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Daniel (Apollos Old Testament Commentary) Hardcover – October 16, 2002
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"There has been plenty of interest in the book of Daniel on the part of commentators over the past generation or two. The one that I have found of the most all-round benefit is Ernest Lucas in the Apollos Old Testament Commentary series. Lucas succeeds in drawing out the message of the book while also paying judicious attention to complex issues of history, eschatology, and composition." (Tim Meadowcroft, Catalyst, Vol. 40, No. 3, March 2014)
"Students, scholars, and ministers will derive much profit from this commentary." (James Chukwuma Okoye, The Bible in Review)
"What every preacher and student needs is a commentary that makes positive use of the results of scholarly research while at the same time integrating them sympathetically into a contemporary Christian theological worldview. Many series have set out to achieve this, but few have succeeded. Now at last the Apollos series looks set to do so: the names of the editors and potential contributors, together with the evidence of these early volumes, all inspire confidence." (H. G. M. Williamson, FBA, Regius Professor of Hebrew, University of Oxford)
"At last! A commentary series that combines the best of biblical scholarship with a passion for the message of the text. Besides, it actually answers the questions I ask when I read the Scriptures. This series by the finest evangelical scholars is designed for students and pastors who are serious about understanding the Old Testament in its context and translating its message for the church in the twenty-first century." (Daniel Block, Professor of Old Testament, Wheaton College)
"Evangelical Old Testament study has made huge strides in the second half of the twentieth century. Tyndale House in the U.K. and IVP internationally were central to that renaissance. And now at the start of the twenty-first century the Apollos Old Testament Commentary Series will build on that foundation as it showcases some of the best contemporary Old Testament interpretation. This series rightly insists on rigorous scholarship but always in the service of the theology and message of the books of the Old Testament. Some outstanding scholars are signed up for this series, and I look forward very much to having these commentaries on my shelves as they appear." (Craig Bartholomew, Senior Research Fellow, University of Gloucestershire, editor of the Scripture and Hermeneutics series)
About the Author
Lucas is vice-principal and tutor in biblical studies at Bristol Baptist College in England. He is the author of a number of scholarly articles on the book of Daniel and, at the popular level, Can We Believe Genesis Today?
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This commentary is the newest edition of the Apollos Old Testament Commentary Series with editors David W. Baker and Gordon J. Wenham, a series which is synonymous with excellent exegesis and superior application, this volume continues this legacy, but does not propel it to new heights. This volume is one of the weaker volumes in the series, but to its less than anticipated conservative approach. Yet while Lucas answer the critical issues yet he yielded to far left critics on many issues such as date and historical reliability of the kings and rulers of Babylon. While this is an issue, do not dismiss the work completely rather use it with discernment, for while it it critical it does produce some great thought provoking exegesis and well informed applicaiton.
Daniel has two main sections the typical general introduction, and then followed by a insightful exegetical commentaries on this partly historical and partly prophetic book. With regard to the general introduction it is the typical study into the introductory matters of the book and how they relate to the Bible as a whole. This is a serious scholarly work which dives into contextual as well as the as the different methodical approaches to study of this book Lucas takes great care in carefully showing the original context of passage while applying it directly to the modern day reader. He also uses his own translation of the Hebrew text, which demonstrates his depth of knowledge of the text itself.
While I disagree with Lucas on a great many major and minor issues with regard to Old Testament interpretation, the arguments he makes are intriguing and brought up new ideas I had never considered before. Lucas is innovate in his interpretation and application while staying mostly in the realm of orthodoxy. In the vein of recommending, Daniel , to others I would recommend this commentary to some pastoral and all scholars, but to the pastor I again suggest that this work be used with discernment. There are many commentaries about the book of Daniel available at this moment but Daniel of the Apollos Old Testament Commentary series is a very scholarly works worthy of your time.
This book was provided to me free of charge from IVP Academic in exchange for an unbiased, honest review.
Daniel is a difficult book to comment on because it has been the subject of much heated debate between conservative and liberal scholars, its visions have been wildly and carelessly interpreted, and its stories are familiar to the point of meaninglessness. On each of these points Lucas has provided a sane and helpful alternative.
While remaining somewhat noncommittal about the authorship and date of the book, he intelligently interacted with the most recent critical scholarship on Daniel and presented a reasoned defense of generally conservative positions. He leaves open the possibility that chapter 11 may be pseudonymous in keeping with the typical conventions of that genre.
Regarding the visions Lucas presents interpretations that are well informed by his familiarity with ANE parallels and relevant historical background. He takes the culmination of all the visions to be the reign of Antiochus Epiphanes. His approach to these texts is strengthened by his sensitivity to the apocalyptic genre and its effects on the meaning of the language employed.
In dealing with the stories, Lucas employs the tools of literary criticism to great advantage. The result being fresh and deep interpretations of the text that can take the typical reader beyond the simplistic readings she is probably familiar with from childhood.
The commentary is highly recommended. The series is aimed at both scholars and pastors, so the discussions can get a bit technical for some, but generally they will be understandable to most lay people. As with any book, no one commentary can say everything nor get everything right. The reader may want to compare other volumes such as those by Collins, Goldingay, Baldwin, Lacocque, or Longman.