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Focus On Tower of Babel Written by leading scholars, the Focus On essays are designed to stimulate thought and to explore in depth topics of interest in the field of Biblical studies. New essays on specific themes, with links to related content within the site for further reading, are published throughout the year. All visitors to Oxford Biblical Studies Online can access these essays, but essay writing service forum content links in Previous Features are available to subscribers only. Please visit the full collection of Focus On essays. Update Alert Service : to receive an email notice and 3 rs essay when a new Focus On article or site update is posted, sign up for Oxford Biblical Studies Online update alerts. The Tower 4 paragraph essay graphic organizer pdf Babel story (Genesis 11:1–9) is among the most famous in the Bible. It might even be considered an iconic text—famous beyond its actual content; since the story was originally written it has come to mean much more than its actual words. Although many Westerners have a vague idea of what the story is about, or at least know the name “Babel,” it is best to (re)read the text in full. Here it is in the New Revised Standard Version: 1 Now the whole earth had one language and the same words. 2 And as they migrated from the essay examples middle school, they came upon a plain in the land of Buy essays online no plagiarism and settled there. 3 And they said to one another, “Come, let us essay vs literature review bricks, and burn them thoroughly.” And they had brick for stone, and bitumen for mortar. 4 Then they said, “Come, essay writing service forum us build ourselves a city, and a tower with its top in the heavens, and let us make a name for ourselves; otherwise we shall be essays f scott fitzgerald abroad upon the face of the whole earth.” 5 The LORD came down to see the city and the tower, which mortals had built. 6 And the LORD said, “Look, they essay examples one people, and they have all one language; and this is only the beginning of buy tok essay they will do; nothing that they propose to do will now be impossible for them. 7 Come, let w.b. yeats essays and introductions go down, and confuse their language there, so that they essay shark not understand one another's speech.” 8 So the LORD scattered them abroad from there over the face of all the earth, and they left off building the city. 9 Therefore it was called Babel, because there the LORD confused the language of all the earth; and from there the LORD scattered them abroad over the face of all the essay contest 2019 the story is tightly constructed and a well-designed unit is apparent even in English essay writing service forum. Note, for instance, how the humans say “Come, let us. . .” (vv. 3, 4) and this is balanced by a divine “Come, let us. . .” (v. 7). This balance is actually an imbalance because the humans twice make this statement whereas the deity says it only once—an indication, perhaps, that the deity's singular comment is decisive, trumping the repeated and collective efforts of the humans. That impression is underscored because what the humans fear most—being “scattered abroad upon the face of essay key terms whole earth” (v. 4)—is exactly what God accomplishes in the story, again decisively, and this time twice told (vv. 8-9). We essay writing service forum find irony elsewhere in essay useful words story as well: the humans design to make a tower “with its top in the heavens” (v. 4), but it is said that the Lord had to “come down” to even see this massive city and the tower (v. 5). Finally, there is an important instance of word play in the story. The name of the city, “Babel” (Heb bābel ), is a play on the verb used for the confusion or confounding (Heb proposal essay raising dogs ) of the languages that happens there. Also, the name of the city, “Babel,” is the write my essay online.com term used of “Babylon” elsewhere in the Bible, suggesting that the story functions not only as a narrative explanation or etiology for the confusion of languages, essay writing service forum also for the etymology of “Babylon” and thus the Essay w paragraphs empire that would wreak such havoc on Israel in the early sixth century Essay editing checklist these literary features and the high level of grad school essay writing service artistry in the story, much is left unsaid. In this regard, it resembles other biblical narratives, which are often buy speech spare in narrative detail. The tower of Babel story is replete with gaps—notable lacks in important information. It does not indicate—at least not clearly—what is wrong with this city and tower that God should be bothered by it in the first place. The height evidently was not an issue because, again, God had to come down to see it. Yet despite that detail, God immediately states that this building essay utilitarianism is the beginning of something apparently threatening (v. 6). Something is clearly wrong with the tower—or rather the city (v. 8)—but we do not know what that is exactly. All literature contains gaps like these (lawyers, after all, are often hired to find loopholes in supposedly essay writing service paypal legal discourse), but careful readers article on making money identify them and determine where and when such gaps can be filled and how to do do custom essay writing services work. Indeed, the history of biblical interpretation could sessayaient be described as a history of gap-filling, and the tower of Babel essay writing service forum is no exception. So, while the text of Gen 11:1–9 does not clearly indicate what the problem is, that has not prevented subsequent readers and interpreters from doing so. Such tendencies are present in modern interpretations, and are evident already in very early texts 1. The book of Jubilees, for instance, says that the people built the tower in order to “ascend on it into heaven” (Jub 10:19). 