Chapter 1 Introduction

In: Aramaic Daniel
Benjamin D. Suchard
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The book of Daniel (Dan) presents us with many indications of multiple authorship and a complicated textual history. Most obviously, there are the oppositions of genre and language. Dan 1–6 contain loosely connected court tales, mostly narrated in the third person.1 Dan 7–12 contain apocalypses, mostly narrated in the first person.2 Largely but not entirely overlapping this distinction, Dan 2:4b–6:29 are preserved in Aramaic, while Dan 1–2:4a and 8–12 have reached us in Hebrew. These fault lines running through the text already led early modern thinkers such as Spinoza and Newton to identify various hands at work.3

These issues of genre, contents, and language also lend Daniel its great importance to a number of fields of study. Besides their literary merit, the court tales and apocalypses provide information on cultural contacts and ideologies of empire and resistance during the post-exilic period.4 And linguistically, Daniel accounts for the bulk of the Biblical Aramaic corpus.5

When scholars want to use the valuable evidence Daniel has on offer, however, its history of composition becomes a problem.6 From a historical and literary perspective, it makes a big difference if a certain part of a narrative or vision can be shown to derive from a later hand than the surrounding text. Linguists and philologists need to know whether a given instance of variation found in the text can be explained by a difference in authorship or whether the variant forms belong to one and the same linguistic system. Dating of any passage of Daniel on historical or linguistic grounds, too, depends on an informed idea of which parts of the texts are demonstrably later than others. Clearing up the textual history of the book of Daniel thus forms an important first step in many lines of research.

1 History of the Scholarship

Many scholars have already taken up the challenge of separating Daniel’s compositional layers.7 While some authors still defend its literary unity,8 the consensus has settled on what Koch has termed the Aufstockungshypothese (‘cumulative hypothesis’).9 This hypothesis, which originated with Sellin and Hölscher in the early twentieth century,10 sees the individual stories in Dan 2–6 as the oldest part of the book. After these court tales were collected, Dan 1 and 7 were added, although scholars disagree over which came first. The Hebrew apocalypses of Dan 8–12 were then added later, during the Maccabean crisis of the 160s BCE; some scholars also identify certain interpolations in Dan 2 and 7 with this editorial activity.11 Over the past decades, this model has been refined by identifying Dan 4–6 as forming an older, core collection, to which Dan 2–3 were later prefixed.12 This distinction is based on the many differences between the Masoretic Text (MT) and Greek translation attributed to Theodotion (Th) of Dan 4–6 on the one hand and the Old Greek (OG) translation of these chapters on the other hand, which we will return to below.

While this solves the large-scale question of Daniel’s compositional history, many indicators of multiple authorship and editing remain within each of the commonly recognized layers. Taking any section of Daniel at face value remains problematic. One author who has proposed further divisions of the recognized sources is Ginsberg,13 who identifies separate authors for the base layers of Dan 8, Dan 9, and Dan 10–12, as well as interpolations by some of these authors in other chapters. In this identification he is followed by Hartman and Di Lella and in part by Newsom.14 “[A]part from the small interpolations in ch. 2 and odd glosses”, however, Ginsberg sees no reason to identify multiple literary layers in Dan 1–6.15

A rather different approach is taken in a number of studies on Dan 3–7 by Haag.16 With a keen eye for internal contradictions, Haag pares these chapters down to the bare minimum and subjects the various layers to different kinds of literary analysis. A major shortcoming in his method, however, is his neglect of textual criticism;17 Haag’s reconstructions are based exclusively on MT. Additionally, he often seems to privilege his own instincts about which elements of the stories are superfluous over any demonstrable problems with the text as it stands. As a result, the textual histories Haag reconstructs cannot be relied upon.

A similarly limited number of chapters, viz. Dan 4–6, are the focus of a monograph by Albertz.18 Unlike Haag, Albertz pays close attention to OG. He assumes, however, that there is no direct textual relationship between OG and MT Dan 4–6. Hence, he wishes to “free the comparison from the methodologically unsound text-critical straightjacket”.19 This position is still held by some scholars, as we will discuss below. In my opinion, however, OG and MT Dan 4–6 share too many turns of phrase for us to deny their shared textual history. Despite Albertz’s explicit rejection,20 textual criticism of Dan 4–6 remains necessary.

Other scholars have investigated Daniel’s textual development in the context of broader studies of the book. Kratz conducts a detailed literary-critical examination, but passes over the precursory step of textual criticism.21 Collins’s major commentary on Daniel does contain many references to textual variants, but does not generally state which variant is to be preferred.22 Among other commentaries from the past decades, Hartman and Di Lella and Newsom similarly mention certain variants, but are generally concerned with commenting on MT, not with reconstructing earlier stages of the text.23 Redditt, finally, contains many suggestions on Daniel’s textual history but often does not provide any explicit arguments to defend them.24

Most recently, Segal has published a number of articles touching on many aspects of the interpretation and history of Daniel.25 Unlike many other authors, Segal gives the evidence from ancient versions and Qumran texts its due weight and provides clear motivations for his literary reconstructions. In my opinion, his approach is sound and mostly yields convincing conclusions. Due to the nature of these publications, however, Segal focuses on a (great) number of secondary features of the various versions, but does not generally provide complete reconstructions of earlier versions of the text. Hence, a fair number of verses and phrases remain undiscussed.

