Many bible studies lump Daniel and Revelation together as Apocalyptic Literature. But if the conservative scholar's dating of these pieces of literature is correct, Daniel was written around the 5th or 6th century B.C. But the Apocalypse genre was not invented until the third or second century! Long after Daniel's prophecies.

How can the "Pure prophetic word" of Daniel be considered in the same category as any Apocalypse, which uses different styles and imagery...purpose...setting? And how can they be treated the same way in interpreting each of them? Is use of "lofty language" by each of them misleading modern readers to think they are the same?

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    Please be more specific about why you think they aren't the same. Jun 3, 2023 at 2:55
  • If there are debates over the dating of Daniel then obviously there can also be debates over when the apocalypse genre arose.
    – curiousdannii
    Jun 3, 2023 at 11:32
  • @raybutterworthIf the Apocalypse genre is not imposed on Daniel, then it is seen that Daniel's motif is the "END OF JUDAISM (Old Covenant), whereas the N.T. Apocalypse emphasis (according to many) has in view the END OF THE WORLD. If the apocalyptic hermeneutic is forced on Daniel, many prophecies are applied erroneously to the End of the World, and take away from the amazing Christological focus in introducing the Kingdom of God to mankind! (See Hebrews 8:13 as a summary of this phenom.)
    – ray grant
    Jun 3, 2023 at 22:47
  • @curiousdanniiIn all my research, I have found much debate over Daniel's dating, but never discovered any debate over the beginning of the Apocalypses genre. Can you list some?
    – ray grant
    Jun 3, 2023 at 22:50
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    "Genre" is generally an after-the-fact description of a work. Especially for the oldest works in a genre.
    – Mary
    Jun 4, 2023 at 0:33

2 Answers 2


The book of Daniel was written long before Jesus was born.

The book of the Revelation was written over 90 years after Jesus was born.

The word 'apocalypse' did not come to be used with reference to some prophetic, symbolic passages of old and new testament scriptures until after the book of the Revelation was being circulated. The Greek word used for the heading of the last book of the new testament means 'revelation' - a revealing, or an uncovering. The Latin translation of that is what is being invoked with 'apocalypse'. But John's Revelation was written in Greek, not Latin. Daniel's book was written in Hebrew, not Latin. When we drop the later Latin terminology, the student of both books is uncluttered by thinking this phrase "apocalyptic literature" is meant to apply equally to both books. It is very obvious from a straightforward reading of the Hebrew, then the Greek, book that they are both very similar in places, and very different. Discernment is needed in separating the historic parts of Daniel from its prophetic (future) visions, for only certain parts of it can be seen to have close parallels to some parts of the Revelation. There is clear connection between the visionary beasts of Daniel chapter 7 and that of Revelation chapter 13, for example. Both Daniel and John wrote about the kingdom of God conquering the kingdoms of this world. Both pointed to the still future Last Day of Judgement and Resurrection (though Daniel's mention is slight, compared with John's.) So, the hermeneutical approach is to identify which parts are connected, and treat them similarly.

Speaking about "an Apocalypse genre" is misleading, for (as you correctly state) it was not 'invented' until long after Daniel's book. Just because John was familiar with the book of Daniel gives no proof that he set out to copy that style of writing! Lots of different authors incorporate different styles of writing without copying the material of others. However, with John it does point to the same inspirational source as with Daniel - the Spirit of God.

When writers speak of "an Apocalypse genre" they need to explain what, exactly, they mean by that, and which parts of Daniel could legitimately tie in with certain parts of Revelation. It's no good trying to tar both books with the same brush, as if the entirety of Daniel is to be interpreted according to "an Apocalypse genre". Let's drop the much later terminology and just stick to what the Bible speaks of - prophecies, visions, and signs that point to symbolic events; how both Daniel and John were used of God to write down information hundreds of years apart that could only come from God himself to reveal to his servants things to take place in the future, long after both those writers had died. When we know which parts of Daniel formed precursory events leading to John's era, which events were then built upon in his book to cover nearly 2,000 years into the future (so far), the hermeneutic approach helps the picture to becomes much clearer.

