Gnostic retellings of Genesis typically wrestle with “problem” passages which seem to anthropomorphize God or assign limits to his omniscience and omnipotence.
Perhaps this is why the ancient gnostics made scarcely any attempt (with one isolated exception) to retell the “Tower of Babel” story; the canonical account itself describes the Demiurge’s violent petulance with such matter-of-fact straightforwardness that any further commentary (esoteric or otherwise) must almost have seemed unnecessary.
“Now the whole world had one language and a common speech. As people moved eastward, they found a plain in Shinar and settled there.
They said to each other, “Come, let us make bricks and bake them thoroughly.” They used brick instead of stone, and tar for mortar. Then they said, “Come, let us build ourselves a city, with a tower that reaches to the heavens, so that we may make a name for ourselves; otherwise we will be scattered over the face of the whole earth.”
But the Lord came down to see the city and the tower the people were building. The LORD said, “If as one people speaking the same language they have begun to do this, then nothing they plan to do will be impossible for them. Come, let us go down and confuse their language so they will not understand each other.
So the LORD scattered them from there over all the earth, and they stopped building the city. That is why it was called Babel – because there the LORD confused the language of the whole world. From there the LORD scattered them over the face of the whole earth.”1
- Gen 11:1-9 [↩]