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Babylon under Western Eyes: A Study of Allusion and Myth by Andrew Scheil (review)

Babylon under Western Eyes: A Study of Allusion and Myth by Andrew Scheil (review) Book Reviews 263 Babylon under Western Eyes: A Study of Allusion and Myth. By Andrew Scheil. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2016. Pp. xvi + 343; 16 illustra - tions. $75. After reading Andrew Scheil’ Babylon under W s estern Eyes, there can be no doubt that mythic Babylon has withstood the test of time as an influential cultural reference with its roots in “the deepest past.” Readers will be surprised by the frequency and range of allusions covered in this substantial and elegant book. Previous studies have articulated the key roles that individual Biblical stories about Babylon played in the formation of enduring mythologies and ideologies: the “Tower of Babel” story is cited as a standard etiology for the beginnings of human discord as well as multilingualism, multiculturalism, and urbanism. The “Curse of Ham” has likewise played its role in discourses about race and empire and as justification for slavery and colonialism. Scheil’s book weaves together these strands and introduces new ones not yet fully considered. The overlapping genealogies of mythologies relating to Babylon comprise what Scheil refers to as “the Babylon matter”—a term that designates the growing and morphing aggregate of stories and interpretations that trail the http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png JEGP, Journal of English and Germanic Philology University of Illinois Press

Babylon under Western Eyes: A Study of Allusion and Myth by Andrew Scheil (review)

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Publisher
University of Illinois Press
Copyright
Copyright © Board of Trustees of the University of Illinois
ISSN
1945-662X

Abstract

Book Reviews 263 Babylon under Western Eyes: A Study of Allusion and Myth. By Andrew Scheil. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2016. Pp. xvi + 343; 16 illustra - tions. $75. After reading Andrew Scheil’ Babylon under W s estern Eyes, there can be no doubt that mythic Babylon has withstood the test of time as an influential cultural reference with its roots in “the deepest past.” Readers will be surprised by the frequency and range of allusions covered in this substantial and elegant book. Previous studies have articulated the key roles that individual Biblical stories about Babylon played in the formation of enduring mythologies and ideologies: the “Tower of Babel” story is cited as a standard etiology for the beginnings of human discord as well as multilingualism, multiculturalism, and urbanism. The “Curse of Ham” has likewise played its role in discourses about race and empire and as justification for slavery and colonialism. Scheil’s book weaves together these strands and introduces new ones not yet fully considered. The overlapping genealogies of mythologies relating to Babylon comprise what Scheil refers to as “the Babylon matter”—a term that designates the growing and morphing aggregate of stories and interpretations that trail the

Journal

JEGP, Journal of English and Germanic PhilologyUniversity of Illinois Press

Published: May 26, 2020

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