NOAH: HIS ARK, HIS STORY IN THE BIBLE AND KORAN, ARK REPLICAS AND HUNT FOR THE ARK

NOAH


Noah icon

According to Genesis, soon after the world and mankind were created, God produced a great flood to destroy mankind which had shown itself to be inherently wicked. Only the righteous, Noah and his family and a pair of each animal species were saved. Noah is also considered the first Biblical vinter. He planted a vineyard after the Great Flood and got drunk on wine he produced.

The Bible says: “God said unto Noah the end of all flesh has come before me...make thee an Ark of gopher wood.” Noah set sail after 40 days and 40 nights as rain flooded the world and came to rest on Mt. Ararat in northeast Turkey when the water’s recede.

Noah's Ark, according to the Bible and a 4000 year old Babylonian tablet, which tells the same story, was made of gopher wood (cypress) and pith. It was 300 cubits long, 50 cubits wide and 30 cubits high (a cubit equals 50 centimeters). This works out to about a football field in length and nine stories high. It had 63 compartments, and displaced 43,300 tons.

There are a number of problems with the Noah Story. Critics have pointed out, for example, that Noah would have to have lead 460 organisms on his ark every second to get two of every species on board within 24 hours. There would have also been problems finding space of all these creatures and feeding them.

One of the inconsistencies in the Bible cleared up by the Dead Sea scrolls, according to one scholar, is the duration of Noah's flood. Some passage in the Old Testament say it transpired over a year, others say 40 day and 40 nights. The authors of the scrolls---members of a Jewish sect---edited the account by imposing a 364-day calendar on the biblical text and inserting the day of the week on which each event took place. In their version one year elapses from the day the earth began to the day the earth completely dried out. This enabled the sect to emphasize important feats and religious rituals within accordance with the bible. [National Geographic Geographica, April 1992].

Noah, who in the Bible’s Book of Genesis built the ark that saved his family and many pairs of animals from a great flood, is revered by Judaism, Christianity and Islam. An entire chapter in the Koran is devoted to him.

2704 B.C.: Noah born
ca. 2700-2400 B.C.: Old Kingdom period (Egypt)
ca. 2500-2200 B.C.: Ebla flourishes
ca. 2500 B.C.: First houses built in Jerusalem
ca. 2300-2200 B.C.: Priestess Enheduanna, first known author in the world
2203 B.C.: Shem born
2150 B.C.: The Flood
2100-1700 B.C.: Middle Kingdom period (Egypt)
[Source: Jewish Virtual Library, UC Davis, Fordham University]

Websites and Resources: Bible and Biblical History: Bible Gateway and the New International Version (NIV) of The Bible biblegateway.com ; King James Version of the Bible gutenberg.org/ebooks ; Bible History Online bible-history.com ; Biblical Archaeology Society biblicalarchaeology.org ; Internet Jewish History Sourcebook sourcebooks.fordham.edu ; Complete Works of Josephus at Christian Classics Ethereal Library (CCEL) ccel.org ; Judaism Judaism101 jewfaq.org ; Aish.com aish.com ; Wikipedia article Wikipedia ; torah.org torah.org ; Chabad,org chabad.org/library/bible ; Religious Tolerance religioustolerance.org/judaism ; BBC - Religion: Judaism bbc.co.uk/religion/religions/judaism ; Encyclopædia Britannica, britannica.com/topic/Judaism; Jewish History: Jewish History Timeline jewishhistory.org.il/history ; Wikipedia article Wikipedia ; Jewish History Resource Center dinur.org ; Center for Jewish History cjh.org ; Jewish History.org jewishhistory.org ; Christianity and Christians Wikipedia article Wikipedia ; Christianity.com christianity.com ; BBC - Religion: Christianity bbc.co.uk/religion/religions/christianity/ ; Christianity Today christianitytoday.com; Biblical Images: Bible in Pictures creationism.org/books ebibleteacher ebibleteacher.com ; Bible-History.com bible-history.com ; Pictures from the Bible lavistachurchofchrist.org ; Bible Blue Letter Images blueletterbible.org/images ; Biblical Images preceptaustin.org

Genesis 5: From Adam to Noah

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A Dove Is Sent Forth from the Ark
Genesis 5 This is the written account of Adam’s family line. When God created mankind, he made them in the likeness of God. 2 He created them male and female and blessed them. And he named them “Mankind”[a] when they were created. 3 When Adam had lived 130 years, he had a son in his own likeness, in his own image; and he named him Seth. 4 After Seth was born, Adam lived 800 years and had other sons and daughters. 5 Altogether, Adam lived a total of 930 years, and then he died. 6 When Seth had lived 105 years, he became the father[b] of Enosh. 7 After he became the father of Enosh, Seth lived 807 years and had other sons and daughters. 8 Altogether, Seth lived a total of 912 years, and then he died. [Source: New International Version (NIV), biblegateway.com *-*]