This brings us to the purpose of this work, which aims to reconstruct the most original version of Dan 1–7 that the evidence allows for (see the discussion below) and to account for the secondary additions and changes that can be identified. While Dan 8–12 are interesting for many of the same reasons as Dan 1–7, the scholarly consensus holds that they were written later. Hence, these chapters’ textual history is likely less complex than that of the earlier chapters. Moreover, while it is possible that Dan 8–12 were originally written in Aramaic and translated to Hebrew,26 this is more commonly accepted for Dan 1(–2:4a).27 Together with Dan 2(:4b)–7, which were transmitted in Aramaic, this gives us a natural delineation of an ‘Aramaic Daniel’ consisting of the first seven chapters. These chapters form the scope of this work.

2 Textual Sources

The most important witnesses to the text of the book of Daniel are the Hebrew and Aramaic manuscripts from Qumran and the Hebrew and Aramaic version of the Masoretic Text, together with two separate translations into Koine Greek, viz. the Old Greek and Theodotion.28

The oldest textual evidence for Daniel comes from Qumran, where fragments spanning Dan 1–11 have been found (Dan 12 is partially attested as a quote in 4QFlor). Transcriptions of all these manuscripts are collected in Ulrich’s The Biblical Qumran Scrolls.29 Of these manuscripts, 4QDana most frequently attests variants that I judge to be superior to MT.30 This manuscript is dated paleographically to the middle of the first century BCE.31 The Qumran manuscripts lack textual variants that can be characterized as sectarian,32 nor do they contain any major literary pluses or minuses—text that is absent from another witness, or the absence of text that is attested in another witness, respectively—compared to MT. Hence, they belong to the same general literary edition as MT, to use Ulrich’s term.33

This cannot be said for the Old Greek version, which contains major additions in Dan 3, two or three additional stories (Susanna, Bel and the Serpent), and a different literary edition of Dan 4, 5, and 6.34 The relationship between MT and OG in Dan 4–6 is debated. Some scholars have argued for the priority of either MT35 or OG.36 Others have denied the existence of a shared textual archetype for Dan 4, 5, or 6, arguing instead that the MT(-like) and OG texts were written separately, although based on similar oral traditions.37 More likely, however, both versions of these chapters developed from a shared ancestor; both then contain secondary material.38 Hence, OG is especially important for the reconstruction of Dan 4–6. Based on consistent differences in translation equivalents, it is likely that OG Dan 1–3,7 were translated by someone else than OG Dan 4–6.39 This suggests that the latter were originally translated at a time when they still circulated as an independent literary unit. The text of OG is attested in the pre-Hexaplaric Papyrus 967,40 dated paleographically to the second or third century CE, and in the Hexaplaric, tenth-century Codex Chisianus, referred to as ‘88’, as well as the close Syriac translation of the Syro-Hexapla. For the present work, I have relied on Munnich’s critical edition of these sources.41 English glosses of OG quotations are mainly based on NETS.42

Within the Christian church, the OG version of Daniel was supplanted early on by another translation attributed to the second-century CE scholar Theodotion. This attribution must be false, as the translation predates the common era,43 but the appellation Theodotion, or Th, remains customary. It is debated whether Th, which includes the major additions not found in MT, is a revision of OG or a new translation of an MT-like text.44 An intermediate solution, where Th was translated from MT but with some influence from OG, seems attractive. Th is much more widely attested than OG;45 the most recent critical edition once again appears in Munnich’s Septuaginta volume.46

Other translations, such as the Latin Vulgate and the Syriac Peshitta, are directly based on a precursor of MT and only rarely provide useful variants. The remaining major source for the text of Daniel is therefore MT itself. Tragically, the portion containing Daniel of the most authoritative Masoretic manuscript, the Aleppo Codex, was destroyed in 1947. Hence, the best remaining source for MT Daniel is the Leningrad Codex. For this work, I have consulted the diplomatic edition of this text published as Biblia Hebraica Stuttgartensia.47

3 Methodology

Traditionally, biblical philologists have distinguished between textual criticism (German: Textkritik) and literary criticism (Literarkritik).48 Textual criticism, or ‘lower criticism’, considers the attested manuscript versions of a given text and aims to identify and correct any scribal errors and alterations.49 Literary criticism, source criticism, or ‘higher criticism’, deals with questions of text composition, source analysis, and redaction history.50 Thus, textual criticism focuses on how a text was copied; literary criticism focuses on how it was created. To a certain degree, this distinction has always been artificial. But since the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls, it has become untenable.51 The variation seen in the different attested versions of the Hebrew Bible is not just due to copying errors or small changes made during transmission. The type of larger changes that are normally the subject of literary criticism continued to be made after the textual traditions known to us began to diverge. Conversely, scribal errors also took place before that point. In Ulrich’s words, “the two processes of textual formation and textual transmission repeatedly overlapped for extensive periods of time”.52

