Editor’s Note: This is the fourth installment of a series of five articles on the Tower of Babel. To see the previous articles in this series, click here.

Jeff and David Larsen have just completed a highly acclaimed scriptural commentary on the stories of Enoch, Noah, and the Tower of Babel. It is available for order on Amazon, the FAIRMormon Bookstore (15% discount), BYU Bookstore, Eborn Books, Benchmark Books, and other select bookstores. See www.templethemes.net for more details.


The figure above is by the famous Dutch engraver, M. C. Escher. “Although Escher dismissed his works before 1935 as of little or no value as they were for the most part merely practice exercises,’ some of them, including the Tower of Babel, chart the development of his interest in perspective and unusual viewpoints that would become the hallmarks of his later, more famous, work. In contrast to many other depictions of the biblical story, … Escher depicts the tower as a geometrical structure and places the viewpoint above the tower. This allows him to exercise his skill with perspective, but he also chose to center the picture around the top of the tower as the focus for the climax of the action.”[1] Escher later commented on the drawing as follows: “Some of the builders are white and others black. The work is at a standstill … Seeing as the climax of the drama takes place at the summit of the tower which is under construction, the building has been shown from above as though from a bird’s eye view.”[2]

This article will discuss four questions relating to the Lord’s statement of intention for the Babylonian builders: “Let us … confound their language”: 

  • Does the Jaredite Record Give Us Independent Confirmation for the Babel Story?
  • Does Historical Linguistics Support the Splitting of an Original Language at Babel?
  • Was God More Concerned about the Confounding of Language or the Confounding of Peoples?
  • Could There Have Been a “Confounding” of Language at Babel?

Does the Jaredite Record Give Us Independent Confirmation for the Babel Story?

The answer to this question is “no.”

The first chapter of the book of Ether describes the origins of the Jaredites at the time of “the great tower, at the time the Lord confounded the language of the people and swore in his wrath that they should be scattered upon all the face of the earth; and according to the word of the Lord the people were scattered.”[3] This and related references[4] have encouraged LDS scholars seeking independent evidence from the Book of Mormon for the biblical story. However, in his lucid commentary on the Book of Mormon, Brant Gardner cautions that things are not so simple as they seem.[5]

He reminds us that Mosiah only summarized, but did not actually translate the “first part” of the record of the Jaredites that spoke of “the creation of the world, and also of Adam, and an account from that time even to the great tower.”[6] Thus, it is unlikely that the passing references to that early history we have in the Book of Mormon are based on the Jaredite record. Rather, it is more probable that they have been carried over by Moroni into the book of Ether from what he had learned previously in his study of the brass plates. Specifically, he argues that “the material being translated and Mosiah’s understanding of the [biblical story of the Tower of Babel] had enough resemblances that Mosiah shaped the Jaredites’ original story to match the brass plates’ story at a crucial point” – namely the description of how the language of the builders was confounded. Continuing, he explains:[7]

Based on what we know of how Joseph Smith translated Nephi’s plates, we might expect that Mosiah used a similar method. Thus, when Mosiah saw similar content, he used the familiar language from the brass plates, much as Joseph Smith used the familiar KJV language of Isaiah and Jesus’ 3 Nephi sermon. It would be dangerous to assume that Mosiah used a better or more accurate or literal translation method than Joseph Smith did while translating a document from an unknown language through the same [Nephite Interpreters].

By this means, whatever textual and interpretive difficulties were present in the version of “Genesis” on the brass plates could have made their way into Moroni’s summary of the events surrounding the departure of the Jaredites from the Old World. In the words of Gardner, “By the time Moroni adapted Mosiah’s adaptation, we have the story as given in Genesis because of Genesis, not as an independent confirmation.”[8]

Does Historical Linguistics Support the Splitting of an Original Language at Babel?

According to Gardner, the answer to this question is “no”:[9]

Historical linguistics cannot trace languages with absolute precision, but there are tools for reconstructing language families and tracing their history by their development. None of the known history of languages can account for a single language splitting into the multitudes of world languages around 2000 BCE or even 3000 BCE, or at all.[10]


Fig3 Figures 2 and 3 are beautiful illustrations of the family trees of the Indo-European and Semitic languages respectively. Guy Deutscher explains how the splitting of language occurs:[11]

It transpires that languages did not need any divine intervention in order to proliferate, for given half a chance (and sufficient time), they multiply quite happily of their own accord. Just imagine two groups living in two neighboring villages, speaking similar varieties of one language. With the passing of time, their language undergoes constant transformations, but as long as the two communities remain in close contact, their varieties will change in tandem: innovations in one village will soon spread to the other, because of the need to communicate. Now suppose that one of the groups wanders off in search of better land, and loses all contact with the speakers of the other village. The language of the two groups will then start wandering in different directions, because there will be nothing to maintain the changes in tandem. Eventually, their varieties will have strayed so far apart that they will no longer be mutually intelligible, and so turn into different languages.

