BOOK OF DANIEL- The Man Berossus

Posted by on Jun 18, 2018 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on BOOK OF DANIEL- The Man Berossus

The Man Berossus

You will recall from our last blog that I mentioned that several non-biblical narratives potentially support the content of Daniel which I said I would highlight before we move forward into our study of Daniel chapter four. Please be aware before I move forward that nothing I mention in the following blog or blogs in reference to these non-biblical sources should be considered higher than the source of the Bible. Indeed, I am fully aware that many will argue that the sources I mention do not support all, or any, of the Bible text under discussion. That may appear a contradictory statement versus what I said in the previous blog which, in fact, it is not.

One of the biggest arguments as to Nebuchadnezzar mentioning his seven-year absence from his throne (if, indeed, it was literally seven years) due to his madness is that he would not have broadcasted about his illness. But to make such a blanket statement ignores the fact that he most certainly could have, and the Bible tells us that he did.

One of the principal arguments that others support is that there is not one instance of Nebuchadnezzar’s madness mentioned in any records other than the Bible. But is that true?

As we attempt to answer these charges we will meet several men who wrote several points on the history of the Chaldeans. They themselves, long silent through death, have been vilified and criticized for their work by some who say that these men had their own agendas. Or they were not accurate in their research. Or that, because one source may be different from another, their work cannot simply be true or correct. But what makes such scholars who voice such things, so confident that who they use as objections were just as guilty as those they argue against? What perhaps, is their agenda?

It is true that much of what I will mention by ancient voices have been lost. In other words, we have neither copies of what they said nor the original documents. Much of what we have are also, for the most part, fragments of their works. And what we do have are writings by several who did see copies of those works and who wrote them down in their own writings.

Our first figure is a man called Berossus. As we have already mentioned, Berossus (who is believed to have been born c.330 -340 BC) was a Babylonian writer, a priest of Bel Marduk and astronomer who wrote in the Koine Greek language. Using ancient Babylonian records and texts that are now lost, Berossus published the Babyloniaca (History of Babylonia) in three books sometime around 290–278 BC. Look what

Tatian (c.120 – 180AD), an early Syrian Christian writer, wrote about Berossus. He said, “Berosus, a Babylonian, a priest of their god Belus, born in the time of Alexander, composed for Antiochus, the third after him, the history of the Chaldeans in three books; and, narrating the acts of the kings, he mentions one of them, Nebuchadnezzar by name, who made war against the Phoenicians and the Jews — events which we know were announced by our prophets, and which happened much later than the age of Moses, seventy years before the Persian empire. But Berosus is a very trustworthy man, and of this Juba is a witness, who, writing concerning the Assyrians, says that he learned the history from Berosus: there are two books of his concerning the Assyrians.” (Address of Tatian to the Greeks chapter 36)

Note also that in the writing of Theophilus to Autolycus we read, “But so far as regards the periods we speak of, we are corroborated by Berosus, the Chaldaean philosopher, who made the Greeks acquainted with the Chaldaean literature, and uttered some things concerning the deluge, and many other points of history, in agreement with Moses; and with the prophets Jeremiah and Daniel also, he spoke in a measure of agreement. For he mentioned what happened to the Jews under the king of the Babylonians, whom he calls Abobassor, and who is called by the Hebrews Nebuchadnezzar. And he also spoke of the temple of Jerusalem; how it was desolated by the king of the Chaldaeans, and that the foundations of the temple having been laid the second year of the reign of Cyrus, the temple was completed in the second year of the reign of Darius.” (Theophilus to Autolycus, Book 3, chapter 29)

One could argue against such critics who are quick to accuse these ancient voices of having their own agenda that Berossus, a pagan priest of the Babylonian false god Marduk certainly could have written the history of the Chaldeans that would have pictured them in good light. But he chose instead to mention several points that are confirmed in the Bible. Note that Tatian says that Berossus mentioned King Nebuchadnezzar by name as well as confirming the seventy-year desolation of Jerusalem, as foretold by Jewish prophets. One of those prophets was certainly Jeremiah who foretold such events. Note Tatian also states that Berossus was a very trustworthy man despite being a pagan.

Theophilus also agrees with Tatian in that much of what he writes says that Borussus corroborates the Biblical record.

We will speak more of Berossus and many others in the next several blogs.