Noah’s Ark was round, say researchers

IT was a vast boat that supposedly saved two of each animal and a handful of humans from a catastrophic flood.

But forget all those images of a long vessel with a pointy bow — the original Noah’s Ark, new research suggests, was round.

A recently deciphered 4,000-year-old clay 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 tablet went on display at the British Museum this week, and soon engineers will follow the ancient instructions to see whether the vessel could actually have sailed.

It’s also the subject of a new book, “The Ark Before Noah,” by Irving Finkel, the museum’s assistant keeper of the Middle East and the man who translated the tablet.

Finkel got hold of it a few years ago, when a man brought in a damaged tablet his father had acquired in the Middle East after World War II. It was light brown, about the size of a mobile phone and covered in the jagged cuneiform script of the ancient Mesopotamians.

It turned out, Finkel said, to be “one of the most important human documents ever discovered.”

Finkel said a round boat makes sense. Coracles were widely used as river taxis in ancient Iraq and are perfectly designed to bob along on raging floodwaters.

“It’s a perfect thing,” Finkel said. “It never sinks, it’s light to carry.”

Other experts said Finkel wasn’t simply indulging in book-promotion hype. David Owen, professor of ancient Near Eastern studies at Cornell University, said the British Museum curator had made “an extraordinary discovery.”

Elizabeth Stone, an expert on the antiquities of ancient Mesopotamia at New York’s Stony Brook University, said it made sense that ancient Mesopotamians would depict their mythological ark as round.

“People are going to envision the boat however people envision boats where they are,” she said. “Coracles are not unusual things to have had in Mesopotamia.”

The tablet records a Mesopotamian god’s instructions for building a giant vessel — two-thirds the size of a soccer field in area — made of rope, reinforced with wooden ribs and coated in bitumen.

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41 thoughts on “Noah’s Ark was round, say researchers

  1. Sounds most interesting. And plausible. There’s nothing as seaworthy as a raft.
    …….except an inner tube.
    But it does drive another nail into the ‘credibility’ of the bible, which has god instructing Noah to build an Ark six times as long as it was wide.

    More and more the god of the jews and the christians is being exposed as a fake, but ‘clearing the decks’ is one prerequisite for getting at the reality: so that’s a good thing.

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    • In your dreams!……. “More and more the god of the jews and christians is being exposed as a fake”

      I bet you can’t even outsmart your right foot let alone understand the things of the Spirit. 😉

      1. While sitting at your desk in front of your computer, lift your right foot off the floor and make clockwise circles.

      2. Now, while doing this, draw the number ‘6’ in the air with your right hand. Your foot will change direction—and there’s nothing you can do about it!

      From an Orthopaedic Surgeon

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      • “Now, while doing this, draw the number ’6′ in the air with your right hand. Your foot will change direction—and there’s nothing you can do about it! ”

        Yep not even prayer 😉

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      • …er, “Clockwise circles from which perspective?
        ……and relative to what?
        Can god do it? 🙂

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  2. Well I believe that God gave everyone a choice to believe in Him or not. But as for me I believe in Him and the Bible as His word. The Bible describes the ark and how it was built and that is the way it is. Jim.

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    • Taken from a letter to Dr Laura.

      1. When I burn a bull on the altar as a sacrifice, I know it creates a pleasing odour for the Lord – Lev.1:9. The problem is my neighbours. They claim the odour is not pleasing to them. Should I smite them?

      2. I would like to sell my daughter into slavery, as sanctioned in Exodus 21:7. In this day and age, what do you think would be a fair price for her?

      3. I know that I am allowed no contact with a woman while she is in her period of menstrual uncleanliness – Lev.15: 19-24. The problem is how do I tell? I have tried asking, but most women take offence.

      4. Lev. 25:44 states that I may indeed possess slaves, both male and female, provided they are purchased from eighbouring nations. A friend of mine claims that this applies to Mexicans, but not Canadians. Can you clarify? Why can’t I own Canadians?

      5. I have a neighbour who insists on working on the Sabbath. Exodus 35:2.The passage clearly states he should be put to death. Am I morally obligated to kill him myself?

      6. A friend of mine feels that even though eating shellfish is an
      abomination – Lev. 11:10, it is a lesser abomination than homosexuality. I don’t agree. Can you settle this? Are there ‘degrees’ of abomination?

      7. Lev. 21:20 states that I may not approach the altar of God if I have a defect in my sight. I have to admit that I wear reading glasses. Does my vision have to be 20/20, or is there some wiggle room here?

      8. Most of my male friends get their hair trimmed, including the hair around their temples, even though this is expressly forbidden by Lev.19:27.How should they die?

