Seeing this minaret, medieval Europeans mistook it for the biblical Tower of Babel (Gen. 11:1-9), and, as such, it lent its form to medieval and Renaissance representations of the tower, as in the famous “Tower of Babel” by Bruegel (1563).
And, indirectly, they may not have been entirely mistaken. Many scholars believe that the story of the Tower of Babel in fact describes the building of a ziggurat, a tower that doesn’t literally ascend into the physical sky but, rather, ritually allows the priests to ascend into the presence of the heavenly gods by climbing to the temple at the top of the holy mountain.
William Hamblin and Daniel Peterson teach, respectively, history and Arabic/Islamic studies at BYU. Peterson founded the Middle Eastern Texts Initiative; Hamblin co-authored "Solomon's Temple: Myth and History." They don't speak for BYU.
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