The Book of Daniel is a biblical apocalypse, combining a prophecy of history with an eschatology (the study of last things) which is both cosmic in scope and political in its focus. In more mundane language, it is “an account of the activities and visions of Daniel, a noble Jew exiled at Babylon.”

The book divides into two parts, a set of six court tales in chapters 1–6 followed by four apocalyptic visions in chapters 7–12. The Apocrypha contains three additional stories, the Song of the Three Holy Children, Susanna, and Bel and the Dragon.

Though the book is traditionally ascribed to Daniel himself, modern scholarly consensus considers it pseudonymous, the stories of the first half legendary in origin, and the visions of the second the product of anonymous authors in the Maccabean period (2nd century BC). Its influence has resonated through later ages, from the Dead Sea Scrolls community and the authors of the gospels and Revelation to various movements from the 2nd century to the Protestant Reformation and modern millennialist movements – on which it continues to have a profound influence.

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