Tuesday, May 03, 2016

Blogging the Book of Daniel #1

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I am reading through the Book of Daniel with Alter's "Strong As Death Is Love" and after three chapters, I have the following thoughts:

(1) Nebuchadnezzar, in this book, is like a character in a bad 80s sitcom. Chapter 1 ends, and he believes in God but when Chapter 2 starts he's back to being a mean polytheist. At the end of Chapter 2 Nebuchadnezzar recognizes God again, but at the beginning of Chapter 3 he is once again worshiping idols. All the growth he has acquired as has been forgotten and like Mr. Burns he seems to have also forgotten his previous adventures with the story's main characters.

(2) In a famous Midrash we are told that Pharaoh knew that Joseph's dream interpretation was true because Joseph knew the contents of the dream without having heard them first from Pharaoh. In the second chapter of Daniel, Nebuchadnezzar (strange as it seems) has his own crazy dream and while the Daniel story has many clear allusions and parallels to the Joseph story there is also this crazy demand from the king:

Tell me the dream now! Then I’ll know you can explain its meaning to me.

The Midrash writers had to have this episode in mind when they decided the same exact thing happened between Pharaoh and Joseph, no?

More as I continue to work my way through the book....

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