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The Tower of Babel


RF   2427

Richelieu 2nd floor room 13
 

“And the beginning of his kingdom came to be Ba´bel.” (Genesis 10:10).

It is through these words that the Bible mentions both Babylon and the word ‘kingdom’ for the first time.

 The Tower of Babel of Valckenborch

   
Moses derives the word “Babel” from the verbal root balal, meaning ‘to muddy or confuse’, thus giving this term the sense of 'Confusion’. The locals claimed that Bab meant ‘Gate’ and ilou ‘God’, which gives Babilou, ‘God’s Gate’. These two meanings associate Babylon with its religion.  A12

The oldest textual reference mentioning Babylon goes back to the archaic Sumerian dynasty period; around 2500 BC, the governor of a place called Bar-bar, in ancient Akkadian, described himself as the builder of the god Marduk’s temple. A13

“ Nim´rod made the start in becoming a mighty one in the earth. ” (Genesis 10:8, 9). This short phrase concerning Nimrod A14 is very significant, as he became a ‘mighty hunter opposing’ God (verse 9) A15, by rebelling against his sovereignty. There are those who believe that Marduk, a major Babylonian god, was perhaps a deified NimrodA17

 A common religious source ?

Babylon, a marvellous but cursed city,
was nothing more than a heap of ruins.

And it would therefore be easy
to forget the heritage subsequent civilisations were to benefit from.

However, with regard to peoples
of the past, everywhere the most disconcerting coincidences 
are revealed in rituals, ceremonies
and traditions as well as in
the relationships between gods.

All of these peoples have been able
to draw their religious concepts
from a common source. 

 

Numerous cultural and religious phenomena came into being in the Ancient East and some religions are an original development of these.

Christianity [...] took root more than any other religion in this fascinating Mesopotamian tradition.

 

Béatrice André-Salvini  

 

“The Church began in Chaldea.”
Cardinal J.H. Newman

 
These aspects are common to mythology the world over, whether in terms of fundamental belief in the immortality of the soul, the cult of the sun or mother-goddesses, in the concept of a Trinitarian god or in facts relating to creation or to a flood that destroyed wrong-doers, all can find a biblical explanation in the dispersal of humankind from Babylon, each cultural group having distorted or embellished their original heritage.  A19 , A110

“Now all the earth continued to be of one language and of one set of words.” - Genesis 11:1.
 
 
 

What is called "cuneiform writing" is writing

where the characters are wedge
or nail shaped.

Although the Bible makes no allusion to
an antediluvian writing, after the confusion
of the original language, various writing
systems appeared.  A111


The first epigraphic cuneiform document, written in Babylonian, was brought to Europe by the botanist A. Michaux. This was a kudurru called “The Michaux Stone”.

11th Century BC. Paris, BnF
 
What is called the Table of Peoples (Genesis 10) names the descendants of the sons of Noah and these are systematically classified by groups, ‘according to their languages’. Genesis 10:5

Far from being a human invention, it appears that by confusing the language of man, God produced completely new languages that differed not only in terms of grammar and roots, but also in the mental outlines of expression of thought. Linguistic research confirms the account in the Bible. A112
 

The most ancient vestiges of written language date back 5,000 years
at the most. And mankind's history
began in SumerA113 A114

Concerning the place from which ancient languages spread, Sir Henry Rawlinson remarked that ‘we would be obliged to chose the plains of Shinar as the centre from which the various linguistic paths radiated’. - Genesis 11:2  A115 , A116

 

There are texts engraved in stone

or on tablets in existence
which are sometimes much older
than the oldest existing manuscript
of the Bible.

However, the Bible is unique 

as it presents a profound

and powerful message.

 
It is believed that the Hebrew in the Bible corresponds to the 'only language' in use before the events of Babel due to its remarkable immutability during the millennium in which the Hebrew Scriptures were written. A117  There are undoubtedly texts engraved in stone or on tablets, clay prisms and cylinders in existence which are sometimes somewhat older than the oldest existing manuscript of the Bible.

However, the Bible is unique as it presents a profound and ‘powerful’ message (Hebrews 4:12). At the least, it merits a careful read without any preconceived ideas.   A118
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 





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