What is the Tower of Babel?
According to the famed parable in Genesis, the Tower of Babel was a structure designed to be tall enough to reach the heavens. This was much to God’s dismay, so as a consequence, he thwarted their plans by confusing their language and scattering the people around the world.
While there are similar stories from other cultures, the Genesis tale is perhaps the most well-known version. Is it merely a Bible parable, or is there some truth behind the story of the famed tower?
Location of the Tower of Babel
According to this particular story, the tower was built in a place called Shinar. While no one can be sure of its exact location, it’s generally believed Shinar was Babylonia, somewhere in Mesopotamia.
Evidence of the Tower of Babel
Aside from depictions in the Bible and similar stories, there had never been any evidence for the Tower of Babel’s existence until the discovery of a clay tablet in Iraq.
The tablet dates back to around 600 BCE and depicts the seven tiers of a ziggurat, along with a portrait of King Nebuchadnezzar II. The text is the most notable aspect of the tablet, which reads:
“NEBUCHADNEZZAR, KING OF BABYLON AM I – IN ORDER TO COMPLETE E-TEMEN-ANKI AND E-UR-ME-IMIN-ANKI I MOBILIZED ALL COUNTRIES EVERYWHERE, EACH AND EVERY RULER WHO HAD BEEN RAISED TO PROMINENCE OVER ALL THE PEOPLE OF THE WORLD – LOVED BY MARDUK, FROM THE UPPER SEA TO THE LOWER SEA, THE DISTANT NATIONS, THE TEEMING PEOPLE OF THE WORLD, KINGS OF REMOTE MOUNTAINS AND FAR-FLUNG ISLANDS – THE BASE I FILLED IN TO MAKE A HIGH TERRACE. I BUILT THEIR STRUCTURES WITH BITUMEN AND BAKED BRICK THROUGHOUT. I COMPLETED IT RAISING ITS TOP TO THE HEAVEN, MAKING IT GLEAM BRIGHT AS THE SUN”
The text explicitly states that Nebuchadnezzar spearheaded the initiative to build the tower, assembling people from around the world to construct it. The tower is referred to as “E-Temen-Anki” (often stylized as “Etemenanki”).
Etemenanki is an ancient tower local inhabitants have long suspected to be the remains of the Tower of Babel, but there had been no evidence to support this theory until the discovery of the aforementioned clay tablet. The site was rediscovered in the 19th century by the local population and excavated in 1913 by Robert Koldewey.
Today, only some of the remains of Etemenanki are visible as much of the site is overgrown. However, it is believed to have been originally about 91 meters tall.
Tower of Babel: Fact or Fiction?
One can argue the story of the Tower of Babel isn’t entirely incredulous. People around the world built towering structures to honor their respective gods for centuries. The pyramids of Egypt, Teotihuacan, Chichen Itza, and similar structures throughout the world are all notable examples, along with the slew of towering temples scattered worldwide.
With this in mind, the idea of people collaborating to build a tower with the goal of reaching the heavens doesn’t seem that far fetched. Combine this with the evidence of Etemenanki, and there is quite a strong case for the existence of the Tower of Babel; however there always room for exploration.
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The Book of Enoch Might Tell a Different Story of the Pyramids
Biblical stories are often fantastical, unbelievable and sometimes confusing when it comes to interpreting their meaning. Of the apocryphal biblical texts, there are few more enigmatic and fascinating than the Book of Enoch, and in certain sects of Christianity these books are still part of the dominant biblical canon. But could clues from these texts provide evidence of a completely different story of our ancient ancestors, namely one involving visits from an advanced extraterrestrial race?
Giants in the Book of Enoch
When the Book of Enoch was found in the Dead Sea Scrolls, it became clear it was a piece of literature that influenced biblical writers of the time including those who wrote the New Testament. So why is the Book of Enoch not in the Bible?
Today the Book of Enoch is only included in the main canons of Ethiopian Orthodox sects but was popular for hundreds of years in ancient Jewish perspectives. In fact, in understanding the Book of Enoch, some have pointed out that it was likely the inspiration for the Book of Genesis, due to a number of parallels.
Within the book, we find the story of Enoch who was the father of Methuselah and grandfather of Noah. He lived for 365 years up until the great flood that wiped out much of the population. Enoch was taken away in a fiery chariot before the great floods by the Archangel Michael, who some have interpreted as being extraterrestrial. Could that fiery chariot actually have been a spacecraft powered by jet-engine?