Saturday, January 25, 2014

Noah's Ark Was Round...

Irving Finkel, curator in charge of cuneiform clay tablets at the British Museum, poses with the 4,000-year-old clay tablet containing the story of the Ark and the flood at the British Museum on Friday.

Noah’s Ark was round, 4,000-year-old tablet suggests

A recently deciphered 4,000-year-old tablet from ancient Mesopotamia — modern-day Iraq — reveals striking new details about the roots of the Old Testament tale of Noah.


A recently deciphered 4,000-year-old tablet from ancient Mesopotamia — modern-day Iraq — reveals striking new details about the roots of the Old Testament tale of Noah. It tells a similar story, complete with detailed instructions for building a giant round vessel known as a coracle — as well as the key instruction that animals should enter “two by two.”

...The flood story recurs in later Mesopotamian writings including the “Epic of Gilgamesh.” These versions lack the technical instructions — cut out, Finkel believes, because they got in the way of the storytelling

...“I’m sure the story of the flood and a boat to rescue life is a Babylonian invention,” he said.
He believes the tale was likely passed on to the Jews during their exile in Babylon in the 6th century BC. And he doesn’t think the tablet provides evidence the ark described in the Bible existed. He said it’s more likely that a devastating real flood made its way into folk memory, and has remained there ever since.
“I don’t think the ark existed — but a lot of people do,” he said. “It doesn’t really matter. The Biblical version is a thing of itself and it has a vitality forever.

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