Item description for Daniel: Book for Troubling Times (Spiritual Commentaries) by Alexander Di Lella...
Overview Because of the turbulent times in which we live, and the approaching millennium, many people are fascinated by the apocalyptic literature of the Bible. The peculiar imagery foundin the Book of Daniel seems to fuel the religious imagination. In Daniel---A Book for Troubling Times one of the foremost scholars on the Hebrew scriptures alive today clearly explains the significance of that imagery and guides you to an even deeper appreciation of this biblical classic. Di Lella will help you to not only understand the Book of Daniel but to use it for prayer and in your everyday life.
Publishers Description An analysis of the development of the concept of "communion" throughout the Second Vatican Council
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Studio: New City Press
Est. Packaging Dimensions: Length: 8.44" Width: 5.35" Height: 0.56" Weight: 0.7 lbs.
Release Date Oct 1, 2002
Publisher NEW CITY PRESS
Series Spiritual Commentaries
ISBN 1565480872 ISBN13 9781565480872
Reviews - What do customers think about Daniel: Book for Troubling Times (Spiritual Commentaries)?
A Disappointment Apr 8, 2000
Alexander Di Lella is a famous Bible scholar. He co-authored the often-quoted Anchor Bible Commentary on Daniel with Louis Hartman. I'm sorry to write an unkind review, but this book is a big disappointment after reading the excellent Anchor Bible Commentary.
He advises the reader on page 12 that the book of Daniel is pseudonymously written in a fictional time-frame and full of forged "prophecies after the event." Elsewhere he calls the book a work of fiction and says a certain passage is "naive." He compares the book to a "fairy tale" on page 26. This is not surprising in itself since most of modern Bible scholarship has similar views.
But Di Lella wants to show the nonscholar how to apply the spiritual truths in the forged book to their lives, and that's where he has trouble every step of the way.
He says on page 12 that the forged prophecies were "not used to deceive but rather to add authority to the work and to affirm the author's conviction that God is in control of human history." The statement is nonsense. Regardless of any higher motive, for anybody to pretend he discovered a long-lost prophecy written by an ancient worthy would be deception. If he told his audience that he made up the whole story, no "authority would be added to the work."
He insists on pages 14 and 15 that he will not "read into" the text (like commentators he disagrees with) but will "read out of" the text what is significant for us today. The themes of the Book of Daniel are faithfulness to Yahweh in the face of death, that God will ultimately triumph, and that martyrs will be resurrected. Faithful Jews in the time of Antiochus Epiphanes followed Daniel's teachings, thousands becoming martyrs (as reported in 1 and 2 Maccabees.) When I read the allusions to Daniel in the Books of the Maccabees, I can easily follow the Jewish martyrs' reasoning.
But I can't follow Di Lella's. He sees the book as inspiring us to "protect the rights of the poor and helpless," to oppose "institutional sins like consumerism and militarism, nationalism and racism, and laws justifying the exploitation of third world nations..." On the same page he sees "Babylon's evil hand at work in the systematic exploitation of the poor by rich and powerful transnational corportations as well as in the corruption of judges and other government officials." These are typical applications repeated throughout the book. My objection to all this is that even if Di Lella is right about every point, he is "reading into" the text, exactly what he promised not to do.
He brings up on page 53 the fact that Hitler demanded absolute obedience "even when the orders contained actions forbidden by the moral law." Unquestioning obedience, he says, is why the Third Reich could commit dreadful atrocities against Jews, Poles, Gypsies, homosexuals, and others. On page 54 he says that the proper course for a Christian to follow is that of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego in civil disobedience.
Di Lella is Catholic. Some of his readers include the groups that suffered under Hitler. Jewish, Gypsy, homosexual, and Polish readers might think that this would be an obvious time to point out what they already know: Mussolini would have had no army and Hitler would have had only sixty percent of an army if German and Italian Catholics had followed the example of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego during the thirties and forties. Di Lella ignores the sensitive point he stumbled into and exhorts the reader to follow the example of Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King. The ony example he can think of who was martyred by the Nazis was the Lutheran, Dietrich Bonhoeffer.
These objections only scratch the surface.
Some other Catholic scholar would have done a better job. Di Lella was trying to do a task he wasn't cut out for.
I suggest you read "The Book of Daniel" that he co-authored with Louis Hartman. It doesn't try so hard to apply the book to modern life.