A.E. Gardner, «Daniel 7,2-14: Another Look at its Mythic Pattern», Vol. 82 (2001) 244-252
This paper focuses upon a re-examination of the mythological background to the apocalyptic vision of Daniel 7. The popularly accepted Canaanite source is rejected as the points of correspondence are shown to be even slighter than recognised hitherto. Gunkel’s thesis of the Enuma Elish as similar to Dan 7 is revived and given further support. It is pointed out that whereas the question of access, for the author of Daniel, to the Baal mythology is problematic, the Enuma Elish was still being recited in the Hellenistic period.
have been given dominion and they are each connected in some way to the clouds. However Marduk also was given dominion and it should be noted that in Ee II  Marduk is urged: ‘Make straight, quickly, with the storm chariot’. The word ‘chariot’ is uncertain but ‘storm’ is not. Interestingly Anu is described elsewhere as ‘Rider of great storms’36. Riding on storms’ implies ‘storm clouds’. The ‘cloud’ imagery then appears in both Canaanite and Babylonian mythology.
It has been argued that in the Bible no figure other than YHWH rode on the clouds (Deut 33,26; 2 Sam 22,11; Isa 19,1; Ps 68,34) and thus the imagery for One like a Son of Man doing the same thing must be derived from a Canaanite source which accepts more than one divinity37. It should be noted however that Daniel does not say that One like a Son of Man rode upon the clouds rather that he came with the clouds of heaven. In other words the clouds of heaven, like the winds of heaven at the beginning of the vision, are under the command of God. Just as he caused the beasts of chaos to appear, so he can bring near One like a Son of Man through the agency of his clouds. The apparent similarity of the descriptions of Baal and One like a Son of Man is not as close then as has been suggested. As far as the Ancient of Days is concerned, it has long been posited by scholars that descriptions of God as old in the Bible38 are just as, if not more, likely to lie behind the title than a direct borrowing from El’s epithet, ‘Father of Years’. In this case, the author of Daniel has drawn on Biblical passages that may themselves have been influenced by Canaanite ideas.
At first it occurred to the present author to wonder whether a hitherto undiscovered Canaanite text existed that paralleled the Enuma Elish, and to which the author of Daniel had access. It is possible that such a text existed particularly in view of the Biblical references to mythological creatures with Canaanite names. There is no evidence to suggest though that Daniel would have had access to such a myth. Further, the phrase ‘the four winds of heaven’ only appears in post-biblical texts i.e. those that had the possibility of having been influenced by contact with Babylonian literature from the time of the Exile onwards.
6. The transmission of the Enuma Elish
Naturally the question of how the author would have had access to the Enuma Elish poses itself. In recent years the provenance of the court tales in Daniel has received much attention, with general agreement that they originated and circulated in the Diaspora, probably Babylonia39. It is not