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The Son of Man and the Ancient of Days Observations on the Early Christian Reception of Daniel 7

The Son of Man and the Ancient of Days Observations on the Early Christian Reception of Daniel 7

Bogdan G. Bucur

Duquesne University, Pittsburgh

Abstract: The divergence between the two textual variants of Dan 7:13 (“Old Greek” and “Theodotion”) and their distinct ways of understanding the relationship between Daniel’s “Ancient of Days” and “Son of Man” is insufficiently studied by scholars of the Book of Daniel, and is neglected by translators of the LXX. This article offers a critical examination of the status quaestionis and a discussion of the exegetical, doctrinal, hymnographic, and iconographic productions illustrating the rich reception history of Daniel 7 in Late Antique and Medieval, especially Byzantine, Christianity. While one exegetical strand distinguishes between the Son of Man (identified as God the Son) and the Ancient of Days (identified as God the Father), an equally, if not more widespread and influential, interpretation views Jesus Christ as both “Son of Man” and “Ancient of Days.” The article argues against the thesis of a direct correlation between the two textual variants of Dan 7:13 and the two strands of its reception history.