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The Four Empires

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Chapter Summary

The conceptualization of a world history divided into four kingdoms or empires that would anticipate the establishment of the divine kingship on earth is a motif fully described for the first time in the book of Daniel, chapters 2 and 7. Daniel's description influenced the development of a later Christian philosophy of history, and it is in that perspective that we need to analyse it. Also, this concept as it was introduced in the Bible was one of the most important factors for the development of specific lines of understanding historical time since the 2nd century B.C. within the Jewish-Christian traditions. The first well-known division of history into different ages and the one that probably influenced the writer of Daniel is the one described by Hesiod in his book Works and Days.

Keywords: Daniel; divine kingship; four kingdoms or empires; Hesiod; Jewish-Christian traditions



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