How to Read Daniel by Tremper Longman III is an introduction not just to the text of the book of Daniel but also its world. Though it is clearly marketed and intended as an introductory text, I was surprised by how much depth the pithy work had.
Longman III splits the book into three parts. The first part is “Reading Daniel in its Original Setting.” Here, he notes the genre, structure, and language of the book while also providing historical context and thematic details about the book of Daniel. Daniel is something of an enigmatic book, with some clear seeming narratives combined with rather baffling visions and prophetic literature. This first part helps decipher some of these difficulties. The second part is “Reading Daniel as Six Stories and Four Visions,” which is about as straightforward as it sounds in outline. However, Longman III gives much insight in each chapter about the various visions and narratives in the book.
The third part is “Reading Daniel as a Twenty-First-Century Christian,” and I was surprised by how very insightful I found it. It’s clear that Longman III rejects approaches that treat Daniel as a newspaper, trying to pick storylines out of it to match up with modern day events. Instead, he argues that Christians can and should see it as a guide for living their lives and seeing the hope of God’s ultimate victory.
An appendix gives Longman III’s annotated recommendations on some commentaries for deeper readings. The indices are surprisingly robust. Each chapter features discussion questions, which would make the book excellent for a small group study.
How to Read Daniel is an invaluable tool for those wanting to approach the biblical text with knowledge and insight. It would benefit readers hoping to read the text either individually or in groups. I recommend it highly.
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Disclaimer: I was provided with a copy of the book for review by the publisher. I was not required to give any specific kind of feedback whatsoever.
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