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Review of Biblical Literature Blog

The Captivity of Innocence: Babel and the Yahwist
LaCocque, André

Eugene, Ore.: Cascade, 2010 pp. xvi + 190. $23.00


Description: In this study-the third panel of a trilogy on J's tales about evil and innocence in the primeval era-the author turns to Genesis 11:1-9, another parable, this time on the so-called "Tower of Babel." The Captivity of Innocence analyzes a systemic robotization of society as a way of keeping innocence behind bars, contending that innocence never fails to offend, never fails to stir envy and hate. Here, evil is not wrought by an individual like Cain or Lamech, but by "all the earth," so that the summit of evil is now reached before Abraham's breakthrough in Genesis' following chapter. The present analysis uses a variety of techniques to interpret the biblical text, including historical-critical, literary, sociopolitical, psychoanalytic, and deconstructive approaches. The inescapable conclusion is that "Babel" is the "Kafkaesque" image of our world and is a powerful paradigm of our hubristic contrivances and constructions-"Des Tours de Babel," says Derrida-in order to deny our finiteness. Then innocence is trampled upon, but it is not overcome: Babel/Babylon's fate is to crumble down, and to bring up from her ashes the Knight of Faith.

Subjects: Bible, Hebrew Bible/Old Testament, Pentateuch, Genesis, Literature

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Review by Richard S. Briggs
Published 2/20/2012
Citation: Richard S. Briggs, review of André Lacocque, The Captivity of Innocence: Babel and the Yahwist, Review of Biblical Literature [http://www.bookreviews.org] (2012).


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