The little book of Daniel has long been a popular text among futurists, who see in it a revelation of the end of time. Outside of the New Testament book of Revelation, no document has been subjected to more study, interpretation and speculation by those anxious to divine the course of the future. Its rich and sometimes obscure imagery and symbolism has proved a fruitful source for other apocalypts, and echoes of Daniel can be found in the so-called “little apocalypse” of Mark 13, and, of course, in the book of Revelation. Outside of the Bible, numerous references to Daniel can be found, in works as diverse as those of Josephus, the histories of the Maccabees and countless non-canonical Christian apocalypses.
But where did the book of Daniel actually come from? What can we say about its author and his purpose? Does Daniel really reveal the future, or, like all the other books in the apocalyptic genre, does he record the past?