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A Book Discussion with Dr. Rannfrid Thelle: Discovering Babylon

A reception hosted by the Department of Women's Studies and Religion will follow in 524 Lindquist Hall.

After lying buried in the ground for over 2000 years, the remains of Babylon were dug up by archaeologists around one hundred years ago. Yet the city remains enveloped in a web of myth, which occupies a unique place in our culture in spite of its origin in the ancient past.

Known in its time for its impressive walls and luxurious gardens, its learning and temples, this ancient metropolis was buried and forgotten shortly after its last flowering. Instead, Babylon’s reputation as a city of excesses and evil took over, shaped largely by the stories of the Bible and concepts such as the Tower of Babel, the “confusion of tongues,” and the “Babylonian captivity.” Through hundreds of years of Western culture, Babylon lived on as image, myth and symbol, spinning a story of its own.

What happened, when the ancient city was excavated and the forgotten remains encountered the living myth of Babylon? Why does Babylon continue to fascinate us, expressing itself even in contemporary culture? And why is Babylon such a useful metaphor in describing opponents and enemies, their evil and decay?

This evening’s talk will take you on a journey of discovery through the sources of the many concepts about Babylon, from Biblical and ancient texts, via Medieval European art, to the ruins that archaeologists uncovered a century ago.

Rannfrid Thelle teaches Religion at WSU. She has traveled extensively in the Middle East, including Iraq.

Related LibGuide: Religion by Nathan Filbert

Monday, October 1, 2018
4:00pm - 5:30pm
Lower Level
Ablah Library
Registration has closed.

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Nathan Filbert