By Isaac Asimov, Rafael Palacios

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Extra resources for Asimov's Guide to the Bible: The Old Testament

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For many centuries, the ziggurat remained incomplete and perhaps gained fame because of its shortcoming (as does the Leaning Tower of Pisa or Schubert's Unfinished Symphony). It served as the model, one might assume, for the Biblical tale of the unfinished tower in Babel. C. Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon, finished the largest ziggurat ever built. It was formed in seven diminishing stages (one for each of the planets). The bottommost stage was 300 feet by 300 feet and the whole structure reared 925 feet into the air.

And Cain went out from the presence and dwelt in the land of Nod, on the east of Eden. of the Lord, No one has tried to identify the "land of Nod" with any actual specific region and it is usually taken to be a metaphorical expression. The Hebrew word "Nod" is related to the tern meaning "wanderer"; there fore to dwell in the land of Nod is taken to mean that one takes up a wandering life and becomes a nomad. Here we seem to have a second strand incorporated into the ancient tale. Now we are dealing not with Cain the fanner and smith, but with Cain the nomad.

However, its propinquity to Semitic Babylonia and Assyria and its long connection with both (if only through perennial war) fulfilled the Biblical criterion of the word. Almost to the very end of the Assyrian period, Elam was the great unconquered adversary of Assyria, so that it deserved being listed as an independent son of Shem. And since it,,was clearly the more ancient it deserved being listed as the eldest. C. * Aram is clearly the eponym of the Aramaean tribes. , and infiltrated the fertile regions round about.

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Asimov's Guide to the Bible: The Old Testament by Isaac Asimov, Rafael Palacios


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