Date of Award


Document Type

Thesis - SCU Access Only


Santa Clara : Santa Clara University, 2021.

Degree Name

Master of Theology (Th.M)


James Nati


What was the engine that drove the biblical writings? This thesis identifies suffering and trauma as the core motivations for the story of the Book of Daniel. It is grounded in the growing scholarly consensus that the book of was written during the time of the Maccabean Revolt. The book of Daniel is connected to two traumatic events, one during the rule of Nebuchadnezzar of the Babylonian Empire and the other during the rule of Antiochus IV Epiphanes of the Seleucid (Greek) Empire. It describes the traumas that the storytelling community confronted under these foreign empires and analyzes how these traumas were embedded in the text of the book of Daniel.

This thesis contributes to the discourse on the Bible and spirituality in which the writing of the biblical texts is viewed as both as process and as the product of human fear and suffering. All people cope with fear and trauma in their own context. Especially, notable worldwide traumatic events like colonization and several wars impacted own storytelling and our way to interpret the Bible. This thesis pays attention to personal experience as part of a contextual theology that encourages readers to start with their own context. Using historical and literary approaches, the thesis analyzes a character, Daniel, and his community, who were suffering from depression or terror, and their response to traumatic events in their lives through storytelling. The book of Daniel was their response to the violence of an empire, and in it they engaged in the virtual assassination of a king and created an alternative reality through the vehicle of writing as a hope.

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