From the Book of Genesis, the Tower of Babel was a major construct that left the early biblical figures stumbling over their own inabilities to communicate. Now, a recent discovery may give clues to what those in the Tower were talking about.
Digging into the past to help understand the present and plan for the future is one of the main principles of archeology. Sometimes, digging into the ground seems like a lot more difficult and time consuming practice when there is a collection of manuscripts and cuneiform tablets sitting around collecting dust yet to be properly deciphered!
Norwegian businessman, Martin Schoyen, owns quite a large collection of these manuscripts. In fact, he owns the largest private collection in the last century. Schoyen’s collection includes several varieties of artifacts, such as, “pictographic and cuneiform tablets and steles from ancient Mesopotamia.”
Perhaps the crown jewel of this collection may be a recently analyzed black stone tablet, or stele, which depicts what may be the oldest representation regarding the orders and appearance of King Nebuchadnezzar II and the construction of the Tower of Babel.
An archeological discovery of biblical proportions will always turn the heads of the doubtful and the Christian alike. Researchers have dated the, “Tower of Babel stele” to have been around 604-562 BCE. Schoyen’s collection contains many other artifacts, secular and religious alike, including Dead Sea Scrolls, Buddhist manuscripts and Australian aborigine carvings.
All of these collection pieces are well documented in Schoyen’s book, Cuneiform Royal Inscriptions and Related Texts in the Schoyen Collection, in which the Towel of Babel stele is considered, “one of the stars in the firmament.” The stele itself depicts a very strong and prominent image of Nebuchadnezzar II wearing a “royal hat,” holding a scroll or a “foundational nail,” as well as an image of the legendary Tower of Babel.
The tower shows the kind of standards that were normally attributed to religious structures of that time, following a construction of a tower with a seven story structure, almost three hundred feet tall and a temple at the top of the tower. According to researchers, this depiction is the fourth most accurate depiction of Nebuchadnezzar of its kind.
This black stone artifact, with engravings of what might have been, “the ziggurat of Babylon,” gives many individuals pause. A discovery like this is very important to religious figures as the story of the Tower of Babylon is one of the oldest in the Christian Bible. It dates back to a time when there was at one point a universal language.
According to the Bible story, the tower was built so that Man could attempt to reach the heavens and speak with God. The tower was nearly complete when God got irritated at the audacity the people of Babylon had in their thinking they could reach the heavens and be on the same level as He. So God beset the builders and workers with different languages so that no one could understand how to build the rest of the Tower.
This story has often warned readers of the dangers of trying to match God or be at His same level. The desire for power and understanding is a strong idea, even in modern times. Perhaps, if archeologists make any further discoveries, there may be the chance to further understand, if the Christian Bible doesn’t have all the facts down completely, what happened to the Tower and what exactly the original language looked like.
Author Byll Monahan, 24, is a graduate from Cabrini College in Radnor, PA. He is interested and excited in the idea of discovering the original Tower of Babel and what that could mean for Christians and non-believers everywhere.