Six items appear below:

1 The Noah's Ark Fairy Tale         B De Kretser

2 Investigating Noah's Flood        Anonymous

3 Ziusudra's Barge                        Williams

4 Noah's Flood 2                            Anonymous 

5   Noah's Ark Too Big A Job       Bob Potter

6   Noah's Ark                                 Anonymous
___________________________________




The Noah's Ark Fairy Tale

(Investigator 134, 2010 September)


The Jews invented their god Yahweh — a very chatty sort as deities go. At the drop of a halo, he would call on one of his favourites for a chat, to give his instructions to be passed on to the gullible masses. His favourites were John the Baptist, Moses, Paul, Joseph and Mary, Lot, Joshua, Noah, Abraham to name but a few.

One day he called on Noah to tell him that he was about to destroy the world by a huge flood. He told Noah he would save him and his family, sons, a total of 8 persons.

God then instructed Noah to build an Ark. Here God gave him the exact measurements in cubits. In ancient times a cubit is about the length of one's forearm, about 18 inches or 45 cm long.

It was to have 3 decks, one window 22 inches sq. and one door, shutting on the outside.

Noah would have to collect about 100,000 insects, 40,000 mammals, 1600 reptiles and all the different kinds of food each would eat. He also instructed Noah to ensure that all Australia's unique animals, Koalas, Kangaroos, Wombats etc and their special foods be collected into the Ark. When all were inside God himself would close the door and Noah close the window.

Then the rains came down, till the waters were over every mountain in the world, over 5 miles deep.

According to Genesis 150 days [5 months] of flood. Eight people plus all the livestock previously mentioned in that enclosed space — unbelievable. Ha! Ha!

Genesis has two contradictory stories of the flood. [So much for God's infallible word, but then again one must realize that God himself was a creation of man.]

At that time Noah was 600 years old — another comic twist to the story. In all the rush, this omni everything deity forgot to take into consideration or mention to Noah, the Dinosaurs, Mastodons, etc. These were monsters, some bigger than the Ark.

The comic story continues that this deity could not even work out the fact, that even if a couple of these monsters managed to get on the Ark, the Ark would not have been able to float.

Another fact is that many of these Dinosaurs were on earth about 110 million years ago. This puts paid to the other Bible story that the earth was 10,000 years old.

At last after 5 months, the Ark came to rest on Mt. Ararat [in present day Turkey] 16,854 ft above sea level, and all went their merry way.

In addition to the two contradictory stories in the Bible, Great flood stories have been recorded long before the Bible was written. The Hindu Punaric story, the Sumerian flood myth, the Greek flood myth, the Babylonian Epic of Gilgamesh, all go to prove it is nothing more than a re-cycled myth through thousands of years in different countries, featuring different heroes — just another fairy story.

Prof. Brian de Kretser
Institute for Research into Religions, Darwin, N.T. Australia.



 




INVESTIGATING NOAH'S FLOOD

Anonymous

(Investigator 135, 2010 November)


BACKGROUND

The Babylonians had a flood story, the epic of Gilgamesh. Before the Babylonians the Sumerians, Akkadians and Hurrians (SE Turkey) also had flood stories in which a man built a boat and survived.

Armenians, Greeks and many other peoples also had flood legends; over 150 worldwide are known. How many are based on the same event and which are revisions of others, cannot be established. Some commentators claim the many versions echo one great flood; others that they reflect numerous local floods.

Young Earth Creationists defend the Noah's Ark story (Genesis 6-8) by rejecting much of modern science including a lot of geology, astronomy, physics, chemistry, oceanography, archaeology, history, paleontology, geography, zoology, botany, biology, etc. If, however, we want to find out about the world and nature, we need to refer to science. If science is wrong then nothing can be established, proved, confirmed or refuted. Young-Earth-Creationist attempts to prove their beliefs by imagining science to be wrong, is therefore contradictory.

Seventh Day Adventist Ron Wyatt (Discovered: Noah's Ark, 1989), David Fasold (The Ark of Noah, 1989) and others have claimed they found a giant fossilized boat near Mount Ararat, but their claims have been rebutted.

I'm going to leave science intact and investigate whether Noah's Flood and Noah's Ark (Genesis 6-8) are still plausible.


ARK SIZE

Critics argue that wooden ships longer than 300 feet are non-seaworthy in rough waters and Noah's 450-foot Ark would break apart.

From Genesis the Ark appears flat-bottomed without rounded hull or keel, a huge barge suited for a calm inland flood rather than ocean waves.

The Chinese fleet in the 15th century included barge-shaped ships 400 feet long (Viviano 2005), and these survived Indian Ocean storms. The extra 50 feet needed to equal Noah's inland barge might therefore be doable.

Some also argue that "cubits" in Genesis should be "spans" and Noah's Ark was therefore 200 feet rather than 450 but this is speculative.

