One World Language: The Babel event

This is for Sealkin, I wasn’t thinking last night after 11 hours of writing. I do have something that makes the basic claim of Babel that we spoke one language true. Here it is

This is in answer to Sealkin’s question last night. After writing for 11 hours yesterday, I wasn’t thinking in my answer. Yes, I have something that makes at least part of the Babel story valid–we seem to once had a common language.

Many Christians and non-christians alike have questioned
the reality of the Tower of Babel or ignored it altogether. Indeed, other
than in young-earth literature it is difficult to find a reference to this event. Andrew White, in A History of
the Warfare between Science and Theology in Christendom, attacks the very idea of the story. Davis
Young omits it in his book, The Biblical Flood. Bernard Ramm in The Christian View of Science and
Scripture makes only the slightest reference to it. Obviously, this story causes some concern or
embarrassment among Christian apologists who steer far from it.

However, since this event is in the Bible one must face the question of whether it is a real event or if it is merely an allegory. During the past decade some evidence has been developed which does support one aspect of the story–the contention that the entire human race once spoke the same language. Merrit Ruhlen (not a creationist) points out much of this data in his book, Merritt Ruhlen, The Origin of Language, (New York: John Wiley and Sons, 1994). These are from some posts I made to the ASA listserv and TheologyWeb:

Within the past decade some linguists have found evidence of a former unity among languages. Not all linguists accept this data, but Joseph Greenberg (one of the foremost linguists of this century who produced the classification of African languages now in use) and Merritt Ruhlen have argued for much wider connections among the languages.

First, I would also point people to my article Morton, G. R. (2002) “Language at the Dawn of Humanity,” Perspectives on Science and Christian Faith, 54(2002):3:193-194. This discusses some work presented at the 2001 meeting of the American Society of Human Genetics, There are two click languages Sandawe and Hadza, which are spoken by two groups which were believed to be related, although for years linguists had noted that the languages themselves seem very very distant in spite of sharing the same characteristic of having click sounds included in the language. Alec Knight, Joanna Mountain and colleagues analyzed the Y chromosomes of the two groups and found that these two groups were genetically the most distant pair of populations on earth. In other words, their last common ancestor was as long ago as 100,000 years. The abstract says:

A. Knight1, P.A. Underhill2, H.M. Mortensen, A.A. Lin, D. Louis, M. Ruhlen, J.L. Mountain,“Y
chromosome and mtDNA variation in linguistically diverse peoples of Tanzania: Ancient roots and
ancient clicks”

"We analyzed genetic variation in 122 “unrelated” individuals from the vicinity of Lake Eyasi in north-central Tanzania, to recover aspects of population history and human evolution. Representatives of the four linguistic phyla of Africa were studied, including 50 Hadzabe (or Hadza) foragers. We present a Y chromosome phylogeny derived from unique event polymorphisms (UEPs). We also present Y chromosome microsatellite variation within UEP-defined clades, mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) fragment polymorphisms, and nucleotide sequences of both mtDNA control region hypervariable segments. When compared to other African population data, our results reveal elements of prehistory relevant to the evolution of anatomically modern humans, including migration, gene flow, and language. We were able to distinguish recent gene flow from ancient demographic signatures. Hadzabe are strongly differentiated from other groups, have high genetic diversity, and exhibit comparatively great genetic distance from the !Kung of southern Africa, suggesting great antiquity for click (Khoisan) languages.

end of abstract

This was also reported in Science News, Oct. 27,2001.

What they concluded was that these two groups of people shared a common genetic and linguistic history 100,000 years ago but went their separate ways in both areas. The data seems to indicate that one of the earliest human languages belongs to the click family (Khoisan family).

Now that data demonstrates the likelihood of language at least 100,000 years ago, not the 60 kyr of Hugh Ross’s view. And the anatomical data seems to indicate that mankind was speaking at least 3 times longer. Theology and apologetics simply must deal with this issue. But are there other connections?

Linguistics
One of the ways such connections are found is in the same sound being used in different languages and language families (cognates). The words that appear most stable across language family boundaries are those which are very essential or personal or relational. The data listed below, while not proving the Tower of Babel story does support the original contention that mankind did speak one language which is one of the claims of the Bible.

