Matthias Henze has prepared the editio princeps of the Syriac Apocalypse of Daniel, a hitherto unknown apocalypse composed in the early seventh century AD in Syriac and preserved in a single manuscript. This legendary document has gone practically unnoticed by scholars. Henze brings this historical text to the greater academic community by providing a reliable English translation, the original edition of the Syriac text, and detailed commentary throughout the text.
Like the biblical Daniel on which it is closely modeled, the Syriac Apocalypse of Daniel is a historical apocalypse, meaning it has two parts: the first part relates the adventures of Daniel in midrashic form, from his deportation by Nebuchadnezzar until his return to Persia from Jerusalem, which he visits with King Darius. Upon returning to Persia, Daniel has a sequence of apocalyptic visions, which are recorded in the latter, eschatological part of the text and which describe the gradual unfolding of the end of time.
The Syriac Apocalypse has preserved a number of motifs worth exploring: the messianic woes, the Gates of the North erected by Alexander the Great, a description of Antichrist’s physiognomy, the Second Coming of Christ, and the new Jerusalem. Equally important, the Syriac Apocalypse of Daniel bears testimony to the vibrant apocalyptic currency in Syriac Christianity.
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