|TOWER OF BABEL
A strange serious of coincidences seem to have come together to
perhaps open up another Mystery of the Bible.
1) A few weeks ago, I was asked by GCN one of the largest and fastest
growing Christian Web Sites:-
to do a weekly series of essays about "Mysteries of the Bible" and
our upcoming "EXPEDITIONS 1999."
I prepared an introduction in which I commented on what appears to be
one of the greatest problems facing the world today, that of lack of
communications. If the O.J. Simpson trial and the impeachment of William
Jefferson Clinton has taught us nothing else, it is the fact that there
seems to be absolutely no method of communication between the vast
majority of liberals and conservatives, peoples of colour and whites,
and even fundamentalists and non or partial believers. It does not seem
to be a function of education or upbringing but rather almost a genetic
manifestation. Maxine Waters is obviously not a stupid woman, nor is Bob
Barr an uneducated man but they might as well have been talking Chinese
and Russian to each other. We seem to be living in a post "Tower of
Babel" situation in spite of the fact that the world has never been
better educated nor able to transmit information to each other at an
ever increasing and incredible rate.
2) Our resident expert in Geology D. Laing was preparing a paper for
the site on the Black Sea and some remarkable discoveries recently made
which might have some bearing on the story of the flood in the Bible.
I decided, therefore to re-read carefully the story of Babel and came
upon some startling insights.
1) Genesis 11:2 states " And it came to pass, as they journeyed East,
that they found the plain of Shinar; and they dwelt there."
I had always taken that translation for granted and wanted to see
what Rabbi Aryeh Kaplan in his "Living Torah" had said about the
location of Shinar which is always accepted as being Sumer.
To my surprise his translation read "FROM THE EAST" not "TO THE
EAST". I checked another translation from the Masoretic text and sure
enough the correct translation from the Hebrew is "FROM THE EAST".
2) This of course leads to a very important question. From WHERE? And
how did the generations following Noah get EAST of SUMER which is in
3) Kaplan provides a clue in which he quotes from Targum Yonathan. (A
Targum is an Aramaic translation of the Hebrew Bible. Surprisingly and
seemingly inexplicably it locates Shinar in Pontus which is situated at
the North East of Anatolia, South East of the Black Sea.
4) A map shows why I became quite excited. If the Targum is correct
it would make more sense than having Shinar as Sumer.
Map Showing Lake Van and Mt. Arafat in the Black Sea region. With kind
permission of D. Laing
5) I set out to find Babel which must have been situated in a valley
in the land of Shinar. I therefore asked our Turkish experts to locate a
site for me which meant "Gate of God" little thinking that I would have
much success. But playing the detective was fun whilst I waited for the
executives from the television networks to make a decision about
televising our EXPEDITIONS 1999 :-).
Stay tuned for the great surprise and how we might just have to go on
three expeditions in 1999.
Michael S. Sanders
Friday, December 18, 1998
Noah's Flood: William Ryan & Walter Pitman (ISBN: