05 Flood and Babel
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Outline of the Primeval History in Gn 4-11
- The story of Cain and Abel (Gn 4)
- Cain’s genealogy, ending with the poem about Lamech (Gn 4)
- Seth’s genealogy, including the mysterious figure of Enoch (Gn 5)
- The enigmatic story of the Nephilim, introducing the flood story (Gn 6:1-4)
- The story of Noah and the flood (Gn 6:5 – 9:28)
- The Table of the Nations – genealogies of Noah’s sons (Gn 10)
- The tower of Babel (Gn 11:1-9)
- Shem’s genealogy, ending with Abram (Gn 11:10-32)
Outline of Genesis 1-11
- Goodness of creation and God’s blessing of human life
- History of ever increasing sin
- God’s major punishment of all humanity by the flood
- Divine renewal of creation and blessing to Noah
- Persistence of human sin and rebellion in the tower of Babel
- Choice of Abraham to bring blessing to all
an interpreter who believes that the Bible is the word of God, to be interpreted in the light of its historical and cultural context. A contextualist readily employs historical critical methods.
an interpreter who believes that the Bible is the word of God, to be interpreted in the light of the Church’s teaching and traditions
What does Noah's Ark symbolize?
What do the eight people saved in the Ark symbolize?
The people saved by baptism from sin and death
Scientific evidence for a cataclysmic Flood
A flood of nearly world-wide proportions: some geologists argue that strata of earth throughout the world are best explained by a massive flood
A widespread and devastating flood in a center of early human population
- § Mesopotamia, the part of the Middle East where civilization first developed, sometimes experienced terrible floods – this includes Abraham’s home of Ur, where flood deposits have been found
- § Towns have been found on the floor of the Black Sea, which was once smaller lake
- § The Hebrew world translated as “world” or “earth” in the Flood story (e.g., Gn 6:17) could also mean “country” – the sacred writers might have meant that the land as far as anyone could see was submerged
“I see no reason any longer for refusing to connect the traditions of the Great Flood in most regions of Eurasia and America, including particularly Mesopotamia and Israel, with the tremendous floods accompanying and following the critical melting of the glaciers about 9000 B.C. It may not be accidental that there are no clear traditions of the Deluge in ancient Egypt, which must have escaped the worst of these floods.” (William Albright, From the Stone Age to Christianity, 9)
Anthropological evidence for a cataclysmic Flood
The Babylonian tablets of the Epic of Gilgamesh contain a flood story that is centuries older than the oldest manuscripts of the Bible, but is remarkably similar to the story in Genesis in many ways
Other versions of the same story are known from about 20000 B.C. in Sumerian
How does the account of the Flood in Genesis differ from that of the other ancient versions?
- In the Epic of Gilgamesh, the gods are capricious tyrants battling against each other, who bring on the flood for no good reasons
- Genesis affirms a God who is always the same, always faithful, always just and always loving toward the creatures he has made
Three sons of Noah
Shem, Ham, Japheth
What does Shem mean in Hebrew?
Egypt, Canaan, Philistia, Assyria, Babylon
Which son of Noah became the father of Israel's enemies?
all Semitic people to the east: Arameans, Assyrians, Arabs
all Semitic people to the west: Canaanites, peoples of North Africa
all non-Semitic peoples of the north and the Aegean
First man to discover wine and get drunk
The final story of the Primeval History
The Tower of Babel
Whose descendants decided to build the Tower of Babel?
that of Ham
Where did the construction of the Tower of Babel take place?
What did the city of Babel, or Babylon, symbolize?
everything evil and decadent
What did the biblical authors have in mind when describing the Tower of Babel?
the massive ziggurats of Mesopotamian cities
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