Scholars such as Lemmelijn have drawn far-reaching methodological and programmatic conclusions from this fluidity of the text. Lemmelijn argues that the search for a most original Urtext is not only doomed to fail, but perhaps not even desirable.53 This last conclusion is not maintained in the present work. Reconstructing the most original version of the text that we can reach is valuable for the insight it gives us into the different historical processes of composition, adaptation, and transmission that shaped the attested versions. By engaging in such reconstruction, we do not intend to dismiss later strata of the text as less meaningful, less interesting, or less beautiful. But we may still identify them as historically secondary, compared to the older strata.54

Given the continued fluidity of the texts during the late Second Temple period, the distinction between textual criticism and literary criticism is not the main methodological distinction that must be drawn. A more relevant distinction is whether a certain reconstruction is based upon evidence from multiple manuscripts or whether it is based on one single text (actually attested or reconstructed). Borrowing two terms from historical linguistics, we may refer to the first kind of reconstruction as comparative and to the second as internal.55 Comparative reconstruction weighs the attested textual variants and reconstructs the form that best accounts for all of them, yielding a hypothetical archetype: the scholar’s best guess at what the last shared ancestor of all the manuscripts looked like. Internal reconstruction then tries to account for remaining tensions and internal contradictions within this reconstructed archetype. In both parts of the process, concepts known from both textual criticism and literary criticism have a role to play. In this way, we can identify both small-scale edits and scribal errors and more motivated, literary changes to the text, whether they were made before the shared archetype of the attested manuscripts or afterwards in one of the separate textual traditions.

Methodologically, the comparative reconstruction of the textual archetype is a two-step process.56 The first step consists of collecting the attested textual variants, defined by Lemmelijn as any “different reading between the textual witnesses”.57 The second step consists of evaluation and selection of the variant that is most likely to be original, or of conjectural emendation—suggesting a new, unattested reading—when all variants are problematic.

In the interest of space, I have left much of the variant collection and evaluation process undescribed in what follows. Instead, the discussion will be limited to cases where I have preferred a non-MT variant to MT’s reading or where the choice between a non-MT variant and the MT variant is difficult enough to warrant explicit argumentation. MT will also be followed in the case of so-called synonymous variants.58 These are variants which are equivalent in meaning or literary function, with no indication of which is more original. This adherence to MT does not reflect an overall judgment of MT as superior to the other witnesses, just the reality of its widespread usage.

Lemmelijn does not include purely orthographic differences among the variants that need to be evaluated, unlike Tov, for instance.59 Orthography will play an important role in our investigation, however. Compared to most of the Qumran manuscripts, MT Dan showcases rather conservative spelling practices. For example, MT nearly always spells short *u defectively, whereas 4QDanb frequently spells it plene as in כול for *kull ‘all’ (always כל in MT Dan). 4QDana has a similar profile to MT, although these two witnesses often disagree in places where spelling is also inconsistent within each manuscript, e.g. the use of א vs. ה as a final mater lectionis. As 4QDana is fragmentary while MT is preserved in its entirety, we will use the latter as our copy-text for orthographical purposes:60 when no variant is clearly preferable, that of MT will once again be maintained. The reader should note that we will only discuss the consonantal text. We will ignore the Masoretic vocalization and qre forms, which themselves form a secondary layer within the Biblical Aramaic corpus.61

After this comparative reconstruction, we will apply what I have termed internal reconstruction to identify secondary material in the reconstructed archetype. In both stages of the investigation, we will try to explain textual variants or difficulties within the reconstructed archetype as arising from recognized types of scribal errors and editing processes.

We may distinguish the following types of scribal errors, mainly based on the list given by Weingreen:62

  • confusion between similar letters and similar-looking words;

  • assimilation or attraction, when a word is partially changed to more closely resemble another word occurring in the same context;

  • metathesis, i.e. letters or words changing places;

  • mistaken word division;

  • haplography, “that is, the failure to repeat a letter or a group of letters in a word or words”;

  • dittography, “or the accidental duplication of a letter or a group of letters in a word or words”;

  • homoioteleuton, which is when a scribe skipped from one word to a following word ending with the same letters;

  • homoiarcton, a skip from one word to a following word beginning with the same letters (not mentioned by Weingreen);63

  • the inclusion in the text of a gloss, a word or phrase meant to clarify the meaning of an obscure word, which was originally meant to stand outside the text, e.g. in the margins.

