Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Seventh-day Adventist Theological Seminary


Religion, Old Testament Studies PhD

First Advisor

Gerhard F. Hasel

Second Advisor

William G. Johnsson

Third Advisor

William H. Shea


This investigation studies the identity and nature of the manlike figure in Dan 7:13-14 (hereafter referred to as SM). In the first chapter we reviewed the interpretations of the SM in Jewish and Christian literature since the beginning of the second century of our era and noted that with the exception of the seventeenth century study by Carpzov, discussion of the Danielic figure was limited to passing comments. Throughout this period the SM was interpreted mainly messianically or christologically. During the nineteenth century more substantial inquiries attempted to find answers to the identity and nature of the manlike being primarily through philological study.

Beginning with the twentieth century, Religionsgeschichte provided SM research with a new direction and the latter sought to elucidate the manlike being through its alleged roots or parallels. It was also within this stream that Nathaniel Schmidt first suggested the identification of the SM with an angel (Michael). Shortly after Religionsgeschichte made its impact upon the study of the Danielic being, literary-critical examinations suggested that Dan 7:9-10, 13 (14) was a fragment from another apocalyptic and had intruded into the vision of the four beasts. Thus it was proposed (later also by traditio-historical research) that the SM was originally an individual figure, which had experienced a more or less complex history of interpretation at the hands of redactors, until he was finally identified with the saints.

Currently an array of positions identifies the Danielic figure not only with the saints (on the basis that the SM of the vision [vss. 2-14] is explained by the saints in the interpretation [vss. 15-27]) but also with an angel(s), an incarnation of divine glory, hypostatized wisdom, or some historical human individual.

In the second chapter we probed the various alleged origins of and parallels to the manlike being within Babylonian, Egyptian, Iranian, Hellenistic, Gnostic, Ugaritic, and Hebrew literature. We employed the methodology which avoids "punctiliar" comparison by considering individual phenomena in their contextual totality before making comparison with a similar phenomenon. Our methodology demonstrated a basic discontinuity between the alleged roots and correspondences (whether more or less direct). Of the various biblical prototypes Michael seemed to offer the closest longitudinal parallel to the SM, though Daniel nowhere identifies him as the manlike being.

In the third chapter we examined the unity and structure of Dan 7 before passing to the specific passages dealing with the Danielic figure. Our inquiry made it apparent that the criteria inherited from Noth and Ginsberg challenging the unity of Dan 7 are based on inadequate data and occidental syllogistic reasoning. This negative evaluation is corroborated positively by the structures and themes within the chapter. It also became evident that the customary chapter division into vision and interpretation needs revision, for Dan 7:15-16, 19-22 consists of prophetic reactions and supplements to the vision. Consequently the saints are envisaged in the vision before the judgment.

Within the setting of Dan 7:9-10, 13-14 the SM is an individual, eschatological, celestial being with messianic traits. Though characterized by divine attributes, Dan 7 does not teach a ditheism for the Danielic being assumes a role subordinate to the Ancient of Days. Whereas the manlike figure is a celestial being, he is, nevertheless, set apart from the heavenly creatures referred to in Dan 7:10. While the SM resembles a human being, he is also distinct from the "saints of the Most High" who are human beings with whom he, nevertheless, enjoys a solidarity, for he shares with them throughout perpetuity the kingship given him by the Ancient of Days.

Subject Area

Son of Man, Bible. Daniel 7--Criticism, interpretation, etc


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