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by Norman W Porteous

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Norman W Porteous
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Westminster John Knox Press (March 10, 2016)
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Details (if other): Cancel. Thanks for telling us about the problem. by. Norman W. Porteous.

Discover new books on Goodreads. See if your friends have read any of Norman W. Porteous's books. Porteous’s Followers (1). Porteous’s books. Want to Read savin. ant to Read.

Daniel, a part of the Old Testament Library series, explores this often troubling book by way of section-by-section (often two . The contributors are scholars of international standing. Daniel: Old Testament Library (Paperback) (9780664223175) by Norman W.

Daniel, a part of the Old Testament Library series, explores this often troubling book by way of section-by-section (often two to three verses at a time). The author's focus is almost entirely focused on explanation.

Westminster John Knox Press, 1965 M11 1 - 173 pages

Westminster John Knox Press, 1965 M11 1 - 173 pages. Norman Walker Porteous was a noted theologian and writer on Old Testament issues, and the last surviving officer of the First World War. He was one of the panel of translators of the New English Bible and latterly Dean of the University of Edinburgh. He was also Senior Professor Emeritus at Edinburgh until his death in 2003.

By: Norman W. If you need immediate assistance regarding this product or any other, please call 1-800-CHRISTIAN to speak directly with a customer service representative.

Daniel Norman W. Series: Old Testament Library Categories: Daniel Tags: Technical. Pages: 176 Publisher: Westminster John Knox Press Published: 1965 ISBN-10: 0664223176 ISBN-13: 9780664223175.

SITE MAP. Why Accordance?

Norman Walker Porteous was a noted theologian and writer on Old Testament issues, and the last surviving officer of the First World War.

Norman Walker Porteous was a noted theologian and writer on Old Testament issues, and the last surviving officer of the First World War.

Norman Walker Porteous was a noted theologian and writer on Old Testament issues, and the last surviving . It is only in the Book of Daniel, and in writings dependent upon it, that we meet with the mysterious and baffling figure Darius the Mede who owes his supposed existence to a historical blunder.

Place of Publication. Old Testament Library. Country of Publication. Best-selling in Non-Fiction Books. See all. Current slide {CURRENT SLIDE} of {TOTAL SLIDES}- Best-selling in Non-Fiction Books.

This volume, a part of the Old Testament Library series, explores the book of Daniel.

The Old Testament Library provides fresh and authoritative treatments of important aspects of Old Testament study through commentaries and general surveys. The contributors are scholars of international standing.

  • Norman Walker Porteous (1898-2003) was theologian and Old Testament scholar, who taught at the University of Edinburgh, and was one of the panel of translators of the New English Bible; he was also the last surviving officer of the First World War. This book was originally published in German in 1962, as Volume 23 of a German series of Bible commentaries.

    He states in the Introduction, “ch. 2.4a-ch.7 is in a late (not earlier than third century B.C., perhaps second century) dialect of Aramaic, while the rest of the book is in late Hebrew. The linguistic evidence and the fact that the visions reveal a vague knowledge of the Babylonian and Persian periods and an increasingly accurate knowledge of the Greek period up to and including the reign of Antiochus Epiphanes, with the exception of the closing events of that reign, suggest a date for the book shortly before 164 BC. The only element of genuine prophecy relates to the anticipated death of Antiochus and the expected intervention of God in the establishment of his kingdom. Everything else that is ‘revealed’ to Daniel is history viewed in retrospect either in symbol or as interpreted to Daniel or, in one case, by Daniel to a heathen king.” (Pg. 13)

    In his commentary on Chapter 2, he asserts, “What is of most importance… is to determine what the fourth kingdom stands for. There is no doubt at all… about the identification of the first kingdom with the neo-Babylonian Empire. The great majority of modern scholars likewise agree that the fourth kingdom is that of the Greeks. That this view is correct might be difficult to demonstrate on the basis of chapter 2 taken by itself, but, when the parallel vision of chapter 7 and the visions of the concluding part of the book are taken into account, a case can be made out which should convince anyone who is not committed to another view in spite of the internal evidence of the book itself.” (Pg. 46)

