The six stories and four dream-visions of the book of Daniel make up the first great work of apocalyptic, later examples of which are 1 Enoch, Syriac Baruch, and the New Testament book of Revelation. These apocalypses come from times of national or community tribulation, and are not actual history, but, through symbols and signs, are interpretations of current history with its background and predictions of a future where tribulations and sorrows will give place to triumph and peace. The Apocalyptists usually set forth their messages under the name of some ancient worthy, e.g. Adam, Enoch, Noah, Abraham, or some other figure of note.
This book appears under the name of Daniel, or Dan'el, a worthy twice referred to in Ezekiel (Ezek.14.14; 28.3) , and whose name appears also in the North Canaanite clay tablet texts found at Ras Shamra. The author was a pious Jew living under the persecution of Antiochus Epiphanes, 167-164 B.C. To encourage his suffering fellow-believers he tells six stories, set in earlier days in Babylon just before and just after the Persian conquest, which illustrate how faithful Jews, loyally practicing their religion, were enabled by divine aid to triumph over their enemies. Then in four visions he ventures to interpret current history and predict the coming consummation when the "saints" will have ultimate victory. His book was originally written in Aramaic, and the section from 2.4b to 7.28 is still in Aramaic, though the remainder is now in Hebrew.