  • @AnneWhether the word, "apocalyptic" was invented later by Latins, or not, the fact still remains that this Jewish GENRE was different than the prophetic books before the Silent Years in Jewish history. In fact, some religious historians aver that the Apocalyptic genre was invented to encourage the Jews because there was no prophetic voice to do that! It gave hope, in spite of the adversity, the Jews would have a victorious Ending (at the End of history). But to impose this idea upon Daniel forces interpretation about the End of the World, when his main theme was End of Judaism. Peace.
    – ray grant
    Jun 3, 2023 at 22:40
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    @ray grant Your point is appreciated, but Daniel himself wrote of a future resurrection of the dead, some to everlasting life, others to everlasting contempt. Michael told him to seal up the book until the time of the end; the power of the holy people would be scattered, but at the time of the end, Daniel (and others) would stand up. The Jewish people know this Day of Resurrection and Judgment is still future, as it continued to be in John's day. The links between both books are clear.
    – Anne
    Jun 5, 2023 at 10:54
  • @AnneThe book of Daniel is an amazing study! I have discovered that several commentators realize that the "resurrection" in ch. 12 could be a spiritual one before death. Jesus spoke of "spiritual resurrections."(John 11:25) The End of Daniel is the "end of the Jewish nation" whose destruction lasted exactly 1290 days-1330 days. (See F. Josephus -Amazing fulfilments!). (The Jews have proven not to be good interpreters of prophecy! Ask Jesus.)
    – ray grant
    Jun 7, 2023 at 20:25

Daniel has more non-apocalyptic sections than Revelation, but the apocalyptic parts of both of them are part of the same genre and should be interpreted similarly. In saying "the Apocalypse genre was not invented until the third or second century!" the OP (perhaps unknowingly) adopts the viewpoint of scholars who hold that Daniel itself was written at that time. According to the introduction in Daniel in the NABRE,

Strictly speaking, the book does not belong to the prophetic writings but rather to a distinctive type of literature known as “apocalyptic,” of which it is an early specimen. Apocalyptic writing first appears about 200 B.C. and flourished among Jews and Christians down to the Middle Ages, especially in times of persecution.

A conservative approach to the problem of dating Daniel nevertheless includes it in the genre of apocalyptic writing. Such an approach accepts the fact that apocalyptic literature didn't flourish until around the second century b.c.e., but sees Daniel as the prototype of this literature rather than being written at that time.

One argument for a late date comes from the observation that apocalyptic literature seems to have been popular between 200 BC and 100 AD. However, most apocalyptic literature seems to copy the style of Daniel, as one of the earliest examples of apocalyptic. If the copies occur between 200 BC and 100 AD, the prototype doesn't have to be from the same period.

Conclusion: although conservative and Evangelical scholarship assigns Daniel an early date, it also tends to treat Daniel as part of the genre of apocalyptic literature and therefore uses a similar hermeneutic to the Book of Revelation in dealing with its apocalyptic sections.

  • @DanFeffermanThe OP does NOT hold to a late date for Daniel. You are mistaken! The question remains, the Apocalyptic End Time style (end of the world) of Revelation was not in existence when Daniel was written two or three centuries earlier. So is it not possible that treating Daniel as prophecies of the End of the world--instead of End of the Jewish nation--is to mistake the time frame for its being written? And to misinterpret Daniel by imposing the Apocalypse style (genre) upon it? Peace.
    – ray grant
    Jun 3, 2023 at 22:30
  • @DanFettermanYes, "it tends to" treat Daniel that way. But is it based on a wrong understanding? Do they forget to take the implications of the dating fully into consideration?
    – ray grant
    Jun 3, 2023 at 22:59

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