    Of the book’s dating, he states, “the evidence points unmistakably to a date which may be very closely determined within the range of Antiochus IV Epiphanes for the composition of the book as we have it now and makes it clear that the climax of history was regarded as being imminent at that particular time. That the expectation was not literally fulfilled is a fact which has to be honestly faced. Failure here has been responsible for the deplorable history of the interpretation of this book and has done much to obscure the message which the book has for its own, and indeed for every, age. Yet we should not fail to realize that, even when it has been misinterpreted, the very anxiety to make it relevant to each new age, is a sign that it has not been completely misunderstood. Much harm has been done, and is still being done, by the refusal to recognize a truth which an absurd interpretation of Scripture is in its own mistaken way seeking to conserve.” (Pg. 46-47)

    He argues, “If the fourth kingdom is Greece, it is clear that the third kingdom must be Persia; and then there seems to be no choice but to regard the second kingdom as the apocryphal Median kingdom, for the existence of which, between the Babylonian and Persian Empires, there is absolutely no trace in contemporary records. The Median kingdom of actual history, which had played its part in destroying Nineveh in 612, was incorporated into the kingdom of Persia in 550 by Cyrus when he defeated Astyages. It is only in the Book of Daniel, and in writings dependent upon it, that we meet with the mysterious and baffling figure Darius the Mede who owes his supposed existence to a historical blunder. It is true that Josephus informs us that he was a kinsman of Cyrus and a son of Astyages and that he had another name among the Greeks, but Josephus is merely making the best of a bad job, and the same has to be said of all the other attempts to give Darius the Mede a foothold in history…. there is no place at all between the fall of the neo-Babylonian dynasty and the assumption of power by Cyrus the Persian for a Median kingdom… What the author of Daniel has done, then, is simply to take the original series [of kingdoms] and substitute Babylonian for Assyrian, no doubt because the Babylonians had had a more decisive influence on the fate of Judah than the Assyrians ever had, failing to notice that he thereby made nonsense of the sequence.” (Pg. 47)

    He continues, “a vague, popular, but accurate tradition may have existed to the effect that a Darius once captured Babylon, and so it would have concluded that that must have been the name of the founder of the supposed Median Empire which was interpolated between the neo-Babylonian and the Persian. The Darius of this tradition, however, would be the great Darius Hystaspis, the successor of Cambyses, who did recover Babylon from rebels who had seized it after the Cambyses, but was a Persian and not a Mede. However that may be, enough evidence is already in our possession to make it virtually certain that no further evidence could establish the historicity of a Median kingdom as occurring between the Babylonian and the Persian.” (Pg. 48)

    Of the lists of musical instruments in chapter 3, he comments, “What is of interest is that several of the names of instruments mentioned here are Greek. In particular, the first instance in Greek literature of the use of the word [sumponyah] as a musical instrument occurs in the second century BC and actually in connection with Antiochus Epiphanes, who according to Polybius seems to have shocked public opinion by dancing to its barbarous strains. The use of Greek terms makes it highly improbable that the form in which this story lies before us is to be dated before the third century BC at the earliest.” (Pg. 58)

    He suggests, “It is probable that the ten kings [7:7-8] should be thought of as commencing with Seleucus Nicator, the founder of the Seleucid dynasty, and continuing in the same line down to the point at which Antiochus IV Epiphanes came to the throne. There is no doubt at all that he is the small horn springing up among the other horns, to make room for which three horns are rooted out. There has been endless discussion as to the identity of these horns and perhaps it does not greatly matter whom they represent.” (Pg. 106) He continues, “the king whom the little horn represents will speak blasphemously against God himself and will also direct his attack against the saints of the Most High… This seems to be a clear reference to the persecution of the Jews of Jerusalem and Judea by Antiochus Epiphanes… [this] is confirmed by the statement… that this persecuting king ‘shall plan to change times and the law.’ It is generally agreed that this is a reference to the measures taken by Antiochus as described in I Macc 1:41 ff., the times referring to the seasonal religious festivals of the Jews and the law to the Mosaic Law…” (Pg. 113-114) He adds, “the little horn.. clearly represents Antiochus Epiphanes of the Seleucid line of kings. There is general agreement about this identification even among those who refuse to see any reference to Antiochus Epiphanes in chapter 7. Antiochus will figure again very prominently in chapter 11…” (Pg. 124)