Occasionally, we will also simply refer to ‘corruption’ of the text. This involves changes to the text that do not fall under any of the above categories.64 Presumably, such corruptions could be caused either by deterioration of the source manuscript or other factors causing difficult reading or by carelessness or distraction of the scribe. As this vague concept of corruption has only little explanatory power, it should be invoked sparingly. When a text was corrupted in this way, it is more likely that a scribe erroneously recognized a common word or phrase or one that was to be expected in context than a rare or unexpected one. Hence, if one of the textual witnesses attests a less common or less expected word or phrase—the lectio difficilior, ‘more difficult reading’—this has the greater chance of being original, all other things being equal. Note that this is a greatly restricted use of the old text-critical maxim that lectio difficilior potior/praeferenda ‘the more difficult reading is stronger/to be preferred’ (and other synonymous phrases), which is not very useful when it is left undefined what ‘the more difficult reading’ entails; often, difficult readings are the very result of scribal errors.65

Another category of changes that may take place during transmission has recently been identified by Carr.66 Carr notes that the transmission of texts during the biblical period relied in part on the scribes’ memory. Where this memory was not entirely accurate, it could give rise to what he terms ‘memory variants’. These are the same kind of changes that are typically found when subjects in psychological experiments are asked to reproduce a text from memory and may be contrasted with changes caused by mistaken hearing, reading, or writing. The types of memory variants that will be most relevant for our purposes involve metathesis of entire words and phrases and the replacement of words and phrases by other, synonymous ones.

From the literary-critical side of things, the editing processes we will try to identify are harder to pin down. Several categories of intentional changes to content are listed by Law and Tov.67 One common process is harmonization, where a passage is made more similar to another passage that it already resembled to some degree or contradictions are removed. Writers could modify phrases or passages for many other reasons, however. These include amplification, where a scribe has added certain details or explanations, and omission of theologically problematic or stylistically difficult material. This kind of editorial activity can often be identified based on difficulties in the resulting text, such as contradictions, interruptions, repetitions, and variation in style and vocabulary.68 A special kind of repetition is known as resumptive repetition or Wiederaufnahme.69 This is when a scribe ends his interpolation by repeating a bit of text that immediately precedes it. In this way, the interpolation more easily transitions back into the original text. As far as variation in vocabulary and other aspects of language is concerned, we must be careful not to attribute variation that was introduced during scribal transmission to a difference in authorship.70 Hence, we will only use such linguistic evidence in conjunction with other, purely literary arguments.

We will try to identify these cases of scribal error and literary reworking one by one in the following discussion of the first seven chapters of Daniel. After we have identified the secondary additions to each chapter, the Conclusion will consider the relationships between different chapters and see what our findings can tell us about the development of the book as a whole, moving more explicitly from combined textual and literary criticism to the related endeavor of redaction criticism. Reconstructions of various stages of the text are given in the Appendix.

Finally, a note on terminology. I have tried to consistently distinguish between authors and editors. By author, I mean the person who first composed a certain text, passage, or phrase. By editor, I mean someone who took a pre-existing text, passage, or phrase, and adapted it. As we have seen above, there are strong arguments to abandon the dichotomy between the literary composition of a text and its transmission. Editors of one part of the text often operated as authors in their own right with regards to other parts of the text. Where the distinction between author and editor is irrelevant, I have used writer to cover both. Additionally, I have sometimes used scribe in contexts which focus on the technical aspects of writing and copying physical text. These terms thus do not refer to different people per se, but to their different roles: all writers were scribes, all writers were editors or authors, and many writers were both editors of some texts and authors of others.


For an in-depth investigation of this genre, see Tawny L. Holm, Of Courtiers and Kings: The Biblical Daniel Narratives and Ancient Story-Collections, EANEC 1 (Winona Lake: Eisenbrauns, 2013).


On the genre of apocalypse, see recently John J. Collins, “What Is Apocalyptic Literature?,” in The Oxford Handbook of Apocalyptic Literature, ed. John J. Collins (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2014), 1–16.


Tractatus Theologico-Politicus (Hamburg: Künraht, 1670), 130–31; Isaac Newton, Observations upon the Prophecies of Daniel and the Apocalypse of St. John (Bartholomew-Close: Darby & Browne, 1733), 10.


E.g. Anathea E. Portier-Young, Apocalypse Against Empire: Theologies of Resistance in Early Judaism (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2011).


The other Aramaic passages in the Hebrew Bible occur in Jeremiah 10:11 and Ezra 4:8–6:18, 7:12–26. Of the other Aramaic phrases occurring sporadically throughout the Hebrew Bible, יגר שהדותא ‘cairn of testimony’ (Genesis 31:47) is usually counted as part of the Biblical Aramaic corpus, while individual words like תגמולוהי ‘his favours’ (Psalm 116:12) and בר ‘son’ (Proverbs 31:2) are not.


On the necessity of taking textual history into account when using biblical texts as historical sources, see Juha Pakkala, “Can We Reconstruct the Textual History of the Hebrew Bible?,” Religion Compass 11.11–12 (2017): e12256.


