Daniel Syllabus

Daniel: Faith, Hope, and Political Satire

Syllabus

This is probably not the title one would expect from a class on Daniel. One expects titles like “Hand Writing on the Wall” or “What in the World is Going On?” Nevertheless, the more I study the book, the more I realize the nature of the book is a satire of the kingdoms of this world and sets up a tension, the need for the kingdom which is not from this world.

This class will look at three ideas that work together in the first 7 chapters of Daniel, faith, hope, and political satire. Faith refers to the faithful presence which is incumbent upon the believer in this world. Hope refers to the coming kingdom and Messiah, which God promised. Political satire refers to the way Daniel characterized the Kings in the book. In a sense, the most profound characters are not the saints, but the Kings. The profound faithfulness of Daniel and his cohort pull and strain at the kings’ hearts and called him to repent. This is placed in a wonderful, sometimes hilarious, satire of the kingdoms of this world.

The point of this study is to see how it was that the exile Jews remained both present in society yet faithful to their God. This is a tension which we need desperately to resolve in the modern world. How does one remain faithful, yet present, in the modern Babylon?  Peter told us to live as “foreigners and strangers in this world.” (1Pet 2:11). This tension characterizes our engagement with this world, but usually it is taken in the neo-Anabaptist interpretation to mean practical disengagement from the world. The resolution of this tension, and a proper understanding of how Daniel implicitly calls the saints to a faithful presence in this current world will be sought in this class.

The class will be both inductive and deductive. The first 7 weeks will be spent dealing with the text inductively. The second section, will reason deductively through the theology of an otherworldly yet faithful presence in the world, a brief history of the end of the world, and refutation of the modern secularist eschatologies of Hegel, Marx, and Nietzsche.

Schedule:

  • Intro to Daniel, and Syllabus topics
  • Daniel 2
  • Daniel 3
  • Daniel 4
  • Daniel 5
  • Daniel 6
  • Daniel 6
  • Toward a Theology of Faithful Presence 1, Irony (Hunter, Calvin Comms)
  • Toward a Theology of Faithful Presence 2, Tragedy
  • Toward a Theology of Faithful Presence 3, Possibility
  • Toward a Theology of Faithful Presence 4, Practicality
  • A Brief History of the end of the World
  • A Critique of Modernist Eschatology 
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