I will discuss only two words, water and finger(aqwa and tik), but there are lots of other words that unite the world’s languages.
These include (Ruhlen p. 105)
sound meaning
papa father
mama mother kaka brother/uncle
ku who
ma what (ma is used in Mandarin as a question indicator)
pal two
akwa water
tik finger
kanV arm
boko arm
bunku knee
sum hair
putV vulva
cuna nose smell
KamV squeeze
parV fly

(the capital V represents a vowel whose original pronunciation is unknown)

Ruhlen states:

" Another striking resemblance among the world’s language families is a word whose original meaning was probably ‘finger’ (though it has evolved to ‘one’ and ‘hand’[=‘fingers’] in many languages), and whose originalform was something like tik. I first became aware of the widespread nature of this root at a public lecture that Greenberg gave at Stanford in 1977, in which he mentioned three roots that were widely distributed around the world: tik ‘finger,’ pal ‘two’ (which we will look at in the following section), and par ‘to fly.’ As you no doubt noticed in your examination of Table 10, no less than eight of the twelve families show traces of tik ‘finger,one,’ namely, Nilo-Saharan (B), Niger-Kordofanian ©, Afro-Asiatic (D), Eurasiatic (G), Dene-Caucasian (H), Austric (I), Indo-Pacific (J) and Amerind (L) " ~Merritt Ruhlen, The Origin of Language, (New York: John Wiley and Sons, 1994), p. 115

Linguistic symbols and evolution of sounds

? sounds like tt’s in bottle when pronouced like by a cockney in London. I need to point out the sound changes that linguists have found

d->z
g->k
k->g
p->f->h
k->x->h
k->?
d->z
t->d
t->th->s
i->y
u->w

Linguists look at sounds and how they change and then compare cognates from different languages looking for a pattern. This is illustrated by the following data regarding African languages: You can scroll the boxes below to see all the words

Language       sound                  meaning
Fur             tek                     one
Maba            tek (tuk)               one
Nera            dekk-u                  one
Dinka           tok                     one
Berta           diikoni                 one
Mangetu         t'e                     one
Kwama           seek-o                  one   t changed to s
Bari             to                     one
Jur             tok                     one
Twampa          de?                     one
Komo            de                      one

Ruhlen states,

"In 1972 the American linguist Edgar Gregersen presented substantial evidence connecting two of Greenberg's four African families, Nilo-Saharan and Niger-Kordofanian.  One of the pieces of evidence he offered was Niger-Kordofanian forms that appeared cognate with the Nilo-Saharan forms just cited." ~Merritt Ruhlen, The Origin of Language, (New York: John Wiley and Sons, 1994), p. 115-116 

**Tik, Finger/One**

**Niger-Kordofanian family**

Fulup          qsik~sex                finger (~ separates variant pronunciations)
Nalu            te                      finger
Gur             dike                    one
Gwa             dogbo                   one
Fon             dokpa                   one
Ewe             deka                    one
Tonga           tiho                    finger
Chopi           t'ho                    finger
Ki-Bira         zika                    finger
Ba-Kiokwa       zigu                    finger 

**Afro-Asiatic family of North Africa**

Oromo           toko                    one
West Gurage     tegu                    only one
Yaaku          tegei                   hand
Saho            ti                      one
Bilin           tu                      one
Tsamai          dokko                   one
Nefusa          tukod                   finger
Hausa           tak                     only one
Gisiga          tekoy                   one
Gidder          te-teka                 one
Logone          tku                     first 

**Eurasiatic family**

**Indoeuropean branch**

Indoeuropean root deik
Latin           dig-itus                finger
Latin           indeks                  forefinger
English         toe                     toe
Old English     tahe                    toe
Latin           Decem                   10 

**Uralic   branch**

Votyak          odik                    one
Zyrian          otik                    one 

**Turkic branch** 

Chuvash         tek                     only, just
Uighur          tek                     only merely
Chagatai        tek                     only, single
Turkish         tek                     only
Turkish         teken                   one by one
Korean          tayki                   one, thing
Old Korean      tek                     10
Ainu            tek                     hand
Ainu            atiki                   five
Japanese        te                      hand
Chuckchi-
Kamchatkan      itygin                  paw-foot 

