Yair Zokovitch, dean of humanities at Hebrew University and a biographer of David to Bruce and his archaeologist friend Avner:
"Biblical historiography is unique in many ways because it goes from one character to another, presenting our history through people. And that history is the story of the failure of our leaders. God is our blessing; our leaders are our punishment." pg. 85
Do you reckon this applies to us as well?
When visiting Iran and learning about Zoroastrianism:
"In the battle of good and evil, Zoroastrians view death as a temporary triumph of evil, so any contact with a dead object can taint the forces of good. As a result, humans were not cremated, because burning the body would defile the fire. Bodies were not buried, because they would defile the earth. Bodies were left exposed in the open air, where they could be decomposed by the sun and devoured by vultures. This public exposure had the added benefit of reinforcing the religion's egalitarian principles, as rich and poor were disposed of in the same manner." pg. 292
Guess that would put an end to the cremation vs. burial debate, huh?
Bruce's thoughts after rereading this story while in Iraq amongst the ziggurats:
In the episode that precedes Babel, the Flood, God is so angry at humans' lawlessness that he opts to wipe out all of humanity, "to put an end to all the flesh." Five chapters later, after humans build the Tower of Babel, God no longer seeks to annihilate humans; he merely scatters them over the face of the earth. His leniency is telling. God is not threatened by humans' industry; he is threatened by their unity. Specifically, he worries that if humans put aside their differences and act as one, they will think of themselves as more powerful than God. To reinforce his view, God's response to homogeneity is instructive: He re-creates humans in heterogeneous groups, forcing them to live as distinct cultures, speaking multiple languages.
The message here is unexpected but powerfully relevant today. When humans try to create one language -- when one group of people tries to impose an artificial order on the world -- God views this as a hubristic attempt to usurp his powers and slaps down the arrogation. God insists on diversity. He demands that humans accept their differences. In rejecting the Tower of Babel, God rejects fundamentalism, the idea that one way of speaking is the only way of speaking and can be imposed on others at will.
God's solution is a cacophony of voices, living side by side. pg. 261
United we stand and become more like God, and divided we're scattered enough to never reach God's level? Hmmm
Why do you think God scattered the people into the variety of cultures and languages? Do you like how Bruce applied the Tower of Babel story making it relevant for today? I very much appreciate the thought of no one group imposing its will on everyone else. This is why I increasingly reject the United States having its hand in every world situation and on a more minor scale, why I think no one religious group should make the laws that apply to everyone living in a certain land. I don't think most people want others to impose their interpretations of religion on everyone else. Thus why I hear talk of Americans who will fight militant Islam's global caliphate plans (if there truly are any...maybe this is just conspiracy talk.)
Please share your thoughts on any of this!