Today we also finish our study through the Gospel of Mark. The time is just before Holy Thursday and the Last Supper. This reading is an apocalyptic description and needs to be heard in conjunction with Mark 13:3-8 where Jesus is talking of the destruction of the temple (which occurred in A.D. 70).
Although this book tells us virtually all that we know about the Prophet Daniel (whose name means “God is my judge”), the author of this book is unknown. The book is arranged in no historical order and has come down to us with different parts written in different languages – some in Hebrew, some in Aramaic, and some in Greek. The portion in Greek [chapter 13 (Susanna), chapter 14 (Bel and the Dragon), and chapter 3:24-90 (The Prayer of Azariah)] are not contained in the Hebrew or, consequently, Protestant canon of scripture. There are unusual changes in construction throughout, the first person frequently alternating with the third. This leads scholars to suspect that multiple authors (and/or editors) may be involved.
The Hebrew Bible locates Daniel in the historical section between Ezra and Esther. The Septuagint (the Greek translation used by the apostles) locates it in the section of prophetic writings as the fourth of the major prophets, after Ezekiel; which is where it is located in Catholic (and strangely, since they follow the Hebrew canon, Protestant) Bibles. The book was written around 300 B.C. or later, while Daniel himself lived some 225 to 300 years earlier.
Daniel had 4 apocalyptic visions which are described in chapters 7 through 12. Today’s reading comes from the ending of the 4th of these visions.
This is our last week in the Book of Hebrews. Rather than just study the verses leading up to and through the reading this week, let’s study all of Chapter 10 which will take over where we left off last week.