According to Wikipedia:

The introductory verses tell how, in the third year of the reign of Jehoiakim (606 BCE), Daniel and his friends Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah were among the young Jewish nobility carried off to Babylon following the city's capture by Nebuchadnezzar, king ofBabylon.[7] (This, incidentally, is the first of a string of historical errors in the Book of Daniel which have led scholars to see its hero as a fictional character, since the meticulous Babylonian chronicles make no mention of an attack on Jerusalem before 598 BCE).

Any defense against that charge?

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    why would i choose meticulous Babylonian chronicles over a chain of uninterrupted tradition? – gt6989b Dec 29 '15 at 22:29
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    @gt6989b Well that's an easy question: one could have problems with the "telephone" effect while the other cannot. If you dug up a book of Daniel that Daniel wrote that would be a different story entirely. – Double AA Dec 29 '15 at 22:34
  • @DoubleAA yes, but why would i trust them as a source of information -- if there is a live tradition that links every generation from there? or can they site an example of where we lost a date in tradition? – gt6989b Dec 29 '15 at 23:39
  • @gt6989b Proving there is unlikely to be something wrong with your claim doesn't mean that it is less likely there is something wrong with their claim. Why would you trust the Babylonian chronicle, you ask? Because it was a contemporaneous account with little chance of error creeping in over time through oral transmission. No one can cite at which generation an error crept in to the Jewish tradition, but it remains a fact that a mistake could have crept in at any. I'm not saying it did, but you can't go pretend like your comment above was logically convincing to anyone a priori. – Double AA Dec 29 '15 at 23:44
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    There are several internal and external considerations that lend credence to the historicity of the Book of Daniel. – Joseph Dec 30 '15 at 1:41

Your primary complaint is over a discrepancy of only eight years, which is not a huge amount. This discrepancy could be explained by different methods of counting regnal years and does not render Daniel non-historical.

In his Guide to the Bible, Isaac Asimov mentions more discrepancies and points out that these discrepancies tend to be in Daniel's past but the predictions which he makes are accurate. He then brings forth the opinion that Daniel was actually written during the Greek period but was set in the Babylonian & Persian period so one caught with the work could claim that it was not critical of the Greek rulers even though those who were in on it knew what it was.


Perhaps the statement in the first passuk of Daniel in which says: "בא נבוכדנאצר מלך בבל ירושלם ויצר עליה the expression ויצר עליה should be translated as "and showed hostility towards it" (because צור is a byform of צרר "treat with hostility").

If we assume that this means the passuk does not necessarily says that a formal military siege against Jerusalem take place in that year.

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