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Humanist
02-13-2014, 04:40 AM
Noah's Ark discovery raises flood of questions (http://religion.blogs.cnn.com/2014/01/28/new-discovery-raises-flood-of-questions-about-noahs-ark/)

January 28th, 2014 - 10:37 AM ET

Opinion by Joel Baden, Special to CNN


That faint humming sound you’ve heard recently is the scholarly world of the Bible and archaeology abuzz over the discovery of the oldest known Mesopotamian version of the famous Flood story.

A British scholar has found that a 4,000-year-old cuneiform tablet from what is now Iraq contains a story similar to the biblical account of Noah’s Ark.

Mehrdad
02-13-2014, 05:44 AM
Noah's Ark discovery raises flood of questions (http://religion.blogs.cnn.com/2014/01/28/new-discovery-raises-flood-of-questions-about-noahs-ark/)

January 28th, 2014 - 10:37 AM ET

Opinion by Joel Baden, Special to CNN

This is really interesting, I have no doubt that there was some sort of flood, possibly one that occurred right at the end of the last ice age?

soulblighter
02-13-2014, 10:29 AM
Round boats seem common around regions east and west of Iraq:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Indian_coracle

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Coracle

did it travel with farming maybe?

Humanist
02-13-2014, 04:32 PM
Round boats seem common around regions east and west of Iraq:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Indian_coracle

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Coracle

That is interesting.

From the Wikipedia article on Indian coracles:


Dimensions of Indian coracles.

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/7/7a/Parisal-measures.JPG/220px-Parisal-measures.JPG

leonardo
02-13-2014, 11:11 PM
There seems like there is some historical truth to the event, given the fact that several civilizations have the tale as part of their oral and written culture.

Jean M
02-14-2014, 12:55 AM
This is old news, first reported in 2010. The discovery is included in my coverage of the deluge stories. http://www.ancestraljourneys.org/originstories.shtml#Deluge


A newly-translated version dated around 1,700 BC actually describes the shape and design of the craft, which turn out to be completely different from the ark of modern imaginings. It was to be circular, built of plaited palm fibre, waterproofed with bitumen, with cabins on it. Probably such circular craft were in common use on the rivers of Mesopotamia. Over a thousand years later skin-built coracles were seen there by Greek historian Herodotus.

Jean M
02-14-2014, 12:57 AM
There seems like there is some historical truth to the event, given the fact that several civilizations have the tale as part of their oral and written culture.

So many cultures have preserved a flood myth that some authors toyed with the idea that it must be based on an actual apocalyptic event, a real flood that covered the whole world, but no such event has occurred during the time of mankind. However some of these myths appear connected in the sense that one mythology has influenced another.

The tale of Noah and his ark in Genesis, the first book of the Jewish Torah and Christian Old Testament, is notably similar to the flood story in the Epic of Gilgamesh, a collection of stories first written down by the Sumerians in the 3rd millennium BC. It recurs in Babylonian literature.The Jews probably picked up the flood story during their captivity in Babylon. How the deluge passed into Greek myth is less obvious, but the story of Deucalion's Flood has clear similarities.

Attention has therefore turned to notable regional floods which might be the foundation for these stories. The flooding of the Black and Caspian Seas at the end of the last Ice Age has been a popular choice. It certainly was dramatic, though not to the catastrophic degree that some have proposed. The problem is that the location and the date (about 10,000 BC) do not fit. The earliest flood stories are set on the river plains of Mesopotamia, after farmers had settled there about 6,000 BC. The flooding of the Black Sea, even if it had occurred closer to 7,000 BC, as William Ryan and Walter Pitman proposed in their popular book Noah's Flood (2000), would not have affected the cradle of agriculture, protected by the mountains south of the Black Sea, let alone forced farmers to migrate into Europe as they contended. The flood mainly spilled water onto the low-lying land to the north of the Black Sea, where there were no farmers at the time. The hunter-gatherer bands that roamed there no doubt retreated out of its path, but their mobile life-style would make that easy.

Another idea is that the inundation of southern Mesopotamia c. 6,000 BC that created the Persian Gulf could have lived on in memory as the Deluge. This is in the right region, but the wrong time - just before agriculture arrived there from the north. Its supporters have to rely on supposed towns vanished beneath the waters to give it any plausibility. It was also a slow process.

