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Dating of the tower of babel

It is the 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 results of that perspective is firm conviction that the tower that figures predominantly in the narrative is to be identified as a ziggurat...

Artist reconstruction of a ziggurat (pyramid) in Babylon. 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 results 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 migdal is used primarily in military contexts or as a watch tower, but never used of a ziggurat, is easily addressed on three fronts. We do not expect to see the term used of ziggurats [stepped pyramids] in Hebrew because the Israelites did not have ziggurats. We do not expect the Israelites to have a ready term for ziggurats because ziggurats were not a part of the Israelite culture. Given the absence of a term in Hebrew, we would expect them to either borrow the word if they had to talk about them, use a suitable existing term, or devise a word.

To call the ziggurat a tower is not inaccurate, and as a matter of fact, the term they used is derived from the Hebrew term (zaqaru, to be high).

Despite the fact then that the Hebrew term is used primarily in military senses or as watch towers, the context here and the known background of the narrative prevent us from being limited to that semantic range.

A possible nonmilitary function of a In location, they stretch from Mari and Tell-Brak in the northwest and Dur-Sharrukin in the north, to Ur and Eridu in the south, and to Susa and Choga Zambil in the east.

In time, the span begins perhaps as early as the Ubaid temples at Eridu (end of the 5th millennium BC) and extends through the restorations and additions made even in Seleucid times (third century BC).

Architectural styles feature stairs in some, ramps in others, and combinations of the two in still others.

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