The four kingdoms scheme plays a prominent role in the book of Daniel itself, and lies at the foundation of Nebuchadnezzar’s dream in chapter 2 and Daniel’s vision in chapter 7. The motif of four earthly empires followed by a heavenly kingdom, whose roots can be traced to surrounding cultures, serves both chronological and ideological-theological functions within Dan-iel itself. In the current study, I want to focus on the former, and place it in the larger context of chronological conceptions throughout the book as a whole. At the same time, the discussion of the ideological worldview of the Danielic authors will be discussed as it relates to these chronological con-ceptions. All of the chronological schemes in Daniel to be discussed here share a number of basic features, although specific aspects and emphases vary from chapter to chapter. It will be suggested that one aspect, common to the chronological worldview of most early Jewish and Christian apoca-lypses is in fact not present in all of the Daniel apocalypses, and this in fact serves as a litmus test for the milieu and historical background in which they were composed.
This article reconsiders scholarly treatments of Dan 9, especially in terms of the chapter’s treatment of Jeremiah’s prophecy of 70 years. It is suggested that the 70 weeks of Daniel do not directly reinterpret the 70 years of Jeremiah nor do they overlap with or replace them. Instead, the 70 weeks reflect a subsequent, successive period of time, immediately following the completion of the seventy years of Exile. This new understanding has implications both for the understanding of this chapter in Daniel, and more generally, for the history of a number of Jewish traditions in the Hellenistic period.