View Full Version : Where in the World Is the Tower of Babel?

11-03-15, 01:00 PM
Where in the World Is the Tower of Babel?
by Anne Habermehl on March 23, 2011


The biblical story of the Tower of Babel is believed by many to be the record of a real historical event that took place after the worldwide Flood, at a time when the earth’s population still lived together in one place. The enduring archaeological question, therefore, is where the Tower of Babel was built. It is widely considered that Shinar, where the Bible says the Babel event took place, was a territory in south Mesopotamia; and that Babel was located at Babylon. However, an analysis of history, geography, and geology, shows that Shinar cannot have been in the south, but rather was a territory in what is northeastern Syria today; and that the remnants of the Tower must be located in the Upper Khabur River triangle, not far from Tell Brak, which is the missing city of Akkad.

After the biblical Flood of Genesis 7–8, Noah and his family came out of the Ark in the mountains of Ararat to start new lives in a strange world. Genesis 11:2 says that they eventually settled in a plain in Shinar; according to the Jewish historian, Josephus (1736a) (Antiquities 1:4:1), this was the first place where the multiplying group of people lived after leaving the mountains. In Shinar they rebelled against God and set out to build a city and tower to make a name for themselves and keep from scattering (Genesis 11:4). Our search for the Tower of Babel will therefore begin by locating the land of Shinar.

About the Name, “Shinar”
The word that is translated “Shinar” in our Scripture is often assumed to be the Hebrew form of this place name, but this is not necessarily the case, since Shinar was not a land where Hebrew was the local language. As we shall see further on, the language spoken in Shinar was one of the rather large family of related Semitic languages, of which Hebrew is a member, all with their own slightly different spelling variations of words. Ancient languages such as Akkadian and Chaldean were Semitic; Assyrian, Aramaic, and Arabic are included in this group as well. (See Rendsburg 2003, pp.?71–73, for a discussion of the ancient Semitic languages.) These Semitic languages were spoken in many parts of the ancient Middle Eastern lands.

The many Semitic languages, plus transcription from their writing systems, would also account for the claimed spelling variations of “Shinar.” Some versions of “Shinar” are Sanhar (Dillmann 1897, p.?353); Shanhar (Pritchard 1950, p.?247; Zadok 1984); Sanhara (Gemser 1968, pp.?35–36); Sangara, Singara, Sinar, Sanhar, Sangar, Sanar (Albright 1924); plus Senaar in the Brenton LXX, and Sennaar in the NETS LXX.1 This is not an exhaustive list, but it makes the point that when dealing with the ancient Middle East, a place name can hide out under various spellings. We will have further occasion to refer to Semitic language variations of place names in this paper.

There is a very wide range of proposed meanings of the name “Shinar,” including some that seem rather a stretch. For instance, Ball (1895) executes some rather interesting linguistic maneuvers to show that “Shinar” may well mean “date palm.” Stinehart (2010) makes a rather complicated case for the meaning, “with the Hurrian brothers,” based on the assumption that Shinar is a Hurrian, not Semitic, word. An anonymous author (Daniel 1. Living IN the World but not OF the World 2007) claims that “Shinar” means “to shake out” because this is what God did at Babel to disperse mankind. Another (Turanian–Sumerian: Anagram Conspiracy 2009) purports to show that “Shinar” is an anagram made by the Akkadians, and references a similar Turkish word with the meaning of “light of glowing fire.” Hislop (1903/2007, p.?137) considers that “Shinar” must come from the Hebrew “shene,” meaning “repeat,” and “naar,” meaning “childhood”; “Shinar,” therefore, according to him, must mean “land of the Regenerator.”

This author considers that what makes the most sense would appear to be the suggestion that “Shinar” is simply a Semitic language form of “two rivers” (in Hebrew, “shene nahar”) (for example, Rollin 1836, p.?284; Smith 1948, p.?622). Shinar, then, would be “land of two rivers,” a name closely related in meaning to the Greek, “Mesopotamia.”2 We would therefore look for Shinar somewhere in a territory that includes two rivers.

Shinar would not necessarily have been a specific country, although it appears to be referred to in that way in Abraham’s day in Genesis 14, where one of the kings that came against Abraham was Amraphel, king of Shinar (we will mention Amraphel again later on). We cannot say for certain where the borders of Shinar in Amraphel’s time were. One of the difficulties with kingdoms of the Middle East in ancient times was that often there were no permanently defined borders, but the territory that a certain ruler governed could expand and contract over time, depending on his city’s power and on treaties signed with other rulers nearby (Ristvet 2008). This concept is not always understood today because the dividing up of the land of Israel among the Jewish tribes did involve set borders that did not change, as God instructed them (Joshua 12–19); this was in contrast to the custom of the peoples around them.

(more/source (https://answersingenesis.org/tower-of-babel/where-in-the-world-is-the-tower-of-babel/))

Where In the World Is the Tower of Babel? (PDF) (https://assets.answersingenesis.org/doc/articles/pdf-versions/Tower_Babel.pdf)

11-07-15, 12:07 PM
Could the Tower of Babel be a government or a one world government?

11-07-15, 10:11 PM
There are those who suggest them to have been building a rocket of some sort (http://www.thetruthishere.com/nimrod.html).