Sign up ×
Biblical Hermeneutics Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for professors, theologians, and those interested in exegetical analysis of biblical texts. It's 100% free, no registration required.

I'm aware there are number of accounts of the Tower of Babel in Midrash, from the Islamic traditions, Kabalah, Josephus and the Jubilees.

For the most part, these accounts seem to derive from Genesis. But is there any independent source for the story?

Are there any accounts of how language diversity came to be that also involve tower construction?

share|improve this question

1 Answer 1

There is a naturalistic proposal which reverses the cause and effect.

In the biblical account, building the tower is the cause for God to scramble the languages which causes them to disperse.

The naturalistic theory (based in a common ancestor) says that as man dispersed, small groups developed their own branches of the language until they could no longer communicate. I know of no connection to a tower in this proposal.

Another tradition reminiscent of the tower:

American Indians did not all speak the same language, but would gather to trade or make peace and war together. These gathering included shamanistic ritual around the totem pole. It is claimed the pole itself never represented an idol.


There are theories of languages arising independently.

In opposition, there is a project called "Edenics" which theorizes that a form of Hebrew was spoken prior to the tower and that all other primitive languages were formed by scrambling the letter of each word. Common scrambled phonemes are being collected and traced.

share|improve this answer

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.