Monthly Archives: March 2015

Turris Babel

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Turris Babel: Athanasius Kircher

The last of his books to be published during his lifetime, Turris Babel was Kircher’s attempt to reconstruct the specifics surrounding the famous biblical story, recounted in Genesis 10-11, of Nimrod’s attempt to build a tower that reached the heavens. Apart from his interest in ancient civilizations and biblical historicism, the story was of particular interest to Kircher as an account of the origin of languages, and, by Kircher’s extension, of polytheism. The second half of Turris is devoted to Kircher’s theories on linguistics. The first section, similar to his Arca Noë of four years earlier, contains an imaginative speculative expansion of the Tower of Babel story in light of Kircher’s knowledge of history, geography, and physics.

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Towers: Ian Howard 1983, 183×183 cm. Drawing,

University of Warwick Art Collection,UK

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Landscape with Towers: Ian Howard 1981 , 80x100cm.  Drawing.