Evidence of flooding at Mesopotamian cities such as Uruk c. 2900 BC may not capture the imagination to the same degree, but it has the merit of being in the right place at the right time.

leonardo
02-15-2014, 11:17 PM
So many cultures have preserved a flood myth that some authors toyed with the idea that it must be based on an actual apocalyptic event, a real flood that covered the whole world, but no such event has occurred during the time of mankind. However some of these myths appear connected in the sense that one mythology has influenced another.

The tale of Noah and his ark in Genesis, the first book of the Jewish Torah and Christian Old Testament, is notably similar to the flood story in the Epic of Gilgamesh, a collection of stories first written down by the Sumerians in the 3rd millennium BC. It recurs in Babylonian literature.The Jews probably picked up the flood story during their captivity in Babylon. How the deluge passed into Greek myth is less obvious, but the story of Deucalion's Flood has clear similarities.

Attention has therefore turned to notable regional floods which might be the foundation for these stories. The flooding of the Black and Caspian Seas at the end of the last Ice Age has been a popular choice. It certainly was dramatic, though not to the catastrophic degree that some have proposed. The problem is that the location and the date (about 10,000 BC) do not fit. The earliest flood stories are set on the river plains of Mesopotamia, after farmers had settled there about 6,000 BC. The flooding of the Black Sea, even if it had occurred closer to 7,000 BC, as William Ryan and Walter Pitman proposed in their popular book Noah's Flood (2000), would not have affected the cradle of agriculture, protected by the mountains south of the Black Sea, let alone forced farmers to migrate into Europe as they contended. The flood mainly spilled water onto the low-lying land to the north of the Black Sea, where there were no farmers at the time. The hunter-gatherer bands that roamed there no doubt retreated out of its path, but their mobile life-style would make that easy.

Another idea is that the inundation of southern Mesopotamia c. 6,000 BC that created the Persian Gulf could have lived on in memory as the Deluge. This is in the right region, but the wrong time - just before agriculture arrived there from the north. Its supporters have to rely on supposed towns vanished beneath the waters to give it any plausibility. It was also a slow process.

Evidence of flooding at Mesopotamian cities such as Uruk c. 2900 BC may not capture the imagination to the same degree, but it has the merit of being in the right place at the right time.
I saw a documentary on the Discovery or History channel a few years back where it was proposed the Garden of Eden now sits under the Persian Gulf, inundated by the flood you mention.

Humanist
02-16-2014, 12:35 AM
The tale of Noah and his ark in Genesis, the first book of the Jewish Torah and Christian Old Testament, is notably similar to the flood story in the Epic of Gilgamesh, a collection of stories first written down by the Sumerians in the 3rd millennium BC. It recurs in Babylonian literature.The Jews probably picked up the flood story during their captivity in Babylon. How the deluge passed into Greek myth is less obvious, but the story of Deucalion's Flood has clear similarities.

I am not familiar with the Greek story of Deucalion's Flood. I read this on Wikipedia:


Of Deucalion's birth, the Argonautica (from the 3rd century BC) states:

"There [in Achaea, i.e. Greece] is a land encircled by lofty mountains, rich in sheep and in pasture, where Prometheus, son of Iapetus, begat goodly Deucalion, who first founded cities and reared temples to the immortal gods, and first ruled over men. This land the neighbours who dwell around call Haemonia [i.e. Thessaly]."

The fullest accounts are provided in Ovid's Metamorphoses (8 AD) and in the Library of Pseudo-Apollodorus.[9] Deucalion, who reigned over the region of Phthia, had been forewarned of the flood by his father, Prometheus. Deucalion was to build a chest and provision it carefully (no animals are rescued in this version of the Flood myth), so that when the waters receded after nine days, he and his wife Pyrrha, daughter of Epimetheus, were the one surviving pair of humans. Their chest touched solid ground on Mount Parnassus,[10] or Mount Etna in Sicily,[11] or Mount Athos in Chalkidiki,[12] or Mount Othrys in Thessaly.[13]


If the above dates are the earliest attestations, and if we take them to signify (perhaps in error?) its origins in the Greek-speaking world, then the period of Greek domination of Mesopotamia (i.e. beginning with Alexander and continuing for many decades thereafter) may serve as a possible avenue for its "export" to Greece. Not completely unlike, perhaps, how it may have entered Jewish literature/mythology.

