Formation and Reception of Daniel in Antiquity

This project maps Daniel’s textual development in ancient Jewish scribal settings, its interpretation in literature of the Second Temple period, and diversity of reception of Danielic language and theology in subsequent art, literature, and culture. Given the representation of original language texts of the book of Daniel at Qumran and known Danielic traditions among the Dead Sea Scrolls and Septuagint, the project draws broadly on this textual heritage from ancient Judaism.

Projected Outcomes

The eventual outcome of this project is an edition and topical study on the text and interpretation of Daniel at Qumran for submission to Vetus Testamentum Supplements.  The book will include a full edition of all the  Hebrew/Aramaic Daniel fragments among the Dead Sea Scrolls, revised readings discerned using digital approaches to palaeographic analysis and material reconstruction, select so-called “new” fragments in private and institutional collections (when the criteria of provenance and authenticity can be confirmed), and a full list of variant readings of the manuscripts when read against all other known textual witnesses.  Following the presentation of the textual data, the volume will extend into treatments of the scope and influence of the Danielic tradition at and beyond Qumran.

Preliminary Groundwork

In the summer of 2017, I set this project in motion with two conference papers. In the Qumran session of the International Meeting of the Society of Biblical Literature in Berlin I delivered a paper on the question of forgeries of Daniel materials among recently acquired fragments by the Museum of the Bible and Schøyen Collection. A draft of this paper and full video recording of my lecture may be accessed here.

At the “Vision, Narrative, and Wisdom in the Aramaic Texts at Qumran” symposium hosted by the University of Copenhagen, I re-described the origins and development of the Daniel traditions in ancient Judaism through the lens of memory studies. The paper argued for a re-orientation in studies on Daniel around the development of the persona of this character rather than the presentation of any one particular text. A draft, audio recording, and link to my Prezi slides may be found here.

Formation and Reception of Daniel in Antiquity