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The Tower of Babel and Yahweh’s Heavenly Staircase

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image of Horizons in Biblical Theology

The people of ancient societies and modern times have continually had an unusual fascination for tall structures. In the Hebrew Bible, however, gigantic structures rarely feature in the plotting of its stories. In contrast to this literary norm, the narrator of Genesis places two elevated structures at the center of his story, namely the tower of Babel (Gen 11) and the heavenly staircase at Bethel (Gen 28). In these two locations, the narrator appears to have situated the two structures above all the characters and the architectural landmarks of Genesis. Consequently, the paper engages the theological elevation of these two high-level spots in the creative mapping of Genesis’ subtle representations of human-divine tensions. While past studies have diachronically described the individual significance of these two vertical representations in Genesis, the present paper underscores the intertextual/theological importance of these two elevated structures in the narrative space of Genesis.

Affiliations: 1: Faculty of Theology, Stellenbosch UniversitySouth AfricaFaculty of Arts, Nasarawa State UniversityNigeria


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