      9. I know from Lev. 11:6-8 that touching the skin of a dead pig makes me unclean, but may I still play football if I wear gloves?

      10. My uncle has a farm. He violates Lev. 19:19 by planting two different crops in the same field, as does his wife by wearing garments made of two different kinds of thread (cotton/polyester blend). He also tends to curse and blaspheme a lot. Is it really necessary that we go to all the trouble of
      getting the whole town together to stone them? – Lev.24:10-16. Couldn’t we just burn them to death at a private family affair like we do with people who sleep with their in-laws? (Lev. 20:14)

      I know you have studied these things extensively and thus enjoy considerable expertise in such matters, so I am confident you can help.

      Thank you again for reminding us that God’s word is eternal and unchanging.
      Your adoring fan,

      Anonymous

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      • A Biblical Response to the “Dear Dr. Laura Letter” By Pastor Kevin Lea, July 3, 2013

        Answer to Question 1. The passage you reference deals with the “burnt offering” sacrifice, which was performed on a continuing basis, but only at the place God prescribed – first in the Tabernacle and later at the Temple in Jerusalem:

        Take heed to yourself that you do not offer your burnt offerings in every place that you see; but in the place which the Lord chooses, in one of your tribes, there you shall offer your burnt offerings, and there you shall do all that I command you. Deuteronomy 12:13-14

        As you can see, your back yard is not an authorized location for the burnt offering, whether it pleases your neighbors or not. Further, animal sacrifices became obsolete when Jesus died on the cross for your sins and was resurrected three days later. (See Addendum 4 for a brief explanation of how Jesus fulfilled the sacrificial system in the Old Testament.)

        Answer to Question 2. When the ancient Jews sold their daughters into slavery, it was understood that they would become the master’s wife someday. In the meantime, the daughter and master were viewed as “betrothed.” The system provided a practical way for providing for the needs of families of that day and included provisions that protected the safety and reputation of the woman. This was in stark contrast to the inhumane ways that the surrounding nations treated women and children. (See discussion of Exodus 21 in Addendum 2.)

        Because of God’s blessing on our country as well as modern conveniences, men and women in our day marry based on love and mutual attraction rather than on survival. So hopefully, the man who asks for your daughter’s hand in marriage will be doing so out of love. If you have raised your daughter to be a virtuous and capable wife to her future husband, then you might be able to get the groom to pay for the wedding in exchange for your blessing. That should be worth a few thousand dollars. If several guys want your daughter’s hand, then you might be able to get the one your daughter wants to marry to give you even more. Hope this helps.

        Answer to Question 3. Your question implies that you pursue sex with women outside of a monogamous marriage. So you are already breaking God’s laws against fornication and adultery, and it is almost certain that you will contract a sexually transmitted disease (STD) if you have not already.

        If you continue in your rebellion against the God who made you, then you might want to at least heed God’s advice and refrain from sex during a woman’s menses, because it is now well-established that the risk of contracting and transmitting some STDs increase during a woman’s period. (See Addendum 3 for a brief explanation of how the laws of Leviticus 15 helped protect the people from STDs and other infections.)

        Answer to Question 4. According to Scripture, you could not own slaves unless you were a Jew living in ancient Israel under the laws of Moses (clear from the text and context of this law). If you were, and a destitute foreigner came to Israel to worship the one true God and obtain employment, housing, and food for his family, then you could purchase him as a life-long servant. Compared to life in Moab, Ammon, Sidon, or Philistia, for example, these God-fearing immigrants considered themselves blessed to live among the Jews, even in permanent servitude. This differs little from modern day migrant workers who come to this country to work for a farmer who provides them with housing and pays them enough to keep their families fed and clothed (often for life). Though their situation is dire by American standards, they are better off than they were in their native country.

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      • Answer to Question 5. No need to stone your neighbor for not observing the Sabbath. Unlike the laws on homosexuality, the New Testament is clear that the Sabbath laws applied only to the Old Testament Jews. The spiritual reasons behind this law were fulfilled in Jesus when He made a way for us to enter His rest. (See Addendum 5 for a brief explanation of how Jesus fulfilled the Sabbath Law.)

        Answer to Question 6. (Addendum 6 provides helpful background on the dietary laws and their role in preserving the health, safety, and survival of the Jewish people.)

        When God uses the word “abomination,” He does so to emphasize His demand for complete obedience in matters necessary to prevent spiritual or physical suffering, misery, and death. This is why God uses “abomination” in His warning against eating potentially contaminated shellfish. Today, modern methods of testing, harvesting, and storage help protect us from neuro-toxic shellfish poisoning. Further, this dietary law applied only to the Jewish people. Therefore, it is not an abomination for you (or your neighbor) to eat shellfish. Enjoy.

