Aramaic Apocryphon of Daniel

Aramaic Apocryphon of Daniel
The Dead Sea Scrolls fragment formerly known
as the “Son of God document,” “Aramaic Apoca-
lypse,” or “Pseudo-Daniel,” and now officially pub-
lished as “4QapocrDan ar” (4Q246), consists of one
and a half columns of nine lines each. In the pre-
served text a Daniel-like figure explains before
the throne the meaning of a king’s vision: in or
after a period of tribulation, involving the king(s)
of Assyria and Egypt, a figure will appear who
“will be called the Son of God, and whom one will
name Son of the Most High” (4Q246 II 1). A few
lines later we read that “the people of God will
arise” (4Q246 II 4), that “his/its kingdom will be
an eternal kingdom” (4Q246 II 5) and “his/its do-
minion will be an eternal dominion” (4Q246 II 9),
phrases which are also used in Dan 7:27 and Dan
7:14. Due to the incomplete text of column I, the
identity of the figure who will be called “Son of
God” and “Son of the Most High” is not clear.
Scholars have suggested that he is a messianic fig-
ure (whether heavenly or earthly, or collectively
standing for the people of God, or merely a future
Davidic ruler; Collins and Cross), or, on the con-
trary, an adversary royal figure, whether historical,
Seleucid (Seleucidic Empire) or Hasmonean,
or apocalyptic, claiming divine sonship (overview
in Fitzmyer). In the first case, the eternal kingship
and dominion would be that of a messianic Son of
God, like that of the Son of Man in Dan 7:13, and
anticipating the New Testament; but if the one
who is called Son of God is an adversary, then the
eternal kingship of dominion must be of the people
of God, as in Dan 7:27. Such uncertainties make
it difficult to ascertain the relation of 4Q246 to
Daniel and to Luke 1. Collins, who identifies the figure
with an earthly messiah, argues that the text alludes to
Dan 7 and that the Son of God figure may be a
reinterpreta-tion of the “one like a son of man” of Dan 7.
Puech, however, considers the text contemporaneous with
Daniel, towards the end of the reign of Antio-chus IV Epiphanes.
There are several verbal corre-
spondences between 4Q246 and Luke 1:32–35. If
the Son of God in 4Q246 is a messiah, then there
may be a literary relation, direct or indirect, be-
tween Luke and 4Q246. However, if 4Q246 refers
to an adversary historical royal figure, then both
texts, using the phrase “he will be called” would
be using traditional terminology related to the in-
vestiture of kings.
J. J. Collins,Daniel (Hermeneia; Minneapois 1993) 77–79.
Id.,The Scepter and the Star
(New York 1995) 154–72.
F. M. Cross, “The Structure of the Apocaypse of ‘Son of God’ (4Q246),” in
Emanuel  FS E. Tov (eds.
S. M. Paul et al.; VTSup 94; Leiden/Boston 2003) 151–58.
J. A. Fitzmyer, “The Aramaic ‘Son of God’ Text from
Qumran Cave 4 (4Q246),” in Id.,
The Dead Sea Scrolls and Christian Origins
(Grand Rapids, MI 2000) 41–61.
Puech, “246. 4QApocryphe de Daniel ar,”DJD
XXII (Oxford 1996) 165–84.
Eibert Tigchelaar