See the excellent literature reviews in Klaus Koch, Das Buch Daniel, EdF 144 (Darmstadt: Wissenschaftliche Buchgesellschaft, 1980); Philip R. Davies, Daniel, reprint, OTGu 4 (Sheffield: JSOT, 1993); John J. Collins, Daniel: A Commentary on the Book of Daniel (Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 1993); Herbert Niehr, “Das Buch Daniel,” in Einleitung in das Alte Testament, ed. Erich Zenger, 3rd ed., KStTh 1,1 (Stuttgart: Kohlhammer, 1998), 458–67; Tawny L. Holm, “Book of Daniel,” in Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Religion, ed. John Barton (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2019),


E.g. Jan-Wim Wesselius, “The Writing of Daniel,” in The Book of Daniel: Composition and Reception, ed. John J. Collins and Peter W. Flint, vol. 2, VT.S, Formation and Interpretation of Old Testament Literature 83 (Leiden: Brill, 2001), 291–310; Jan-Wim Wesselius, “The Literary Nature of the Book of Daniel and the Linguistic Character of Its Aramaic,” AraSt 3.2 (2005): 241–83.


Koch, Daniel; R. Timothy McLay, “The Old Greek Translation of Daniel IVVI and the Formation of the Book of Daniel,” VT 55.3 (2005): 304–23; Amy C. Merrill Willis, “A Reversal of Fortunes: Daniel among the Scholars,” CBR 16.2 (2018): 107–30.


Ernst Sellin, Einleitung in das Alte Testament (Leipzig: Quelle & Meyer, 1910); Gustav Hölscher, “Die Entstehung des Buches Daniel,” TSK 92.2 (1919): 113–38.


Notably H. Louis Ginsberg, Studies in Daniel (New York: Jewish Theological Seminary of America, 1948); Louis F. Hartman and Alexander A. Di Lella, The Book of Daniel, AB 23 (Garden City, NY: Doubleday, 1978); Reinhard Gregor Kratz, Translatio imperii: Untersuchungen zu den aramäischen Danielerzählungen und ihrem theologiegeschichtlichen Umfeld, WMANT 63 (Neukirchen-Vluyn: Neukirchener Verlag, 1991); Carol A. Newsom, Daniel: A Commentary, OTL (Louisville, KY: Westminster John Knox Press, 2014).


Koch, Daniel, 75; Rainer Albertz, Der Gott des Daniel: Untersuchungen zu Daniel 4–6 in der Septuagintafassung sowie zu Komposition und Theologie des aramäischen Danielbuches, SBS 131 (Stuttgart: Verlag Katholisches Bibelwerk, 1988); Rainer Albertz, Religionsgeschichte Israels in alttestamentlicher Zeit. Teil 2: Vom Exil bis zu den Makkabäern, GAT, 8,2 (Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 1992), 651; Lawrence M. Wills, The Jew in the Court of the Foreign King: Ancient Jewish Court Legends, HDR 26 (Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 1990), 144–52; Holm, Courtiers and Kings; Newsom, Daniel, 10. Note that Dan 3:31–33 in the Masoretic Text belong to the following story of Nebuchadnezzar’s madness, not to the preceding story of the three men in the fiery furnace that occupies the rest of Dan 3. For convenience, “Dan 4” as used in this work can usually be taken to include these verses, and “Dan 3” can be taken to exclude them.


Ginsberg, Studies in Daniel.


Hartman and Di Lella, Daniel; Newsom, Daniel.


Ginsberg, Studies in Daniel, 29.


Ernst Haag, Die Errettung Daniels aus der Löwengrube: Untersuchungen zum Ursprung der biblischen Danieltradition, SBS 110 (Stuttgart: Verlag Katholisches Bibelwerk, 1983); Ernst Haag, “Die drei Männer im Feuer nach Dan 3:1–30,” in Die Entstehung der jüdischen Martyrologie, ed. J. W. van Henten, Studia post-Biblica 38 (Leiden: Brill, 1989), 20–50; Ernst Haag, “Der Menschensohn und die Heiligen (des) Höchsten. Eine literar-, form- und traditionsgeschichtliche Untersuchung zu Daniel 7,” in The Book of Daniel in the Light of New Findings, ed. A. S. van der Woude, BETL 106 (Leuven: Leuven University Press/Peeters, 1993), 137–85.


Cf. Wills, Jew in the Court, 87; Kratz, Translatio imperii, 81.


Albertz, Der Gott des Daniel.


“will [diese neue Untersuchung] den Vergleich aus der methodisch falschen textkritischen Engführung befreien”; Albertz, 17.


Albertz, 42, 95, 130.


Kratz, Translatio imperii.


Collins, Daniel.


Hartman and Di Lella, Daniel; Newsom, Daniel.


Paul L. Redditt, Daniel, NCBC (Sheffield: Sheffield Academic Press, 1999).


