Like the Stars Forever
Narrative and Theology in the Book of Daniel
This anthology of Meadowcroft’s essays (all but one previously published) coheres around three claims he makes about the book of Daniel. The first is that Daniel should be understood primarily as a wisdom figure, and that the first chapter of the book of Daniel is programmatic in that regard. The second is that the vision of the one like a son of man represents a theological hinge that guides an understanding of both the tales and the visions as expressions of participation in the divine life on the part of the wise Daniel and his people. The third claim is that the final chapter of Daniel, as the capstone of the wisdom story of Daniel, shows the aim of wise participation in the divine life as an enduring legacy of righteousness in those who encounter this wisdom.
These claims are supported by a close reading of aspects of the narrative art on display in the book of Daniel; an exegetical appreciation of the interpretative impact of understanding the faithful wise as expressive of the hopes placed in the temple by the ancient people; and a theological and contextual reading of the experiences of Daniel and his friends—in the daily routines of life in the Babylonian and Persian courts, and in those strange apocalyptic encounters of the later chapters. From such reading there emerges the paradoxical nature of faith as certain hope and ethical clarity alongside mystery and uncertainty and the call to patient endurance. This delicate dance between certainty and patience, clarity and mystery was a feature of the experience of Daniel and his people in their time of exile, of later readers suffering under the heel of Antiochus Epiphanes, of those resisting the claims to lordship on the part of Rome, and still today of readers of the book of Daniel wherever empire is encountered and resisted.
Tim Meadowcroft is Senior Lecturer in Biblical Studies and Head of School: Theology, Mission and Ministry, Laidlaw College, Auckland, New Zealand.
Series: Hebrew Bible Monographs, 90
Publication October 2020
£32.50 / $42.50 / €35
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