**Eskimo-Aleut**

Upik            tik-iq                  index finger
Inupiaq         tik-iq                  index finger
Inupiaq         Tikkuagpaa              he points to it
Attu            tik-laq                 middle finger
Attu            atgu                    finger
Attu            tagataq                 one 

**Dene-Caucasian**

Rai             tik(-pu)                one
Nung            thi                     one
Tibetan         (g-)tsig                one 

**Yeniseian branch**

Ket             tek                     finger
Punpokol        tok                     finger
Kott            tog-an                  finger 

**Na-Dene branch**

Haida           ta                      with the fingers
Tlingit         t-eeq                   finger
Tlingit         Tek                     one
Eyak            tikhi                   one
Sarsi           tlik                    one
Kutchin         (i-)Tag                 one
Hupa            ta?                     One
Navajo          ta?                     One 

**Austric family**

**Austroasiatic branch**

Kharia          ti?                     Hand
Riang           ti?                     Hand
Wa              tai?                    Hand
Khmer           tai                     hand
Vietnamese      tay                     hand 

**Daic branch**

Li              dlian                   finger
Northern Li     tlean,then              finger
Loi             then,cian               finger
Tasmanian       motook                  forefinger
 SE tasmanian    togue                   hand
Boven Mbian     tek                     fingernail
Digul           tuk                     fingernail 

*Amerind languages**

**North American Amerind Family**

Nootka          taka                    only
Mohawk          tsi?er                  Finger
Sierra Miwok    tika?                   Index finger
Wintun          tiq-eles                ten
Nisenan         tok-                    hand
Mixe            to?k, tuk               one
Sayula          tu?k                    one
Tzeltal         tukal                   alone
Quiche          tik'ex                  carry in the hand
Karok           tik                     finger,hand
Achumawi        wa-tuci                 finger
Washo           tsek                    finger
Yana            'tgi-                   alone
East Pomo       bi'yatsukai             finger
Arraarra        teeh'k                  hand
Pehtsik         tiki-vash               hand
Akwa'ala        asit-dek                one
Nahua           tiikia?a                one
Pima bajo       cic                     one
Mazatec         cika?a                  alone
Tarahumara      sika                    hand         
Mangue          tike                    one 

**South America Amerind family**

Chibcha         ytiquyn                 finger
Chibcha         Acik                    by ones
Borunca         etsik                   one
Guatuso         dooki                   one
Shiriana        ithak                   hand
Ulua            tinka-mak               finger
Paez            teec                    one
Cahuapana       itekla                  finger,hand
Jebero          itokla                  finger,hand
Qawashqar       takso                   one
Siona           tekua                   one
Siona           teg-li                  five
Canichana       eutixle                 finger
Yupua           di(x)ka                 arm
Uasona          dikaga                  arm
Upano           tikitik                 one
Aguaruna        tikij                   one                
Murato          tici                    hand
Uru             ti                      one
Chipaya         zek                     one
Itene           taka                    one
Guamo           dixi                    finger
 Katembri        tika                    toe
Yuracare        tece                    thumb
Kukura          tikua                   finger
Accaqwai        tigina                  one
Ocaina          dikabu                  arm
Mataco          otejji                  one
agnani         etegueno                finger
Sensi           (nawis)-tikoe           one(finger)
Cavinena        eme-toko                hand
Botocudo        (po-)cik                one(finger)
Botocudo        jik                     alone
~Merritt Ruhlen, The Origin of Language, (New York: John Wiley and Sons,
1994), p.115-119

I would add the example from the Sino-Tibetan family, Mandarin in which under the rule that d->z, the word for point is zhichu and the word for first is diyi.

Ruhlen presents a lot of data on three of the words which indicate a former connection. The word I am going to relate is water. The same sound is found over the world representing either water, or activities in and on water, including drinking, lakes, rivers, creeks etc.

Aq’wa 'water’

Everyone has used the root ‘aqua’ as in ‘aquamarine’ and aquarium in Spanish the term is agua. In Latin aqua means water. There appears to be a root akwa or aqua which appears over and over in language family after language family with this sound associated with water, river/drink etc. I must emphasize that the table below is phonetic not proper spelling. The phonetic sounds are as follows x=ks or qs, the symbols ? , ) etc are my best representations of the phonetic symbols used in Ruhlen’s book. There is a difference between a single ) and a () pair, the pair represents the sound quality of the consonant.