Incidentally, the decision about when to start calling such varieties different “languages,” rather than “dialects” of the same language, often involves factors that have little to do with the actual linguistic distance between them. An American linguist once quipped that “a language is a dialect with an army and a navy,” and his point is illustrated by recent cases such as Serbian and Croatian, which before the break-up of the former Yugoslavia were regarded as dialects of one language, Serbo-Croatian, but afterwards were suddenly proclaimed to be different languages …

Linguistic diversity is thus a direct consequence of geographical dispersal and language’s propensity to change.

  The biblical assertion that there was a single primordial language is not, in itself, unlikely, for it is quite possible that there was originally only one language, spoken somewhere in Eastern Africa, perhaps 100,000 years ago.  But even if this were the case, the break-up of this language must have had much more prosaic reasons than God’s wrath at Babel. When different groups started splitting up, going their own ways and settling across the globe, their languages changed in different ways. So the huge diversity of languages in the world today simply reflects how long languages have had to change independently of one another.

Was God More Concerned about the Confounding of Language or the Confounding of Peoples?

Recent scholarship argues that, in the Babel account, God was more concerned about the confounding of peoples than the confounding of languages. Brant Gardner[12] reads the biblical story of the Tower of Babel “similar to the way Nibley has, as a remembrance of an event of ancient temple-building,[13] but not as the true origin of multiple languages.” Nibley points out that the “confounding” of language is necessarily connected with the “confounding” (mixing-up) of the covenant people with their unbelieving neighbors – a phenomenon that the Lord condemns elsewhere in the Bible and the Book of Mormon. Suggesting that “we need to be cautious of … simplistic readings of the scriptural text,” he writes:[14]

The book of Ether, depicting the uprooting and scattering from the tower of a numerous population, shows them going forth [in] family groups [and] groups of friends and associates[15] … There was no point in having Jared’s language unconfounded if there was no one he could talk to, and his brother cried to the Lord that his friends might also retain the language. The same, however, would apply to any other language: If every individual were to speak a tongue all his own and so go off entirely by himself, the races would have been not merely scattered but quite annihilated. We must not fall into the old vice of reading into the scripture things that are not there. There is nothing said in our text about every man suddenly speaking a new language. We are told in the book of Ether that languages were confounded with and by the “confounding” of the people: “Cry unto the Lord,” says Jared,[16] “that he will not confound us that we may not understand our words” (emphasis added). The statement is significant for more than one thing. How can it possibly be said that “we may not understand our words“? Words we cannot understand may be nonsense syllables or may be in some foreign language, but in either case they are not our words. The only way we can fail to understand our own words is to have words that are actually ours change their meaning among us. That is exactly what happens when people, and hence languages, are either “confounded,” that is, mixed up, or scattered.[17] In Ether’s account the confounding of people is not to be separated from the confounding of their languages; they are, and have always been, one and the same process: the Lord, we are told,[18] “did not confound the language of Jared; and Jared and his brother were not confounded … and the Lord had compassion upon their friends and their families also, that they were not confounded.”[19] That “confound” as used in the book of Ether is meant to have its true and proper meaning of “to pour together,” “to mix up together,” is clear from the prophecy in Ether 13:8, that “the remnant of the house of Joseph shall be built upon this land; … and they shall no more be confounded,” the word here meaning mixed up with other people, culturally, linguistically, or otherwise.

Could There Have Been a “Confounding” of Language at Babel?

The answer is, possibly, “yes.” Perhaps there is a believable way to understand at the “confounding” of language at Babel as referring to a local breakdown in the use of a common, regional language rather than a complete breakup of a single, universal language.

