A New Reading of the Prophets’ Philosophy of History: An Analysis of The Book of Daniel Based on Mircea Eliade’s Theory

Document Type : Research Paper


Department of English Language and Literature, Faculty of Foreign Languages and Literature, University of Tehran, Tehran, Iran


E. L. Doctorow is the author of novels which vacillate between history and fiction, thus posing fundamental questions about history. Since he has flourished in the history-oriented Jewish tradition, interpreting his historical vision has great significance in understanding his works, among which, The Book of Daniel specifically addresses history and historiography, so it is best suited for helping us in investigating his philosophy of history. In this essay, we attempt to analyze the historical vision of Daniel, the novel’s protagonist, by recourse to Mircea Eliade’s theory and the intellectual legacy of the Hebrew prophets. Based on Eliade's ideas, we demonstrate that Daniel's new reading of the prophets' school is born out of the dialectic relationship between the historically conscious thought of the prophets and the historical discontinuity of Disneyland, the subject of the novel’s last section. To escape meaninglessness, Daniel proposes a historical discourse which relies neither on the cycle of archetypes nor the sequence of the meaningless events of profane history, but on the discontinuity and incoherence of pastiche.


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