Daniel & Darius the Mede

Hi everyone,
I am wondering if anybody already found a solution for king “Darius the Mede” who occurs in the book of Daniel. The “problem” is that critics suggest that he never existed since we don’t find him anywhere except for the book of Daniel and especially that the book has been written in the 2nd century B.C. and that the author probably just made a mistake.
I know that critics who claimed that biblical characters never existed or books were written later than we (as Christians) assume were often disproved when archeologist found something new. I am still wondering if anyone knows some evidence that the book of Daniel was written by Daniel itself and maybe has approaches to explain “Darius the Mede”.

Thanks!

Kind regards,
Timo

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Hi, @timo.zikeli, here is a section from the notes of someone who knows more than I do:

"‘Darius’ may be an honorable title, meaning ‘holder of the scepter.’ Used of five later Persian rulers.

Darius may have been another name for Cyrus. Daniel 6:28 may be translated, ‘So Daniel prospered during the reign of Darius, even the reign of Cyrus the Persian.’ It was common for ancient rulers to use different names in various parts of their realms. Thus Darius may have been a localized name for Cyrus."

Most scholars/historians, at least that I can tell, do not see the possibility that Cyrus and Darius the Mede could be the same person, but looking at “Darius” as a title is a possible explanation.

Not sure what @SeanO will come up with or his opinion on this, as he is more knowledgeable in this area than I :slight_smile:, but this is something our Bible teacher suggests and something I thought is interesting to consider.

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@timo.zikeli Great question :slight_smile: Based on reading the following articles, it appears there are actually quite a few possible historical figures that could fit the bill for Daniel’s Darius the Mede, including an actual Darius. Below are some highlights:

  • arguments from silence are not convincing when it comes to ancient history because we simply do not have that many documents to work with
  • Darius was likely a throne name and not this individual’s actual name, so other historical sources could refer to the individual but not use the throne name
  • a recent article by Bibliotheca Sacra identifies two ancient documents written by the Babylonian historian Berossus and the Greek lexicographer Harpocration that do refer to a ruler named Darius that could fit the bill for Daniel (see below)

Recent Article in Bibliotheca Sacra

Anderson, Steven D., and Rodger C. Young. “The Remembrance of Daniel’s Darius the Mede in Berossus and Harpocration.” Bibliotheca sacra 173 (2016): 315-23.

Article from 1982

This article summarizes some of the possibilities considered by scholars for the identity of Darius the Mede historically.

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Shea, William H. “Darius the Mede: An Update.” Andrews University Seminary Studies (AUSS) 20.3 (1982): 2.

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Thanks for this, @SeanO! That is really good and very useful info!

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Thank you, @psalm151ls and @SeanO !!

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