The Prophet Daniel

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Ambrosia
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The Prophet Daniel

Post by Ambrosia »

Hail everyone;
I have what I believe to be an interesting question. It is in regards to the biblical writings of the Prophet Daniel. It is my understanding that when Alexander entered Jerusalem he was greeted by a priest who showed him the ancient text written by the Prophet Daniel. This text explained that a Greek Empire would come and smash the Persian Empire. GÇ£Behold, a he-goat came from the west across the face of the whole earth, without touching the ground; and the goat had a conspicuous horn between his eyes. He came to the ram with two horns, which I had seen standing on the bank of the river, and he ran at him in his mighty wrath. I saw him come close to the ram, and he was enraged against him and struck the ram and broke his two horns; and the ram had no power to stand before him, but he cast him down to the ground and trampled upon him; and there was no one who could rescue the ram from his power. Then the he-goat magnified himself exceedingly; but when he was strong, the great horn was broken, and instead of it there came up four conspicuous horns toward the four winds of heaven. (Daniel 8:1-8)My question; is after Alexander and his entourage supposedly read these words, why didnGÇÖt he and his counsel not heed them, and try their best to steer clear of that fate? I am sure Aristander, AlexanderGÇÖs seer was present, and I feel he could have easily interpreted this passage to the others.I feel like all prophetic writings, it was ambiguous to them and they just overlooked it. Or perhaps it never happened. I donGÇÖt know I am at work and thought I would ask you guys? Thanks, I hope this makes sense?
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Re: The Prophet Daniel

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The biblical book of Daniel was written during the Maccabaean revolt, ca. 165 B.C. High priest Yaddua can not have shown it to Alexander. Most Bible editions will explain this in a footnote to chapter eleven.This is the main objection against the story of Alexander's visit to Jerusalem. Recently, Lendering has argued that it is unsufficient to reject the entire story. Perhaps the reference to the book of Daniel has been inserted.HM
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Re: The Prophet Daniel

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Hi Heinrich,I'm not sure that's the main objection - the main objection, as far as I'm aware, is that there is not a single source, apart from Josephus, that says that he ever went to Jerusalem - and certainly, when you read the lists of places visited, particularly in QC and Arrian, it's surprising that they should refrain from mentioning Jerusalem if he did go there.All the bestMarcus
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Re: The Prophet Daniel

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Apologies in advance, Pothosians, for I know this will be another long post! :-) I understand Marcus' argument that no visit to Jerusalem is recorded in the accepted histories, but when I consider the story itself it seems quite credible - the details read like any other history of Alexander except for some religiously inspired embellishments. I want to try and analyze it here as if it were an accepted historical event.To begin: Alexander sent a message to Jerusalem that the city should, in essence, surrender to his rule. The high priest of Jerusalem refused and declared his continuing loyalty to Darius.Now Josephus tells how Sanballat, a figure of importance in Jerusalem who had a grievance against the high priests, left Jerusalem and came to Alexander at Tyre with seven thousand men, explained his grievances and offered allegiance. If this were true, then we can surely assume that Sanballat gave Alexander every detail about the city of the Jerusalem, their politics, their religion, etc. Alexander would have not missed any opportunity to find out everything he could about a potential enemy.Alexander conquered Tyre, moved on to Gaza, and then left for Jerusalem. We can presume that Alexander would have sent a further message to Jaddua, the high priest of Jerusalem, giving Tyre and Gaza as examples of what would happen if the city did not surrender. We know that Hebrew history would avoid any story of the Jews consciously surrendering Jerusalem, even to Alexander. But we also know that at this point Alexander would certainly have destroyed the city if they did not obey. So here Jaddua conveniently has a "dream" - a message from God - telling him how his people should greet Alexander "in the habits proper to their order, without the dread of any ill consequences, which the providence of God would prevent." To save Jerusalem from certain destruction, Jaddua had to convince his people to surrender without them realizing what they were doing. (Either he was extremely smart, or he had worked out the details with Alexander beforehand.) The dream is a perfect device, causing the people to demonstrate their allegiance to their god by dressing in fine religious habits and to come out of the city peaceably because they were expecting no opposition. However, when Alexander arrived outside Jerusalem, the immediate appearance would have been of them honoring him! Alternatively, if the dream was a device invented by Josephus, then it could
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continued. . .

