Josh Philpot

Theology, the Church, and Music

Posts Tagged ‘Daniel

Daniel (WBC) – John Goldingay

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0849902290I recently finished reading this commentary for my PhD seminar on the prophetic literature.┬áThe commentary is technical in the sense that the reader should know biblical Hebrew (and maybe Aramaic) while reading it, but he/she can still engage the work without it as well. The Word Biblical Commentary series breaks up each section (or, chapter) into four parts: Form, Setting, Comments, Explanation. One strength of Goldingay’s commentary lies in the “explanation” section, even though it is somewhat redundant in following the “comments.” There, he thinks through the text theologically and expounds on the material in light of God’s unfolding revelation. The problem is that this is Goldingay’s only strength. Sure, one might gain insights from Goldingay on Daniel’s language, how other non-canonical writers were influenced by Daniel, or even Daniel’s use of the OT, but observations like these are few and far between. Goldingay, rather, thinks that chapters 1-6 are allegorical “historiography” (and thus not actual history), that Daniel was not an historical person, and that the book should be dated during the Maccabean era (c. 168 BC) instead of during the time of the Israelite exile (605-538 BC, as the book itself attests). This dating leads Goldingay to interpret Daniel through the lens of secondary Jewish literature rather than in the context of the Bible, which I believe to be a serious flaw. Furthermore, the meaning of the text is lost in oodles of material on the book’s form, some of which is helpful, to be sure, but liberal to say the least.

In the end, I wouldn’t recommend this commentary for pastors since it lacks that sort of quality. Perhaps students of the OT or of intertestamental literature may benefit, but the commentary is lacking theologically, and Goldingay particularly avoids interaction with conservative approaches. It’s also dated (1989). I haven’t read Steinmann or Lucas yet, but at this point I’m still partial to Baldwin, which is also dated and very short.

Written by Josh Philpot

October 3, 2009 at 12:29 pm

How to write a lot!

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Wow! I haven’t posted anything in…how many weeks? 11 it is! I’ve been pouring over a good bit of material in 1 Peter and Daniel, which took over my summer and now consumes most of my time during the week. However, I’ve written a number of posts that are saved and waiting to be edited. Perhaps they will appear this semester (oh, the suspense…).

But until 9/17, the day I present my exegesis of 1 Peter 2:4-10 in my first PhD seminar, I will probably (well, definitely) not post anything. After that presentation I’ll get back to it. In the meantime, I commend this short post to you by Charles Halton on how to make writing part of your daily scholarly life (Jim Hamilton is excellent at doing this). Halton also links to an interview with John Goldingay that I found interesting. I’m currently reading through Goldingay’s commentary on Daniel (WBC), which I hope to write a review for this semester. In my opinion, Goldingay is excellent on theology but totally unconvincing on historical issues surrounding Daniel. Enjoy the Halton post!

Written by Josh Philpot

September 5, 2009 at 3:17 pm

Daniel: An Introduction and Commentary – Joyce G. Baldwin (TOTC)

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imageDBThis is an insightful and perceptive commentary that I completed this morning. Baldwin, now deceased, shows great exegetical skill as she expounds on one of the more interpretively difficult books in the OT. She is conservative in her approach, rightfully noting that the biblical and extra-biblical evidence supports the historical Daniel as the author, and that the historical personalities, dates and prophecies within the book are true. Additionally, Baldwin holds to a high view of Scripture and of God’s sovereign purpose and control of all of history, which is a needed refresher in light of the monumental but critical commentary of Collins (Hermeneia), and even Goldingay (WBC, who regards chapters 1-6 as allegorical). Although short and not completely exhaustive, I would highly recommend this commentary, especially for pastors. For me, it has been a great introduction to the subject matter of Daniel before my upcoming Ph.D. seminar on the book this fall.

Baldwin’s analysis of Daniel is as follows:


I. Prologue: The Setting (1:1-21)
II. The Nations and the Most High God (2:1-7:28)
A. Nebuchadrezzar dreams of four kingdoms and of God’s kingdom (2:1-49)
B. Nebuchadrezzar the tyrant sees God’s servants rescued (3:1-30)
C. Judgment on Nebuchadrezzar (4:1-37)
C1. Judgment on Belshazzar (5:1-31)
B1. Darius the Mede sees Daniel rescued (6:1-28)


A1. Daniel has a vision of four kingdoms and of God’s kingdom (7:1-28)

III. The Second and Third Kingdoms Identified (8:1-27)
IV. Daniel’s Prayer and the Vision of the Seventy “Weeks” (9:1-27)
V. Vision of the Heavenly Messenger and His Final Revelation (10:1-12:13)

Here is a nice juicy quote concerning the hard text of Daniel 11, pp. 184-85:

“With regard to prophecy as foretelling, the church has lost its nerve. An earthbound, rationalistic humanism has so invaded Christian thinking as to tinge with faint ridicule all claims to see in the Bible anything more than the vaguest references to future events. Human thought, enthroned, has judged a chapter such as Daniel 11 to be history written after the event, whereas God enthroned, the one who was present at the beginning of time and will be present when time is no more, may surely claim with justification to ‘announce of old the things to come’ (Is. 44:7).”

Written by Josh Philpot

May 26, 2009 at 2:59 pm