9 When Enosh had lived 90 years, he became the father of Kenan. 10 After he became the father of Kenan, Enosh lived 815 years and had other sons and daughters. 11 Altogether, Enosh lived a total of 905 years, and then he died. *-* 12 When Kenan had lived 70 years, he became the father of Mahalalel. 13 After he became the father of Mahalalel, Kenan lived 840 years and had other sons and daughters. 14 Altogether, Kenan lived a total of 910 years, and then he died. 15 When Mahalalel had lived 65 years, he became the father of Jared. 16 After he became the father of Jared, Mahalalel lived 830 years and had other sons and daughters. 17 Altogether, Mahalalel lived a total of 895 years, and then he died. *-*

18 When Jared had lived 162 years, he became the father of Enoch. 19 After he became the father of Enoch, Jared lived 800 years and had other sons and daughters. 20 Altogether, Jared lived a total of 962 years, and then he died. 21 When Enoch had lived 65 years, he became the father of Methuselah. 22 After he became the father of Methuselah, Enoch walked faithfully with God 300 years and had other sons and daughters. 23 Altogether, Enoch lived a total of 365 years. 24 Enoch walked faithfully with God; then he was no more, because God took him away. *-*

25 When Methuselah had lived 187 years, he became the father of Lamech. 26 After he became the father of Lamech, Methuselah lived 782 years and had other sons and daughters. 27 Altogether, Methuselah lived a total of 969 years, and then he died. *-* 28 When Lamech had lived 182 years, he had a son. 29 He named him Noah[c] and said, “He will comfort us in the labor and painful toil of our hands caused by the ground the Lord has cursed.” 30 After Noah was born, Lamech lived 595 years and had other sons and daughters. 31 Altogether, Lamech lived a total of 777 years, and then he died. 32 After Noah was 500 years old, he became the father of Shem, Ham and Japheth.

Wickedness in the World: Genesis 6:

Genesis 6 When human beings began to increase in number on the earth and daughters were born to them, 2 the sons of God saw that the daughters of humans were beautiful, and they married any of them they chose. 3 Then the Lord said, “My Spirit will not contend with[a] humans forever, for they are mortal[b]; their days will be a hundred and twenty years.” *-*


4 The Nephilim were on the earth in those days—and also afterward—when the sons of God went to the daughters of humans and had children by them. They were the heroes of old, men of renown. [Source: [Source: New International Version (NIV), biblegateway.com *-*]

5 The Lord saw how great the wickedness of the human race had become on the earth, and that every inclination of the thoughts of the human heart was only evil all the time. 6 The Lord regretted that he had made human beings on the earth, and his heart was deeply troubled. 7 So the Lord said, “I will wipe from the face of the earth the human race I have created—and with them the animals, the birds and the creatures that move along the ground—for I regret that I have made them.” 8 But Noah found favor in the eyes of the Lord.

Noah and the Flood in the Bible

Genesis 9 This is the account of Noah and his family. Noah was a righteous man, blameless among the people of his time, and he walked faithfully with God. 10 Noah had three sons: Shem, Ham and Japheth. 11 Now the earth was corrupt in God’s sight and was full of violence. 12 God saw how corrupt the earth had become, for all the people on earth had corrupted their ways. 13 So God said to Noah, “I am going to put an end to all people, for the earth is filled with violence because of them. I am surely going to destroy both them and the earth. 14 So make yourself an ark of cypress[c] wood; make rooms in it and coat it with pitch inside and out. 15 This is how you are to build it: The ark is to be three hundred cubits long, fifty cubits wide and thirty cubits high. [d] 16 Make a roof for it, leaving below the roof an opening one cubit[e] high all around. [f] Put a door in the side of the ark and make lower, middle and upper decks. 17 I am going to bring floodwaters on the earth to destroy all life under the heavens, every creature that has the breath of life in it. Everything on earth will perish. 18 But I will establish my covenant with you, and you will enter the ark—you and your sons and your wife and your sons’ wives with you. 19 You are to bring into the ark two of all living creatures, male and female, to keep them alive with you. 20 Two of every kind of bird, of every kind of animal and of every kind of creature that moves along the ground will come to you to be kept alive. 21 You are to take every kind of food that is to be eaten and store it away as food for you and for them.” 22 Noah did everything just as God commanded him. [Source: New International Version (NIV), biblegateway.com *-*]

