Original Research

Daniël 2 as satire

Marius Nel
HTS Teologiese Studies / Theological Studies | Vol 68, No 1 | a979 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/hts.v68i1.979 | © 2012 Marius Nel | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 08 November 2010 | Published: 23 January 2012

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Marius Nel, North-West University, Potchefstroom Campus, South Africa

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Daniel 2 as satire. Readers use intuitive and acquired knowledge about genres in interpreting what they read and hear, underlining the importance of establishing the genre of a specific piece of literature. The genre of the tales in the Book of Daniel (1–6) has been researched over a long period, without leading to a consensus. In this article it is suggested that the genre of the tales in Daniel may be described in terms of satire, used as a means of resistance to foreign political oppression. Especially humor and irony are utilised in the satire to describe Jewish perception of the oppression and oppressor, and to make suggestions for acting in the crisis situation of Antiochus’ suppression of the Jewish religion. This is demonstrated in terms of the tale in Daniel 2, and specifically in the depiction of the indirect characters in the tale – the God of the Jews in Daniel 2, in contrast to the powerlessness of the gods of the mighty heathen king. In this way the true nature of Jewish oppression is pictured in a humorous way when the Babylonian gods are at the mercy of the Jewish God.


genre; satire; humor; God and gods; irony


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