        Answer to Question No. 7. Leviticus 21 defines who could perform the duties of a High Priest inside of the temple and describes in detail how they were to perform this function (i.e., “approach the altar.”) The reason you cannot “approach the altar” is not because you have less than perfect eyesight. It is because the Old Testament priesthood is obsolete. The New Testament reveals to us how the resurrected and eternal Savior, Messiah Jesus, assumed forever the role of High Priest. (Psalm 110 prophesized that Messiah would change the Priesthood.) Further, there is no longer any altar to approach. The physical temple, which was completely destroyed by the Romans in A.D. 70, has been replaced by a heavenly, spiritual house (Hebrews 3:1-6).

        Unlike the ceremonial laws governing the priesthood, there are no prophecies that God’s moral laws, including those against homosexuality and other sexual sins, would ever change. In fact, the moral laws are repeated and reinforced in the New Testament. (Jesus Himself emphasized that God created marriage as between one man and one woman. Read Matthew 19:4-5.) So for you to equate these two is disingenuous and shows your ignorance of the Bible. (See Addendum 7 for further discussion of how Jesus fulfilled the Old Testament ceremonial laws.)

        Answer to Question 8. The answer to your question is found by looking at the context, provided in the surrounding verses:

        You shall not eat anything with the blood, nor shall you practice divination or soothsaying. You shall not shave around the sides of your head, nor shall you disfigure the edges of your beard. You shall not make any cuttings in your flesh for the dead, nor tattoo any marks on you: I am the Lord. Leviticus 19:26-28

        God is warning the Jewish people against taking up the occult practices of the surrounding nations. The Gentile nations worshiped idols, practiced divination, soothsaying, and a host of other witchcraft and devil worship rituals (including infant sacrifice by burning their own babies to death). These practices also included self mutilation and certain patterns of hair/beard cutting that let everyone who saw them know that they were involved in occult worship practices. God was telling His people to not act or look like those who are involved in various forms of demonic worship.

        The principle applies today within the context of current witchcraft and other occultic practices. Today, God’s people (Jews and Gentiles who believe in Jesus as their Savior and Lord) are not to act or look like wiccans, Goths, Satanists, neo-Nazis, astrologers, or any other type of occult practitioner. (2 Corinthians 6:14-17)

        In summary, trimming the hair around one’s temples does not connote occultism in today’s culture, so your friends are not bound by this law and need not suffer execution. But if they also deride God and His Word like you do, they (and you) will have more than physical death to be concerned about.

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      • Answer to Question 9. The verses are:

        …and the swine, though it divides the hoof, having cloven hooves, yet does not chew the cud, is unclean to you. Their flesh you shall not eat, and their carcasses you shall not touch. They are unclean to you. Leviticus 11:7-8

        We are now well aware of the many diseases that can be contracted through contact with live swine (pigs) and eating pork. In ancient times, keeping and eating swine (pigs) posted a serious health risk to the Jewish people. As a protective measure, God made swine completely off-limits (“unclean”) to them. Today, with increased knowledge and modern cooking methods we can make sure pork is well cooked before eaten and are usually able to enjoy pork without getting sick. (But are we really sure that these precautions make eating pork safe? (See Addendum 6 for more information about diseases related to keeping swine and eating pork.) At any rate, this law relates to the skin of and on a dead and decaying pig, not its cured hide.

        In summary, the answer to your question is: Yes, with or without gloves, your choice.

        Answer to Question No. 10:

        1. About planting two different crops in the same field: I believe that our farmers learned not to do so a long time ago.

        2. About wearing clothes from fabric made with mixed linen and wool (not cotton and polyester as you mistakenly and mockingly state). We do not (yet) understand completely the reason for this law. However, there was some beneficial reason – perhaps clothing made from only one type thread lasted longer, was more comfortable, or resisted mold (Leviticus 13:47-59). It may also have been that this made their clothing distinctive from that of the surrounding nations. This would tend to hinder their intermingling with and being influenced by their idolatrous and immoral neighbors.

        3. About the entire town witnessing the stoning of someone who blasphemes God. It was important for all the people to know that within the nation of Israel, no one was allowed to curse the God tha thad established them in the land and given them the Laws that governed them. When obeyed, this law would have given people pause before they would curse God.

        4. About capital punishment being applied by burning with fire. There were only two times the Law required death by burning. They were:

        If a man marries a woman and her mother, it is wickedness. They shall be burned with fire, both he and they, that there may be no wickedness among you. Leviticus 20:14

        The daughter of any priest, if she profanes herself by playing the harlot, she profanes her father. She shall be burned with fire. Leviticus 21:9

        This law undoubtedly kept many women from becoming prostitutes and many men from marrying both a woman and her mother. Obedience to these moral laws and all the others found in the Law of Moses would protect their society from many of the physical diseases and social problems that afflict our land today. We are rapidly approaching the time of self destruction by a complete collapse of the family and associated social order. It was foolish of us to stop the teaching of God’s commandments to our children in the home, in churches, and in schools. We are now paying the price.