Ruhlen postulates that the original word for water was aqwa. Some languages lost the first part and the word became qwa or kua and some lost the last part and the word became aq or ak. Some languages added parts. K’s changed to g’s or x’s according to normal rules of linguistic change. One could postulate that the word water came from a variation on the Ainu word for water Wakka, which then became watta or something like that. Anyway, here is some of the evidence for an originally single language among humans. Not all of the words make the case to this non-linguist, but there is enough similarity to make me take notice of what Ruhlen is saying. many of the words listed below have the q, k or ks sound in them. These sounds are made similarly by our mouths.

**Afro-Asiatic family**

language      sound             meaning
Janjero         akka                    water
Kaffa           aco                     water
Mocha           ac'o                    water
Gofa            hacca                   water
Shinasha        ac'c'o                  water
Badditu         wat'e                   water
Agaw            aq                      water
biln            ?aq                     water
Xamir           aq(w) a         drops of water
Quara           axu                     water
Avia            axu                     water
Damot           ago                     water
Hadiyya         wo?o                    water
Tamboaro        waha                    water
Sidamo          waho                    water
Iraqw           aha                     drink 

**Khoisan family of southern Africa**

!O !Kung        kau                     rain
!Kung           k''a                    drink
!Kung           kau                     rain
!Naron          k''a                    drink
|Kam-ka         !ke k''wa               drink
|Kam-ka         !kekau                  rain
||Ng!Ke         k''a                    drink
||Ng!Ke         kau                     to rain
Batwa           k''a                    drink
|Auni           k''a                    drink
Masarwa         k''a                    drink
|Nu||en         k''a                    drink 

**Nilo-Saharan Family**

Fur             k)I                     rain
Nyimang         kwe                     water
So              kwe?                    Water
Ik              cue                     water
Mangbetu        equo                    water
Berta           k)I                     rain, cloud
Kwama           uuku                    water
Anej            agu-d                   cloud 

**Indo European Family**

Latin           ak(w)a                  water
Hittite         eku                     water
Luwian          aku                     water
Palaic          ahu                     drink
Italian         akkwa                   drink
Provencal       aiga                    water
Catalan         aigwa                   water
Spanish         agwa                    water
Portuguese      aqwa                    water
Rumanian        ape                     water
Sardinian       abba                    water
Germanic        ahwa                    river  old Germanic manuscripts-modern German lost root
Tocharian       yok                     drink 

**Eurasiatic Family**

     
Ainu            Wakka                   water
Ainu            ku                      drink
Japanese        aka                     bilge water 

**Dene-Caucasian Family**

Chechen         aq                      suckle
Burushaski      hagum                   wet
Newari          kwo                     river
Khaling         ku                      water
Kachin          k(h)u                   water 

**Indo Pacific family**

Awyu            okho                    water/river
syiagha         okho                    water
Yareba          ogo                     water
Yonggom         oq                      water
Ninggirum       ok                      water 

**Amerind--native American**

Yurok           -'k(w)                  suffix indicating movement on water
Quileute        kwaya                   water
Kwakwala        yax                     thin liquid
Bella Bella     yug(w)a         rain
Snohomish       q(w)a?                  water
Squamish        q(w)u                   water
Squamish        q(rw)et         wet
Nbisqualli      ko                      water
Nbisqualli      okokwa                  drink
Lkungen         kwa                     water
Lkungen         q(w)aq(w)a?             water
Twana           q)?                     water 
Twana           yeq(rw)                 wash
Shuswap         kwo                     water
Caddo           koko                    water
Caddo           yoyakka                 drink
Wichita         kik'a                   drink

