Part 1: A Preliminary Edition of 4QDana. Bulletin of the American Schools of Oriental Research 268:17–37. and Ulrich, E. (1989). Daniel Manuscripts from Qumran, Part 2: Preliminary Editions of 4QDanb and 4QDanc. Bulletin of the American Schools of Oriental Research 274:3–26.

Can we have some up-to-date references please... AJRG (talk) 15:43, 20 August 2014 (UTC)

Dated between 168 and 164, although it includes older texts, according to Eugene Ulrich in Lawrence H. Schiffman, Encyclopedia of the Dead Sea Scrolls, Volume 2, p. 171. Tgeorgescu (talk) 18:52, 20 August 2014 (UTC)

AJRG, I agree completely that the article should be brought up to date when relevant discoveries occur or when more satisfying theories are accepted up by the scholarly community. However, if you could specify exactly how you believe the dating of the book has changed in recent times then perhaps your point would be clearer.

I am all for utilizing the latest research, but I am a little dismayed by the attitude of some editors who feel that anything not published within the last decade is out of date or irrelevant. In the present article this has resulted in a proliferation of references from recent commentaries on Daniel that either unnecessary (e.g. those in the Contents section) or inferior to the best 20th century works. It is widely acknowledged, for example, that Montgomery's commentary of 1927 is perhaps the best detailed commentary on the Hebrew and Aramaic text of Daniel, while the most comprehensive and frequently referenced work in recent times is John J Collins' "Daniel" from 1993. Neither are included in this article's bibliography.--Sineaste (talk) 04:51, 30 June 2015 (UTC)


I have added a refimprove tag to the Contents section. I can only see one inline citation for the whole thing. This is not good for GA status. Myrvin (talk) 07:49, 22 January 2015 (UTC)

Myrvin, I have removed the nomination tag. — JudeccaXIII (talk) 03:25, 23 January 2015 (UTC)

As the Contents section is nothing more than a summary of the text of MT Daniel, and as it avoids interpretation or comment, surely there is no need for citation at all here. --Sineaste (talk) 03:06, 30 June 2015 (UTC)

I agree. I think the summary of contents is a good thing to have, but I don't like the way it's done, chapter by chapter. PiCo (talk) 01:04, 3 July 2015 (UTC)
Even a summary needs interpretation and should not be OR. Therefore, the summary must come from reliable sources - and that needs citations. Still. the point is now moot, because refs have been provided. Myrvin (talk) 06:35, 3 July 2015 (UTC)