International Journal of Humanities and Social Science

ISSN 2220-8488 (Print), 2221-0989 (Online) 10.30845/ijhss

Towards a Text-Analytical Commentary of Daniel 9:24
Koot van Wyk

This paper investigates Daniel 9:24 in various ancient versions. The methodology that is used is not the conventional Eclectic Text Method but a reversal back to the Standard-Text Method due to the strong link that 4QDana provides with the modern Hebrew textual form with an error margin of less than 1%. It was found that the Ancient Versions, such as Old Latin, Aquila, Symmachus, Theodotion, Origen, Jerome in the Vulgate, Coptic, Syriac all tried to discover the Standard-Text that we are privileged to hold in our hands today, but that Library robberies, cultural antagonism, persecutions, book-burning practices, made it difficult to get access to good originals and seemingly the degenerative copies at Qumran provided the only avenue for the versions. Many of the variants originated due to slips of the hands, eye, ear, tongue and memory. It was not their intention to create a new text or to deviate from the text freely. They simply had no choice. The Standard-Text Textual Analysis Method brings these processes in the degenerative character of the versions, which they share with the degenerative character of the scribal practices of Qumran, to the front. Whereas the Eclectic Text Method leads to nihilism since it makes the reader the creator of his/her own text by self-reconstruction, the Standard-Text Textual Analysis Method places the text to be analyzed next to an objective ruler (the consonantal text of the Masoretic Tradition) and forces the reader to compare differences but also encourages the researcher to discover and see how the variant originated. This was done with various Versions including Latin, Greek, Coptic for Daniel 9:24. One cannot miss the clarity of understanding the origin of the variants. As compared to the consonantal text of the Masoretic tradition, they stand in a degenerative position as far as form is concerned. As far as interpretation is concerned it was found that scholars understood Daniel's prophetic times in the correct way using the year-day principle but that the heathen interpreter Porphyry wanted to read events and times back to Antiochus Epiphanes much to the frustration of Jerome. It was found that the Arabic Jewish commentator in the 10th century also suggested the year-day principle for Daniel 9:24 or 490 years for the days. Keeping these rules in mind opens up startling discoveries for the modern interpreter of Daniel who only up to this time has read Daniel through the glasses of the heathen interpreter Porphyry.

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