Donald E. Gowan 'Daniel' (Abingdon Press 2001, pp 172 $US22.00 ISBN 0-687-08421-0)
Like Revelations, Daniel has received considerable attention in modern times, starting with the Fifth Monarchy Men in Puritan England, and followed by William Miller in the US predicting the Second Coming on 22 October 1843 (based on dating within Daniel). Expositors need be aware of such interpretations.
Gowan's compact study is part of the 'Abingdon Old Testament Commentaries' designed for theological students and pastors, with the series' writers drawn from a broad range of 'ecclesiastical affiliations, confessional stances, and educational backgrounds'. Each volume consists of four parts - introduction and a commentary on the text focusing on literary, exegetical, theological and ethical analysis.
Gowan argues that though Daniel did not claim to be 'prophecy', it was placed in the Septuagint with prophetic books, unlike the Hebrew Bible in the Writings. Daniel had a considerable influence on NT thought, eg the use by Jesus of 'the Son of Man', and 'the Kingdom of God'. Revelations has at least sixty parallels, with other NT writers making considerable use of Daniel's eschatological passages.
While the book is set in Babylon and Persia during the sixth century, Gowan maintains that the date of composition is most probably late in the Persian or early in the Hellenistic period. Gowan only deals with the Hebrew/Aramaic sections, not the Greek 'extras'
Two major genres are identified - stories and vision-narratives. The former include the Wisdom stories (Dan 2, 4 and 5) and the legends of the 'Faithful Ones in Jeopardy' (Dan 1, 3 and 6). The vision narratives in Dan 7-12 are in the first person and have parallels in prophetic books. Daniel shares certain features with historical apocalypse, including pseudonymity, use of symbolic visions, evidence of a philosophy of history, hope in spite of pessimism, and an air of secrecy. Attention is paid to 'pesar' which also featured in Qumran thinking.
Gowan opines that Daniel was composed to strengthen and encourage believers not to compromise or abandon their religion during persecution. Good preaching material.