Historiography and Extra-Biblical Sources Related to Daniel
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This dissertation develops a historiographical methodology and applies that methodology to extra biblical sources related to the book of Daniel. The first chapter provides basic introductory information and presents the problems addressed. The second chapter presents the two dominant historiographical methods in recent history: historical criticism and postmodernism. It introduces some major proponents of each approach and their contributions to historiography. It critiques both camps, highlighting strengths that should be maintained and problem areas that require further nuance. Then, it proposes a historiographical method that combines elements from both approaches. This approach solves a few issues with the two prevailing views. The third chapter dives into the Babylonian texts. These texts are written in Akkadian and biased toward the Babylonians. The chapter includes basic information about each source and analyzes its historical reliability, literary structure, biases, and relevance for Daniel. The next two chapters include analysis of this kind. The fourth chapter analyzes the Persian texts. These sources also exist in Akkadian but are heavily pro-Persian. Cyrus and his administration most likely commissioned these texts after his conquering of Babylon. The fifth chapter shifts from ancient Near Eastern sources to the Greek historians. The Greek historians naturally write in Greek, not Akkadian. Herodotus and Xenophon prove critical sources for understanding Daniel but display a vast array of purposes and biases in their writing that require untangling. The sixth chapter discusses a few historical issues in Daniel to show the value of analyzing the sources in the previous chapters. The exercise displays how readers may utilize the research in this dissertation to gain a better grasp of the extra-biblical sources and the biblical text. The chapter covers a few minor issues before discussing the identity of Darius the Mede, then finally examining the fall of Babylon in greater detail. It also summarizes my arguments and draws attention to other potential areas of research, such as extra biblical literature related to books of the Bible other than Daniel.