Heaven Is Not Above Babel

  • Luigino Bruni
Part of the Virtues and Economics book series (VIEC, volume 4)


After the Ark the people built Babel, a fortified town with a tall tower in the centre. The Book of Genesis tells us the size of Noah’s Ark, 132 meters in length, 22 in width, 13 in depth, while it only says about Babel that the top of the tower was supposed to reach the heavens. Based on this indication, some traditions have imagined great heights for the tower, perhaps based on memories of the pyramids of Egypt, or the giant ziggurat of Babylon, much larger than those of the ark that had saved the fathers and mothers of the builders of Babel. The companies of those who build in response to a call and to save themselves and others are not, in general, greater and more powerful than the companies of those who build to create empires. There are many meanings that have, over time, layered on Babel and should be traced into the Babylonian exile (Babel) and into the memories of the “building blocks” of the slavery of Egypt, and into the eternal critique of idolatry. The myth of Babel tells that blessing and fruitfulness lies in the popular new worlds, and in the variety and biodiversity of languages, and so cultures, talents and vocations. The corolla of the flower is only fruitful if it disperses its spores.

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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Luigino Bruni
    • 1
  1. 1.GEPLI Department – EconomicsLibera Università Maria SS. AssuntaRomaItaly

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