Author Topic: 4000 Year Old Tablet Found Instructing of Building an Ark for the Flood  (Read 694 times)

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Offline minasoliman

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IT'S a few notches on a 4000-year-old clay tablet. But what it reveals about the ancient biblical story of Noah's ark has scholars crowing the world over.

The British Museum yesterday put the recently deciphered clay tablet from ancient Mesopotamia - now Iraq - on display.
It's claimed to be one of the most important archaeological discoveries ever.

What it contains are specifications for the legendary Ark which was said to have saved two of each animal - and a handful of humans - from a catastrophic flood.

But some of the details are different to the generally known version.

http://www.news.com.au/technology/science/a-4000yearold-tablet-from-ancient-mesopotamia-contains-the-specifications-for-an-ark-predating-the-story-of-noah/story-fnjwl1aw-1226810293590

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Offline Alpo

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Re: 4000 Year Old Tablet Found Instructing of Building an Ark for the Flood
« Reply #1 on: January 25, 2014, 02:08:18 PM »
"A Forgery" was my first thought.

Offline Nephi

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Re: 4000 Year Old Tablet Found Instructing of Building an Ark for the Flood
« Reply #2 on: January 25, 2014, 02:15:19 PM »
If it's not a forgery, then that's interesting.

But the comments about how Christians will react to this etc. just make no sense by this point. Haven't there already been at least a couple flood accounts that pre-date the Biblical account?

Offline Agabus

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Re: 4000 Year Old Tablet Found Instructing of Building an Ark for the Flood
« Reply #3 on: January 25, 2014, 03:30:22 PM »
If it's not a forgery, then that's interesting.

But the comments about how Christians will react to this etc. just make no sense by this point. Haven't there already been at least a couple flood accounts that pre-date the Biblical account?
Exactly. It's not like the story of a man who builds a big boat to escape a large flood is unique to ancient Hebrew culture. Even the Ojibwe have one.
« Last Edit: January 25, 2014, 03:31:43 PM by Agabus »
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Offline minasoliman

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Re: 4000 Year Old Tablet Found Instructing of Building an Ark for the Flood
« Reply #4 on: January 25, 2014, 03:40:12 PM »
What's unique is that it's more "round" than depicted in the Bible...for all we know this could be Gilgamesh's Ark :P
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Offline NicholasMyra

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Re: 4000 Year Old Tablet Found Instructing of Building an Ark for the Flood
« Reply #5 on: January 25, 2014, 03:46:05 PM »
If it's really from 2000 BC, then it beats the second oldest account by several hundred years (depending on your short/long dating preference):

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

In any case, the flood myth is certainly not of Babylonian origin. Scholarly consensus places its origin earlier than the Amorite (founders of the Old Babylonians) migration into mesopotamia.
« Last Edit: January 25, 2014, 03:51:03 PM by NicholasMyra »
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Offline Nephi

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Re: 4000 Year Old Tablet Found Instructing of Building an Ark for the Flood
« Reply #6 on: January 25, 2014, 03:51:07 PM »
If it's not a forgery, then that's interesting.

But the comments about how Christians will react to this etc. just make no sense by this point. Haven't there already been at least a couple flood accounts that pre-date the Biblical account?
Exactly. It's not like the story of a man who builds a big boat to escape a large flood is unique to ancient Hebrew culture. Even the Ojibwe have one.


The Maya also had a world-flood story, but I can't remember if it included an ark or not.

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Re: 4000 Year Old Tablet Found Instructing of Building an Ark for the Flood
« Reply #7 on: January 25, 2014, 03:54:08 PM »
Exactly. It's not like the story of a man who builds a big boat to escape a large flood is unique to ancient Hebrew culture. Even the Ojibwe have one.

I am as anti-parallel-o-mania as they come.

Nevertheless, we have to acknowledge that the specific similarities between the Mesopotamian and biblical stories exceed what we'd expect to find if they were just unrelated convergent accounts.
« Last Edit: January 25, 2014, 03:54:50 PM by NicholasMyra »
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Offline minasoliman

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Re: 4000 Year Old Tablet Found Instructing of Building an Ark for the Flood
« Reply #8 on: January 25, 2014, 04:06:53 PM »
Here's another article on the same:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/01/25/noahs-ark-round-_n_4664876.html?utm_hp_ref=religion

Quote
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.

...

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."

...

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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Offline Agabus

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Re: 4000 Year Old Tablet Found Instructing of Building an Ark for the Flood
« Reply #9 on: January 25, 2014, 04:12:59 PM »
Exactly. It's not like the story of a man who builds a big boat to escape a large flood is unique to ancient Hebrew culture. Even the Ojibwe have one.

I am as anti-parallel-o-mania as they come.

Nevertheless, we have to acknowledge that the specific similarities between the Mesopotamian and biblical stories exceed what we'd expect to find if they were just unrelated convergent accounts.
Eh -- both were set in Mesopotamia. Maybe they were inspired by whatever you would call the ANE oral version of Q?

