Works by Philo : Table of Contents
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I. (1) As to the preceding topics, what has been already said will be sufficient. We might next proceed to consider, and that in no slight or cursory manner, the philosophical account which Moses gives us of the confusion of languages; for he speaks in the following manner: “And all the earth had one pronunciation, and there was one language among all men. And it came to pass, as they were moving from the east, that they found a plain in the land of Shinar, and dwelt there. And one man said to his neighbour, Come, let us make bricks, and let us burn them with fire; and they had bricks for stone, and asphalt for mortar. And they said, Come, let us build ourselves a city, and a tower whose head shall reach to heaven; and let us make for ourselves a name, before we are scattered over the face of all the earth. And the Lord came down to see the city, and the tower, which the sons of men had builded. And the Lord said, Behold, all mankind is one race, and there is but one language among them all; and they have begun to do this thing, and now there will not fail unto them anything of all the things which they desire to do. Come, let us go down and confuse their language there, so that each may not understand the voice of his neighbour. And the Lord scattered them from thence over the face of all the earth, and they desisted from building the city, and the tower. On this account, the name of it was called Confusion, because there the Lord confused the languages of all the earth, and from thence the Lord scattered them over the face of all the Earth.”{1}{#ge 11:1.}

II. (2) Those who are discontented at the constitution under which their fathers have lived, being always eager to blame and to accuse the laws, being impious men, use these and similar instances as foundations for their impiety, saying, “Are ye even now speaking boastfully concerning your precepts, as if they contained the rules of truth itself? For, behold, the books which you call the sacred scriptures do also contain fables, at which you are accustomed to laugh, when you hear others relating to them.” (3) And what is the use of devoting our leisure to collecting the fables interspersed in so many places throughout the history of the giving of the law, as if we had especial leisure for the consideration of calumnies, and as if it were not better to attend merely to what is under our hands and before us? (4) Certainly, this one fable resembles that which is composed about the Aloadae, who the greatest and most glorious of all poets, Homer, says, had in contemplation to heap the three loftiest mountains on one another, and to build them into one mass, hoping that by this means there would be a road for them, as they were desirous to mount up to heaven, and that by these mountains it would be easy for them to be raised to the height of the sky. And the verses of Homer on this subject are these:–