Lessing, R. Reed & Andrew E. Steinmann. Prepare the Way of the Lord: An Introduction to the Old Testament. St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 2014. Chapter 26, “Daniel” pp. 433-446.
Lessing identifies the start of the book of Daniel as 604 B.C. The first wave of deportations to Babylon was before the fall of Jerusalem in 587 (Lessing 2014, 433). The threat of abandonment by God created an uncertainty to which Daniel speaks.
The authorship and date of Daniel is sharply contested. In general, evangelical scholars affirm it as the work of the prophet Daniel in the sixth century B.C. Critical scholars tend to fragment the work, assigning it to various authors and times (Lessing 2014, 433). Events in the book fit the period 605-530 B.C. The last vision is in 536 (Lessing 2014, 434). Scholars who reject predictive prophecy assign the prophecies of Daniel to a date after the actual events (Lessing 2014, 435). Literary concerns, including choices of words, could support a late date. However, Lessing considers the evidence to be slim (Lessing 2014, 436). Daniel’s theology is largely predicated on God’s control of history. This complicates all dating schemes.
As to structure, Daniel divides rather neatly into ten parts, with all but one transition being very clear (Lessing 2014, 437). Lessing observes that the text is partly Hebrew and partly Aramaic (Lessing 2014, 438). The languages distinguish between two chiasms, one in Hebrw, one in Aramaic, interlocked with one another (Lessing 2014, 439). Greek translations have significant differences. Lessing suggests that one attempted to explain the text more than the other (Lessing 2014, 439). The additions include a story of Susannah, that of Bel and the Dragon, a prayer of Azariah, and a prayer of the three young men from Daniel chapter 3 (Lessing 2014, 440).
The governing motif in Daniel is that of a promised Messiah. Thus Lessing speaks of numerous passages which describe a Messiah to come (Lessing 2014, 441). God is clearly shown as the one who protects His people (Lessing 2014, 442). He is the God who is active and works for good (Lessing 2014, 443). God’s people are urged to integrity at all times. Lessing finds over 50 New Testament references to Daniel (Lessing 2014, 444).