Babel and Bible (Chapter 7)

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Issue Date
2019
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Authors
Thelle, Rannfrid I.
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Citation

Thelle, R. (2019). Chapter 7 -- Babel and Bible. In: Discovering Babylon. London: Routledge, pp 122-141

Abstract

History writing also has its own history—historiography—and two of the debates that followed in the wake of new knowledge about ancient Babylon were that concerning the discovery of Mesopotamian creation myths (particularly following George Smith’s discovery of the “Flood tablet”) and the so-called Babel–Bible controversy in the wake of Friedrich Delitzsch’s lectures. In a nut-shell, these debates raised the question: had ancient Babylonia influenced the Bible and its thoughts, or did the Bible contain a unique revelation? Did the existence of Mesopotamian creation myths relativize the significance of the Bible? The debates led some participants off on an anti-Semitic track, and Delitzsch ended up denying the Jewish roots of Christianity. With the discovery of Babylon, the relationship between the Bible and Babel became more complicated.

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