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Old Testament Essays

On-line version ISSN 2312-3621
Print version ISSN 1010-9919


VAN DEVENTER, H. J. M. (Hans). Aspects of Liminality in the Book of Daniel. Old testam. essays [online]. 2017, vol.30, n.2, pp.443-458. ISSN 2312-3621.

Taken at face value, the book of Daniel in the HB seems to occupy a position outside the narrow confines often set in academic (and other) contexts that structure our knowledge, experience and, ultimately, the world we live in. Therefore, OT scholars are debating how this book came to be reckoned among the prophets, while in the HB, it appears in what is traditionally referred to as the writings. Furthermore, the notion of producing a unified text in more than one language (i.e. Hebrew and Aramaic) falls outside the formal, yet unwritten, expectations for literature, both modern and ancient. When one considers the content of the book, inter alia the exilic setting chosen for the book, the position(s) occupied by the main character(s) in the narratives, as well as the symbolic worlds created in the visions, an impression of a text outside, or at least at the border of, expected literary confines is gained. In this article, the concept of liminality will be applied to "explore ... the interpretive power, the hermeneutical reach of the concept" in the book of Daniel (see Gustavo Pérez Firmat, Literature and Liminality, 1986).

Keywords : Book of Daniel; liminality; literary criticism; Hebrew Bible.

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