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Dec 18, 2013

Was Noah's Ark round? Scholar says 3,700-year-old clay tablet reveals boat was a coracle

This new discovery definitely seems to go against the commn understanding of the description in the Torah. I do not know if there is a way to make them fit with each other.

The Torah describes Noah's Ark as being rectangular. 300 cubits long, by 50 cubits wide, by 30 cubits high. As well, tradition has it that there were three levels in the Ark.

A new discovery of a 3700 year old clay tablet suggests otherwise. Dr. Irving Finkel is an expert in translating cuneiform script. He reveals his discovery in his new book, The Ark Before Noah: Decoding The Story Of The Flood.

From The Daily Mail:
His translation of the ancient text throws light on the Mesopotamian story, which became the account in Genesis in the Old Testament, of Noah and the ark that saved his menagerie from the flood waters which drowned every other living thing on earth. 
Dr. Irving Finkel

    The text describes god speaking to Atram-Hasis, a Sumerian king who is the Noah figure in earlier versions of the ark story. 
    He says: 'Wall, wall! Reed wall, reed wall! Atram-Hasis, pay heed to my advice, that you may live forever! Destroy your house, build a boat; despise possessions And save life! Draw out the boat that you will built with a circular design; Let its length and breadth be the same.'

    The ancient Babylonian text describes the ark as a round 220-ft diameter coracle with walls 20-ft high.
    According to the tablet, the ark had two levels and a roof on the top. The craft was divided into sections to divide the various animals into their own sections.
    The 60 lines of text, which Dr Finkel describes as a 'detailed construction manual for building an ark', claims the craft was built using ropes and reeds before being smeared with bitumen to make it waterproof.
    There are dozens of ancient tablets that have been found which describe the flood story but Finkel, Assistant Keeper of Ancient Mesopotamian script, languages and cultures Department at the British Museum, says this one is the first to describe the vessel's shape.
    'In all the images ever made people assumed the ark was, in effect, an ocean-going boat, with a pointed stem and stern for riding the waves – so that is how they portrayed it,' said Finkel.
    'But the ark didn't have to go anywhere, it just had to float, and the instructions are for a type of craft which they knew very well. It's still sometimes used in Iran and Iraq today, a type of round coracle which they would have known exactly how to use to transport animals across a river or floods.'
    Channel 4 is now planning a documentary based on the reconstruction of the ark following the guidelines on the tablet which dates from about 1850 BC.
    The artefact was discovered in the Middle East by Leonard Simmons, who indulged his passion for history while serving in the RAF from 1945 to 1948. The relic was passed to his son Douglas, who took it to Dr Finkel to translate. 

    This is, perhaps, what it would look like according to Finkel's translation of the tablet.

    and the story in video format...

    Interesting. I'd like to see Finkel or other experts find a way to fit the description on the tablet into the biblical narrative...

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    1 comment:

    1. A coracle is a small lightweight boat by definition barely large enough to accommodate one or 2 men standing. Perhaps the ark included only cells of each animal in small jars or embryos later to be nurtured by Noah once land was dry? Like Shlomo Hamelech wrote, "nothing new under the sun." The ark was God's first test tube lab.


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