Ancient Egypt had obelisk-carrying barges 200 feet long — and one by Queen Hatshepsut (15th century BC) was 95 metres long. Clarke & Engelbach (1999) suggest that barges transported granite blocks weighing up to 1000 tons. Emperor Caligula had "pleasure barges" 230 feet long on Lake Nemi (Italy). The world's largest wooden ships, some over 400 feet long, are listed at:
http://en.wikipedia.org./wiki/List_of_world's_largest_wooden_ships

How long did it take to build the Ark?

The BBC television documentary "The Pharoah who conquered the sea" reported about a project to re-enact the trip to Punt (probably Somalia) by Queen Hatshepsut's fleet around 1480BC. Archaeologists employed Arab shipbuilders to use ancient methods to build an Egyptian ship modeled on a bas-relief in the temple at Luxor. The ship was 66 feet long, used 60 tons of Douglas fir from Europe, and took one year to build. The documentary didn't say how many workers were involved — but it seemed between 10 and 20. Noah's Ark might therefore be built in reasonable time if manpower employed was correspondingly greater. The 15th century Chinese fleet of up to 300 vessels was built in three years.


DINOSAURS and EARTH'S AGE


Dinosaurs in Noah's Ark are a problem for young-earth-creationists who claim the Universe is 6000 years old and who I refuted in Creationism, ID and Science (#108).

How old is our planet?  In 1970 I noted the description of "earth" before creation in Genesis 1:2 and wondered how our planet could become so devastated. The 1:2 description was also a test of biblical accuracy, since if the description was fantasy then no scientific explanation would ever be found. An explanation, however, came in 1974 when I read Bombarded Earth a book about asteroid impacts. (See details in Investigator #83)

A crater from an oceanic asteroid impact big enough to produce the Genesis 1:2 conditions was discovered off NW Australia in 2001. (#98, p. 46) This discovery might not be the asteroid of Genesis 1:2 since countless other impacts have occurred, but in principle the idea is confirmed. This is one of the few successful predictions of future scientific discovery ever made from Genesis 1.

Giant asteroid impacts imply that planet Earth is very old — old enough for many geological and biological recoveries from repeated world changing impacts. Just look at the Moon through a telescope and see what Earth has recovered from!

My point is that Earth is old and Noah's Flood (Genesis 6-8), being comparatively recent, had nothing to do with dinosaurs.  


FLOOD-EXTENT

The most inclusive phrase in Genesis 7 of the Flood's extent is "all the high mountains under the whole heaven were covered". This phrase, however, gives Noah's perspective i.e what Noah observed, since Bible statements about the sky ("heaven") are from the perspective of human observers.

We therefore need to look for a large local flood, not a global flood, but a flood which destroyed a civilization so that from Noah's viewpoint there was "an end of all flesh" (6:13).


ANCIENT FLOODS

Archaeologists have discovered sediments from major floods in Mesopotamia (Iraq) which occurred around 3500BC, 2900BC, 2800BC, 2700BC, 2600BC.

Archaeologist Bruce Masse argues that an asteroid slammed into the Indian Ocean off Madagascar about 2800BC and produced 600-foot-high tsunamis. (Carney 2007)

About 5500BC the Black Sea, which prior to that time was a fresh-water lake, was flooded by the Mediterranean Sea. (McInnes 1998) Remains of houses have been found 300 feet below sea level. Ian Wilson (2001) argues that the biblical and Mesopotamian flood stories reflect the Black Sea flood-event.

10,000 years ago much of the North Sea and English Channel was dry land and inhabited, but flooded when the Ice Age ended. The Black Sea and North Sea flooding, however, cannot be Noah's Flood since Genesis says "the waters receded from the earth" (8:3-4) whereas these areas stayed water-covered.

Giant floods occurred also in North America 15,000 to 13,000 years ago. Glacial dams disintegrated after the Ice Age, releasing pooled water up to 1800 feet high that carved huge canyons into the region's thick lava foundations and deposited gravel bars hundreds of feet high and 40-layer stacks of sediment 30 metres thick. (Pendick 1997) In 1990 Russian geologists recognized from huge gravel bars and eroded hills that equally great floods had burst from Lake Missoula in Siberia.

Stokstad (1996) writes that a huge flood may have restarted the Gulf Stream after a cold spell 12,000 years ago shut it down. Lake Agassiz, the size of Sweden, existed in west Canada at the time, and burst through debris left by a retreating glacier.

Ted Bryant, geomorphologist of Wollongong, catalogued evidence of six giant tsunamis on Australia's coasts from 4000 BC to AD 1600 including: "car-sized blocks of rock lifted over 100-metre high cliffs." (Jones 2002)

In the 1960s oceanographers recognized that deep-ocean volcanoes near Hawaii sometimes collapsed in huge landslides creating giant tsunamis. Underwater landslides sculptured the Canary Islands in the Atlantic Ocean 15,000 years ago.


LOCATION


The biblical flood came from rainfall, 40 days of it (7:12), and from "the great deep":
On that day all the fountains of the great deep burst forth, and the windows of the heavens were opened. (Genesis 7:12)

"The great deep" is not necessarily the Mediterranean since ancient people also knew of the Indian and Atlantic oceans. And if an ice dam collapsed, as discussed above, that could also be a "great deep".

