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Overview of the Authenticity of the Book of Daniel
Concerning the canon of scripture and the authenticity of the book of Daniel; the Book of Daniel is often one of the most heavily scrutinized and criticized books of the Bible. Primarily due to the fact that contained within, are some of the most important and precise prophecies of the Messiah and the timeline of world events.
Critics know that if the legitimacy of this book could be proven, it would be an indomitable case for the accuracy of Biblical prophecy and God’s word being spoken to the prophet Daniel. The Book of Daniel contain a timeline of the major world events driven by the primary empires from the Babylonians to the Roman Empire. More importantly is the exact date, down to the day, of when the Messiah would be killed (when Jesus was Crucified), an impossible prediction by any human standard.
Dead Sea Scrolls
The Dead Sea Scrolls date between 3rd – 4th century B.C.E, and among the many fragments of scrolls are multiple pieces from the book of Daniel. Archaeologists where able to transcribe and confirm that the modern copies of the book of Daniel today contain the same verbiage as what is written on the fragments of the Daniel scrolls. Confirming both the authenticity of the copies we have today and the original date that the Bible claims the book of Daniel was written, circa 530 B.C.
Discovery of the Daniel Scroll
In 1992 Dr. Gerhard Hasel PhD, published a few articles discussing significant information concerning the Book of Daniel found with the Dead Sea Scrolls. This heavily opposed the position that the Book of Daniel was constructed in the 2nd century B.C held by biblical skeptics. This heavily affirmed the position the book of Daniel had authenticity in the 5-6th century B.C.E and its divine authorship.
It was discovered in 1952, at the Dead Sea, Qumran Cave 4 contained the Daniel manuscripts, as published by Professor Eugene Ulrich in ‘Daniel Manuscripts of Qumran – 1989.’ The scroll was discovered in 1947 but many of them where never published until almost 40 years later. Unfortunately, many of the scrolls lapse into dust as they are unrolled.
Scroll Fragments – Authenticity of the Book of Daniel
The two scroll fragments, designated 1QDana and 1QDanb contain parts of 22 verses from Daniel Chapter 1-3, specifically, Daniel 1.10-17; 2.2-6; 3.22-30
Maurice Baillet published a fragment from Cave 6 containing parts of Daniel 8.16-22; and 10.8-16; 11.33-36,38.
The largest preserved sections of the Book of Daniel where from Cave 4 designated 4ADana and contained – Chapter 1.16-20, 2.9-11, 19-49; 3.1,2; 4. 29-30; 5. 5-7, 12-14, 16-19; 7. 5-7, 25-28; 8.1-5; 10. 16-20; 11.13-16;
Scroll 4QDanb contained Chapter – 5.10-12, 14-16, 19-22; 6. 8-22, 27-29; 7. 1-6, 11, 26-28; 8. 1-8, 13-16;
Scroll 4QDanc contained Chapter – 10. 5-9, 11-16, 21; 11. 1-2, 13-17, 25-29
Take all these fragments into consideration, we have a portion of scripture from each of the chapters of the Book of Daniel except chapter 9 and 12. However an unpublished fragment designated 4QDane is said to have a portion of Daniel chapter 9.
Masoretic Text (MT)
Before the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls, one of the oldest manuscripts we had to verify the authenticity of the Book of Daniel was the Masoretic Text, which dated to roughly 1008 A.D. This is the text from which most of our Bibles are copied from today. These scrolls allowed us to compare and authenticate the text to a translation over 1000 years earlier in history. Additional evidence and witness to the fact that the Book of Daniel and the Word of God has remained unchanged for well over 2000 years.