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Illustration by Nicolás Ortega. Source: “Turris Babel,” Coenraet Decker, 1679.

What would it have been like to dwell in Babel in the days just after its destruction? In the Reserve of Genesis, we are told that the descendants of Noah created a great metropolis in the land of Shinar. They designed a tower “with its leading in the heavens” to “make a name” for by themselves. God was offended by the hubris of humanity and said:

Search, they are just one individuals, and they have all one language and this is only the commencing of what they will do absolutely nothing that they propose to do will now be extremely hard for them. Come, permit us go down, and confuse their language there, so that they will not comprehend a person another’s speech.

The textual content does not say that God destroyed the tower, but in many well known renderings of the story he does, so let’s maintain that dramatic image in our minds: folks wandering amid the ruins, not able to converse, condemned to mutual incomprehension.

The story of Babel is the […]

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