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The Tower of Babel - The City of Man



This thesis is a discussion of Genesis 11: 1-9 and the the Tower of Babel. It will examines the meaning of the text based upon its context, Hebrew exegesis, and its significance in redemptive history. This text is not directly cited later in the Bible so special attention is given to using later citations and linguistic thematic units to interpret the text in light of the theological context of the whole Bible.
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... Many things that humans started at first went well but ended in the wrong way. The Tower of Babel not only failed to build, but the group split and separated from each other (Marshall, 1997). These three things give a conclusion that through the discourse that developed, humans can choose actually, what kind of discourse can be developed to build their spirituality. ...
This paper investigates the history of ziggurats and brick making as well as the settlement patterns and development of urbanization in southern Me-sopotamia. Gen 11:1-9 is interpreted in light of this information, and the conclusion reached is that the tower, as a ziggurat, embodied the concepts of pagan polytheism as it developed in the early stages of urbanization. Yah-weh took offense at this distorted concept of deity and put a stop to the project. The account is seen against the backdrop of the latter part of the fourth millennium in the late Uruk phase. The familiar story of the building of the Tower and City of Babel is found in Gen 11:1-9. From the initial setting given for the account, on the plain of Shinar, to the final lines where the city is identified with Babel, it is clear that the events recorded took place in south-ern Mesopotamia. 1 It is this southern Mesopotamian backdrop that provides the basis for studying the account in light of what is known of the culture and history of Mesopotamia. One of the immediate re-sults of that perspective is firm conviction that the tower that figures predominantly in the narrative is to be identified as a ziggurat. This is easily concluded from the importance that the ziggurat had in the civilizations of southern Mesopotamia from the earliest development of urbanized life to the high political reaches of the Neo-Babylonian Empire. It is common for the ziggurat to be of central importance in city planning. The frequent objection that the Hebrew term ldf @ g; mi . (migdāl) is used primarily in military contexts or as a watch tower, but never used of a ziggurat, is easily addressed on three fronts. 1. Whether Shinar = Sumer is now open to question in light of the analysis of Ran Zadok, "The Origin of the Name Shinar," ZA 74 (1984) 240-44, but there is no doubt that it refers to southern Mesopotamia.