In her September 11 column, “Admitting we are in exile can help us endure,” once again Roxane Salonen not only shows a callous disregard for non-Christians, but is at odds with Christian Biblical experts. I’ll leave it to others to point out her hubris, e.g. that of falsely equating the hurt feelings of today’s privileged conservative “Christians” with the real misery of exile and bondage of the Jews in Babylon. But I want to hone on just one of her exegetical contortions of the Hebrew Bible.

She makes a point of implying that the book of Daniel, Chapter 11, made miraculous predictions that came to be. The central character in this book, Daniel, is a Judean sage. He is not considered a prophet in Judaic teaching. He is situated in the Babylonian court c. 500 BCE. Salonen alludes to a Fr Mike Schmitz, who purportedly insinuates that “modern skeptics” misrepresent the date of its authorship. But, alas, according to the 5th Edition of The New Oxford Annotated Bible, Chapter 11 was written long after the “prophesied” events, between 167 and 164 BCE.

One might be tempted to think that the commentary contributors to an academic study Bible are riddled with “modern skeptics.” But Lo and Behold, the contributor on the book of Daniel is Amy Merrill Willis.. She is associate professor of religious studies at Lynchburg College in Lynchburg, Va. She is a member of the clergy in the Presbyterian Church, U.S.A.

This isn’t the first time supposed miracles reported in the Bible were rendered unsupportable, and it won’t be the last.

Ron Gaul lives in Fargo.

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