Ian B
02-16-2014, 01:45 AM
Or could it be that the same story was spread throughout a number of cultures and, over the years, modified to suit local beliefs etc.

I can't argue that there was never a flood, but, "onto the Ark, two by two?"

Humanist
02-16-2014, 02:09 AM
Or could it be that the same story was spread throughout a number of cultures and, over the years, modified to suit local beliefs etc.

Perhaps. The reason that I brought up the Hellenistic period in Babylon is that during that time, and the centuries afterward we see numerous instances of syncretism between Babylonian, Greek, and Persian gods. There was certainly influence on Mesopotamian society by the Greeks. And we know that the Greeks tolerated/supported Mesopotamian culture when they conquered Babylon, so that is why I believe it may have been a possibility. That is, if the chronology works.

Ian B
02-16-2014, 06:11 AM
Perhaps. The reason that I brought up the Hellenistic period in Babylon is that during that time, and the centuries afterward we see numerous instances of syncretism between Babylonian, Greek, and Persian gods. There was certainly influence on Mesopotamian society by the Greeks. And we know that the Greeks tolerated/supported Mesopotamian culture when they conquered Babylon, so that is why I believe it may have been a possibility. That is, if the chronology works.

The chronology may well work if we disregard the Old Testament altogether. The chronology of the Bible is not written in itself, and the entire contents rely on third and fourth parties for verification. Even these cannot be relied upon.

That there is a certain synchronicity between different cultures on a particular event, imho, is an indication that the event happened. Thus I can agree that the flood happened, but there has to be a different explanation for the Ark-it may have existed, I can't even argue with that, but the story of all of the animals defies imagination.

Humanist
02-16-2014, 08:22 AM
The chronology may well work if we disregard the Old Testament altogether. The chronology of the Bible is not written in itself, and the entire contents rely on third and fourth parties for verification. Even these cannot be relied upon.

Hi Ian. Sorry, my friend. I was vague when I mentioned "chronology." I was referring to the chronology as it refers to a possible Babylonian --> Greek transmission of the "Flood" story.

As for the "chronology" as it pertains to ancient history in general, and the Judeo-Christian tradition specifically, there are well known anachronisms that cannot be easily explained (e.g. The Chaldeans were not attested in the written record before 878 BCE (see Mario Fales 2011), postdating Abraham's "Ur of the Chaldees" by ~1000 years).

Stellaritic
02-16-2014, 09:37 AM
There seems like there is some historical truth to the event, given the fact that several civilizations have the tale as part of their oral and written culture.
It not a very wise conclusion, since mythical creatures were/are also part of almost every human culture too !

It should be put this way;
The Biblical account of Noah's Ark is similar to a newly discovered cuneiform tablet not the other way around.

Jean M
02-16-2014, 11:01 AM
I can't argue that there was never a flood, but, "onto the Ark, two by two?"

Picture the original story, as told by great-grandad. It might have gone something like:

"I had a feeling from signs in the weather that a big flood was coming, worse than anything we'd seen before. I went to consult [insert city deity here] through the priestess and she said I could be right since the deity had been in a really bad temper lately, what with poor levels of reverence. You could tell from that amazing thundercloud the other day. She was glad to see that I had the proper attitude. Praise be! So I built a really big raft, that would hold the whole family, and our seed and stock. Of course we couldn't get all our [farm] animals on it, but I picked out two of each, male and female, so that we could start again, even if we couldn't save the flocks. And lo and behold! I was absolutely right. The whole city and its farmland was flooded so deep and so fast that almost everyone was swept away. The only ones who survived were me and the family. It was a terrible time. There was water as far as the eye could see. The whole world we knew was gone. But the lord saved us."

leonardo
02-16-2014, 03:11 PM
It not a very wise conclusion, since mythical creatures were/are also part of almost every human culture too !

It should be put this way;
The Biblical account of Noah's Ark is similar to a newly discovered cuneiform tablet not the other way around.

Granted this tale could have been perpetrated among multiple cultures without having any credence. I would still argue that when a story circulates through many cultures, perhaps that adds some kernel of truth, even if the story has been enhanced. I am thinking of something similar to Jung's archetype.

