Wednesday, June 23

Disciple Bible Study: Week 3, Reading 3

The Tower of Babel:  Is it Pride or is it Homogeneity?

I’m participating in Disciple Bible Study, a 34 week intensive. Every day, we have different readings (except on the seventh day…resting!). I have decided to document my initial noticings from a close reading of the scripture. Well, an attempt at a close reading.

Week 3, Reading 3: Genesis 11:1-9


  • Recurring words:  'one' and 'scattered'
  • What problem are the people trying to solve?  They are making bricks, then a city, then a tall tower.  Why?  To stay together as their community grows large?
  • What problem is G*d trying to solve?  Perhaps community to insular and too large?  In-breeding a danger?  (I know...yuck.)  Resistance to scattering?
  • v. 6 - this seems to be the lynch pin.  Here the emphasis is on 'one' and that 'nothing will be impossible.'  The very opposite of with 'G*d, everything is possible.'  What are the communities we think of as having 'oneness?'
  • My NRSV study Bible says v. 6 is translated poorly in the NRSV.  (How on earth did that note get put into an NRSV Bible?).  That there is unnecesary emphasis on pride.  That in fact, the emphasis is on the 'oneness.'  Translated as:  "this is the task they have begun and now nothing will keep them from accomplishing what they have planned."  In their one-ness.
  • One-ness dies.  Diversity lives.


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