The "high mountains" (Hebrew harim also means "hills") were covered "fifteen cubits deep" (7:19-20). This, however, could be the water's depth as measured from the base of the hills i.e. the plain. If so, then the Flood occurred where the "hills" were less than 15 cubits (22 feet) high.

The waters "gradually receded" (8:2-5) taking over half a year. The location of Noah's Flood, therefore, appears to be a large flat area surrounded by distant mountains or glaciers or debris that temporarily contained the water.

Around 2000AD an ancient urban civilization unknown to archaeologists was discovered in Iran. It's called Aratta, and preceded Mesopotamian civilization. Even older, 7000 years old, is Trypillia discovered in 1897 in Ukraine. These civilizations can't be identified with Noah but raise the possibility of yet other lost civilizations — and perhaps a drowned civilization.

A 5th-century BC Chaldean priest supposedly saw the Ark on Mount Ararat, and similar claims of sightings surfaced into the 1980s. But all attempts at confirmation failed. The "mountains" of Ararat (8:4) may refer to Urartu a kingdom north of Assyria and not to Mount Ararat in Turkey. It's also unclear how long Ararat in Turkey has been so named.


ANIMAL NUMBERS

New Scientist says: "Our best estimates so far put the number of species between 1.4 and 1.9 million." (24 April, 2010, p. 14)  The article lists: Invertebrates 1,203,000; Fungi 70,000; Plants 298,000; Vertebrates 60,000; Bacteria and Protists 250,000.

In Investigator 49/50 I analyzed the biblical words for various animal groups in Genesis 6-7 and concluded that insects were "not invited on board." What, therefore, went on board? Genesis 7:1-4 says "Clean" and "unclean" animals and birds.

Deuteronomy 14:4-18 lists ten "clean" mammal species and four "unclean", plus 20 "unclean" bird kinds.

Leviticus 11 gives the same details but mentions also eight "unclean…creatures that swarm" i.e. mouse, weasel, crocodile and various lizards. (11:29-30) "Clean" birds are not listed but would include quail and chickens.

If the "clean" and "unclean" labels in Genesis correspond to these later lists then the Ark held less than 50 species — livestock, domesticated animals, birds, and "swarming" creatures that existed in Noah's area. And 50 species is few enough for the Ark's eight human passengers to have monitored and cared for.


TWO STORIES?

Is Genesis 6-8 an amalgamation of two separate flood stories — Yahwist (J) and Priestly (P) — as claimed by some scholars? Use of multiple sources would not prove it wrong. Students today who write essays may consult many references and combine all the main points and be more accurate, not less accurate, for having done so.

The "Documentary Hypothesis" (or Hypotheses since there were over 100 versions) postulates multiple sources for Genesis but has reputable opponents. (Möller 1903; Young 1964)

Regarding Noah, the New Bible Dictionary (Second Edition 1982) says that the evidence for multiple sources is "susceptible of other explanations" and:

"…the unity of the Flood account is suggested by the consistent statements as to the cause of the Flood (Gn. 6:5-7, J, 11-13, P), the purpose of it (Gn. 6:7, J, 13, 17, P; 7:4, J, 21, P, 22-23, J; 8:21, J), and the saving of a representative remnant (Gn. 6:8, J, 18-20, P; 7:1-3, 7-9, J, 13-16a, P, 16b, J; 8:16-19, P)." (p. 382)

No multiple authors have been identified and some scholars now consider the Documentary Hypothesis to be without "merit".


CONCLUSION

The setting for the Genesis Flood, as I've interpreted it, seems somewhere in Asia but cannot yet be identified with a particular historical flood. However, great floods have occurred, wooden ships over 400 feet long are possible, the creatures saved on board numbered hundreds rather than millions, and some ancient civilizations surely remain undiscovered. If along with these points we recall the many other biblical claims already proved correct in Investigator, claims that formerly seemed wrong, then Noah's Flood is plausible.


References:

Carney, S. 2007 Discover [No date or volume number]
Clarke, S. & Engelbach, R. 1999 Ancient Egyptian Masonry: The Building Craft, Book Tree
Diamond, J. Voyage of the Overloaded Ark, Discover, June 1985
Gallant, Rene 1964 Bombarded Earth, John Baker
Jones, N. New Scientist, September 14, 2002, p. 15
McInnes, D. Earth, August 1998, pp 46-54

Möller, W. (1903) Second Edition, Are the Critics Right?
Pendick, D. Earth, February 1997, pp 26-35
Ryan, W. & Pitman, W. 1998 Noah's Flood, Simon & Schuster
Stokstad, E. New Scientist, November 16, 1996, p. 19
Viviano, F. China's Great Armada, National Geographic, July 2005
Wilson, I. 2001 Before The Flood, Orion Paperback
Young, E.J. 1964 An Introduction to the Old Testament (Revised), Tyndale, Chapter 8.