I mentioned the Indians above, but my first instinct is to cringe when I hear a Christian apologist appeal to the various cultural flood myths as proof it happened.
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Offline Agabus

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Re: 4000 Year Old Tablet Found Instructing of Building an Ark for the Flood
« Reply #10 on: January 25, 2014, 04:14:03 PM »
What's unique is that it's more "round" than depicted in the Bible...for all we know this could be Gilgamesh's Ark :P
Gilgamesh's Coracle, thank you.

Maybe that solves the mystery of what the heck Gopher wood is, anyway.
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Offline orthonorm

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Re: 4000 Year Old Tablet Found Instructing of Building an Ark for the Flood
« Reply #11 on: January 25, 2014, 05:26:35 PM »
Even the Ojibwe have one.


I have no idea what this means, but I am sure it is hilarious. Even the Ojibwe?
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Re: 4000 Year Old Tablet Found Instructing of Building an Ark for the Flood
« Reply #12 on: January 25, 2014, 05:53:33 PM »
Even the Ojibwe have one.


I have no idea what this means, but I am sure it is hilarious. Even the Ojibwe?

Ojibwe are a Native American people, primarily from Canada and the Upper Midwest of the US.  Their flood story, however, may be hilarious.
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Offline Agabus

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Re: 4000 Year Old Tablet Found Instructing of Building an Ark for the Flood
« Reply #13 on: January 25, 2014, 06:01:02 PM »
Even the Ojibwe have one.


I have no idea what this means, but I am sure it is hilarious. Even the Ojibwe?
They are an American Indian group predominately located around the great northern lakes.

Their flood myth is not exactly parallel to Gilgamesh, but as I alluded earlier I have heard fundamentalists list it as one of the reasons why we can believe in a worldwide flood survived by Noah and Sons, Boatbuilders, Inc. If even these peoples who did not live in the ANE know about the flood, it must be true.

According to the Ojibway creation story the Original Man's first responsibility after he was placed on Earth was to follow the Creator's instructions and walk the Earth and name all of the animals, plants, hills, and valleys. He also named the parts of the body.
[...]
Traditional people call North America "turtle island" because it is shaped like a turtle (Florida is one hind leg, Baja California is another, Mexico is the tail). In the Ojibway Story of the Great Flood the turtle offered its back to Waynaboozhoo to bear the weight of the new earth. The new earth was formed from a piece of earth recovered by muskrat from the bottom of the water which covered the world.



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Re: 4000 Year Old Tablet Found Instructing of Building an Ark for the Flood
« Reply #14 on: January 28, 2014, 09:51:11 AM »
"Etched in the clay is one of the story's key elements: It describes how the animals must enter "two by two"."

This contradicts Genesis 7 (deriving from the "J Source"), where only the 'unclean' animals enter two by two. The 'clean' animals and the birds enter fourteen by fourteen. Thus, when the J-Source author has Noah sacrifice some clean animals after the Flood subsides, Noah doesn't cause those animals to become extinct.

Of course, the clay tablet is consistent with Genesis 6 (deriving from the "P Source"), where all animals enter two by two. The P-Source author does not depict Noah as sacrificing any animals, so 1 pair of each animal is enough -- no need for 7 pairs each.

« Last Edit: January 28, 2014, 09:54:52 AM by Jetavan »
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Re: 4000 Year Old Tablet Found Instructing of Building an Ark for the Flood
« Reply #15 on: January 28, 2014, 09:53:11 AM »
Meow, meow, meow.

It's just another strange Mesopotamian historical find, is it not?  8)
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Offline Jonathan Gress

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Re: 4000 Year Old Tablet Found Instructing of Building an Ark for the Flood
« Reply #16 on: January 28, 2014, 09:56:36 AM »
Even the Ojibwe have one.


I have no idea what this means, but I am sure it is hilarious. Even the Ojibwe?
They are an American Indian group predominately located around the great northern lakes.

Their flood myth is not exactly parallel to Gilgamesh, but as I alluded earlier I have heard fundamentalists list it as one of the reasons why we can believe in a worldwide flood survived by Noah and Sons, Boatbuilders, Inc. If even these peoples who did not live in the ANE know about the flood, it must be true.

According to the Ojibway creation story the Original Man's first responsibility after he was placed on Earth was to follow the Creator's instructions and walk the Earth and name all of the animals, plants, hills, and valleys. He also named the parts of the body.
[...]
Traditional people call North America "turtle island" because it is shaped like a turtle (Florida is one hind leg, Baja California is another, Mexico is the tail). In the Ojibway Story of the Great Flood the turtle offered its back to Waynaboozhoo to bear the weight of the new earth. The new earth was formed from a piece of earth recovered by muskrat from the bottom of the water which covered the world.





