Dating noahs flood
Dating noahs flood
Opinion by Joel Baden, Special to CNN (CNN) - That faint humming sound you’ve heard recently is the scholarly world of the Bible and archaeology abuzz over the discovery of the oldest known Mesopotamian version of the famous Flood story.A British scholar has found that a 4,000-year-old cuneiform tablet from what is now Iraq contains a story similar to the biblical account of Noah’s Ark.
It even includes the famous phrase “two by two,” describing how the animals came onto the ark.Neither version is right or wrong; they are, rather, both appropriate to the culture that produced them. What, then, of the most striking parallel between this newly discovered text and Genesis: the phrase “two by two”?Here, it would seem, we have an identical conception of the animals entering the ark. Although most people, steeped in Sunday school tradition, will tell you without even thinking about it that “the animals, they came on, they came on by twosies twosies,” that’s not exactly what the Bible says.The Bible gets its authority from us, who treat it as such, not from it being either the first or the most reliable witness to history.There is no doubt that the discovery of this new ancient Mesopotamian text is important.The Bible presents a standard boat shape - long and narrow.
The length being six times the measure of the width, with three decks and an entrance on the side.
More accurately, it’s one thing that the Bible says - but a few verses later, Noah is instructed to bring not one pair of each species, but seven pairs of all the “clean” animals and the birds, and one pair of the “unclean” animals.
(This is important because at the end of the story, Noah offers sacrifices - which, if he only brought one pair of each animal, would mean that, after saving them all from the Flood, he then proceeded to relegate some of those species to extinction immediately thereafter.) This isn’t news - already in the 17th century scholars recognized that there must be two versions of the Flood intertwined in the canonical Bible.
One version says Noah sent out a dove, three times. And yes: In one of those stories, the animals come on “two by two.” Does this mean that the author of that version was following the ancient Mesopotamian account that was just discovered? If the goal of the ark is the preservation of the animals, then having a male and female of each is just common sense.
And, of course, it’s a quite reasonable space-saving measure.
There are plenty of significant differences between the two Flood stories in the Bible, which are easily spotted if you try to read the narrative as it stands.