Boats:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Obelisk
http://en-wikipedia.org/wiki/Nemi-ships
http://wiki.answers.com/Q/Ancient_Egyptian_boat_building
www.airlandsea.info/2008/10/queen-hatshepsut-obelisk-barge.html
www.reshafim.org.il/ad/egypt/timelines/topics/riverboats.htm
www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/ancient/building-pharoahs-ship.html

Civilizations:
www.cais-5095.com/CAIS/Archaeology/jiroft.htm
www.arattagar.co.uk/Aratta/Trypillia/Trypillia.html
www.redicecreations.com/article.php?id=7270





       
COULD 'NOAH'S ARK' HAVE BEEN ZIUSUDRA'S BARGE?
    
"If something appears to be too absurd to be true,
then there is a good chance that it's not true."

John H. Williams


I refer to Anonymous' article, Investigating Noah's Flood in #135. As he stated, there are flood stories in over 150 cultures, and, given all of the available evidence, we can, as he does, dismiss the idea of one global inundation, and with it, in my view, a literal acceptance of Genesis.

If the Ark story were true, then everything we know about the history of life on Earth would be discounted as wrong. The books and articles discussing that barge's (ark is the Hebrew word for box) size, ability to withstand oceanic waves, the number and kinds of kinds it held and their on-board diet are so much verbiage. Mr A's "analysis" of Genesis 6-7, showing that "insects were not invited on board" (Investigator #49/50/135), highlights the futility of speculating about something which never occurred: the Insecta 'uninvited' – that's class discrimination!

Mr A is, I believe, correct in describing it as a "flat-bottomed…barge", suited for an "inland flood", though the accompanying graphic in #3/135, at "137 metres", is twice as long (based on a mistranslation) as the barge on which I believe the 'Noah's Ark' story was based, since such a large unpowered river craft would have been impracticable. (On being unloaded, it had to be partially dismantled and hauled up-river to its home port).

He told us that he was "going to leave science intact" and check whether the Noachian allegory is "plausible". 'Intact science', of the kind that's found in New Scientist on relevant topics such as paleoanthropology, reminds us that the Bible is not "historically correct and scientifically accurate in every detail": given its ancient, derivative, mistranslated, misinterpreted, partial, incomplete and labyrinthine history, how could it be?

It's likely that the Noah's Ark story was primarily based on one millennial river valley flood c. 2900 BCE, in Sumer, now southern Iraq. I believe that a version of the story below actually happened, and, possibly including other major flood events, was incorporated into Sumerian legend (Eridu Genesis), and later transmitted to the Akkadian and Babylonian epics of Atrahasis and Gilgamesh, then 'borrowed' by the two main sources of the Hebrew Torah.

This RIVER FLOOD, attested by research and carbon dating, is likely to have become the prototype, over two thousand years later, of the Genesis Deluge, calculated by Bishop Ussher to have been in 2348BCE, which occurred in the lower Euphrates valley during a six or seven day rainstorm which coincided with the late spring/early summer peak flow. 

A river port city-state, SHURUPPAK, or FARA (now modern Tell Fara) was overwhelmed by a rapid 15 cubits (seven metres) rise of the Euphrates, catching the inhabitants by surprise, so that they had no time to flee to distant high country. It was so wide and voluminous that it understandably seemed universal, "the end of all flesh" (Gen 6:13), and it effectively ended the ruling dynasty and the Jemdet Nasr  period.

ZIUSUDRA (Zin-Suddra, Xisuthros), a likely flood hero prototype for the mythological Noah (Nuh in the Quran), was Shuruppak's tenth king, the son of the biblical 'Lamech', aka Suruppak, written as SU.KUR.LAM in Sumerian), and grand-son of 'Methuselah', the 8th and 9th Genesis patriarchs, as shown in the Sumerian King List. Ziusudra owned at least one commercial tub-like barge, a 'quffa', which plied the old course of the Euphrates, transporting sheep, goats, cattle, barley, beer, lumber, hay and other goods to Ur, a city - state port near the Persian Gulf.

The dark yellow alluvium deposited by that c. 4,910 year-old flood has been studied: directly below this flood stratum, polychrome pottery of the Jemdet Nasr period has been found, dated 3,000–2900BCE. Other cities were also flooded, including Uruk and Kish: the latter became the dominant city after the flood. A range of dates has been proposed for this flood:  the Samaritan Bible gives 2903BCE; Keith Maisels dates the end of the Jemdet Nasr period as 2,960BCE, very close to the Greek Septuagint's 2,958BCE; Professor HW Saggs suggests about 2,900BCE, and David Macdonald believes it was between 2,950BCE and 2,850BCE.

Ziusudra and his family, having survived the journey to Ur, offered a sacrifice atop a near-by 'hill', which led to the mistranslation of the Hebrew word har, which can mean a hill or mountain, by the writer(s) of Genesis 7.20 and 8.4 as a "mountain". That 'hill' is also possibly a mistranslation of what was the altar of a (ziggurat?) temple, an artificial 'hill'. The barge had been close to fully loaded, almost ready to disembark, and became a vessel of survival, not a floating zoo!

One of Ziusudra's (Noah's) predecessors, 'Adam' (his Sumerian name has been lost), was the first king of Shuruppak, the tax records of which go back no further than 3113BCE in the Jemdet Nasr period, though Sumerian city states had begun to emerge from c. 5,300BCE.