I'd be interested to know how the Ojibwe or other "traditional people" knew what the entire North American continent looked like on a map. Special revelation?

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Re: 4000 Year Old Tablet Found Instructing of Building an Ark for the Flood
« Reply #17 on: January 28, 2014, 10:00:08 AM »
Even the Ojibwe have one.


I have no idea what this means, but I am sure it is hilarious. Even the Ojibwe?
They are an American Indian group predominately located around the great northern lakes.

Their flood myth is not exactly parallel to Gilgamesh, but as I alluded earlier I have heard fundamentalists list it as one of the reasons why we can believe in a worldwide flood survived by Noah and Sons, Boatbuilders, Inc. If even these peoples who did not live in the ANE know about the flood, it must be true.

According to the Ojibway creation story the Original Man's first responsibility after he was placed on Earth was to follow the Creator's instructions and walk the Earth and name all of the animals, plants, hills, and valleys. He also named the parts of the body.
[...]
Traditional people call North America "turtle island" because it is shaped like a turtle (Florida is one hind leg, Baja California is another, Mexico is the tail). In the Ojibway Story of the Great Flood the turtle offered its back to Waynaboozhoo to bear the weight of the new earth. The new earth was formed from a piece of earth recovered by muskrat from the bottom of the water which covered the world.


I think it's stretching it to compare it to Gilgamesh. Frankly, Gilgamesh's tale isn't centered on the flood as much as Noah's tale is, and it isn't as descriptive.

That's so funny how Fundamentalists do that. Regional flooding in Mesopotamia was quite common, and I think, is a more reasonable interpretation of the events in Genesis.

Fundamentalism is just wacky.
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Offline Ansgar

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Re: 4000 Year Old Tablet Found Instructing of Building an Ark for the Flood
« Reply #18 on: January 28, 2014, 10:05:04 AM »
"Etched in the clay is one of the story's key elements: It describes how the animals must enter "two by two"."

This contradicts Genesis 7 (deriving from the "J Source"), where only the 'unclean' animals enter two by two. The 'clean' animals and the birds enter fourteen by fourteen. Thus, when the J-Source author has Noah sacrifice some clean animals after the Flood subsides, Noah doesn't cause those animals to become extinct.

Of course, the clay tablet is consistent with Genesis 6 (deriving from the "P Source"), where all animals enter two by two. The P-Source author does not depict Noah as sacrificing any animals, so 1 pair of each animal is enough -- no need for 7 pairs each.



Wouldn't having the animals enter two by two result in a lot of inbreeding?
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Offline Ebor

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Re: 4000 Year Old Tablet Found Instructing of Building an Ark for the Flood
« Reply #19 on: January 28, 2014, 10:50:53 AM »
If it's not a forgery, then that's interesting.

But the comments about how Christians will react to this etc. just make no sense by this point. Haven't there already been at least a couple flood accounts that pre-date the Biblical account?

Here you are: Tablet 11 of The Epic of Gilgamesh in which the hero hears of how Utnapishtim was told to make a boat because a flood was coming

http://king-of-heroes.co.uk/the-epic-of-gilgamesh/reginald-campbell-thompson-translation/the-flood/

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Re: 4000 Year Old Tablet Found Instructing of Building an Ark for the Flood
« Reply #20 on: January 28, 2014, 12:12:35 PM »
If it's not a forgery, then that's interesting.

But the comments about how Christians will react to this etc. just make no sense by this point. Haven't there already been at least a couple flood accounts that pre-date the Biblical account?
Exactly. It's not like the story of a man who builds a big boat to escape a large flood is unique to ancient Hebrew culture. Even the Ojibwe have one.


Which shouldn't phase Christians at all since the multiple stories from multiple cultures back up the flood story.
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Re: 4000 Year Old Tablet Found Instructing of Building an Ark for the Flood
« Reply #21 on: January 28, 2014, 12:15:41 PM »

I mentioned the Indians above, but my first instinct is to cringe when I hear a Christian apologist appeal to the various cultural flood myths as proof it happened.

Why?
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Re: 4000 Year Old Tablet Found Instructing of Building an Ark for the Flood
« Reply #22 on: January 29, 2014, 12:31:05 PM »
"Etched in the clay is one of the story's key elements: It describes how the animals must enter "two by two"."

This contradicts Genesis 7 (deriving from the "J Source"), where only the 'unclean' animals enter two by two. The 'clean' animals and the birds enter fourteen by fourteen. Thus, when the J-Source author has Noah sacrifice some clean animals after the Flood subsides, Noah doesn't cause those animals to become extinct.

Of course, the clay tablet is consistent with Genesis 6 (deriving from the "P Source"), where all animals enter two by two. The P-Source author does not depict Noah as sacrificing any animals, so 1 pair of each animal is enough -- no need for 7 pairs each.



Wouldn't having the animals enter two by two result in a lot of inbreeding?
Not if the flooding were merely local.
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