Abstract

ABSTRACT:

Interpretations of the Tower of Babel narrative were of great importance in the clash between Hellenism and Christianity in the fourth century of our era. Interest in the subject can be traced to Alexandrian comparative mythographers, whose ideas were contested by Philo. Later, Hellenic philosophers such as Celsus viewed the story in terms of Herodotean cultural relativity (nomos). This standpoint was strongly opposed by the Christian apologist Origen, who saw Genesis 11.4–8 as an allegory of Christ’s redemption of humankind from sin. In the fourth century, the emperor Julian introduced into the debate the idea that the nations of the world, though united by a common origin, had developed different natures (physeis) through evolution—an argument emphatically rejected by Cyril of Alexandria in favor of the new universal Christian soteriology.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1558-9234
Print ISSN
0009-8418
Pages
pp. 525-547
Launched on MUSE
2018-08-11
Open Access
No
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