BMG
02-16-2014, 04:26 PM
There is a deluge story from india too which i wasn't aware of before .
From Wikipedia


According to the Matsya Purana, the Matsya Avatar of Vishnu is believed to have appeared initially as a Shaphari (a small carp), to King Manu (whose original name was Satyavrata[6]), the then King of Kumari Kandam, while he washed his hands in a river. This river was supposed to have been flowing down the Malaya Mountains in his land of Dravida. The little Fish asked the king to save Him, and out of compassion, he put it in a water jar. It kept growing bigger and bigger, until King Manu first put Him in a bigger pitcher, and then deposited Him in a well. When the well also proved insufficient for the ever-growing Fish, the King placed Him in a tank (reservoir), that was two yojanas (16 miles) in height above the surface and on land, as much in length, and a yojana (8 miles) in breadth.[15][16] As it grew further King Manu had to put the fish in a river, and when even the river proved insufficient he placed it in the ocean, after which it nearly filled the vast expanse of the great ocean.
It was then that He (Lord Matsya), revealing Himself, informed the King of an all-destructive deluge which would be coming very soon.[5][6][17][18] The King built a huge boat which housed his family, 9 types of seeds, and animals to repopulate the earth, after the deluge would end and the oceans and seas would recede. At the time of deluge, Vishnu appeared as a horned fish and Shesha appeared as a rope, with which Vaivasvata Manu fastened the boat to horn of the fish.[19]
According to the Matsya Purana, his boat was perched after the deluge on the top of the Malaya Mountains[5][6][17] This narrative is to an extent similar to other deluge stories, like those of Utnapishtim from ancient Sumerian Mythology, and the story of Noah's ark from the Bible [4] and the Qur'an.

Apparently all human beings was born from manu so are called manusya

Táltos
02-16-2014, 05:24 PM
Or could it be that the same story was spread throughout a number of cultures and, over the years, modified to suit local beliefs etc.

I can't argue that there was never a flood, but, "onto the Ark, two by two?"
And this might sound strange but....maybe not so much a big boat, but something that held DNA of all living animals! We do have a seed vault right now. Not quite the same, but similar concept. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Svalbard_Global_Seed_Vault

Joe B
02-16-2014, 09:30 PM
Epic flooding makes for a good story or parable.
The Black Sea flood may have been more of trickle than a deluge.

Salinity increased rapidly with the onset of the dry Subboreal climate stage after ca. 5200 years ago leading to an increase in marine fungi and the first occurrence of marine copepods. A gradual succession of phytoplankton such as dinoflagellates, diatoms, and golden algae occurred during refreshening of the Black Sea with the onset of the cool and wet Subatlantic climate around 2500 years ago. The most drastic changes in plankton occurred over the last century associated with recent human disturbances in the region.
Black Sea holds a treasure of ancient genetic data. Past Horizons. May 9, 2013, from http://www.pasthorizonspr.com/index.php/archives/05/2013/black-sea-holds-a-treasure-of-ancient-genetic-data

Don't get your feet wet!
List of flood myths
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_flood_myths
My guess would be that unless these floods all happened at the same time, no need for an ark to save mankind and all the earths critters.
Flood myth
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flood_myth


http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/5/56/Gustave_Dor%C3%A9_-_The_Holy_Bible_-_Plate_I%2C_The_Deluge.jpg/460px-Gustave_Dor%C3%A9_-_The_Holy_Bible_-_Plate_I%2C_The_Deluge.jpg
"The Deluge", Frontispiece to Doré's illustrated edition of the Bible. Based on the story of Noah's Ark, this shows humans and a tiger doomed by the flood futilely attempting to save their children and cubs.

lgmayka
02-16-2014, 10:13 PM
Picture the original story, as told by great-grandad.
I must point out that with respect to the Book of Genesis, most of you appear to be focusing on (possibly irrelevant) details, almost to the exclusion of what devout Christians (and perhaps Jews and Muslims as well) believe to be the theologically significant truths of the account:
- At one time in the past, the human race had grown so thoroughly depraved that their Creator decided to eliminate the vast majority and begin again with a small faithful remnant.
- The faithful few were inspired in advance to prepare for the catastrophe. They warned others to do the same but were not heeded.
- The catastrophe came as predicted. The well-prepared remnant survived but others did not.
- Afterward, the faithful few gave their thanks and renewed their commitment to God. He, in turn, promised never again to destroy the human race by the same means (!).