    He asserts of the interpretation of the fourth kingdom (Ch. 9) as Rome, “we should recognize and be prepared frankly to admit, that there is definite error here… But what was excusable on the part of the author of Daniel, who had divine revelation to communicate to his people, however much he mixed it up with wrong-headed arithmetical calculations, is surely inexcusable today, when two thousand years have passed during which the folly of reasoning from wrong premises has been demonstrated again and again. It would not matter so much if the persistence of error did not tend to blind men to what God is really seeking to say to them through the witness of the Scriptures.” (Pg. 134)

    He says of the seventy weeks in chapter 9, “the author analyzes them into three divisions of 7, 62 and 1 week-years, i.e., [B.C. years] 587-539, 539-170, 170-164, 539 being the date of the fall of Babylon and 170 the date of the murder of the high-priest Onias III, while the terminal date is that of the rededication of the temple by Judas Maccabaeus. It is odd that in his division of the periods the author should have ignored the terminal date of the original interpretation of the prophecy, viz. 517, but apparently he considered the date of the actual return to be more significant. It was almost exactly 49 years (7x7) between the fall of Jerusalem and the fall of Babylon. The third and final division, though not yet completed when the book was written, was expected to last for only one week-year, i.e. 7 years, falling into two equal parts, 3½+3½, and, though the climax did not prove to be the eschatological event the writer hoped for, the actual event of the recovery and rededication of the temple was sufficiently dramatic to make the prophecy a remarkable one. The middle division, however, (539-170 BC) was considerably shorter in actual fact than 62 week-years… Whether or not the author was aware of this discrepancy it is impossible to say, but, as the historical memory which the Jews retained of the period in question was very dim as regards facts, it may well be that they were equally vague as to the actual length of time that had elapsed since the return from exile.” (Pg. 141)

    Of the ‘anointed one, a prince’ in 9:25, he suggests, “the Christological interpretation of the Early Church must, however, be rejected. Unfortunately for the purpose of a clear decision, both kings and priests in Israel were anointed at their inauguration, while the heathen monarch Cyrus is once called ‘my anointed’ (Isa 45:1). In view of the fact that the first division apparently ends with the fall of Babylon, some scholars propose to identify the [anointed] with Syrus and the suggestion has not a little to commend it. Another proposed identification is with Zerubbabel, the Davidic prince who figures in Ezra 3:2 and in the Books of Haggai and Zechariah. Since, however, Onias III, the high priest who was deposed by Antiochus, is called ‘an anointed one’ in v. 26 and ‘the prince of the covenant’ in 11:22… there is more to be said for the view that the designation ‘an anointed one, a prince’ in v. 25 refers to Joshua bdn Jozadak, the high-priest who is associated with Zerubbabel at the time of the Return in 539 (see Ezra 2:2, 3:2) and was active along with him at the time of the rebuilding of the temple.” (Pg. 141-142)

    He states, “[in Ch. 11 the author] goes on to describe what was for him the appallingly blasphemous pretensions of Antiochus… what impressed the pious Jew was … the fact that he … assumed the title Theos Epiphanes, the manifest God… This to a Jew was sheerest blasphemy and clearly a challenge to God which he could not ignore, but which demanded his intervention… [verses 11:36-39] so clearly are applicable to what is known of the career of Antiochus Epiphanes that we may confidently reject the view that these verses are a prophecy of Antichrist. Such a view is based on a priori reasoning and does not arise out of sober exposition of the text. Indeed it is theologically valueless.” (Pg. 169)

    While conservative Evangelicals will certainly not be persuaded by Porteous, this is an excellent “mainstream” interpretation of this difficult and confusing book, that will be of great interest to those seriously studying it.

  • Norman Walker Porteous (1898-2003) was theologian and Old Testament scholar, who taught at the University of Edinburgh, and was one of the panel of translators of the New English Bible; he was also the last surviving officer of the First World War. This book was originally published in German in 1962, as Volume 23 of a German series of Bible commentaries.