Those we will have occasion to refer to are Michael Segal, “The Old Greek Version and Masoretic Text of Daniel 6,” in Die Septuaginta—Orte und Intentionen: 5. Internationale Fachtagung veranstaltet von Septuaginta Deutsch (LXX.D), Wuppertal 24.–27. Juli 2014, ed. Siegfried Kreuzer, Martin Meiser, and Marcus Sigismund, WUNT 361 (Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2016), 404–28; Michael Segal, “Daniel 5 in Aramaic and Greek and the Textual History of Daniel 4–6,” in Congress Volume Stellenbosch 2016, ed. Louis C. Jonker, Gideon R. Kotzé, and Christl M. Maier (Leiden: Brill, 2017), 251–84; Michael Segal, “Harmonization and Rewriting of Daniel 6 from the Bible to Qumran,” in Hāʾîsh Mōshe. Studies in Scriptural Interpretation in the Dead Sea Scrolls and Related Literature in Honor of Moshe J. Bernstein, ed. Binyamin Y. Goldstein, Michael Segal, and George J. Brooke (Leiden: Brill, 2017), 265–79; Michael Segal, “Calculating the End: Inner-Danielic Chronological Developments,” VT 68.2 (2018): 272–96; as well as some of the chapters in Michael Segal, Dreams, Riddles, and Visions: Textual, Contextual, and Intertextual Approaches to the Book of Daniel, BZAW 455 (Berlin: De Gruyter, 2016).


Thus R. H. Charles, A Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the Book of Daniel (Oxford: Clarendon, 1929); Ginsberg, Studies in Daniel; Frank Zimmermann, Biblical Books Translated from the Aramaic (New York: Ktav, 1975), 1–38; Hartman and Di Lella, Daniel, 14–15; contra H. Preiswerk, “Der Sprachenwechsel im Buche Daniel” (inaugural thesis, University of Bern, 1902); see also the discussion in Marius Nel, “Gebruik van twee tale in die Daniëlboek,” VeEc 25.1 (2004): 236–52. Recently, H. J. M. van Deventer, “Testing-Testing, Do We Have a Translated Text in Daniel 1 and Daniel 7?,” JNSL 31.2 (2005): 91–106 has aimed to show quantitively that Dan 1,7 are not translations (from Aramaic to Hebrew or vice versa). This approach fails, however, since the statistic Van Deventer uses is expected to be lower in a translated text compared to its source text, but not necessarily in a translated text compared to other, untranslated texts, as the comparison between MT and Th shows. The relatively high value of this statistic in Dan 1,7 thus does not prove that they were composed in Hebrew and Aramaic, respectively.


Cf. van Deventer, “Translated Text.”


Now also see the detailed discussion on the textual sources in the various sections of Armin Lange, ed., “18 Daniel,” in Textual History of the Bible, 2020,


Eugene Ulrich, ed., The Biblical Qumran Scrolls. Transcriptions and Textual Variants, VT.S 134 (Leiden: Brill, 2010), 755–75.


The lack of frequent reference to the other manuscripts in the following is thus based on my judgment of each textual variant taken in isolation, not on an a priori judgement on the reliability of any manuscript, as cautioned against by Bénédicte Lemmelijn, “Text-Critically Studying the Biblical Manuscript Evidence: An ‘Empirical’ Entry to the Literary Composition of the Text,” in Empirical Models Challenging Biblical Criticism, ed. Raymond F. Person Jr. and Robert Rezetko, AIL 25 (Atlanta: SBL Press, 2016), 129–64.


Eugene Ulrich, “Daniel Manuscripts from Qumran. Part 1: A Preliminary Edition of 4QDana,” BASOR 268 (1987): 20.


Eugene Ulrich, The Dead Sea Scrolls and the Developmental Composition of the Bible (Leiden: Brill, 2015), 180.


See e.g. Eugene Ulrich, “The Dead Sea Scrolls and the Hebrew Scriptural Texts,” in The Bible and the Dead Sea Scrolls: The Second Princeton Symposium on Judaism and Christian Origins, ed. James H. Charlesworth, vol. 1 (Princeton Symposium on Judaism and Christian Origins, Waco, Tex: Baylor University Press, 2006), 77–99 for this concept; cf. Emanuel Tov, Textual Criticism of the Hebrew Bible, 3rd ed. (Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2012), 284.


On the Greek versions of Daniel, now see the detailed overview by Olivier Munnich, “Daniel, Susanna, Bel and the Dragon: Old Greek and Theodotion,” in The Oxford Handbook of the Septuagint, ed. Alison G. Salvesen and Timothy Michael Law (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2021), 289–305.


E.g. Arie van der Kooij, “Compositions and Editions in Early Judaism. The Case of Daniel,” in The Text of the Hebrew Bible and Its Editions: Studies in Celebration of the Fifth Centennial of the Complutensian Polyglot, ed. Andrés Piquer Otero and Pablo Torijano Morales, THB.S 1 (Society for the Study of Polyglot Bible, Leiden: Brill, 2017), 429–48.


E.g. Wills, Jew in the Court; Olivier Munnich, “The Masoretic Rewriting of Daniel 4–6: The Septuagint Version as Witness,” in From Author to Copyist: Essays on the Composition, Redaction, and Transmission of the Hebrew Bible in Honor of Zipi Talshir, ed. Cana Werman (Winona Lake: Eisenbrauns, 2015), 149–72.