Scribes had kept tax records, using a pre-cuneiform number system, stored in temple archives. The flood story of 2900 BCE was first written during the Early Dynastic 3a period (2600 – 2500BCE) by a scribe, using whatever records were available, as well as various oral traditions about previous floods. This same (or another) scribe miscalculated the ages of Sumerian kings from raw birth and death figures, using an archaic Sumerian number system of the 3a period.

Over seven centuries later (1800-1600BCE), during the Old Babylonian era when Sumerian was still in use, a scribe mistranslated the numbers into cuneiform using the classical sexagesimal number system, erroneously assuming the original numbers were Sumerian proto-sexagesimal, designed for counting objects such as animals, when they were designed for counting grain volume. The Sumerian King List's (composed c. 2100BCE), cuneiform gave numbers in shar; the cuneiform for shar is 3,600 (60 x 60) = one year: Ziusudra's pre-diluvial rule was for 10 shars, translated from 36,000 years, thus 10 actual years.

The corrected ages of four of the 'patriarchal' Shuruppak kings:

Ziusudra ('Noah') ('He saw or found life') was born in 2948BCE and died aged 83 (Gen, 950) in 2,865BCE, He was regarded as pious, humble and god-fearing, and he and his wife were awarded immortality.  (Utnapishtim, 'The Faraway', 'He found or saw life', is an Akkadian translation of the name Ziusudra, and became, 1700 years later, a mythical flood hero based on Ziusudra.
(The ratios of Biblical ages to actual ages for 'Adam', Ziusudra and Methuselah are x 11.48, 11.44 and 11.41); for Lamech it's x 12.3).
 
Mr A referred to the Babylonian Gilgamesh epic (c.1150BCE), whose flood hero is Shuruppak's Utnapishtim, while the Akkadian, Atrahasis (c.1635BCE), is believed by many to be the same being as Utnapishtim.

Comparing the three flood 'histories', there are strong parallels between the stories of the Sumerian flood hero, Ziusudra, and the same flood hero(es), Utnapishtim/Atrahasis. In the Berossus epic (278BCE), the hero is Xisuthros (a Hellenised version of Ziuzudra) of Sippar (upstream of Shuruppak), beset by the destroyer god Enlil, and aided by a savior god, Enki, exactly as in the three other stories. Similar versions are also found in Greek texts (c 700BCE) and the Quran (c. 600CE).

In Gilgamesh, Utnapishtim is secretly warned to prepare for a great flood, to be sent by the god Enlil (Lord Air) to drown all life. Utnapishtim, having been warned by the god Enki (Enlil's son, Lord Earth, later known as Ea), took all his animals on an ark, which was becalmed for seven days, sent a dove (returned), a swallow (returned), then a raven which did not return, so confirming land was near-by. Utnapishtim made a sacrifice to Ea on top of Mount Nisir/Nimus and he and his wife were taken by the gods to live at the mouth of the rivers. Compare the following:
•    "the storm had swept for seven days and seven nights" (Eridu Genesis, 2030)
•    "for seven days and seven nights came the storm" (Atrahasis III, iv, 24)
•    "six days and seven nights the wind and storm" (Gilgamesh XI, 1270)
•    "rain fell upon the earth forty days and forty nights" (Genesis 7:12)
•    "The gods smelled the savor" (Atr III, v, 34)
•    "The gods smelled the sweet savor (Gilg, XI, 160)
•    "And the Lord smelled the sweet savor" (Gen, 8:21)
•    "He offered a sacrifice" (Atr 111, v31)
•    "And offered a sacrifice" (Gilg X1, 155)
•    " Noah offered burnt offerings on the altar" (Gen, 8:20)
•    " Built an altar and sacrificed to the gods" (Berossus)

The Mesopotamian stories all involve multiple gods: much later it was the solitary Yahweh who sent the Flood, due to 'humanity's wickedness'. For Atrahasis, his chief god Enlil decided to destroy the world because humans had become too numerous and "noisy" (one interpretation is a surfeit of 'god-bothering', thus disturbing his days and preventing sleep!). The biblical Ark story is a 'transmitted narrative', a blend of myth and history, one handed down from generation to generation and from (Sumerian/Babylonian) culture to (Hebrew) culture.

Hans Schmidt and other archaeologists believe that the Yahwist and Priestly versions of Genesis 6-9 were compiled while the Jews were in Babylonian exile from 586BCE to 539BCE, and were directly derived/plagiarised from Babylonian sources containing Sumerian flood stories dating to c. 2,900BCE. Following the end of exile, Genesis went through a long process of redaction in Jerusalem from 539BCE to 400BCE.

Naturally, there's an ongoing debate about the flood stories, the amalgamated Yahwist (J) and Priestly (P) versions, or the multiple sources of the Documentary Hypothesis, as outlined by Mr A in #135. It's a big, complicated, fragmentary 'jig-saw', and I acknowledge my limited biblical scholarship and historical expertise in offering this plausible source of the Ark myth, for which, in my opinion, there's some evidence.

