Tag Archives: Irving Finkel

One down, 129,999 to go!


What am I talking about? Mesopotamian clay tablets, of course. Apparently, the British Museum has 130,000 of them, and after 20 years, the curator, Irving Finkel, has finished investigating one of them to the point where he is now publishing a book on the matter. See:-

The book is entitled “The Ark Before Noah”, and sets out to demonstrate that the biblical flood narrative was derived from stories that had been embedded in Sumerian and Babylonian society and literature for thousands of years. The book revolves around a clay tablet dating from about 1800BC with 60 lines of cuneiform (the tiny, wedge-shaped script on the tablets), which relate part of the flood story.

In fact it gives instruction on building an ark – a Circular one – and makes reference to animals going in two by two. But of course there is no reference to Noah, as he wasn’t around at the time.

This does give rise to some pertinent questions, as far as I am concerned.
a) Was Noah’s Ark indeed borrowed from ancient Sumerian and Babylonian history, rather than occurring in the biblical timescale?
b) How many arks have there been over the course of history?
c) If the book does prove the supposition that the Bible’s authors simply borrowed the story, what does this do for the credibility of the Bible as a whole?

Quite apart from all of that, it is not possible to flood the globe to the extent that no land can be seen for any number of days. If all the water currently locked up as ice were to melt, we would see an increase in water level of some 75 metres. Today’s topology is approximately the same as in Biblical times, so there would have been plenty of land visible if you were in the right place.
It is quite possible that the remaining tablets could yield useful insight on our history, but unfortunately the current rate of translation is so slow that we will all be dead and gone before it is completed.

It certainly seems like a job for a computerized system.

And I really don’t think we should be taking the Bible as gospel!