Penutian branch
Nass            ak(j)-s                 water
Twsimshian      aks                     drink
Tsimshian       yaks                    wash
Takema          ug(w)                   drink
Siuslaw         inq'aa                  river
Nez Perce       k'u                     drink
Molale          ?uquns                  water
Klamath         joq'                    wash
N. Sahaptin     -tkwa                   go in water
Wintun          wak'ai                  creek
Wintun          yuqa?                   Wash
Rumsien         uk                      drink
Yokuts          ?ukun                   drink
Lake Miwok      kiik                    water
Saclan          kiko                    water
Miwok           kiky                    water
Zuni            k'a                     water
Zuni            k'I                     become wet
Yuki            uk'                     water
Chitmacha       ?ak-                    water
 Atakapa         ak                      water
Chickasaw       oka?                    Water
Hitchiti        uki                     water
Tetontepec      uu?k                    drink
Zoque           ?uhk                    drink
Yucatec         uk'                     be thirsty
Yucatec         yok-ha                  river
Kekchi          u?ka                    drink

Hokan branch
Chimariko       aqa                     water
Kashaya         ?ahq(h)a                water
Kashaya         q'o                     drink
North Pomo      ?ahk(h)a                water
North Pomo      k'o                     drink
SE Pomo         xa                      water
S. Pomo         ?ahk(h)a                water
East Pomo       xak(h)                  wet
Shasta          ?atta                   water
Washo           asa                     water
Karok           ?as                     water
Esselen         asa(-nax)               water
Chumash         aho                     water
Seri            ?ax                     water
Seri            Kiihk                   wet
Yuma            axa?                    Water
Mohave          aha                     water
Yavapai         ?aha?                   water
Diegueno        ?axa                    water
Quinigua        kwa                     water
Tonkawa         ?ax                     water
 Comecrudo       ax                      water
Tequistlatec    l-axa?                  Water

Central Amerind branch
Otomi           nk'a                    wet
Cuicatec        ku?u                    drink
Tewa            pokwin                  lake
Tewa            kwan                    rain

South America Amerind
Chibchan-Paezan branch
Shiriana        koa                     drink
Chimila         uk                      drink
Binticua        agan                    drink
Allentiac       aka                     water

 Andean branc Amerind
Iquito          aqua                    water
Quechua         yaku                    water
Quechua         hoq'o                   get wet
Aymara          oqo                     swallow
Mapudungu       ko                      water
Genneken        iagup                   water
Yamana          aku                     lake

Macro-Tucanoan brach
Cubeo           oko                     water
Bahukiwa        oko                     water
Bahukiwa        uku-mi                  he is drinking
Bahukiwa        okobo                   rain
Tucano          axko                    water
Erulia          oxko                    water rain
Barasano        oko                     water
 Wanana          ko                      water
Yahuna          okoa                    rain
Auake           okoa                    water river

Equatorial branch
Esmeralda       kebi-axa                let's drink
Ayore           oxi?                    Drink
Kabishana       aku                     water
Amniape         aku                     water
Wayoro          uru                     water
Mekens          iki                     water
Guarani         aki                     wet
Guarani         I?u                     drink
Kamayura        ?akim                   wet
Kamayura        I?u                     drink
Quitemo         ako                     water
Uaraicu         waka                    wash
Terena          oko                     rain
Chipaya         ax                      wash
Guana           uko                     rain
Apurina         iaka                    wet
Amarakaeri      iyako                   lake

Macro-Carib branch
Witoto          hoko                    wash
Yagua           Xa                      water
Taulipang       ai?ku                   wet
Macusi          u-wuku                  my drink
Macusi          Aiku                    wet
Waiwai          woku                    drink

Macro-Panoan branch

Lule            uk                      drink
Guachi          euak                    water
Caduveo         yakip(a)                drink
Suhin           I-yoke                  drink
Mayoruna        waka                    water
Mayoruna        oakanu                  drink
Culino          Yaku                    water
Culino          waka                    river
Amahuaco        wakum                   water
Amahuaco        aiyaki                  drink
Nocoman         wakoja                  river
Huarayo         hakua                   wash
Cavinena        igi                     drink

Macro-Ge branch
Bororo          ku                      drink
Koraveka        ako                     drink
Fulnio          waka                    lake
Caraja          axu                     lake
Kamakan         kwa                     drink
Palmas          goi                     water
Apucarana       (n)goyo                 water
Delbergia       ng)yo                   water
Apinage         inko                    water river
Crengez         ko                      water
Cayapo          ngo                     water
Cayapo          ikon                    drink
Chavante        ko                      water
Cherente        ko                      water
Chicriaba       ku                      water
Aponegicran     waiko                   drink
Suya            ikone                   drink

~Merritt Ruhlen, The Origin of Language, (New York: John Wiley and Sons, 1994), p. 107-115

I would add the word from the Sino-Tibetan language, Mandarin, Kou ke which means thirst.

