The Tower of Babel: Technology and Civilization

The Bible tells the story of men working together to build a giant tower that will reach the sky. God decides to sabotage the project by “confusing” their language which brings the project to a standstill. One of the questions that have intrigued commentators throughout the ages is what exactly was the problem with the construction of the tower that prompted God to halt the project? Did the people sin? And if so, how? Was the “confusing of the languages” a punishment or the logical outcome of a mistaken ideology. Many different interpretations have been suggested by both classical and modern commentators. In this lesson we will concentrate on one explanation that links the fate of the tower with the promises and pitfalls of technological development and try to think of how the story can apply to some of the issues facing us today.

Click here to view the lesson plan.

This lesson plan is part of a series of curriculum units developed by the Galilee Foundation for Value Education in cooperation with the Melton Center for Jewish Education for Bialik College in Melbourne, Australia. Other lessons in the course are:

Lessons in the full course:

1-2 Two creation stories
3 Tower of Babel
4 The mitzvoth dependent on the land
5 Blessings
6 Introduction to projects fair
7 Biodiversity
8 Cruelty to animals
9 Vegetarianism
10 The commons (reshut harabim)
11 Water conservation
12 Family size
13-14 Global warming
15 Sustainable development
16 Wealth, consumption
17 Conservation
18 Advertising, materialism
19 Importance of life
20 Genetic engineering
21 Nuclear energy
22-23 Israeli case study – Hula Valley
24 New ten commandments

For access to the full curriculum, please contact the Galilee Foundation for Value Education.

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