Part of our book chapter reprint series, this article originally appeared in In God’s Image and Likeness 2: Enoch, Noah, and the Tower of Babel (2014) by Jeffrey M. Bradshaw and David J. Larsen.
Abstract: This chapter on the Tower of Babel employs language artfully to express and undermine human pretensions to power. In exploring the Mesopotamian background of the story and the counterpoint between the tower and the temple, we see its relevance for the world today. The section describing the confounding of language takes both the language of scripture and the scholarship of modern linguistics seriously. The chapter ends with a bridge to what comes next: the story of Abraham.
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About the Interpreter Foundation Book Chapter Reprint Series
The purpose of this reprint series is to make individual chapters from books published by The Interpreter Foundation more accessible to readers. Chapters from large format books will be made available as pdf files, while chapters from smaller format books will appear within the Interpreter journal, making this content available in a form suitable for many popular digital readers.
Although in some instances the formatting and pagination may have been changed, the content of this chapter, like others in this reprint series, is identical to what appeared in its original book publication. It has not been updated to incorporate research that has appeared subsequently nor to reflect the current practice of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to use the full name of the Church and to avoid terms such as “Mormon” and “LDS.”