        Conclusion

        Your carefully-crafted, satirical questions were clearly intended to scorn the God of the Bible and lead others to do the same. In that, you have been successful. However, the God of the Bible is the true God, whether you choose to believe that or not, and one day you will stand before Him in judgment. Unless you repent before that day, you will regret for eternity that you led so many souls astray.

        Then He said to the disciples, “It is impossible that no offenses should come, but woe to him through whom they do come! It would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck, and he were thrown into the sea, than that he should offend one of these little ones. Luke 17:1-2

        For those who have been swayed by these kinds of arguments to reject the God of the Bible, I beg you to reconsider while there is time. Jesus does not force you to believe in Him, but He wants you to for your own eternal good. He is willing to forgive you no matter what you have done, even if you, like this author, have tried to turn people away from believing in Jesus.

        Jesus is also willing to forgive moral sin (lying, adultery, hatred, murder, homosexuality, theft, etc.), but the offender must first be willing to repent (turn away from) these rebellious actions against a holy God and then come to Him humbly asking to be forgiven and changed by His power living inside of them.

        Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God. And such _were_ some of you. But you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God. 1 Corinthians 6:9-11

        Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Lament and mourn and weep! Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom. Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He will lift you up. James 4:8-10

        ADDENDUMS HERE: http://www.calvarypo.org/HANDS/1022.pdf

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      • I do agree Mon that the New Testament supercedes the Old, even though Jesus is reported as saying he came not to change the law, but to fulfill it. Yet for many the Bible, Old and New Testaments, is God’s word, and that’s an end to the matter for them. The Bible becomes an item of worship.

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      • Well how about that Strewth,

        I’ve just learnt a new word: ‘bibliolatry’

        “The term bibliolatry comes from combining the Greek words for Bible and worship. In a Christian context, simply stated, bibliolatry is the worship of the Bible.

        Typically, the accusation of bibliolatry is used as an attack on those who hold to the inerrancy, infallibility, and supremacy of Scripture. It is often employed as an inflammatory and derogatory attack on believers who hold to “sola scriptura” and/or a literal interpretation of the Bible. The accusation of bibliolatry is that some Christians elevate the Bible to the point that it is equal with God, or to the point that studying the Bible is more important than developing a personal and intimate relationship with Jesus Christ. Is the charge of bibliolatry accurate?”

        http://www.gotquestions.org/bibliolatry.html

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      • I see you have read the Bible. I do not know all the answers on what and why God has done or not done in the Old Testament and Praise Him that I do not have to live by these laws. My God is a mighty God and He sent His Son to this forsaken land to save us. We killed Him by hanging Him on a cross and even then He took all of our sins up on Himself and died. Then on that third day He arose again so that all and that means you and me could call upon His name and be saved. This is from the New Testament thus the new covenant. I guess what I am saying is if I am wrong about what God is telling me than I have loss nothing, but I know that I am right and so I have gained eternal life. Jim

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      • That’s what I like about the bible: the copouts have endless potential; often depending upon the particular stage of a woman’s menstrual/mental cycle. Perhaps that’s why women are repeatedly prohibited from expressing religious statements and assertions.
        ….biblically speaking.
        (Even indirectly. It wouldn’t be first time the state of a woman’s cycle effected her husband’s attitude or mood at any particular point. Frustration has many forms of expression.)

        However, self-interested huffishness aside, misrepresenting FACTS is a different matter.

        For example:- “1. About planting two different crops in the same field: I believe that our farmers learned not to do so a long time ago.”

        Quite INcorrect. What our farmers learnt was that planting a single crop was a more lucrative way of production: particularly with the advent of the use of machinery, which also dictated broad-acre cropping and the bastardries of intensive animal farming. Single-crop production is inimical to ANY other agricultural activity (where symbiotic planting is the functional standard) and has to be compensated for ~ inefficiently/expensively at best ~ by rotating crops or the use of vast amounts of artificial fertiliser. Both forms of compensation bring problems of their own; one undeniable and growing consequence being salination of the earth. Some authorities reckon it could destroy australia as a nation:- http://www.abc.net.au/science/slab/salinity/ (note the reference to the WA ‘Wheatbelt’ ~ a vast single-crop operation.)
        There are countless examples of the destructiveness of single-crop farming: tree-farming is a particularly nasty and dangerous one.