One candidate for such a language is Akkadian. Studies of historical linguistics provide evidence of the hegemony of the Babylonians, making confounding (mixing) of the culture and language of the peoples of its empire an inevitable consequence. Nicholas Ostler[20] reminds us that “Babylon … was notable throughout its history for the leading role of a single language,” and for “almost two thousand years this language was Akkadian.”[21] Further, he explains:[22]

Throughout the second millennium BCE, the land of Sumer and Akkad already enjoyed serious cultural prestige. This is clearly reflected in the spread of its cuneiform writing system to all its neighbors, including even Elam, which had independently developed its own alternative. Besides the script, its language, Akkadian, was in this period the lingua franca [i. e., a common, secondary language adopted by non-native speakers] for diplomacy, even where the Babylonians or Assyrians were not a party to the matters under discussion ….

In the second millennium, Akkadian was being taught and used in every capital city that surrounded Mesopotamia, essentially regardless of the ambient language.

Fig4A second candidate for a regional lingua franca behind the Babel story is Sumerian. Hamilton[23] cites the work of D. S. DeWitt for its “explicit identification of this one language [of Babel] as Sumerian, and the possible linkage of the scattering motif to the eclipse of the Ur III period.” In this regard, a segment of a Mesopotamian epic entitled Enmerkar and the Lord of Aratta is of special interest:[24]

It speaks of a time when there are no predators and there is peace between nations and rulers. The section ends with a statement about people speaking the same language.

The dispute is whether this refers to a time in the distant past or a time in the anticipated future. Vanstiphout, following Alster, translates: “For on that day … shall Enki[25] … change the tongues in their mouth, as many as he once placed there, and the speech of mankind shall be truly one.” This indicates an ideal situation in the future.[26] Jacobsen, in contrast, translated it as referring back to a past event: “In those days … did Enki … estrange the tongues in their mouths as many as were put there. The tongues of men which were one.”[27] B. Batto agrees with the translation in the past, but considers it a description of an inchoate, primitive, uncivilized condition rather than an idyllic or paradisiacal one.

If Jacobsen is correct, this section of the epic may stand as a parallel to the Babel account in providing an account of the disruption of languages. It would not be out of character, however, for Genesis to have a far different assessment of language diversity than that encountered in the rest of the ancient Near East.Just as paradise was a negative condition in the ancient Near East and a positive one in the Bible, so the unified language is positive in the Bible and negative in the ancient Near East.

In Mesopotamia people had pride in their bilingual character. At this stage, however, we must exercise patience and caution until the literature becomes more transparent.[28]

If we take the “one language” of Genesis 11:1 as being Sumerian, Akkadian, or even (as a long shot) Aramaic[29] rather than a supposed universal proto-language,[30] some of the puzzling aspects of the biblical account become more intelligible.  For example, “Genesis 10 and 11 would make linguistic sense in their current sequence. In addition to the local languages of each nation,[31] there existed one language'[32] which made communication possible throughout the world”[33] – or, perhaps more accurately, throughout the land.[34] “Strictly speaking, the biblical text does not refer to a plurality of languages but to the destruction of language as an instrument of communication.'”[35]

Hamilton[36] presents a reasonable view when he writes that it “is unlikely that Genesis 11:1-9 can contribute much, if anything, to the origin of languages … [T]he diversification of languages is a slow process, not something catastrophic as Genesis 11 might indicate.”[37] The commonly received interpretation of Genesis 11 provides “a most incredible and nave explanation of language diversification. If, however, the narrative refers to the dissolution of a Babylonian lingua franca, or something like that, the need to see Genesis 11:1-9 as a highly imaginative explanation of language diffusion becomes unnecessary.”[38]

Gardner summarizes:[39] “In this reading of the text, the confounding of languages is related to the mixing (confounding) of different peoples in creating this great tower in Babylon. From such a mixing of people who were attempting to build a temple to the heavens, Yahweh removed some of His believers [e.g., the Jaredites and, at some point, Abram] for His own purposes.”

Addendum: “Confounded” in Nauvoo

My friend and former missionary companion Chris Miasnik recently sent me the following: 

I found this in, of all places, a copy of the text of the one and only edition of the Nauvoo Expositor [an anti-Mormon newspaper published on June 7, 1844]:

…It is a subject in which we are all interested, more particularly the citizens of this county, and surrounding country; the case has assumed a formidable and fearful aspect, it is not the destiny of a few that is involved in case of commotion, but that of thousands, wherein necessarily the innocent and helpless would be confounded with the criminal and guilty….

