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The City of Babel and Assyrian Imperialism Genesis 11:1–9 Interpreted in the Light of Mesopotamian Sources

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Chapter Summary

This chapter deals with Genesis 11:1-9, commonly designated as the story of the Tower of Babel, as well as with a related passage in Gen 10 that is concerned with Nimrod and Mesopotamia. The choice of Gen 11:1-9 may seem appropriate since it explains why the author has to deliver his opening lecture to an international meeting in a language which is not his native one. The chapter also deals with the interpretation of Gen 11:1-9 in two respects: (a) by discussing the issue of literary unity, on the one hand, and (b) by reading the text in the light of Mesopotamian sources, on the other. The story of Gen 11 represents a sophisticated text which embodies evidence for a critical reflection on New Assyrian imperialism by focusing on the building project of Dur-Sharrukin by Sargon II as the climax and failure.

Keywords: Assyrian imperialism; Dur-Sharrukin; Genesis; Mesopotamia; Sargon II; Tower of Babel



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