Reading Daniel as a theological hermeneutics textbook
Reading Daniel as a Theological Hermeneutics Textbook is a thesis that sets out to read the book of Daniel as a narrative textbook in the field of theological hermeneutics. Employing such disciplines as historical criticism, literary criticism, narrative theology and hermeneutics, this thesis seeks to maintain an interdisciplinary critical outlook on the book of Daniel. Two particular perspectives come to light in this reading of Daniel, both of which are inherently linked to one another. Firstly, is the perception that the character of Daniel is the paradigm of the good theological hermeneut; theology and hermeneutics are inseparable and converge in the character of Daniel. The reader must recognize in Daniel certain qualities, attitudes, abilities and convictions well worth emulating. Essentially, the reader must aspire to become a ‘Daniel’. Secondly, is the standpoint that the book of Daniel on the whole should be read as a hermeneutics textbook. The reader is led through a series of theories and exercises that are meant to be instilled into his/her theological, intellectual and practical life. Attention to the reader is a constant endeavor throughout this thesis. The concern is primarily with the contemporary reader and his/her community, yet with sensible consideration given to the historical readerly community with which the contemporary reader finds continuity. Greater attention on what the book of Daniel means for the contemporary reader is given than on what the book of Daniel meant in its historical setting. Yet, we must be sensitive to the ‘historical’ reasons (theirs and ours) that demand the acquisition of finely tuned hermeneutic skill. In the end the reader is left with difficult challenges, a sobering awareness of the volatility of the business of hermeneutics, and serious implications for the reader to implement both theologically and hermeneutically.