        The bible is WRONG, absolutely and irrevocably ~ and demonstrably ~ on many, many REAL issues. And even the israelis, who’ve done well, agriculturally, on the lands they stole at gunpoint, don’t practice ‘biblical’ injunctions in practical matters.

        There are some who’d claim that god got it wrong (yet again!)
        Others dig up all sorts of hopeful copouts like ‘misinterpretation’ ~ or the greeks got it wrong, etc.
        Ever wonder why greek, aramaic, latin or ANY ‘language’ other than ancient hebrew (presumably the language ‘god’ used) should be cited ~ or carry any weight at all ~ in terms of ‘interpretation’ or transitory ‘literature’?

        A cynic might propose that it was a deliberate ploy so as to give future godbotherers (of a multitude of different and disputative hues) ample scope for copouts. 🙂

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      • PS…..Given the Divine injunction against wearing clothes of more than one material, am I to understand women who observe The Law don’t have elastic in their knickers? 😯
        Sponge padding in their bras?
        …how about……. 😉 ?…nah!

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      • Common sense Dabs, it’s common sense.
        Leviticus 19:19

        “‘Ye shall keep My statutes. Thou shalt not let thy cattle breed with a diverse kind. Thou shalt not sow thy field with mingled seed; neither shall a garment mingled with linen and wool come upon thee.

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      • “thou shalt not sow thy field with mingled seed” —This also was directed against an idolatrous practice, namely, that of the ancient Zabians, or fire-worshippers, who sowed different seeds, accompanying the act with magical rites and invocations; and commentators have generally thought the design of this and the preceding law was to put an end to the unnatural lusts and foolish superstitions which were prevalent among the heathen. But the reason of the prohibition was probably deeper: for those who have studied the diseases of land and vegetables tell us, that the practice of mingling seeds is injurious both to flowers and to grains. “If the various genera of the natural order Gramineæ, which includes the grains and the grasses, should be sown in the same field, and flower at the same time, so that the pollen of the two flowers mix, a spurious seed will be the consequence, called by the farmers chess. It is always inferior and unlike either of the two grains that produced it, in size, flavor, and nutritious principles. Independently of contributing to disease the soil, they never fail to produce the same in animals and men that feed on them” [Whitlaw].

        Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary

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      • But Mon, isn’t that:-
        “This also was directed against an idolatrous practice, namely, that of the ancient Zabians, or fire-worshippers, who sowed different seeds, accompanying the act with magical rites and invocations; and commentators have generally thought the design of this and the preceding law was to put an end to the unnatural lusts and foolish superstitions which were prevalent among the heathen.”
        …pretty much the same reasoning Hitler used to justify the Jesu-killing pagan jews?

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      • That’s just another example of the bible (and derivatives) being wrong in fact.
        ““‘Ye shall keep My statutes. Thou shalt not let thy cattle breed with a diverse kind. Thou shalt not sow thy field with mingled seed; …”

        I lost a detailed bio-response to that attitutude (and the above ‘answer’) to cyberspace, Mon….But the point was that ‘not mingling seed’ only has any validity if you’re trying to maximise cash crops and don’t give a stuff about the consequences.

        Mono-crops destroy the soil (it’s why crop-rotation and/or massive doses of synthetic fertilisers were invented ~ ask Monsanto, a major multinational corp. that wields massive power with governments and other big industries), along with entire ecosystems, sometimes forever. The salinisation of Australia’s agricultural land is a prime example: even John Bloody Howard described it as the biggest and most serious threat to Australia’s viability.

        …and don’t even get me started on the water-resource issue!

        Bottom line: by far the most flourishing habitats on the planet are those are those with the most interdependent and largest variety of life.
        The multi-level symbiosis of the oceans and the Amazon Basin have been established by evolutionary process over a few billion years ~ and are currently about all that’s preventing us from suffocating.

        ….but never mind, the farmers, corporations and governments are rapidly destroying those sources of abundant life as well.

        Just a point of irony: How do you suppose what were the most fertile parts of the Middle East were turned into deserts?
        But the modern israelis ~ who have achieved much with turning the lands they stole at gunpoint into foodbowels have thrown those stupid biblical injunctions out the window.
        They KNOW their own god’s a dill when it comes to practical matters.

        …….aint’cha lucky you never got the long version! 🙂

        PS…if you feel like it have a look at the massive problems that are being produced by the monoculture called the WA Wheatbelt. What’s happening there has the potential of changing whole climates.

        ….and don’t get me started on the monocultural ‘forests’ being established all over the place! I can show you 1000 sq.km lots where not even snakes, ants or spiders set up home. Sterile.