Albertz, Der Gott des Daniel; Matthias Henze, The Madness of King Nebuchadnezzar: The Ancient Near Eastern Origins and Early History of Interpretation of Daniel 4, JSJ.S 61 (Leiden: Brill, 1999); Ian Young, “The Original Problem. The Old Greek and the Masoretic Text of Daniel 5,” in Empirical Models Challenging Biblical Criticism, ed. Raymond F. Person Jr. and Robert Rezetko, AIL 25 (Atlanta: SBL Press, 2016), 271–301.


Thus Eugene Ulrich, “The Parallel Editions of the Old Greek and Masoretic Text of Daniel 5,” in A Teacher for All Generations. Essays in Honor of James C. VanderKam, ed. Eric F. Mason, JSJ.S 153 (Leiden: Brill, 2012), 201–17; Ulrich, Developmental Composition, 237–48; Segal, “Daniel 5.” Young, “The Original Problem” argues against the approach taken by Ulrich on the basis that the overlapping phrases shared by OG and MT are not enough to constitute a coherent narrative and often are too different to count as overlapping in the first place. With Segal (and cf. Ulrich, Developmental Composition, 246n33), this is no longer a problem once we reckon with the possibility of text being changed in one or both versions, not just added. Young’s objection that different wording in OG and MT points against a shared written ancestor is invalidated by attested examples of the kind of variation he identifies in texts which clearly do share a written archetype; cf. Tov, Textual Criticism, 239. For example, 4QDanᵇ reads ול]גבא די אריותא רמ[ו ‘and into the den of the lions they threw’ against MT Dan 6:17’s ורמו לגבא די אריותא ‘and threw into the den of the lions’; or cf. 4QJerᵇ’s ‘hammers [and nails]’ against MT Jer 10:4’s ‘nails and hammers’, as noted by Ulrich, “Hebrew Scriptural Texts,” 85. The presence of secondary material in both versions of the text is paralleled by OG and Th Bel and the Serpent; see Dalia Amara, “Bel and the Dragon: The Relationship between Theodotion and the Old Greek,” in From Author to Copyist: Essays on the Composition, Redaction, and Transmission of the Hebrew Bible in Honor of Zipi Talshir, ed. Cana Werman (Winona Lake: Eisenbrauns, 2015), 125–47. See also Andrew G. Daniel, “The Translator’s Tell: Translation Technique, Verbal Syntax, and the Myth of Old Greek Daniel’s Alternate Semitic Vorlage.” JBL 140.4 (2021): 723–49.


Albertz, Der Gott des Daniel, 162–63; McLay, “Old Greek Translation,” 306–7; contra Munnich, “Old Greek and Theodotion,” 239. Albertz, Der Gott des Daniel, 167 is contradictorily cited by Munnich in support of OG Dan being the product of just one translator, but I do not see what Munnich is referring to here.


One of this text’s many interesting features is the different order of the material. The visions of Dan 7–8, which are set during the reign of Belshazzar, occur in between Dan 4 and Dan 5, which ends with Belshazzar’s death. This chronologically sound order seems secondary to the genre-based order (court stories before apocalypses) found in the other witnesses, as argued, for instance, by Segal, Dreams, Riddles, and Visions, 5n11. Some scholars consider Papyrus 967’s order to be the more original one, however; see the discussion in Munnich, “Old Greek and Theodotion,” 296–97.


Olivier Munnich, ed., Susanna. Daniel. Bel et Draco, ed. 2a, Septuaginta 16 (Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 1999).


Albert Pietersma and Benjamin G. Wright, eds., “Daniel,” in A New English Translation of the Septuagint, trans. R. Timothy McLay (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2007), 991–1022.


Amanda M. Davis Bledsoe, “The Relationship of the Different Editions of Daniel: A History of Scholarship,” CBR 13.2 (2015): 179–80.


R. Timothy McLay, The OG and Th Versions of Daniel, SCSt 43 (Atlanta: Scholars Press, 1996); McLay, “Old Greek Translation”; Heinz-Dieter Neef, “Menschliche Hybris und göttliche Macht. Dan 4 LXX und Dan 4 Th im Vergleich,” JNSL 31.2 (2005): 59–89; Munnich, “Masoretic Rewriting,” 150.


Cf. Munnich, Daniel, 2:121–214.


Munnich, Daniel.


Wilhelm Rudolph, Karl Elliger, and R. Kittel, eds., Biblia Hebraica Stuttgartensia = Tōrā, něvīʾīm ūḵětūvīm (Stuttgart: Deutsche Bibelstiftung, 1977).


Cf. Julio C. Trebolle Barrera, The Jewish Bible and the Christian Bible: An Introduction to the History of the Bible (Leiden/Grand Rapids: Brill/Eerdmans, 1998), 370; Tov, Textual Criticism, 289; Pakkala, “Textual History.”