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Alternatively, if the dream was a device invented by Josephus, then it could be that Jerusalem knowingly surrendered to Alexander but Josephus was not willing to admit it in his history. Either way, the physical description doesn't differ from any of the other tales of city inhabitants and leaders coming out of their gates dressed in all their finery in order to greet Alexander and surrender to him. Josephus also tells how Jaddua carried the golden plate where the name of the Hebrew god was engraved, and that Alexander "adored that name" and "saluted" the priest, and afterwards the Jews with one voice saluted Alexander. Supposedly, Parmenion objected to this and Alexander explained his actions with another convenient dream, also saying that "I did not adore him, but the God who hath honoured him with his high priesthood." Now didn't Alexander show respect and pay similar homage to other gods that he encountered on his campaigns? Plus Alexander would have had all the information he needed from Sanballat to know that this was a way to take the city without another protracted siege. I don't really find anything exceptional here, except that an explanation (via the dream) is given for Alexander's behavior. Perhaps such an explanation was truly necessary to appease the vengeance seeking Phoenicians and Syrians that Josephus says followed Alexander, though if it were so, I suspect a certain amount of embellishment in the details of the dream. (The use of Parmenion as the only one who actually questioned Alexander's actions certainly isn't unusual.) Finally, after this meeting outside the city we are told that Alexander offered sacrifice to the god in the temples, etc. - exactly the same as he did Egypt for Apis! As for the supposed special favors he gave to the Jews, all he really did was treat them exactly as they were treated under Darius' rule and allow them to continue to worship their god in the same manner as before. He accepted the same tributes as were previously given to Darius; and then invited any of the Jews to join his army. And according to Josephus, many of them were willing to accompany him! Then afterwards, he took the troops of Sanaballat with him into Egypt and settled them there, ensuring that division remained amongst the Jews and effectively reducing their military power. Doesn't this all sound so much like the Alexander that we have come to know and admire? :-)The reading of the book of Daniel is the only anachro
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. . . and finished!

Post by amyntoros »

The reading of the book of Daniel is the only recongnizable anachronism, while Josephus' exaggeration of the details and the importance of the honors that Alexander paid to the Jews is to be expected considering the source. I think that the tale is highly feasible, and because it follows the same pattern as the surrender of many other cities to Alexander, it wouldn't necessarily have been considered of sufficient importance to be included in the various extant histories.Just my take on this story. . . If anyone hasn't read Josephus and has further interest, you can find him on Susan's site at: http://www.alexander-sources.org Best regards,Amyntoros
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Re: The Prophet Daniel

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This makes me think of being hit over the head with a 2 by 4. But the fact that Michaelangelo saw fit to paint this on the Sistine Chapel gives it a kind of legendary credibility that will last through the ages. I appreciate Linda Ann's efforts to explain this away, but legends and folk tales usually have a grain of truth to them. From what I have read, Alexander was welcomed into Jerusalem, but I believe that to be propaganda. He did not wipe it out and that is the real point!
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Re: The Prophet Daniel

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Well Jan, I didn't know that I was attempting to "explain this away" - I thought I was suggesting that it could be historical! It seems that there's a huge gap between what I thought I wrote and what you thought you read. :-) Ah well.Best regards,Amyntoros
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Re: . . . and finished!

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Sorry about the delay - it was rather long and this is the first chance I've had to read it ...A good argument, and very credible. I have a major problem with the lack of any mention in other sources, though, which is why I still think he didn't go there. Having said that, during all the time that he was besieging Gaza, Jerusalem wasn't actually very far away - did a visit there go unrecorded because the sources were more concerned with the prophecy about the taking of Gaza?Anyway, one thing I want to pick up on, because I think it could be very important to the whole question. I have *no* idea what Jerusalem's 'position' in the Levant was at that time, or where there were other cities which were considered to be Jewish. The importance of Jerusalem in the Levant would be very important to the question of whether Alexander might be *expected* to have gone there. So ... does anyone know?ATBMarcus
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Re: The Prophet Daniel

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Probably Alexander had read the books of Daniel,and he related them with his life.
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Re: The Prophet Daniel

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HI Linda Ann,
Just a matter of speech as I got a kick out of your last page...finally finished...And I found a precious find yesterday at the book store, a book entitled Macedonia, published by the University of Princeton. That made my day. It covers the period from King Philip to the Roman Conquest. A wonderful book with pictures of the Tomb of Vergina. Somebody really knows how to please me. I bought it to add to my growing library. What made me the happiest is that this book contains a really great picture of the Rape of Persephone which is found on the back wall of the small tomb. That is just wonderful to see close up!
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Re: . . . and finished!

Post by heinrich »

Again, from Lendering: Jerusalem itself was not terribly important and could have been ignored by the Alexander historians. But for a Persian army from Babylon on horseback/dromedaryback that crossed through the desert, Jerusalem would be a nice bridgehead. Once the Macedonians had taken Gaza, control of Jerusalem was necessary to protect Gaza.HM
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Ja n, About That Book?

Post by Ambrosia »

Hey Jan that book sounds Intersting, who is the author so I can try and look for it on Amazon. Maybe you can send me a link to it. Thank you.
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Re: . . . and finished!

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Certainly makes sense to me! And here's a footnote to this thread. I just found the following in AugustineGÇÖs City of God (on Jerusalem) which shows that he also believed that Alexander took the city. Ignoring his remarks about GÇ£impious folly,GÇ¥ AugustineGÇÖs interpretation of the events pretty much coincides with mine Or perhaps that should be the other way around? :-)AUGUSTINE. DE CIV. DEI: BOOK 18. CHAP. 45.-- For not long after, on the arrival of Alexander, it was subdued, when, although there was no pillaging, because they dared not resist him, and thus, being very easily subdued, received him peaceably, yet the glory of that house was not so great as it was when under the free power of their own kings. Alexander, indeed, offered up sacrifices in the temple of God, not as a convert to His worship in true piety, but thinking, with impious folly, that He was to be worshipped along with false gods. Best regards,Amyntoros
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