Foundations vs. Consensus/progress (pt. ii)

-Mystically, the Tower of Babel is the account of the incompatibility of philosophical and scientific knowledge. We can never make our foundations (philosophy) reach to the heavens (progress to include all the world in such a way that all the peoples belong to it).

-Let us make bricks and bake them thoroughly (Gen 11). The bricks make the structures; and they are “baked thoroughly”, that is, they are kiln-fired for extreme strength. The foundations have been informed by technology; philosophy by science.

-Behold, the people [is] one, and they have all one language/ border (שָׂפָה); and this they begin to do: and now nothing will be restrained from them, which they have imagined/ plotted (זָמַם) to do.

The verse here warns against the unity of language/borders, since there will be no impediments to what is imagined/plotted. Limits must be imposed not only on nations, but on the degree to which the ideas of the mind can find consensus, i.e. in language. There must be limits not just in the speculative but practical order (imagined/plotted)

-So the LORD scattered them abroad from thence upon the face of all the earth: and they left off to build the city. 

but the scattering comes with the promise:  I will even gather you from the people, and assemble you out of the countries where ye have been scattered, and I will give you the land of Israel. But the original decree can never be abrogated, and so the gathering shall not happen by knowledge or science but by faith.


  1. July 30, 2013 at 1:44 am

    This leads excellently into the intro for “Godspell”. It starts out with the song “Tower of Babble”, where a group of philosophers come on stage to sing about their differing philosophies, and end up talking and singing over each other in order to get their points across.

    The singing is broken up by John the Baptist, who comes in singing “Prepare Ye the Way of the Lord”. The only thing that can reunite these scattered people is the unity promised by John – the coming of the Messiah. When Jesus arrives he promises that he will “Save the People”, and the rest of the first act is about the disciples coming together under Jesus as they learn from his parables. He is the only counter to the chaos found in “Tower of Babble”.

    Amazing how philosophical “Godspell” really is, eh?

  2. Jon said,

    July 30, 2013 at 2:13 pm

    I never thought about the promise of a regathering by faith in contrast to the gathering at the Tower of Babel before. Awesome post~!

    Here’s a complimentary understanding by Prejean:

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