However, much of my Ziusudra story is based on Noah's Ark and the Ziusudra Epic (1999) by Robert Best, who has no credentials in ancient Mesopotamian languages and history. One can question his confident speculation and his ignoring of 'the unknowable': Best's reconstruction could well be too heavily based on orally transmitted stories, though it's likely that a 'Ziusudran' flood event (or events) eventually became a mythical epic.  

Mr A believes that the Genesis flood can't be identified with a particular historical flood:  he could well be right: there may have been a series of local floods which were conflated in folk memory as one catastrophic deluge. He states that the creatures on board numbered "hundreds", of "less than 50 species": the hundreds were the barge's livestock, a vital food supply, plus the usual shipboard fauna. Mr A's reference to "clean" and "unclean", is irrelevant, and was a later Jewish embellishment which helped them to assert their distinct identity during their time in exile, helping to minimise socialisation and marriage with non-Jews.

Despite his comprehensive review of the Noah's Flood myth, and his useful, factual and relevant corrections, Mr A remains wedded to the inerrancy of Genesis. Yes, there are undiscovered civilisations, but they are almost certainly not relevant to that which has found its way into Genesis 6 – 9. It's the multiple parallels with Mesopotamian culture, history and myth which offer sufficient evidence to give us a strong insight into its original source. Also, recalling "other biblical claims already proved correct in Investigator" is contentious and unconvincing. Noah's Ark is, I submit, a 'busted' myth.

The Noachian odyssey is one of THE great stories of western culture, one which colorfully and simplistically expresses the idea of an all-powerful creator god deemed capable of slate-wiping and re-starting, sending a grossly 'over-the-top' punishment/'lesson' for human wrongdoing, or perhaps warning of any hankering after rival Mesopotamian gods. It's an allegory emphasising that 'our god is all-powerful, people owe him for their existence, and he expects them to behave themselves'. Such ancient myths often have at core a factual basis, and I believe that the mega-flood element of the Genesis story did occur in the Euphrates valley of Sumer and became the basis for Babylonian myths which later evolved in a version required by those who were composing their tribal mythology, replete with expedient mistranslations, misinterpretations and cultural Iron Age spin.


References: 

Anonymous, Investigating Noah's Flood, Investigator #135
Best, Robert.M. Noah's Ark and the Ziusudra Epic, Eisenbrauns, 1999
Carroll, R, Noah's Ark, the Skeptic's Online Dictionary
Cline, Eric H, Biblical Archaeology, Oxford University Press, 2009
Cohn, Norman, Noah's Flood in Western Thought, Yale University, 1999
Hooke, SH, The Various Accounts of The Flood (article on Peake's Commentary on the Bible)
Kriwaczek, Paul, Babylon, Mesopotamia and the Birth of Civilisation, Atlantic Books, London, 2010
Gardner, Laurence, Genesis of the Grail Kings, Bantam, 2005
Gardner, Laurence, The Grail Enigma, Harper Element, 2008
Lendering, Jona. The Great Flood: the story from the Bible (has a useful and comprehensive comparative table): www.livius.org/fa-fin/flood/flood1.html
Straughen, Kirk, Ancient Cosmographies, Investigator #58, Jan 1998
Time-Life, Mesopotamia: The Mighty Kings (1995) p.132 shows the Babylonian map of the world (c. 500 – 600 BCE) which refers to Ziusudra in the cuneiform above the clay tablet map (British Museum #92687)
Ages of biblical patriarchs: http://noahs-ark-flood.com/ages.htm
Ziusudra: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ziusudra



 




NOAH'S FLOOD 2

Anonymous

(Investigator 139, 2011 July)


FICTITIOUS NAPOLEON

The most successful fiction to masquerade as history is Napoleon:

Napoleon was invented in 1945 by French historians seeking to glorify France with a French equivalent to Adolf Hitler. This explains why Hitler's achievements and Napoleon's are so similar — Napoleon is myth based on Hitler.

Both men invaded Egypt, Italy and Poland; both attacked Malta, and England on land and sea; both made treaties with Russia but invaded Russia, both in June. Both legislated law codes — Hitler enforced Nazism, Napoleon the Code Napoleon. Each commenced political prominence in violence, went to prison, remained prominent 22 years and died in his 50s. French historians reduced Hitler's age at death (56) by 1/14th to get 52 for Napoleon's age at death to reflect lower life-spans in the 19th century. Napoleon could not have invaded Russian due to the impossibility of supplying 500,000 men without trains or trucks.

Hitler's war was lost by 1944 when he suffered an assassination attempt after which he organized the Ardennes offensive in Belgium. The mythical Napoleonic equivalent is Napoleon's defeat in 1814, his exile, then his attack at Waterloo also in Belgium. Hitler wrote Mein Kampf and Napoleon wrote his Memorial. Both men loved two women — Hitler Geli Raubal and Eva Braun, and Napoleon Josephine and Marie Louise.

These Hitler/Napoleon parallels are a sample and could be expanded. To promote the Napoleon myth the French Government published fake histories and documents and printed 19th century publication dates on them, and built monuments falsely dated. Some 20th century historians recognized the hoax but were bribed into silence. No other two men in history have the same similarities as Hitler and Napoleon, which confirms that Napoleon never existed.