Cf. David R. Law, The Historical-Critical Method: A Guide for the Perplexed, T&T Clark Guides for the Perplexed (London: T&T Clark, 2012), 81; Richard D. Weis, “‘Lower Criticism’: Studies in the Masoretic Text and the Ancient Versions of the Old Testament as Means of Textual Criticism,” in Hebrew Bible, Old Testament: The History of Its Interpretation, ed. Magne Sæbø, vol. 3/1 (Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 2013).


Cf. Law, Historical-Critical Method, 114–15.


Hermann-Josef Stipp, “Das Verhältnis von Textkritik und Literarkritik in neueren alttestamentlichen Veröffentlichungen,” BZ 34.1 (1990): 16–37; Ulrich, “Hebrew Scriptural Texts,” 96–97; Lemmelijn, “Biblical Manuscript Evidence.”


Ulrich, Developmental Composition, 2.


E.g. Bénédicte Lemmelijn, “Textual Criticism,” in The Oxford Handbook of the Septuagint, ed. Alison G. Salvesen and Timothy Michael Law (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2021), 707–14.


Cf. Ronald Hendel, “The Oxford Hebrew Bible: Prologue to a New Critical Edition,” VT 58.3 (2008): 324–51.


On these methods in linguistics, see e.g. Robert L. Rankin, “The Comparative Method,” in The Handbook of Historical Linguistics, ed. Brian D. Joseph and Richard D. Janda, Blackwell Handbooks in Linguistics (Malden, MA: Blackwell, 2003), 182–212; Don Ringe, “Internal Reconstruction,” in The Handbook of Historical Linguistics, ed. Brian D. Joseph and Richard D. Janda, Blackwell Handbooks in Linguistics (Malden, MA: Blackwell, 2003), 244–61; Michael Weiss, “The Comparative Method,” in The Routledge Handbook of Historical Linguistics, ed. Claire Bowern and Bethwyn Evans (London: Routledge, 2015), 127–45.


Cf. Ulrich, “Hebrew Scriptural Texts,” 95; Bénédicte Lemmelijn, A Plague of Texts? A Text-Critical Study of the So-Called “Plagues Narrative” in Exodus 7:14–11:10, OTS 56 (Leiden: Brill, 2009), 13–28; Lemmelijn, “Biblical Manuscript Evidence”; Tov, Textual Criticism, 265.


Lemmelijn, A Plague of Texts?, 15; cf. Judith E. Sanderson, An Exodus Scroll from Qumran: 4QpaleoExodm and the Samaritan Tradition, HSS 30 (Atlanta: Scholars, 1986), 39.


Cf. Tov, Textual Criticism, 257.


Tov, 263.


See Hendel, “The Oxford Hebrew Bible.” Hendel, in turn, adopts the term from W. W. Greg, “The Rationale of Copy-Text,” Studies in Bibliography 3 (1950–1951): 19–36.


Benjamin D. Suchard, “The Origins of the Biblical Aramaic Reading Tradition,” VT 71.1 (2021): 105–19.


J. Weingreen, Introduction to the Critical Study of the Text of the Hebrew Bible (Oxford: Clarendon, 1982), 35–36. Compare the more recent and extensive discission by Tov, Textual Criticism, 221–39.


But see Tov, Textual Criticism, 222–24.


Cf. the discussion of “unspecified types of error” in Weingreen, Introduction, 70–78.


Cf. Emanuel Tov, “Criteria for Evaluating Textual Readings: The Limitations of Textual Rules,” HTR 75.4 (1982): 439–40; Tov, Textual Criticism, 275–76; Anneli Aejmelaeus, “Übersetzung als Schlüssel zum Original,” in On the trail of the Septuagint translators: Collected Essays, by Anneli Aejmelaeus (Kampen: Kok Pharos, 1993), 158; Lemmelijn, A Plague of Texts?, 16–17.


David M. Carr, The Formation of the Hebrew Bible: A New Reconstruction (New York: Oxford University Press, 2011), 13–36.


Law, Historical-Critical Method, 128–29; Tov, Textual Criticism, 240–62.


Law, Historical-Critical Method, 124–26. Reinhard Müller, Juha Pakkala, and R. B. ter Haar Romeny, Evidence of Editing: Growth and Change of Texts in the Hebrew Bible, RBSt 75 (Atlanta: SBL Press, 2014) examine a number of cases where editing is empirically attested and conclude that while editing does not always leave such identifiable traces, it does tend to have taken place where such traces occur. The presence of textual features such as resumptive repetition is a sufficient condition to posit editing even if it is not a necessary condition. Pace Raymond F. Person Jr. and Robert Rezetko, “Introduction: The Importance of Empirical Models to Assess the Efficacy of Source and Redaction Criticism,” in Empirical Models Challenging Biblical Criticism, ed. Raymond F. Person Jr. and Robert Rezetko, AIL 25 (Atlanta: SBL Press, 2016), 1–35, these textual features thus remain valid indicators of editing.


See Curt Kuhl, “Die “Wiederaufnahme”—ein literarkritisches Prinzip?,” ZAW 23 (1952): 1–11.


Cf. Carr, The Formation of the Hebrew Bible, 106–8, 125–32.

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