One other late edition here is that research reported July, 2004 noted that the word papa occurred in 700 out of 1000 languages which the authors studied. These 700 languages were from all different language families. In Mandarin, Baba means father. see http://www.newscientist.com/news/news.jsp?id=ns99996188

So, I would say, that there very well may be linguistic evidence of a common root for these words throughout the world’s language. This is consistent with the Biblical assertion that humanity once spoke a common language. That being said, the thing wrong with young-earth views of this is that they place Babel far too late in history.

I don’t believe that this event was experienced by all the world’s population. Nothing really requires that view, that I can see. It is interesting, though, how widespread the sounds are.

When would I place the Babel event? I would guess between 100,000 and 200,000 years ago, before the second wave out of Africa. This second wave largely replaced the scattered older peoples like Denisovians, Neandrthals and archaic Homo sapiens. I think we speak languages from this second wave but they were split up.

While we may never find a site for Babel, we do have evidence of its primary claim that all humanity once spoke a single language.

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I’ve seen reconstructions of phylogenetic trees that look something like this:

Source: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/299878405_Language_Evolution_and_Human_History

Just in general though, it’s not surprising to have some common origin like thing for language with various bottlenecks of Homo sapiens. Given there have been several regional bottlenecks as well we should see convergence of language the further back we go. I’m not sure how this adds any kind of support for an actual tower of Babel event which seems to actually be taking place sometime around 3000 BC. Perhaps you can have something kind of babel like with population groups splitting and then accumulating their own variations on an ancestral populations language.

I’m not sure where we get to the point where we go throughout history and find various events that have occurred in the past and say well that kind of sounds like what I read in the Bible when one assumes that the Bible is accounting specific historical events. You can do this for pretty much anything in the old testament and it seems like like yourself and other concordists can write an awful lot trying to connect history as we continue to understand more to phrases in the Bible.

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You question or dismiss anything in the bible, then you must question or dismiss everything in the bible

Like other stories in Genesis, this is a story I take seriously as having historical content but subject to correction of the details according to the discoveries of science. In particular I see this story as God’s solution to the problems which led to the flood, avoiding a repeat of such a necessity. By obstructing our efforts to build a one world culture, God employed some of the same evolutionary strategies of diversity and competition in the development of human society. Thus we would not find ourselves stuck in a monolithic social system dominated by evil, but could escape to other nations where better values could prove their greater strength.

That should be “question and possibly dismiss”. Just because we question doesn’t mean we have to dismiss everything. Only in your world does a question automatically mean dismissal.

I think I concur there. I see no reason to doubt that the Tower of Babel could at the very least be based on a real, historical event, even if we don’t know exactly where or when it took place.

Wookin, do you have anything informed and constructive to add to this conversation, or are you just here to point fingers and make accusations like the Pharisees?

Oh and it’s called “the Bible” by the way. Not “the bible”.

:thinking: I never said that if we question something, then we have to dismiss it.

I said, if you question or dismissing one thing in the bible, then we have to question or dismiss everything in the bible

Are you seeing the irony?

Dear Matthew,
Thank you for this. Yes that is consistent with reattach I have quoted in the past that the first language is dated to about 8,500 BCE and all other languages came from this as your graphic demonstrates. The word Baba-el has turned out to be a much older word than Sumarian or Babylonian also. It dates back to the earliest language and means “God the Father”.

So trying to place the tower of Babel into the 16 the century BCE or earlier does not make sense on two grounds. 1) there were already many languages (as per your chart) and 2) the meaning of “building a tower to Heaven” for the enlightened sons of Noah did not mean a physical structure, but a connection with the Father, to whom they dedicated their life and their work. (As Jesus taught.)

@Wookin_Panub I know you believe you can’t dismiss anything in the Bible (notice the capital B) but the way you are wording this you are implying you can’t question anything also. I don’t agree that dismissing one thing requires that I dismiss everything. That is just the typical YEC slippery slope argument.