Notice that to discard history or invent fake history is easy. We simply:
1.    List parallels and similarities;
2.    Ignore differences;
3.    Respond to science with conspiracy theory and accusations of fraud.

NOAH'S FLOOD
 
To show that Noah's Flood is plausible (#135) I relied on standard science. Williams (#138) replied with alleged parallel events and pseudoscience. His references include Genesis of the Grail Kings and The Grail Enigma the author of which, Laurence Gardner, is noted for conspiracy theory and pseudoscience. One review of Gardner says:
Around 6000 years ago, Adam and Eve (known then as Atâbba and Kâva - and jointly called the Adâma) were purpose-bred for kingship by Enki and his sister-wife Nîn-khursag. This took place at a 'creation chamber' which the Sumerian annals refer to as the House of Shimtî (Shi-im-tî meaning 'breath - wind - life'). Adam and Eve were certainly not the first people on Earth, but they were the first of the alchemically devised kingly succession. Nîn-khursag was called the Lady of the Embryo or the Lady of Life, and she was the surrogate mother for Atâbba and Kâva, who were created from human ova fertilized by the Lord Enki.

Gardner uses names of Bible persons but rejects what the Bible says about them, and brings into his plots space aliens, cloning, alchemy, Celtic mythology, Arthurian legends, and more. He omits Bugs Bunny but might as well have included him. Gardner's premise that Adam and Eve were cloned by aliens, Moses was Akhenaten, and Jesus was a Rosicrucian married to Mary Magdalene is silliness that historians ignore and skeptics lampoon.

Detailed response to Gardner is a job for skeptics — which Williams claims to be. My "job" is to consult mainstream science to evaluate the Bible.


FLOOD HEROES

Various modern authors parallel the Genesis pre-flood patriarchs with kings of Shuruppak (a city in Sumer), and the Genesis Flood with a Sumer flood. However, all the names, all the life-spans, and most other details don't match up.

Ziusudra, king of Shuruppak, is known from a 17th century BC tablet. The story deals with creation of man and animals, the founding of the first cities, and Ziusudra who is warned by the god Enki to build a large boat.

In the Akkadian flood story the hero is Atrahasis who also is warned by Enki to build a boat to escape.

In the Babylonian Epic of Gilgamesh the hero is Utnapishtim who constructs a boat to save his family plus representatives of all animals. When the flood subsides the boat is grounded on a mountain. After 7 days Utnapishtim releases in turn a dove and swallow which both return, then a raven which does not return. Utnapishtim then makes a sacrifice on mount Nisir and receives immortality.

The Britannica says regarding Ziusudra:
Ziusudra, in Mesopotamian religion rough counterpart to the biblical Noah as survivor of a god-sent flood. When the gods had decided to destroy humanity with a flood, the god Enki (Akkadian Ea), who did not agree with the decree, revealed it to Ziusudra, a man well known for his humility and obedience. Ziusudra did as Enki commanded him and built a huge boat, in which he successfully rode out the flood. Afterward, he prostrated himself before the gods An and Enlil (Bel), and, as a reward for living a godly life, Ziusudra was given immortality.

We don't have archaeological confirmation of Ziusudra, therefore when writers connect him with the flood of 2900BC it's speculation.

The Sumerian king list is of limited help since it has various versions with not much confirmed:
The king list gives as coming in succession several dynasties that now are known to have ruled simultaneously. It is a welcome aid to chronology and history, but, so far as the regnal years are concerned, it loses its value for the time before the dynasty of Akkad, for here the lengths of reign of single rulers are given as more than 100 and sometimes even several hundred years. One group of versions of the king list has adopted the tradition of the Sumerian Flood Story according to which Kish was the first seat of kingship after the Flood, whereas five dynasties of primeval kings ruled before the Flood in Eridu, Bad-tibira, Larak, Sippar, and Shuruppak. These kings all allegedly ruled for multiples of 3,600 years (the maximum being 64,800 or, according to one variant, 72,000 years)… (The Britannica)

Parallel event theorists claim the ages of these kings are mistranslated, and reduce them accordingly. They also reduce the Genesis numbers to about one tenth the Bible figures — although this would mean that Enosh became a father at age 9 and several others at 6 or 7. (Genesis 5)

Some websites speak of "the Sumerian Noah" and "Noah, king of Shuruppak". These are attempts to get conclusions based on parallelisms accepted by repetition. It's like trying to get Napoleon-is-Hitler accepted by repeating the phrase "the French Hitler".

In Noah's Flood it rained 40 days (7:12), in the Mesopotamian stories 7 days and in both cases the flood survivors offered a sacrifice. The parallels are fewer than could be listed for the Australian floods of 1974 and 2011. To argue from similarities that one Australian flood is myth based on the other, and that the title "prime minister", in use during both floods, means that the prime ministers of 1974 and 2011 are one and the same, would be silly.