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      • PS… the term is was looking for is ‘Hybrid vigour’: life on earth depends upon it…and the mutation it exploits.
        It’s what makes germs/microbes of all kinds so powerful and unstoppable.
        If you could get bacteria to breed ‘true’ y’could exterminate all bacteria in a week. 😉
        ….but of course then we’d fall prey to a bug-free world! 😆

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    • Gilgamesh’s supposed historical reign is believed to have been approximately 2700 BCE,[2] shortly before the earliest known written stories. The discovery of artifacts associated with Aga and Enmebaragesi of Kish, two other kings named in the stories, has lent credibility to the historical existence of Gilgamesh.[3]

      The earliest Sumerian Gilgamesh poems date from as early as the Third dynasty of Ur (2100–2000 BC).[4] One of these poems mentions Gilgamesh’s journey to meet the flood hero, as well as a short version of the flood story.[5] The earliest Akkadian versions of the unified epic are dated to ca. 2000–1500 BC.[6] Due to the fragmentary nature of these Old Babylonian versions, it is unclear whether they included an expanded account of the flood myth; although one fragment definitely includes the story of Gilgamesh’s journey to meet Utnapishtim. The “standard” Akkadian version included a long version of the flood story and was edited by Sin-liqe-unninni sometime between 1300 and 1000 BC.[7]

      Tablet XI
      Main article: Utnapishtim

      The Gilgamesh flood tablet XI contains additional story material besides the flood. The flood story was included because in it the flood hero Utnapishtim is granted immortality by the gods and that fits the immortality theme of the epic. The main point seems to be that Utnapishtim was granted eternal life in unique, never to be repeated circumstances. As if to demonstrate this point, Utnapishtim challenges Gilgamesh to stay awake for six days and seven nights. However, as soon as Utnapishtim finishes speaking Gilgamesh falls asleep. Utnapishtim instructs his wife to bake a loaf of bread for every day he is asleep so that Gilgamesh cannot deny his failure. Gilgamesh, who wants to overcome death, cannot even conquer sleep.

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

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      • One of the important differences is that the Hebrew version has the rainbow as a sign of a covenant.

        Further detail tells how

        1. The god Ea leaks the secret plan.
        (The boat must have equal dimensions with corresponding width and length and be covered over like Apsu boats.)

        2.Building and launching the boat
        (Five days later, Utnapishtim laid out the exterior walls of the boat of 120 cubits.
        The sides of the superstructure had equal lengths of 120 cubits. He also made a drawing of the interior structure.
        The boat had six decks [?] divided into seven and nine compartments.
        Water plugs were driven into the middle part.
        Punting poles and other necessary things were laid in.
        Three times 3,600 units of raw bitumen were melted in a kiln and three times 3,600 units of oil were used in addition to two times 3,600 units of oil that were stored in the boat.
        Oxen and sheep were slaughtered and ale, beer, oil, and wine were distributed to the workmen, like at a new year’s festival.
        When the boat was finished, the launching was very difficult. A runway of poles was used to slide the boat into the water.
        Two-thirds of the boat was in the water.
        Utnapishtim loaded his silver and gold into the boat.
        He loaded “all the living beings that I had.”
        His relatives and craftsmen, and “all the beasts and animals of the field” boarded the boat.)

        3.The storm

        4.Calm after the storm
        (The boat lodged firmly on mount Nimush which held the boat for several days, allowing no swaying.
        On the seventh day he released a dove which flew away, but came back to him. He released a swallow, but it also came back to him.
        He released a raven which was able to eat and scratch, and did not circle back to the boat.
        He then sent his livestock out in various directions.)

        5.The sacrifice
        (He sacrificed a sheep and offered incense at a mountainous ziggurat where he placed 14 sacrificial vessels and poured reeds, cedar, and myrtle into the fire)

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      • Now there’s a coincidence:- “One of the important differences is that the Hebrew version has the rainbow as a sign of a covenant.”
        Dreamtime lore, too.

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    • The older Babylonian version says “The sides of the superstructure had equal lengths of 120 cubits.” I guess that could be round. I can’t imagine a square ship, or a raft with possibly six decks.

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    • Mon,
      I see you quote there that the 2 (or 4) Documentary hypothesis in the Jewish Scriptures is now discredited. Afraid not. Just about every single authority I read these days, quotes it as secure and pretty certain. Even the Evangelical Study Bible I’ve got in my library quotes it as being one quite legitimate theory. Most of my Jewish authorities hold to the same idea.

      The people who reject the Document hypothesis are essentially the Christian Fundamentalists and rigid Evangelicals. They are the ones who feel compelled to hold to a magical nature in the Jewish Scriptures. They have to believe in a talking Serpent and a talking Donkey. They have to adhere to the belief that there were trees with magic fruit, and that there was a great world wide flood and a most peculiar building project of a tower of Babel that of all things, could represent some sort of threat to the High God, – a being who apparently is terribly sensitive to insult.