I would love to know how you dated the babel event. There are no remains to date via c14, ,there is only a story and they don’t yield dates except in the biases of men

Edited to add: I don’t really care when babel happened, as I said in my opening post I don’t think it necessarily affected all humanity. It just seems to me that if one is going to state a date one should state how he got that date.

One other thing, I know different aspects of language evolve at different rates. I am at md anderson for my treatment tomorrow so don’t have my database available to look up glottochronology, I just remember something along those lines.

Yeah I just meant that in the sense the early chapters of Genesis seem to take place sometime in the Bronze Age. It could be based upon:

Or just an etiological tale that became part of their cultural traditions/narrative.

I’m also kind of curious why you think that it is a historical event at all in anyway shape or form? Do you believe that God supernaturally confused the languages? And if that was the case you wouldn’t actually be able to reconstruct any kind of language phylogeny. They would appear spontaneously in the same sense that many Christians believe species were created. But it seems that what you have helped demonstrate is that God never did confuse a bunch of languages.

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Okay @Wookin_Panub, @mitchellmckain, and @Bill_II (and anybody else I may be forgetting here), this has probably gone far enough. You’ve made your point, Wookin, that the Bible and God are the only sources of truth you will acknowledge and you will stick to that no matter what anybody else says about it. We get it. And the rest of you, whether or not somebody uses the same caps conventions as you (or assigns it the same level of importance) is probably not something to keep pursuing here. Your concerns likewise, are duly noted. If any of the above is important enough to you to keep pursuing then start a new thread about it. [or private message each other to your heart’s content.] Though I suggest that once you’ve had a few rounds of “yes it is; no it isn’t; yes it is …”, you’ve probably exhausted any productive dialogue to be had.

Meanwhile, let’s let this thread be about its stated subject: the Babel event.

Enjoyed these.

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Thank you for this article.
I have one question. How did you come up with a divergence in languages occurring 200,000 years ago?
While I have two supporting questions:

If you follow English, from Old English to Middle English and on to Modern English, how drastic are the changes over how short a time span?
As for DNA variations being the key to the age of this divergence. How rapidly is DNA varying today? For I honestly believe that DNA is varying at a rate that would indicate that all humans were related to each other quite closely and this within the last four thousand years, at most.

I am not a scientist and I am not basing this on known data, I am basing this on what the Bible says, while I am wondering, can I be proven wrong?

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Thank you for replying to my question and this seems to support me in seeing the Tower of Babel as a real event. Now to when it happened I don’t really know, it could have been decades after the Flood or centuries after it. I don’t think pointing an idea as to when and where it took place is the main issue, I think the main issue is showing that a Babel like event took place thus causing the dispersion of people groups to go all around the world.

We were just discussing Pentecost, on our tour group here in Israel, and the guide brought up the idea of the Christian Pentecost event being sort of a reverse Babel, where the confusion of languages was reversed with gift of the Spirit and the speaking in tongues, and with bringing together the peoples of the world into Christianity.

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Dear Phil,
I see the tower of Baba’el (Father God) to be equal to Pentecost where the apostles were also connected to God. The fall of the tower (fall away from God) has happened many times in the history of the Word with the most notably being under the hand of Nebuchadnezzar.
Best Wishes, Shawn

@gbob, thanks for this discussion. I found something I’d like the opinion of from you and folks on the Forum:
According to this site https://www.etymonline.com/word/Babel, “Babel” comes from "bab “gate” + ilu “god”

“The element bab figures in place-names in the Middle East, such as Bab-el-Mandeb, the strait at the mouth of the Red Sea.”

Gate of God–it sounds like the name was made to fit the story. Could this be like the archetypal Adam and Eve “ha-adamah” (as Scot McKnight puts it, “Dusty”) and “hava,” (living/life giving)?

Thanks.

I’m no good with etymology of languages that I don’t know–at least, famous folks have made mistakes before–Dan Brown with the “sangreal,” for example (he thought it was “sang-real,” when it actually comes from “san-grail” or something like that). Maybe a Hebrew scholar can comment.

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Dear Randy,
The definition of Baba’el that I am referring to is older than Hebrew, Sumarian and Babylonian. It was the Babylonian’s who brought in the confusion to the definition as you mentioned, calling it “gate of the gods” and the place that brought blood sacrifice to speak to the gods.