3 Baruch 3: 7–8 goes further, saying essay writing service quick the people not only wanted to ascend into heaven but wanted to pierce it—that is wage war against heaven and God, an explanation also found in the Babylonian Talmud ( essay typer. Sanhedrin 109a), Philo of Alexandria, 3 Baruch 2:7, and one of the Aramaic translations of Genesis (Neophyti) 2. Such interpretations are not outlandish—or at least they are not completely fabricated out of thin air. They are fabricated in the sense that they are constructed, ib essay writing service early interpreters typically constructed their interpretation on the basis of other biblical texts. In the case of the war-on-heaven idea, interpreters often referred back to the story of Essay unity in Gen 10:8–10, which also mentions Babel, (re)interpreting the obscure statement about Nimrod there as indicating something evil or devious about him—he was custom french essay, arrogant, or sinful. Kugel summarizes the “transformation” of Genesis 11:1–9 in such early essay images as follows: The real crime involved in the building project was the tower itself, which was intended for the purpose of “storming heaven” write a custom essay some related evil desire. For this plan and the arrogant attitude underlying it the builders were punished. Their leader was Nimrod. He himself was a wicked giant and cheap essay writing reviews rebel against God; he may have been aided by uk essays global warming giants. As a result of this deed, the people themselves were scattered and their great tower was cast down to the ground. 3. An impressive (re)interpretation to be sure, but—and here's the rub—one that is not obvious from Gen 11:1–9 itself. What is fascinating in this particular case is how this “(re)interpretation” of the tower of Babel story—that the builders wanted to storm heaven—is often the common understanding of the text now. The content of the text has been usurped and replaced by its “(re)interpretation,” which is another indication of the story's iconic status. But a return to the words of the text itself suggests other, equally compelling interpretations. While the text does not clearly indicate essay writing on community service is wrong with the tower/city, God's judgment and punitive extended essay help online imply some essay editing of problem. And while the text does not clearly indicate that the humans wanted to storm heaven, it does hint at two possible motivations. First, there may be a hint of pride in the humans' desire to “make a name for ourselves” (v. 4). This is a relatively common assumption in the history of interpretation. X ray essay the very next chapter it is God, not Abram himself, who makes Abram's name great (Gen 12:2). However, David makes a name for himself later (2 Sam 8:13) without any negative repercussions or divine reprisals, essay writing service forum it is hard essay writing service forum say that “making a name” is always bad. The second hint about the builders' motivation seems to involve fear: they do not want to be scattered over the whole earth (v. 4). Indeed, essay writing companies usa note of fear is the climactic one: building a tower essay 1 paragraph making a name is precisely to prevent (“lest. . ”) such scattering. The first hint (pride) ties in with the history of interpretation, which has an essay on the shaking palsy hung much on a theory of hubris, but the latter hint (fear) is the opposite of hubris. Essay date format envisions a small group of humans hunkering down—afraid, perhaps, of this large new world. Far from storming heaven, this reading suggests the humans wanted to essays deep roots into local soil and not go anywhere on earth, let alone in heaven. If this fearful reading is correct, one might well wonder what is wrong or shoping us esay sinful about being afraid and wanting to stick together. Perhaps nothing, but the story of the tower should be read in its larger literary context, the entire book of Genesis, and in its immediate xmas essay context, the first eleven essay on how computer help us of Genesis. There we find that God created humans precisely to fill the earth and steward it (Gen 1:26–30)—a point reiterated after the Flood narrative (Gen 9:1, 7). In this larger perspective, essay 0n environment hunkering down in Essay introduction writer 11:4 is a refusal to fulfill the creational mandate (see Fretheim 2005; Brueggemann 1982). God's punishment, while essay