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Daniel (Geneva Series of Commentaries) Library Binding – December 1, 1972
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Top Customer Reviews
Young was one of the 20th century's masters of Biblical Hebrew and many other of the Semitic languages of the ancient Near East; he was also a conservative Christian theolgian of considerable skill. He brings both of these skills to the Christian nterpretation of one of the Old Testament's most difficult books, one of the few Biblical texts to be written in two ancient languages, Hebrew and Aramaic.
Interacting with the original text, and with other interpreters of Daniel both ancient and modern, Young constructs a thorough account of the meaning of this elusive book. The position he defends stands in sharp contrast to two other schools of thought that have proved to be influential in the years since 1949, when Young first published this commentary.
One of those competitors is the historical-critical school, which typically treats the Book of Daniel as primarily a product of the 160'sBCE, composed in response to the Jewish revolt against the Seleucid king, Antiochus IV Epiphanes, and written under the old hero Daniel's name as a kind of pious fiction.
Young defends a sixth-century BC date for the book's primary authorship, attributing it to the real-life Jewish exile in Babylon named Daniel, as chapter 1 of the biblical book claims. Young's treatment of the authenticity of the book is one of the more important defenses in the English language. His defense, one also pressed in other published works, will not convince everyone, but it should supply the reader with food for thought in reconsidering the origins of the ancient Danielic tradition.
Young's second set of competitors come from the dispensational school of Evangelical Christian theology, which, like Young, takes the book as a true prophecy of Daniel, written in the 6th century BC. Unlike Young, these interpreters think the book is addressed mainly to the close of what dispensationalists call the "Church Age," that is, the present era of history as it leads to "the Rapture of the Church" and the "Great Tribulation," recently popularized beyond all belief by the Jenkin/LaHaye series, _Left Behind_, part of which will soon be a major motion picture. Daniel's book, so they claim, is about the times leading up to Second Coming of Jesus Christ.
Not so, says Young. The book's forecasts of the future primarily involve the first Advent of Jesus Christ.
To take one case in point, Daniel 9.26 predicts that "an Anointed One will be cut off and shall have nothing, and the troops of the prince who is to come shall destroy the city..." (NRSV). Young and his dispensational critics agree that the reference is to the crucifixion of Jesus Christ, in about 30 AD. But Daniel 9.27 adds: "He shall make a strong covenant with many...and he shall make sacrifice and offering cease; in their place shall be an abomination that desolates..." (NRSV).
Dispensation interpretation generally holds that this line refers to a final Antichrist figure, who desolates a newly-built Temple in Jerusalem, in the (near?) future. Thus, there's a leap of at 2000 years or more between 9.26 and 9.27, in what looks like continuous narrative.
Young resists this line of thought. The anointed one in 9.26 is Christ; and by his atoning death-by-crucifixion he puts an end to all further need for sacrifice and atonement. Thus, Young argues, the temple of Jesus' own day is rendered obsolete, and all that remains for it is to be destroyed by the Romans, as took place in 70 AD. That approach looks sane and sober to this reviewer.
In brief, then, I commend this commentary to serious students of the Bible. Even if you end up disagreeing with Young, the journey will have been worth it.