Dr. Irving Finkel, assistant keeper at the department of the Middle East at the British Museum, recently deciphered the “Ark Tablet” – an ancient Babylonian tablet that describes a flood and a building of an ark by a single person; however this one is unique in that this tablet provides specific instructions on how the ark was to look like and be built.
Some interesting facts:
- In this account, the ark was round, called a coracle– a shape that is still used today in the Middle East, with a diameter of around 230 ft; very different from our traditional picture of what the ark looked like from our Sunday school pictures
- It’s one of the first known depictions of the Akkadian (Semitic Babylonian) word “sana” which translates to “two each, two by two” when the Ark Tablet describes how the animals were rounded into the coracle. (Sound familiar?)
- It’s worthy to bear in mind that, as Finkel states, the Babylonian flood story in cuneiform is 1,000 years older than the book of Genesis in Hebrew.
He’s come out with a new book on his discoveries called The Ark Before Noah: Decoding the Story of the Flood.
I personally had a chance to attend a lecture of Dr. Finkel in the summer last year at the Metropolitan Museum of Art when they were exhibiting the Cyrus Cylinder; the Met used his English translation of the Cylinder. He’s quite an entertaining speaker, unlike most other academic lecturers in his field who tend to be quite dry and boring in my opinion.
It should be interesting to see how this may impact biblical and Old Testament studies in the future.
Click here for his complete article.
Very interesting! I always wondered what it would be like to go to Mount Ararat, and find a piece of the Ark on some peak somewhere. It looms like a very interesting construction. The ark must of been massive, and had been built for years! Imagine seeing it when it was built?
Hi, it’s been a while since we last communicated. Don’t know if you’ll get this message but I found that your site went down. Are you in the Ukraine? Hope everything is ok brother. Anyway, our group is going over the history of the Orthodox Church in Russia – very fascinating. Would love to discuss more about it with you.
Hi, nice to talk to you again! Yes, it is! Unfortunately, the Church of Russia was reduced to holy synod in 1700, under Emperor and Autocrat of All Russia, Peter the Great, who removed the Russian Patriarchate, and confiscated some land of the Church and monasteries. But the Patriarchate was brought back with the arising of the Communists, funnily enough. Would of loved to lived in Russia during the time of the Czars, though, before Peter the Great. Do not much like Catherine II, either! Losing the Czardom was the last great blow to Orthodox Christianity. The Empire of Russia defended Orthodox Christians in various lands, especially in that of the Ottoman Empire, who ruled most of Eastern Europe from the 15th century and later, and, in some cases, earlier! Like in Serbia and Bulgaria, for instance. We even helped the Greeks riot against the Turks in 1821, and the Bulgarians in 1876-79, especially with the Treaty of San Stefano. Other Christian nations did not even want to help, and tried to block Russia from going through the Bosphorus and the Dardanelles, and this was during the time of Alexander the II (1855-81.) Alexander I ruled in 1821, though. Between these two Emperors reigns was that of Grand Duke Constantine Pavlovich, whose reign lasted for only 25 days, and that of Nicholas I, who ruled from 1825-55.
I am okay. I am here in Rostov, so everything is fine. But the rioting is finally stopping there, though, and the President, Viktor Yanukovych, has fled and gone to Russia, and Yulia Volodymyrivna Tymoshenko is free, which I am very happy with. I hope my family in Ukraine are fine, especially on my baba’s side, since he is Eastern Ukrainian, unlike my mama, who is Russian. I just hope things are more successful than during the Orange Revolution, though. In Eastern Europe, we have very problematic governments, which makes our Church look bad to outsiders at times. Corruption is a big problem which undermines us on the world stage.
I pulled down my blog, because of nasty commenters, one being Eastern Rite Catholic, and the others being Atheists. The Catholic called me Xenophobic, for defending the Eastern Orthodox faith against Catholicism, and the Atheists attacked me because I talked about the violence in Islam and the Koran. It gave me headaches, and depressed me a lot.
One kind man from modeoflife offered to let me write posts possibly on their joint blog, if he thought they were appropriate posts, but my email is not working, so I could not get into contact with him unfortunately. He is very nice. A Greek Orthodox man who lives in Australia in the Orthodox diaspora, and studied at the only Eastern Orthodox University in Australasia, in Sydney.
Are you good? I hope you are not offended at my silence. I am a very sensitive man, so I get offended at what people say to me easily. Hard to understand people who are so hostile like that for me. But I am glad you are an understanding man, and accept my difference of faith. I just get sick and tired of the Catholics saying that Orthodox Theology is the same as theirs, and reunion is clearly eminent when it is not, or I hope it is not.
I do not get this same absurd statement from Protestants. They tend to leave us alone more, and accept that we are unique, and this is what makes us interesting. Maybe respect of cultural differences? Something we can all learn.
I am glad also for your kindness and generosity, something which many Christians lack these days, as well as a better understanding of Church history and Theology.
Hope to talk to you whenever possible too.
Great to hear from you again! I’m sorry you had to take down you site, I really liked it. Highly unfortunate – religion can be such an emotional topic most of the time and people have very strong convictions. Sometimes their convictions blind them to standard practices of common courtesy unfortunately.
I’m glad you and your family are doing well in your area. It will be interesting what will happen in the Ukraine after this turmoil has died down.
I really do hope that you get a chance to put up your written material about the Orthodox Church once again. If you do, please let me know.
Well, I put up an update about Russian history and the Orthodox faith; very interesting to say the least. The author of course focuses on material that he considers interesting at his discretion since he’s giving a survey of Christian Church history in the broadest sense, but it’s detailed enough that you get a good overall sense of what was going on during a certain time period.
So Finkel puts the dating of this written work when? Very cool find. There has always been such interesting information on the flood, and it is cool to see more stuff being found.