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Languages of Identity and Obligation: Daniel as Bilingual Book

In: Vetus Testamentum
Author:
Anathea E. Portier-Young Duke University Divinity School Durham, NC

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Abstract

Sociolinguistics provides a theoretical framework for viewing the bilingualism of the book of Daniel as a deliberate rhetorical strategy. The author(s) of Daniel began their discourse in Hebrew, switched to Aramaic, and concluded in Hebrew to move its audience to a recognition of a new context in which the claims of empire had dissolved and claims of covenant alone remained. In so doing, the author(s) invited the audience to find their place within the world of the visions, forsaking a stance of collaboration with the reigning Seleucid empire in order to adopt a posture of resistance rooted in covenant.

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