A.E. Gardner, «Daniel 7,2-14: Another Look at its Mythic Pattern», Vol. 82 (2001) 244-252
This paper focuses upon a re-examination of the mythological background to the apocalyptic vision of Daniel 7. The popularly accepted Canaanite source is rejected as the points of correspondence are shown to be even slighter than recognised hitherto. Gunkel’s thesis of the Enuma Elish as similar to Dan 7 is revived and given further support. It is pointed out that whereas the question of access, for the author of Daniel, to the Baal mythology is problematic, the Enuma Elish was still being recited in the Hellenistic period.
And to him was given dominion and glory and
That all peoples, nations and languages should serve him.
Marduk is given dominion over the gods and over mankind
(Ee VI 93-107; cf. also IV 14).
They established him forever for Lordship of heaven and earth (Ee VI 100).
His dominion is an everlasting dominion which will
not pass away
And his sovereignty will not be destroyed. (Dan 7,14)
Henceforth your command can not be changed (Ee IV 7).
Several aspects of the correspondence strongly suggest that
the author of Daniel was aware of the Enuma Elish:
(1) in both there is a connection between the four winds of heaven and the stirring up of the sea or waves;
(2) a number of monstrous animals result from the sea or Tiamat having been disturbed;
(3) Qingu, like the fourth beast in Daniel, is not characterised by the name of a known creature, whereas the earlier ones are in both the Enuma Elish and Daniel;
(4) the survival of all the beasts, bar one, occurs in both Daniel and the Enuma Elish;
(5) in both texts the last beast of chaos is the most terrible;
(6) the last beast is killed by fire in Daniel and such a tradition was present in the Babylonian New Year Festival;
(7) everlasting dominion is given to One like a Son of Man in Daniel and to Marduk in the Enuma Elish.
In addition there are some correspondences in vocabulary
between Daniel and the Enuma Elish, although, with the exception of the word for
‘four’ (a common semitic word) these are not on an etymological level 34. In
key places where similar statements are made in the Enuma Elish and Dan 7 the
Akkadian does not have an Aramaic correspondent deriving from the same root.
Rather, the author of Daniel has had to use an Aramaic word with the same
meaning but deriving from a different root. Correspondences that were discovered
are as follows:
(1) ‘the four winds’ (Dan 7,2 cf. Ee I 105,108);
(2) the causative form of the respective verbs is used for the disturbance of the sea (Dan 7,2; cf. Ee I 105,108);
(3) ‘fire’ issues from both the Ancient of Days and Marduk (Dan 7,10 cf. Ee IV 40);
(4) ‘He came to the Ancient of Days and they caused him to approach before him’ (Dan 7,13); cf. ‘Draw near, approach Anshar’ (Ee II 134) and ‘He drew near and waited upon Anshar’ (Ee II 137).