Because the theologically significant event described above affected the entire human race, modern archaeology and genetics suggest that it must have been in the very distant past. However, it is easy to imagine that the human writer of Genesis then added details taken from another, more recent (perhaps more local and yet roughly analogous) event still surviving in his community's collective memory.

Jean M
02-16-2014, 10:27 PM
I must point out that with respect to the Book of Genesis, most of you appear to be focusing on ... details, almost to the exclusion of what devout Christians ... believe to be the theologically significant truths of the account


Yes that is the point of the thread. This thread is not in the religion section. It was placed under Archaeology and History.


Because the theologically significant event described above affected the entire human race

No it did not. As I stated. There has been no period in the time of mankind in which a flood covered the world.

We need to separate the theology from the history/archaeology. Parables and tales can be significant theologically without being based on an actual event.

Ian B
02-17-2014, 12:25 AM
Picture the original story, as told by great-grandad. It might have gone something like:

"I had a feeling from signs in the weather that a big flood was coming, worse than anything we'd seen before. I went to consult [insert city deity here] through the priestess and she said I could be right since the deity had been in a really bad temper lately, what with poor levels of reverence. You could tell from that amazing thundercloud the other day. She was glad to see that I had the proper attitude. Praise be! So I built a really big raft, that would hold the whole family, and our seed and stock. Of course we couldn't get all our [farm] animals on it, but I picked out two of each, male and female, so that we could start again, even if we couldn't save the flocks. And lo and behold! I was absolutely right. The whole city and its farmland was flooded so deep and so fast that almost everyone was swept away. The only ones who survived were me and the family. It was a terrible time. There was water as far as the eye could see. The whole world we knew was gone. But the lord saved us."


I can see that happening and by the time my g-grandchildren heard it, it was every animal in the world.

leonardo
02-17-2014, 12:39 AM
I must point out that with respect to the Book of Genesis, most of you appear to be focusing on (possibly irrelevant) details, almost to the exclusion of what devout Christians (and perhaps Jews and Muslims as well) believe to be the theologically significant truths of the account:
- At one time in the past, the human race had grown so thoroughly depraved that their Creator decided to eliminate the vast majority and begin again with a small faithful remnant.
- The faithful few were inspired in advance to prepare for the catastrophe. They warned others to do the same but were not heeded.
- The catastrophe came as predicted. The well-prepared remnant survived but others did not.
- Afterward, the faithful few gave their thanks and renewed their commitment to God. He, in turn, promised never again to destroy the human race by the same means (!).

Because the theologically significant event described above affected the entire human race, modern archaeology and genetics suggest that it must have been in the very distant past. However, it is easy to imagine that the human writer of Genesis then added details taken from another, more recent (perhaps more local and yet roughly analogous) event still surviving in his community's collective memory.
Not to dwell on the theological aspect ,since this is in the archaeological thread, but keep in mind, the ancients of the Bible did not consider human history to be very old. If my memory serves me - according to the Bible, there were 40 generations from Adam to Noah, 40 generations from Noah to David and 40 generations from David to Jesus. So, from a theological perspective, the flood would not have been much further back in time than what the archaeology may be implying.

leonardo
02-17-2014, 12:17 PM
Not to dwell on the theological aspect ,since this is in the archaeological thread, but keep in mind, the ancients of the Bible did not consider human history to be very old. If my memory serves me - according to the Bible, there were 40 generations from Adam to Noah, 40 generations from Noah to David and 40 generations from David to Jesus. So, from a theological perspective, the flood would not have been much further back in time than what the archaeology may be implying.
My memory is getting old.:\ It appears that Matthew counts 42 generations and Luke 77:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Genealogy_of_Jesus . My premise still stands. Ancients may have been passing on an historical event that was not in the distant, distant past. Whether this corresponds with what we know historically, or with the stories of other cultures, I can't say.

Rick
02-17-2014, 01:37 PM
http://www.giss.nasa.gov/research/briefs/gornitz_09/

Several "meltwater pulse" events seem to have occurred from roughly 15000 YBP to 8000 YBP. Certainly none covered the earth, but just as certainly many inhabited coastal areas were inundated. I expect this will be too old for some tastes.

rossa
02-17-2014, 05:00 PM
I can see that happening and by the time my g-grandchildren heard it, it was every animal in the world.

And when you think your culture is the centre of the world, then it's the entire world that gets flooded.