Discovering Babylon


U of A Hillel
1245 E. 2nd St.
85721 Tucson , AZ


Mon, 10/15/2018 - 4:00pm to Mon, 12/05/2022 - 1:38pm


The Sally and Ralph Duchin Campus Lecture Series

After lying buried in the ground for over 2,000 years, the remains of Babylon were dug up by archaeologists over 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 buries 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 an 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?

Prof. Rannfrid Thelle teaches biblical studies at Wichita State University in Kansas, and has taught at Luther College, Iowa, and at the University of Oslo in the past. She works with the Hebrew Bible in particular, and has traveled extensively in the Middle East, including Iraq.


Co-sponsored by: The Arizona Center for Judaic Studies, School of Middle Eastern and North African Studies, History, Center for Middle Eastern Studies, Religious Studies and Classics, Colleges of Letters, Arts & Sciences, School of Anthropology, Hillel Foundation and the Marriott Tucson University Park Hotel. 

For more information, call (520) 626-5758 or go to