NT Wright, page 108-109
Nobody doubts that the Old Testament speaks of the resurrection of the dead, but nobody can agree on what it means, where the idea came from, or how it relates to the other things the scriptures say about the dead. But since the Jewish world of Jesus’ and Paul’s day looked back to these texts as the principal sources for their widespread belief in resurrection, we must take care at least to examine the relevant texts and know how they work. Is resurrection here an innovation, bursting upon an unready Israelite world? In which case, where did it come from? Or is it, rather, the climax of the ancient Jewish hope?
Resurrection is what did not happen to Enoch or Elijah. According to the texts, it is what will happen to people who are at present dead, not what has already happened to them. If this point is grasped, a good deal becomes clear, if forgotten, confusion is bound to follow.
The text which became central for much later Jewish thought on this subject is Daniel 12:2-3:
Many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth[a] shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt. 3 Those who are wise shall shine like the brightness of the sky,[b] and those who lead many to righteousness, like the stars forever and ever.
Hmm. The previous entire Old Testament describes the grave as the end of existence, and all of a sudden the last book written in the OT starts talking about an after-life. Is it just coincidence that the Jewish people were suffering horribly at the hands of a foreign occupier at the time “Daniel” was written. The promise of God’s blessings in this life if one lives righteously had proven untrue. Now the Jewish priests had to offer the people hope of a future reward for their faithfulness to Yahweh: a blessed life after death.
So had God been hiding this doctrine in the misty fog of innuendo for thousands of years, only to reveal it now for unknown divine reasons, as NT Wright and most conservative Christians believe? Or is the belief in an after-life simply the invention of a desperate and hopeless ancient, middle-eastern people??
Most conservative Christians are not aware that the Book of Daniel was the last book of the Old Testament to be written. And, even more surprising, the Book of Daniel was not written by “Daniel” living in Babylon during the exile, nor in Persia under the benevolent King Cyrus. The Book of Daniel was written in Judea, only 150-200 years prior to the birth of Christ. It was written during the horrific persecution of the Jewish people under the occupation of the Greeks, specifically Antiochus Epiphanes. Daniel 11:31 speaks of Antiochus’ desecration of the Jerusalem Temple, and his setting up of the ‘abomination of desolation’ mentioned already in verse 9:27.
Who is my source for this information? Answer: NT Wright, pages 113-115!
I am shocked that a conservative, evangelical Christian apologist would admit to believing the modern scholarly view that the Book of Daniel was not written in Babylon, but in Judea during the time of Antiochus. Here is a quote by NT Wright:
….considering the exilic themes of the whole book of Daniel (the fictive setting is of course Babylon, and the historical setting is that of the ‘continuing exile’ of 9:24, under various pagan rulers climaxing in the Syria of Antiochus.)