Athanasius Kircher

Athanasius Kircher.Turis Babel. Amsterdam, 1679.

Athanasius Kircher.Turis Babel. Amsterdam, 1679.

Athanasius Kircher (1602–1680) was a German scholar and professor of philology, mathematics, and Oriental languages. The breadth of his learning is such that he is widely known as the last Renaissance man. Turris Babelwas Kircher's attempt to reconstruct the detail surrounding the famous biblical story of Nimrod's attempt to build a tower that reached the heavens.

Kircher argues that Nimrod's ambition was intrinsically flawed because in order to reach the nearest heavenly body, the Moon, the tower would have to be 178,672 miles high and would weigh over three million tons. Its weight would tip the balance of the planet and move it from its position at the centre of the universe, resulting in a cataclysmic disruption in the order of nature.

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