The Ark before Noah – decoding the story of the flood by Irving Finkel

The Ark Before Noah
The Ark Before Noah
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Recommended by Phil Weir

Stop the press! Especially that dangerous press of animals at the bottom of that giant gangplank! The news is that the Ark of Noah didn’t look like a giant aircraft carrier with a humongous shed on top. It was more likely to have been circular - the biggest coracle ever known to man or beast. This is just one revelation delivered by Irving Finkel, a British Museum expert in cuneiform, the written form (incised on clay) of the ancient languages of Sumeria and Babylon.

The other main plank of his probe is that the story of the Ark existed in Mesopotamia before the Judaeans got hold of it – which they did while in exile in Babylon. It was there they absorbed the Flood, the Ark, et al into their own back story. By the waters of Babylon, they lay down and did some cribbing. They probably also wept, because of the difficulties of cuneiform. Finkel has an infectious style of writing which conveys his obvious belief that to be able to decipher these glyphs on clay is the highest achievement man can aspire to. And the book does hint at a bigger picture. If the Judaeans nicked the Ark from Babylon, what’s the true origin of much of the Old Testament?