    He states in the Introduction, “ch. 2.4a-ch.7 is in a late (not earlier than third century B.C., perhaps second century) dialect of Aramaic, while the rest of the book is in late Hebrew. The linguistic evidence and the fact that the visions reveal a vague knowledge of the Babylonian and Persian periods and an increasingly accurate knowledge of the Greek period up to and including the reign of Antiochus Epiphanes, with the exception of the closing events of that reign, suggest a date for the book shortly before 164 BC. The only element of genuine prophecy relates to the anticipated death of Antiochus and the expected intervention of God in the establishment of his kingdom. Everything else that is ‘revealed’ to Daniel is history viewed in retrospect either in symbol or as interpreted to Daniel or, in one case, by Daniel to a heathen king.” (Pg. 13)

    In his commentary on Chapter 2, he asserts, “What is of most importance… is to determine what the fourth kingdom stands for. There is no doubt at all… about the identification of the first kingdom with the neo-Babylonian Empire. The great majority of modern scholars likewise agree that the fourth kingdom is that of the Greeks. That this view is correct might be difficult to demonstrate on the basis of chapter 2 taken by itself, but, when the parallel vision of chapter 7 and the visions of the concluding part of the book are taken into account, a case can be made out which should convince anyone who is not committed to another view in spite of the internal evidence of the book itself.” (Pg. 46)

    Of the book’s dating, he states, “the evidence points unmistakably to a date which may be very closely determined within the range of Antiochus IV Epiphanes for the composition of the book as we have it now and makes it clear that the climax of history was regarded as being imminent at that particular time. That the expectation was not literally fulfilled is a fact which has to be honestly faced. Failure here has been responsible for the deplorable history of the interpretation of this book and has done much to obscure the message which the book has for its own, and indeed for every, age. Yet we should not fail to realize that, even when it has been misinterpreted, the very anxiety to make it relevant to each new age, is a sign that it has not been completely misunderstood. Much harm has been done, and is still being done, by the refusal to recognize a truth which an absurd interpretation of Scripture is in its own mistaken way seeking to conserve.” (Pg. 46-47)

    He argues, “If the fourth kingdom is Greece, it is clear that the third kingdom must be Persia; and then there seems to be no choice but to regard the second kingdom as the apocryphal Median kingdom, for the existence of which, between the Babylonian and Persian Empires, there is absolutely no trace in contemporary records. The Median kingdom of actual history, which had played its part in destroying Nineveh in 612, was incorporated into the kingdom of Persia in 550 by Cyrus when he defeated Astyages. It is only in the Book of Daniel, and in writings dependent upon it, that we meet with the mysterious and baffling figure Darius the Mede who owes his supposed existence to a historical blunder. It is true that Josephus informs us that he was a kinsman of Cyrus and a son of Astyages and that he had another name among the Greeks, but Josephus is merely making the best of a bad job, and the same has to be said of all the other attempts to give Darius the Mede a foothold in history…. there is no place at all between the fall of the neo-Babylonian dynasty and the assumption of power by Cyrus the Persian for a Median kingdom… What the author of Daniel has done, then, is simply to take the original series [of kingdoms] and substitute Babylonian for Assyrian, no doubt because the Babylonians had had a more decisive influence on the fate of Judah than the Assyrians ever had, failing to notice that he thereby made nonsense of the sequence.” (Pg. 47)

    He continues, “a vague, popular, but accurate tradition may have existed to the effect that a Darius once captured Babylon, and so it would have concluded that that must have been the name of the founder of the supposed Median Empire which was interpolated between the neo-Babylonian and the Persian. The Darius of this tradition, however, would be the great Darius Hystaspis, the successor of Cambyses, who did recover Babylon from rebels who had seized it after the Cambyses, but was a Persian and not a Mede. However that may be, enough evidence is already in our possession to make it virtually certain that no further evidence could establish the historicity of a Median kingdom as occurring between the Babylonian and the Persian.” (Pg. 48)

    Of the lists of musical instruments in chapter 3, he comments, “What is of interest is that several of the names of instruments mentioned here are Greek. In particular, the first instance in Greek literature of the use of the word [sumponyah] as a musical instrument occurs in the second century BC and actually in connection with Antiochus Epiphanes, who according to Polybius seems to have shocked public opinion by dancing to its barbarous strains. The use of Greek terms makes it highly improbable that the form in which this story lies before us is to be dated before the third century BC at the earliest.” (Pg. 58)