      Rian.

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      • Hi Rian,

        I cannot see anywhere on the web where this hypothesis has been proven correct.

        Hypothesis: a supposition or proposed explanation made on the basis of limited evidence as a starting point for further investigation

        Theory: A supposition or a system of ideas intended to explain something, esp. one based on general principles independent of the thing to be…: “Darwin’s theory of evolution”

        A theory is not a fact nor is it a proven hypothesis.

        “In light of the weaknesses inherent in the documentary hypothesis, this is certainly not the time for Bible-believing Christians to be flocking to its banner. Rather, it is an auspicious time for them to affirm a more traditional view, one which is in harmony with the perspective of their Lord, with the teachings of Scripture itself, and which is consistent with the concept of the divine inspiration of the sacred writings”.

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    • Ah Mon,

      Well I for one dont rely very strongly on the commentaries given on the Internet. I find that authoritative books and published authors are more consistently to be trusted. And as I stated, even my modern Evangelical study Bible makes allowance for the alternative origin as a possible explanation.

      Folks still believe that friend Moses wrote the Pentateuch, and that it is all thoroughly reliable. And that is the predictable and overwhelming
      viewpoint of Evangelicals and Fundamentalists for obvious reasons. I dont think you will find too many others who hold that the Documentary hypothesis is wrong or discredited.

      For me, I only need to read through those first few books of the Jewish Scriptures to appreciate the much more logical approach in the Doc. hypothesis. It shows clearly in the wording and the style. One neednt look further than the first pages. Up to this time, the Document argument offers the very best explanation.

      There is a world of difference between the magnificent and elevated hymn to Creation in the first chapter of Genesis and the primitive piece of folk mythology inscribed in the second and third chapters of the same. The Garden of Eden account just has so many inherent flaws in its account, as is easily to be seen.

      And on top of all that, we find that the Christian Fathers from Paul on, have shanghaid the Hebrew folk tale and had the sheer gall to put their own extraordinary take on it. No wonder our Jewish brothers are so put off by traditional Christianity, and have remained unconvinced by it.

      Oh, and I have to point out that the word ‘Theory’ in science does NOT mean the same as the way we use it in normal conversation. This is a sadly all too common misunderstanding. So to dismiss Evolution as ‘just a theory’,is to betray insufficient understanding. Evolution is seen and held
      to be a FACT. But the THEORY of just how it operates in many instances is not finalised.

      Rian.

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      • Riian followup, -to Monica

        A further thought on the ‘Theory’ of Evolution, and the usage attached to that word theory. Anyone who has been involved with music will appreciate that the phrase Music Theory or Theory of Music is commonly utilized. You will have to agree that the phrase does not mean that Music is just a possibility, or that it just might not exist at all. What it indicates is that persons who study and learn music have to come to terms with the fashion in which music is constructed. They learn about Harmony, Rhythm, Melody, Scales and Keys and so on.

        Just so, in Science, the principle of Evolution is almost universally accepted as fact, but in studying it, learning about the whys and wherefores of it, the hows of it, one has to come to terms with the theory about it. Again Evolution is seen, understood and taught as fact, NOT as a guess or a suggestion. Any lay person who wants to really understand it, would be well advised to read the very recent book of (shudder – oh, I hesitate to pronounce his name) Richard Dawkins called ‘The Greatest Show on Earth’.

        Cheers, Rian.

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      • Thanks for that explanation Rian.

        And you know, I would like to read ‘The Greatest Show on Earth’. I’ll purchase a copy right now. 🙂

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      • But then again Rian,

        Maybe I shouldn’t waste my money and just borrow it from someone, or go to the Library:

        “But the funniest part in it was his quote of Monty Pythons ‘All things dull and ugly’:

        All things dull and ugly
        All creatures short and squat
        All things rude and nasty
        The Lord God made the lot

        Each little snake that poisons
        Each little wasp that stings
        He made their brutish venom
        He made their horrid wings

        All things sick and cancerous
        All evil great and small
        All things foul and dangerous
        The Lord God made them all

        Each nasty little hornet
        Each beastly little squid
        Who made the spiky urchin?
        Who made the sharks? He did
        All things scabbed and cancerous
        All pox great and small
        Putrid, foul and gangrenous
        The Lord God made them all.” 😯

        Like

      • Hi Mon,

        Yes, hope you can locate ‘The Greatest Show on Earth’ in a local library. It is very recent in its publication. Think it’s 2013. It is written for the layperson. Heaven knows, if it hadnt been, I’d not have been able to follow it. I believe you will enjoy it. Many lovely photos throughout too.