So in the 1800s, confounded meant to be “mixed in with” … Today I would say that usage is virtually unknown.  We define confounded in today’s parlance as being “to be mixed up” (instead of “mixed in with”) or [mentally] confused … 


Brown, Samuel Morris. In Heaven as It Is on Earth: Joseph Smith and the Early Mormon Conquest of Death. Oxford, England: Oxford University Press, 2012.

Deutscher, Guy. The Unfolding of Language: An Evolutionary Tour of Mankind’s Greatest Invention. New York City, NY: Henry Holt, 2005.

Finkel, Irving L., and Michael J. Seymour. Babylon. (A volume to accompany the exhibition organized by the British Museum, the Muse du Louvre and the Runion des Muses Nationaux, Paris and the Staatliche Museen zu Berlin). Oxford, England: Oxford University Press, 2008.

Gardner, Brant A. Second Witness: Analytical and Contextual Commentary of the Book of Mormon. 6 vols. Salt Lake City, UT: Greg Kofford Books, 2007.

Hamilton, Victor P. The Book of Genesis: Chapters 1-17. Grand Rapids, MI: William B. Eerdmans Publishing, 1990.

Jacobsen, Thorkild. “Enmerkar and the Lord of Aratta.” In The Harps That Once… Sumerian Poetry in Translation, edited by Thorkild Jacobsen. Translated by Thorkild Jacobsen, 275-319. New Haven, CN: Yale University Press, 1987.

Kramer, Samuel Noah. 1968. “The ‘Babel of Tongues’: A Sumerian Version.” In I Studied Inscriptions Before the Flood: Ancient Near Eastern, Literary, and Linguistic Approaches to Genesis 1-11, edited by Richard S. Hess and David Toshio Tsumura. Sources for Biblical and Theological Study 4, 278-82. Winona Lake, IN: Eisenbrauns, 1994.

LaCocque, Andr. The Captivity of Innocence: Babel and the Yahwist. Eugene, OR: Cascade Books, 2010.

Nibley, Hugh W. 1952. Lehi in the Desert, The World of the Jaredites, There Were Jaredites. The Collected Works of Hugh Nibley 5. Salt Lake City, UT: Deseret Book, 1988.

—. 1957. An Approach to the Book of Mormon. 3rd ed. The Collected Works of Hugh Nibley 6. Salt Lake City, UT: Deseret Book, 1988.

—. 1989-1990. Teachings of the Book of Mormon. 4 vols. Provo, UT: FARMS, 2004.

Ostler, Nicholas. 2005. Empires of the Word: A Language History of the World. New York City, NY: Harper Perennial, 2006.

Pennock, Robert T. Tower of Babel: The Evidence Against the New Creationism. Cambridge, MA: Bradford, The MIT Press, 1999.

Robertson, John S. “Adamic Language.” In Encyclopedia of Mormonism, edited by Daniel H. Ludlow. 4 vols. Vol. 1, 18-19. New York City, NY: Macmillan, 1992 (accessed November 26).

Sherman, Phillip MIchael. Babel’s Tower Translated: Genesis 11 and Ancient Jewish Interpretation. Biblical Interpretation Series 117, ed. Paul Anderson and Yvonne Sherwood. Leiden, The Netherlands: Brill, 2013.

Smith, Joseph, Jr., Matthew C. Godfrey, Mark Ashhurst-McGee, Grant Underwood, Robert J. Woodford, and William G. Hartley. Documents, Volume 2: July 1831-January 1833. The Joseph Smith Papers, Documents 2, ed. Dean C. Jessee, Ronald K. Esplin, Richard Lyman Bushman and Matthew J. Grow. Salt Lake City, UT: The Church Historian’s Press, 2013.

Tower of Babel (M. C. Escher). In Wikipedia (accessed September 5, 2013).

Valetta, Thomas R. “Jared and his brother.” In Fourth Nephi through Moroni: From Zion to Destruction, edited by Monte S. Nyman and Charles D. Tate, Jr., 303-22. Provo, UT: BYU Religious Studies Center, 1995.

Walton, John H.

“Genesis.” In Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy, edited by John H. Walton. Zondervan Illustrated Bible Backgrounds Commentary 1, 2-159. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2009.

Wenham, Gordon J., ed. Genesis 1-15. Word Biblical Commentary 1: Nelson Reference and Electronic, 1987.

Widtsoe, John A.1943, 1947, 1951. Evidences and Reconciliations. 3 vols. Single Volume ed. Salt Lake City, UT: Bookcraft, 1960.


[1] Tower (Escher), Tower (Escher).