    He suggests, “It is probable that the ten kings [7:7-8] should be thought of as commencing with Seleucus Nicator, the founder of the Seleucid dynasty, and continuing in the same line down to the point at which Antiochus IV Epiphanes came to the throne. There is no doubt at all that he is the small horn springing up among the other horns, to make room for which three horns are rooted out. There has been endless discussion as to the identity of these horns and perhaps it does not greatly matter whom they represent.” (Pg. 106) He continues, “the king whom the little horn represents will speak blasphemously against God himself and will also direct his attack against the saints of the Most High… This seems to be a clear reference to the persecution of the Jews of Jerusalem and Judea by Antiochus Epiphanes… [this] is confirmed by the statement… that this persecuting king ‘shall plan to change times and the law.’ It is generally agreed that this is a reference to the measures taken by Antiochus as described in I Macc 1:41 ff., the times referring to the seasonal religious festivals of the Jews and the law to the Mosaic Law…” (Pg. 113-114) He adds, “the little horn.. clearly represents Antiochus Epiphanes of the Seleucid line of kings. There is general agreement about this identification even among those who refuse to see any reference to Antiochus Epiphanes in chapter 7. Antiochus will figure again very prominently in chapter 11…” (Pg. 124)

    He asserts of the interpretation of the fourth kingdom (Ch. 9) as Rome, “we should recognize and be prepared frankly to admit, that there is definite error here… But what was excusable on the part of the author of Daniel, who had divine revelation to communicate to his people, however much he mixed it up with wrong-headed arithmetical calculations, is surely inexcusable today, when two thousand years have passed during which the folly of reasoning from wrong premises has been demonstrated again and again. It would not matter so much if the persistence of error did not tend to blind men to what God is really seeking to say to them through the witness of the Scriptures.” (Pg. 134)

    He says of the seventy weeks in chapter 9, “the author analyzes them into three divisions of 7, 62 and 1 week-years, i.e., [B.C. years] 587-539, 539-170, 170-164, 539 being the date of the fall of Babylon and 170 the date of the murder of the high-priest Onias III, while the terminal date is that of the rededication of the temple by Judas Maccabaeus. It is odd that in his division of the periods the author should have ignored the terminal date of the original interpretation of the prophecy, viz. 517, but apparently he considered the date of the actual return to be more significant. It was almost exactly 49 years (7x7) between the fall of Jerusalem and the fall of Babylon. The third and final division, though not yet completed when the book was written, was expected to last for only one week-year, i.e. 7 years, falling into two equal parts, 3½+3½, and, though the climax did not prove to be the eschatological event the writer hoped for, the actual event of the recovery and rededication of the temple was sufficiently dramatic to make the prophecy a remarkable one. The middle division, however, (539-170 BC) was considerably shorter in actual fact than 62 week-years… Whether or not the author was aware of this discrepancy it is impossible to say, but, as the historical memory which the Jews retained of the period in question was very dim as regards facts, it may well be that they were equally vague as to the actual length of time that had elapsed since the return from exile.” (Pg. 141)

    Of the ‘anointed one, a prince’ in 9:25, he suggests, “the Christological interpretation of the Early Church must, however, be rejected. Unfortunately for the purpose of a clear decision, both kings and priests in Israel were anointed at their inauguration, while the heathen monarch Cyrus is once called ‘my anointed’ (Isa 45:1). In view of the fact that the first division apparently ends with the fall of Babylon, some scholars propose to identify the [anointed] with Syrus and the suggestion has not a little to commend it. Another proposed identification is with Zerubbabel, the Davidic prince who figures in Ezra 3:2 and in the Books of Haggai and Zechariah. Since, however, Onias III, the high priest who was deposed by Antiochus, is called ‘an anointed one’ in v. 26 and ‘the prince of the covenant’ in 11:22… there is more to be said for the view that the designation ‘an anointed one, a prince’ in v. 25 refers to Joshua bdn Jozadak, the high-priest who is associated with Zerubbabel at the time of the Return in 539 (see Ezra 2:2, 3:2) and was active along with him at the time of the rebuilding of the temple.” (Pg. 141-142)

    He states, “[in Ch. 11 the author] goes on to describe what was for him the appallingly blasphemous pretensions of Antiochus… what impressed the pious Jew was … the fact that he … assumed the title Theos Epiphanes, the manifest God… This to a Jew was sheerest blasphemy and clearly a challenge to God which he could not ignore, but which demanded his intervention… [verses 11:36-39] so clearly are applicable to what is known of the career of Antiochus Epiphanes that we may confidently reject the view that these verses are a prophecy of Antichrist. Such a view is based on a priori reasoning and does not arise out of sober exposition of the text. Indeed it is theologically valueless.” (Pg. 169)

    While conservative Evangelicals will certainly not be persuaded by Porteous, this is an excellent “mainstream” interpretation of this difficult and confusing book, that will be of great interest to those seriously studying it.