        Whether you finish up after reading Dawkin’s book, in agreement with him or not, you just wont be able to put it down without a greater sense of admiration for the wonderful intricate world of living things that we are part of. Much as many among us decry Dawkin’s beligerent attitude when he is in ‘atheist’ mode, we really just have to admire his writing and his extraordinary communicative skill when he has on his scientist hat. I’d just love to be in a class with him lecturing.

        Incidentally Mon, talking of virtues, – may I just say very sincerely how much I admire the graciousness and courtesy that pours out of you so often. You are able to succeed there with virtues that I’m always striving for. Real graciousness is just so seldom to be observed these days. You set a great example.

        As ever,
        Rian.

        Like

  3. Jesus taught the Flood was real history, as real as His future second coming:

    ‘Just as it was in the days of Noah, so also will it be in the days of the Son of Man. People were eating, drinking, marrying and being given in marriage up to the day Noah entered the Ark. Then the Flood came and destroyed them all.’ (Luke 17:26–27)

    In this passage, Jesus straightforwardly talks about Noah as a real person (who was His ancestor—Luke 3:36), the Ark as a real vessel, and the Flood as a real event.

    A very common view is that the biblical story of Noah’s Flood was not historical at all, and was borrowed from flood legends in Mesopotamia.

    Genesis is older though and the original

    The Gilgamesh Epic has close parallels with the account of Noah’s Flood. Its close similarities are due to its closeness to the real event. However, there are major differences as well. Everything in the Epic, from the gross polytheism to the absurd cubical ark, as well as the worldwide flood legends, shows that the Genesis account is the original, while the Gilgamesh Epic is a distortion.

    It makes more sense that Genesis was the original and the pagan myths arose as distortions of that original account. While Moses lived long after the event, he probably acted as the editor of far older sources.9 For example, Genesis 10:19 gives matter-of-fact directions, ‘as you go toward Sodom and Gomorrah and Admah and Zeboiim’. These were the cities of the plain God destroyed for their extreme wickedness 500 years before Moses. Yet Genesis gives directions at a time when they were well-known landmarks, not buried under the Dead Sea.

    It is common to make legends out of historical events, but not history from legends. The Bible teaches that mankind was originally monotheistic. Archaeological evidence suggests the same, indicating that only later did mankind degenerate into idolatrous pantheism.10

    For instance, in Genesis, God’s judgment is just, he is patient with mankind for 120 years (Genesis 6:3), shows mercy to Noah, and is sovereign. Conversely, the gods in the Gilgamesh Epic are capricious and squabbling, cower at the Flood and are famished without humans to feed them sacrifices. That is, the human writers of the Gilgamesh Epic rewrote the true account, and made their gods in their own image.

    The whole Gilgamesh-derivation theory is based on the discredited Documentary Hypothesis.9 This assumes that the Pentateuch was compiled by priests during the Babylonian Exile in the 6th century BC. But the internal evidence shows no sign of this, and every sign of being written for people who had just come out of Egypt. The Eurocentric inventors of the Documentary Hypothesis, such as Julius Wellhausen, thought that writing hadn’t been invented by Moses’ time. But many archaeological discoveries of ancient writing show that this is ludicrous.

    All people groups remember a global Flood

    Liberals often claim that the Gilgamesh epic was embellished from a severe river flood, i.e. a local flood. This might work if there were similar flood legends only around the ancient near east. But there are thousands of such flood legends all around the world—see the chart below for some examples.11

    Even the Australian Aborigines have legends of a massive flood, as do people living in the deep jungles near the Amazon River in South America. Dr Alexandra Aikhenvald, a world expert on the languages of that region, said:

    ‘… without their language and its structure, people are rootless. In recording it you are also getting down the stories and folklore. If those are lost a huge part of a people’s history goes. These stories often have a common root that speaks of a real event, not just a myth. For example, every Amazonian society ever studied has a legend about a great flood.’12

    This makes perfect sense if there were a real global Flood as Genesis teaches, and all people groups came from survivors who kept memories of this cataclysm.

    http://creation.com/noahs-flood-and-the-gilgamesh-epic

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    • Except I understood the Gilgamesh Epic dates to 2000 B.C., several hundred years before Noah’s Flood supposedly took place according to the Bible.
      More info: The Flood Myth: Babylonian Origins

      The amount of water it would take to cover all the world’s land is 3 times as much as Earth currently has.

      “The total volume of water on Earth is about 1.4 billion cubic kilometers http://www.space.com, USGS.gov”

      Granted though, the world as the writers saw it was their known world, not the whole of Earth. I am sure there was a huge flood.

      Like

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