In the 1990s oceanographers discovered that the Mediterranean Sea flooded into the Black Sea around 5500BC. This led to the idea that the Babylonian flood stories, and the Biblical, are all based on the 5500BC Black Sea flood. (Wilson, I. 2001 Before The Flood)  If correct then this alone refutes the alleged Genesis-Sumeria connection. However, the Black Sea interpretation for Noah's Flood is itself a conjecture, since other large floods occurred even earlier.

For example, a "Live Science" Internet report in 2006 says: "A volcano avalanche in Sicily 8,000 years ago triggered a devastating tsunami taller than a 10-story building that spread across the entire Mediterranean Sea, slamming into the shores of three continents… The Mt. Etna avalanche sent 6 cubic miles of rock and sediment tumbling into the water…"

Furthermore, archaeologists are still discovering ancient submerged cities and civilizations. ("Deep Secrets" New Scientist, 28 November, 2009) The latest discovery is west of Gibraltar, which the discoverers are identifying with Atlantis! (Newsweek, March 28 & April 4, 2011)

My point is that science has not identified Noah's Flood, and that to argue from similarities with other stories while ignoring differences is not history but nonsense.


LOCAL FLOOD

The Genesis Flood, as argued in #135, was a large local flood. The words "earth" and "ground" (Hebrew = eretz & adahmah) in the Bible do not mean planet Earth but refer to land. Therefore Genesis 8:1 "a wind blew over the earth" (eretz) implies there was other land not covered by Noah's Flood.

Consider an experiment of arranging small stones in a circle and emptying a bucket of water over the circle. The circular arrangement would be destroyed. Now consider asteroid impacts and ask, "Is ejected material from any ancient impact craters arranged into any patterns or is everything obliterated as if washed over by mountainous tsunamis?" Consider also large volcanic eruptions such as Mount Toba in Sumatra 74,000 years ago. New Scientist discussed a 2.5-metre-thick layer of Toba ash in southern India with stone artefacts above and below the layer.  (14 July, 2007) Do the ash deposits and positions of stone artefacts suggest transfer from other places by worldwide movements of water or not?

Similarly with ancient ice ages, ancient floods and ancient tsunamis: Are their sediment layers and deposits of rocks all washed away as if by global movements of water?


CONCLUSION:

A useful rule for getting correct history is: "Consult the Encyclopaedia Britannica and/or mainstream texts in harmony with it." A bad rule is: "Consult conspiracy, pseudoscience, and alternative history derived from supposed parallel events."

Mr Williams has not budged the evidence for Noah's Flood that I presented in #135 which was:
•    Many large inland floods have occurred, some probably still undiscovered;
•    Wooden barges longer than 400 feet are possible;
•    Analysis of the biblical words suggest as few as 50 species went on the Ark;
•    Ancient civilizations are still being discovered, including some under water;
•    Many Bible claims have been confirmed in recent decades so that Noah's Flood may be only a matter of time, just as other claims were only a matter of time.

This is the current evidence without conspiracy, pseudoscience, alleged parallels, or mythology.






(Investigator 151, 2013 July)

NOAH’S ARK — TOO BIG A JOB


Charles Darwin recorded his 'golden rule' as follows: "I had also during many years followed a golden rule, namely, that whenever a published fact, a new observation or thought came across me, which was opposed to my general results to make a memorandum of it without fail and at once."

A small letter was printed in the "Guardian", one of Britain's 'top-line' papers on May 30th, 2013 which Investigator's long-time contributor, Mr Anonymous, may like to consider.

The author, Gavin Ross, gives the dimensions of Noah’s Ark in feet as 450x75x45 and comments: "The ark was constructed by 600-year-old Noah and his three sons in six months. Whether he engaged any labour force (to be drowned) and how he obtained the necessary supplies of gopher wood and pitch is not recorded."

Bob Potter







NOAH’S ARK

(Investigator 152, 2013 September)


Regarding Dr Potter's question in #151 on how long it took to build Noah's Ark:

Genesis implies that the Ark was built after the births of Noah's three sons (6:9-14). This allows for a construction period of decades, not just 6 months.

In #135 I  wrote:
"Critics argue that wooden ships longer than 300 feet are non-seaworthy in rough waters and Noah’s 450-foot Ark would break apart.

From Genesis the Ark appears flat-bottomed without rounded hull or keel, a huge barge suited for a calm inland flood rather than ocean waves.

The Chinese fleet in the 15th century included barge-shaped ships 400 feet long (Viviano 2005), and these survived Indian Ocean storms…
 
How long did it take to build the Ark? … The 15th century Chinese fleet of up to 300 vessels was built in three years."

Would it have been ethically wrong if Noah hired a work force of men who subsequently drowned?

That would be no different to Christians today using radio, printing presses, travel arrangements or anything else useful in their ministry and paying unbelievers the going price. If Jesus were to return in the 21st century or Armageddon occurred, many of the previously helpful unbelievers, who are still alive but not reconciled to God, might then perish.

To provide services and getting paid for them does not guarantee salvation.

Anonymous


The bible investigated by examining the evidence — on this website:

http://users.adam.com.au/bstett/

http://ed5015.tripod.com/