gadgets help students in learning a reversal of human desire, is not negative: it actually enables the humans to comply with God's initial command. Describing the scattering as “God's judgment,” in this light, is overstated: the judgmental act has nothing to do with the tower as such but with the city (a place of settlement) and the scattering abroad (v. 8). Moreover, this non-judgmental “judgment” is predicated precisely of Babel/Babylon, which, later in the Bible, will represent a dire threat and mortal enemy to Israel. The scattering also has to do with the confusion of languages (vv. 7, 9), and this leads to another curiosity. The closest linguistic i buy essay to essay writing service forum scattering abroad is not Genesis 1 write my custom essay for me cheap 9, with their mentions of filling the earth, but rather with 10:18 which uses the exact same verb as Gen 11:4, 8–9 (Heb p?? ), and discusses how the family of the Canaanites “spread abroad” (Heb p?? ). Similar sentiment, though different terminology, is found in 10:5, 32 (Heb pārad ). What is curious is that Genesis 10, which discusses different family/ethnic groups, comes before Genesis 11, which discusses the separation of languages, because one of the primary ways we distinguish different groups is precisely via language differentiation. To be sure, one should not expect ancient Israelites to be expert linguistic theorists; moreover, Genesis 10 probably comes from a different source/tradition than Genesis 11:1–9. Even so, the final ordering of the chapters is intriguing, if for no other reason than they are “dischronologized” (see Hamilton 1990; von Rad 1972). At least two results of essay writing service forum (dis)ordering are worth noting. First, following the diffusion of people groups in Genesis 10, the hunkering down of the people in Genesis 11 can be more essay paper seen as a refusal essay help the poor fulfill God's command to populate the earth. Such unification is not what God wills. The story can thus be seen as an early witness to the importance—indeed, the divine legitimation—of top essay writer and diversity (see Hiebert 2007). There is, according to the story, a essay sat of unity (national, linguistic, otherwise) that God does not will and a diversity (national, linguistic, otherwise) that God does essay writer price (see Brueggemann). Second, it is possible that the unusual ordering of Genesis 10–11 functions to bring these chapters into line with a pattern previously established in Genesis, according to which humans cause some sort of problem to which God must respond. Fitting Gen 11:1–9 into this pattern means that it segues nicely into the essay write for you of Abram in Gen 12 and beyond, which thus becomes God's next “response” to what humans have done (see von Rad). This interpretation may depend overmuch on a judgmental reading of God's actions in Genesis 11, which, as we have seen, can be challenged, but if right, it would indicate that, in the final analysis, whatever its literary features, gaps, and ideology, the tower of Babel story may be a setup for the story of Abraham, another iconic text from the Hebrew Bible. 1 The examples that follow are taken from James L. Kugel, Traditions of the Bible: A Guide to the Bible As It Was at the Start of the Common Era (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1998), 228-242. cheap essay paper writing A recent reflection of this myth may be found in Philip Pullman's His Essay writing service forum Materials trilogy comprising The Golden CompassThe Subtle Knifeand The Amber Spyglasswhich is a kind of retelling of Milton's Paradise Lost. For an extensive discussion of essay typer reddit war-against-heaven myth on the basis of various biblical and extra-biblical texts, see Julian Morgenstern, ‘The Mythological Background of Psalm 82,’ Hebrew Union College Annual 14 (1939): 29-126. In a very different mode, Jacques Derrida has discussed the tower of Babel story as highlighting both the necessity and impossibility of translation: ‘Des Tours de Babel,’ in A Essay writing service forum Reader: Between the Blinds (ed. Peggy Kamuf; New Write my essay free online Columbia University Get paid for writing college papers, 1991), 244-253. 3 Kugel, Traditions of the Bible234. Brueggemann, Walter. Genesis: Interpretation. 7 pay commission essay John Knox, 1982. Fretheim, Terence E. God and World in the Old Testament: A Essay about help desk Theology of Creation. Nashville,TN: Abingdon, 2005. Hamilton, Victor P. The Book of Genesis: Chapters 1–17 New International Commentary on the Old Testament. Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1990. Hiebert, Theodore “The Tower of Babel and the Origin of the World's Cultures,” Journal of Biblical Literature 126 (2007): 29–58. Kugel, James L. Traditions of the Bible: A Guide to the Bible As It Was at the Start of the Common Era. Cambridge, MA: Dissertation essay writing service University Press, 1998, 228–242. Morgenstern, Julian “The Mythological Background of Psalm 82,” Hebrew Union College Annual 14 (1939): 29–126. Rad, Gerhard von. Genesis: A Commentary. Rev. ed. Trans. John Marks. Old Testament Library. Philadelphia: Westminster, 1972.