[2] I. L. Finkel et al., Babylon, p. 204.

[3] Ether 1:33. Note Nibley’s argument that the “great tower” of the Jaredites was linked with Nimrod, and that the “Tower of Babel” was later (H. W. Nibley, Teachings of the Book of Mormon, 1:345. Cf. H. W. Nibley, Lehi 1988, pp. 165-167; H. W. Nibley, Approach, p. 329).

[4] Mosiah 28:17 (“the building of the great tower, at the time the Lord confounded the language of the people and they were scattered abroad upon the face of all the earth”), Ether 1:3 (“the great tower”). See also Mosiah 27:17; Helaman 6:28, and the Title Page and the Testimony of Three Witnesses in the Introduction of the Book of Mormon.

[5] B. A. Gardner, Second Witness, 6:163.

[6] See Ether 1:3-4.

[7] B. A. Gardner, Second Witness, 6:162.

[8] Ibid., 6:166. Some might object to this interpretation of events, thinking that since Moroni and Mosiah were prophets they would have surely known what happened of their own accord, not through the medium of the written record. However, Elder John A. Widtsoe explained (J. A. Widtsoe, Evidences, p. 127): “when inspired writers deal with historical incidents, they relate that which they have seen or that which may have been told them, unless indeed the past is opened to them by revelation.”

[9] B. A. Gardner, Second Witness, 6:164.

[10] See ibid., 6:171-176. Gardner further comments: “A more scientific understanding of the linguistic history requires the reconsideration of some popular assumptions made about the Jaredite language. For instance, Thomas R. Valletta, an Institute instructor, asserts (T. R. Valetta, Jared, p. 310): In the opening scenes of the book of Ether, the reader is presented with a people being driven out of a land, but promised that the Adamic language would not be taken from them.’ Ascribing the Adamic language to the Jaredites is based on assumptions that cannot be demonstrated conclusively even with the most generous readings. First, the idea that the Jaredites spoke Adamic is predicated on the idea that there was only a single language in the entire world until about 2000 BCE. That assumption is contradicted by all of the best evidence of historical linguistics (B. A. Gardner, Second Witness, 6:171-176). Second, seeing the Jaredite language as Adamic depends, not only on assuming that the Jaredites originally spoke Adamic but that, after Yahweh did not confound their language (Ether 1:35), they continued to speak Adamic. The text supports only the conclusion that Jared and his group spoke a language they continued to understand. Since any group whose language changed would continue to understand themselves, how would they know that it was their own language that had changed? As long as the Jaredites spoke any language that they could all understand, they would not be confounded. Third, for the reasons discussed above, the points of resemblance between this story and the Bible’s account are not an independent confirmation of the Bible, since our account is Moroni’s abridgment from Mosiah’s translation, not a quotation from Ether’s record (Ether 1:5). Moroni noted the similarity to the brass-plate text (Ether 1:3) on the history from Adam and declined to include it because it was so similar (Ether 1:4). By the time Moroni adapted Mosiah’s adaptation, we have the story as given in Genesis because of Genesis, not as an independent confirmation.

More generally, John Robertson wisely cautions that the “concept of the Adamic language grew among Latter-day Saints out of statements from scripture, comments of early Church leaders, and subsequent tradition. It does not play a central doctrinal role, and there is no official Church position delineating its nature or status” (J. S. Robertson, Adamic Language, p. 18).

[11] G. Deutscher, Unfolding, pp. 55-56.

[12] B. A. Gardner, Second Witness, 6:164.

[13] H. W. Nibley, Lehi 1988, pp. 154-155.

[14] Ibid., pp. 172-173.

[15] Ether 1:41.

[16] Ether 1:34.

[17] In Hosea 7:8, the Lord uses the same Hebrew verb to condemn the way that Ephraim has become “confusedly mixed with nations” (A. LaCocque, Captivity of Innocence, p. 37). Cf. Hosea 9:1.

[18] Ether 1:35-37.

[19] This sort of “confounding” is always relative to a particular group of people. For example, in Ether 3:24, the Lord tells Jared that “the language which ye shall write I have confounded,” however, in this case He means simply that the language of his record “cannot be read” (Ether 3:22) except by those who will later make a translation using the stones that He had prepared for this purpose.

[20] N. Ostler, Empires, p. 59.

