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Michael Segal

Michael Segal

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Michael Segal

The Aramaic Apocalypse of Daniel (4Q246) has been the subject of intense debate among scholars, primarily surrounding the enigmatic epithets ברה די אל “son of God” and בר עליון “son of the Most High.” Previous interpreters have suggested either that this character is a human sovereign with divine pretensions or that he is a divine messianic figure. The current study posits a new identification of this figure based upon the analysis of the biblical texts underlying this Qumran scroll: in addition to its dependence upon Dan 7 (which has been previously recognized), 4Q246 also contains a hitherto overlooked allusion to Ps 82. In light of the relationship to these biblical passages, it is proposed that the character described as “son of God/the Most High” should be taken as the heavenly representative of the penultimate kingdom in Dan 7.

The identification of the allusion to Ps 82 within 4Q246 also enriches our analysis of Dan 7 itself, since the Qumran scroll demonstrates that early readers of the apocalyptic vision posited a literary-theological connection between Dan 7 and Ps 82. These texts together formed a cluster of related biblical passages that were read and interpreted in concert by ancient authors.