Influences and Traditions Underlying the Vision of Daniel 7:2-14: The Research History from the End of the 19th Century to the Present / Hellenisms Und Judentum: Vier Studien Zu Daniel 7 Und Zur Religionsnot Unter Antiochus IVV

By Collins, John J. | Journal of Biblical Literature, Spring 2002 | Go to article overview

Influences and Traditions Underlying the Vision of Daniel 7:2-14: The Research History from the End of the 19th Century to the Present / Hellenisms Und Judentum: Vier Studien Zu Daniel 7 Und Zur Religionsnot Unter Antiochus IVV


Collins, John J., Journal of Biblical Literature


Influences and Traditions Underlying the Vision of Daniel 7:2-14: The Research History from the End of the 19th Century to the Present, by Jurg Eggler. OBO 177. Fribourg, Switzerland: Universitatsverlag; Gottingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 2000. Pp. vii + 143. EUR 37.00.

Hellenismus and Judentum: Vier Studien zu Daniel 7 and zur Religionsnot enter Antiochus IV, by Othmar Keel and Urs Staub. OBO 178. Fribourg, Switzerland: Universitatsverlag; Gottingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 2000. Pp. xi + 147. EUR 40.00.

The two volumes under review are published in the same series and have in common that they both deal with the book of Daniel, but they are very different kinds of books. One is a comprehensive history of research that offers virtually no original suggestions. The other is a collection of four essays, which makes no pretense of being comprehensive but is full of original proposals.

Eggler's study represents the first chapter of a doctoral dissertation on Iconographic Motifs from Palestine/Israel and Daniel 7:2-14, submitted to the University of Stellenbosch, South Africa, 1998. (Eggler is a native of Switzerland, now working at the University of Fribourg.) The study is divided into two parts. The first deals with the motifs of the sea, the four winds, and the four beasts (Dan 7:2-8). The second deals with the motifs of the judgment scene, the "Ancient of Days," and the "Son of Man." In each case, EUler begins with H. Gunkel's Schopfung und Chaos in Urzeit und Endzeit (Gottingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 1895) and goes on to document, in turn, proposed Babylonian, Canaanite, Greek, Iranian, and other sources. In each case, he provides a list of the most frequently cited OT parallels. The treatment is extremely thorough. There are thirteen categories in the discussion of Dan 7:28 and twelve in the second part of the book. The profusion of categories is sometimes misleading. The Vision of the Netherworld, proposed as a source for Dan 7 by Helge Kvanvig (Roots of Apocalyptic [Neukirchen-Vluyn: Neukirchener Verlag, 1988]), is given its own section, rather than treated under "Babylonian Influences." "Treaty Curse Imagery and Birth Omens" could also be subsumed under regional categories, and "Kosher Mentality" (proposed by David Bryan, Cosmos, Chaos and the Kosher Mentality [Sheffield: Sheffield Academic Press, 1995]) could be taken as an example of OT influence. The separation of categories can also be misleading insofar as the parallels discussed are of different kinds. Many of the OT parallels are incidental to particular verses. The Near Eastern parallels more often concern the structure or pattern of the whole. While Eggler notes correctly that many scholars treat only part of the chapter, the unity of the whole vision is important to many proposals, and these are ill served by the two-part division of the material. Nonetheless, the comprehensiveness of the treatment is impressive. Eggler frequently quotes directly from the authors in question and also notes objections that have been raised against various proposals. One of the features of the review is the extensive attention to iconographic parallels.

The most astonishing thing about this monograph, however, is the author's restraint in refusing to provide any original criticism of the theories proposed. He notes in the introduction that the material "provides a good example for studying the mechanics of the traditio-historical comparative method and of the difficulty of establishing a uniform measure as to what constitutes a parallel and to what degree" (p. 1). He does not, however, pursue these questions at all. This restraint may be understandable in the first chapter of a dissertation, on the assumption that the critical discussion would come later. It is more difficult to justify in a published monograph. Yet this study is undeniably useful and will be a very helpful resource for anyone beginning research on Dan 7.

The volume of Keel and Staub, in contrast, cannot be faulted for lack of originality. …

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