Babel, Tower of


Babel, Tower of
In the Hebrew scriptures, a high tower built in Shinar (Babylonia).

According to Genesis 11:1–9, the Babylonians wanted to build a tower "with its top in the heavens." Angry at their presumption, God disrupted the enterprise by confusing the languages of the workers so that they could no longer understand each other. The tower was left unfinished and the people dispersed over the face of the earth. The myth may have been inspired by a tower temple located north of the Marduk temple and known as Bab-ilu ("Gate of God").

"The Tower of Babel," oil painting by Pieter Bruegel the Elder, 1563; in the ...

By courtesy of the Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna

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▪ mythological tower, Babylonnia
 in biblical literature, structure built in the land of Shinar (Babylonia) some time after the Deluge. The story of its construction, given in Genesis 11:1–9, appears to be an attempt to explain the existence of diverse human languages. According to Genesis, the Babylonians wanted to make a name for themselves by building a mighty city and a tower “with its top in the heavens.” God disrupted the work by so confusing the language of the workers that they could no longer understand one another. The city was never completed, and the people were dispersed over the face of the earth. The myth may have been inspired by the Babylonian tower temple north of the Marduk temple, which in Babylonian was called Bab-ilu (“Gate of God”), Hebrew form Babel, or Bavel. The similarity in pronunciation of Babel and balal (“to confuse”) led to the play on words in Genesis 11:9: “Therefore its name was called Babel, because there the Lord confused the language of all the earth.”

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Universalium. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

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  • Babel, Tower of — • Information on the history, site, and construction of the tower Catholic Encyclopedia. Kevin Knight. 2006 …   Catholic encyclopedia

  • Babel, tower of —    The name given to the tower which the primitive fathers of our race built in the land of Shinar after the Deluge (Gen. 11:1 9). Their object in building this tower was probably that it might be seen as a rallying point in the extensive plain… …   Easton's Bible Dictionary

  • Babel, Tower Of —    From Christian mythology, this tower was built on the plain of Shinar in Babylonia. When completed, this tower was supposed to reach heaven, but this angered Jehovah (their god) and he suddenly made people speak different languages. Before… …   The writer's dictionary of science fiction, fantasy, horror and mythology

  • BABEL, TOWER OF —    from the Biblical story found in Genesis 11:1 9 it is symbolic of human arrogance and the desire to be like God. According to the story the confusion of languages and human races began with the destruction of the tower which reached to heaven …   Concise dictionary of Religion

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  • tower — tower1 towerless, adj. towerlike, adj. /tow euhr/, n. 1. a building or structure high in proportion to its lateral dimensions, either isolated or forming part of a building. 2. such a structure used as or intended for a stronghold, fortress,… …   Universalium


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