[21] Mesopotamia, explains ibid., p. 34 “is a region of so many world firsts for linguistic innovation. Unlike Egypt, China, or India, its cities and states had always been consciously multilingual, whether for communication with neighbors who spoke different languages, or because their histories had made them adopt a foreign language to dignify court, religion, or commerce. This is the area where we find the first conscious use of a classical language [i.e., Sumerian]; but also, by contrast, the first generalized use of a totally foreign language for convenience in communication, as a lingua franca [i.e., Akkadian], an early apparent triumph of diplomatic pragmatism over national sentiment.”

[22] Ibid., pp. 42, 62.

[23] V. P. Hamilton, Genesis 1-17, p. 351 n. 7.

[24] J. H. Walton, Genesis, p. 64.

[25] Note that Enki is the god of the E-temen-anki, the ziggurat in Babylon.

[26] The idea that the text “is really looking forward to a time when all mankind would speak the same language, the Sumerian language … would be closer to Zephaniah 3:9 which looks forward to an age when God will change the speech of all peoples to a pure speech'” (G.J. Wenham, Genesis 1-15, pp. 236-237). For an overview of the topics of language and speech in the biblical tradition, see P.

M. Sherman, Babel’s Tower, pp. 69-77. Samuel Morris Brown has written extensively about the history of the Mormon quest for a “pure language” (S. M. Brown, In Heaven, pp. 115-141. Regarding Babel, see especially pp. 129-131). See also J. Smith, Jr. et al., Documents, July 1831-January 1833, pp.214-215.

[27] T.Jacobsen, Enmerkar, 147, 148, 155, 156, p. 290. Cf. S. N. Kramer, Babel of Tongues, p. 281: “Changed the speech in their mouths, [brought(?)] contention into it, Into the speech of man that (until then) had been one.”

[28] Wenham sums up his view of the implications of the “past vs. future” readings of this passage as follows (G. J. Wenham, Genesis 1-15, p. 237):

On Kramer’s interpretation, the Old Testament is offering an alternative explanation of the diversity of languages. Genesis is affirming that the diversity of languages represents a divine judgment on mankind and is not the product of rivalry between the gods Enlil and Enki. Here, as in the flood story, Genesis explains things in terms of a moral monotheism, whereas Mesopotamia saw things in terms of polytheistic competitiveness.

Alster’s view of the earlier tradition suggests that Genesis may be making a different point: the Sumerian gods saw the diversity of languages as undesirable because men were thereby prevented from joining in the worship of the great god Enlil, but Genesis holds that the confusion of languages is a divine antidote to human arrogance. Whereas Mesopotamia saw the human condition as improving, Genesis sees it as deteriorating. On Alster’s view, the Sumerian epic is vaunting the superiority of Sumerian civilization because one day the Sumerian language, the chief expression of that culture, will be adopted by all peoples. And certainly the Hebrew story is adamant that this is not so.

[29] Aramaic would presume a setting for the story no earlier than the beginning of the first millennium BCE.

[30] Whether one thinks about this in terms of the LDS tradition of an “Adamic language” or in some other way.

[31] Genesis 10:5, 20, 31.

[32] Genesis 11:1, 6. It may be significant that the JST for these verses reads: “the same language,” not “one language.”

[33] V. P. Hamilton, Genesis 1-17, p. 350. Drawing a modern comparison, Nibley quipped that it was “like some of these space thrillers on the TV where everybody knows English. No matter where you go in the universe, the all speak the same language” (H. W. Nibley, Teachings of the Book of Mormon, 4:266).

[34] See quote by Nibley above on eretz.

[35] A. LaCocque, Captivity of Innocence, p. 66, citing Paul Ricoeur.

[36] V. P. Hamilton, Genesis 1-17, p. 358.

[37] Drawing a rough analogue between the development of genetic and linguistic differences, Cavalli-Sforza writes (cited in R. T. Pennock, Tower, p. 143): “During modern humanity’s expansion, breakaway groups settled in new locations and occupied new continents [cf. the Jaredites]; from these, other groups broke away and traveled to more distant regions. These schisms and shifts took humanity to very remote areas where contact with the original areas and peoples became difficult or impossible. The isolation of numerous groups had two inevitable consequences: the formation of genetic differences and the formation of linguistic differences. Both take their own path and have their own rules, but the sequence of divisions that caused diversification is common to both. Their history, whether reconstructed using language or genes, is that of their migrations and fissions and is therefore inevitably the same.”

[38] V. P. Hamilton, Genesis 1-17, p. 358.

[39] B. A. Gardner, Second Witness, 6:165.