Genesis 7: 7 The Lord then said to Noah, “Go into the ark, you and your whole family, because I have found you righteous in this generation. 2 Take with you seven pairs of every kind of clean animal, a male and its mate, and one pair of every kind of unclean animal, a male and its mate, 3 and also seven pairs of every kind of bird, male and female, to keep their various kinds alive throughout the earth. 4 Seven days from now I will send rain on the earth for forty days and forty nights, and I will wipe from the face of the earth every living creature I have made.” 5 And Noah did all that the Lord commanded him. *-*

6 Noah was six hundred years old when the floodwaters came on the earth. 7 And Noah and his sons and his wife and his sons’ wives entered the ark to escape the waters of the flood. 8 Pairs of clean and unclean animals, of birds and of all creatures that move along the ground, 9 male and female, came to Noah and entered the ark, as God had commanded Noah. 10 And after the seven days the floodwaters came on the earth. *-*

11 In the six hundredth year of Noah’s life, on the seventeenth day of the second month—on that day all the springs of the great deep burst forth, and the floodgates of the heavens were opened. 12 And rain fell on the earth forty days and forty nights. 13 On that very day Noah and his sons, Shem, Ham and Japheth, together with his wife and the wives of his three sons, entered the ark. 14 They had with them every wild animal according to its kind, all livestock according to their kinds, every creature that moves along the ground according to its kind and every bird according to its kind, everything with wings. 15 Pairs of all creatures that have the breath of life in them came to Noah and entered the ark. 16 The animals going in were male and female of every living thing, as God had commanded Noah. Then the Lord shut him in. *-*

17 For forty days the flood kept coming on the earth, and as the waters increased they lifted the ark high above the earth. 18 The waters rose and increased greatly on the earth, and the ark floated on the surface of the water. 19 They rose greatly on the earth, and all the high mountains under the entire heavens were covered. 20 The waters rose and covered the mountains to a depth of more than fifteen cubits. [a][b] 21 Every living thing that moved on land perished—birds, livestock, wild animals, all the creatures that swarm over the earth, and all mankind. 22 Everything on dry land that had the breath of life in its nostrils died. 23 Every living thing on the face of the earth was wiped out; people and animals and the creatures that move along the ground and the birds were wiped from the earth. Only Noah was left, and those with him in the ark. 24 The waters flooded the earth for a hundred and fifty days. *-*

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Noah deluge by Michelangelo

40 Days and 40 Nights: Genesis 8

Genesis 8 But God remembered Noah and all the wild animals and the livestock that were with him in the ark, and he sent a wind over the earth, and the waters receded. 2 Now the springs of the deep and the floodgates of the heavens had been closed, and the rain had stopped falling from the sky. 3 The water receded steadily from the earth. At the end of the hundred and fifty days the water had gone down, 4 and on the seventeenth day of the seventh month the ark came to rest on the mountains of Ararat. 5 The waters continued to recede until the tenth month, and on the first day of the tenth month the tops of the mountains became visible. [Source: New International Version (NIV), biblegateway.com *-*]

6 After forty days Noah opened a window he had made in the ark 7 and sent out a raven, and it kept flying back and forth until the water had dried up from the earth. 8 Then he sent out a dove to see if the water had receded from the surface of the ground. 9 But the dove could find nowhere to perch because there was water over all the surface of the earth; so it returned to Noah in the ark. He reached out his hand and took the dove and brought it back to himself in the ark. 10 He waited seven more days and again sent out the dove from the ark. 11 When the dove returned to him in the evening, there in its beak was a freshly plucked olive leaf! Then Noah knew that the water had receded from the earth. 12 He waited seven more days and sent the dove out again, but this time it did not return to him. *-*

13 By the first day of the first month of Noah’s six hundred and first year, the water had dried up from the earth. Noah then removed the covering from the ark and saw that the surface of the ground was dry. 14 By the twenty-seventh day of the second month the earth was completely dry. 15 Then God said to Noah, 16 “Come out of the ark, you and your wife and your sons and their wives. 17 Bring out every kind of living creature that is with you—the birds, the animals, and all the creatures that move along the ground—so they can multiply on the earth and be fruitful and increase in number on it.” *-*

18 So Noah came out, together with his sons and his wife and his sons’ wives. 19 All the animals and all the creatures that move along the ground and all the birds—everything that moves on land—came out of the ark, one kind after another. * 20 Then Noah built an altar to the Lord and, taking some of all the clean animals and clean birds, he sacrificed burnt offerings on it. 21 The Lord smelled the pleasing aroma and said in his heart: “Never again will I curse the ground because of humans, even though[a] every inclination of the human heart is evil from childhood. And never again will I destroy all living creatures, as I have done. *-*

22 “As long as the earth endures,
seedtime and harvest,
cold and heat,
summer and winter,
day and night
will never cease.”

Genesis 9: God’s Covenant With Noah


Genesis 9 Then God blessed Noah and his sons, saying to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number and fill the earth. 2 The fear and dread of you will fall on all the beasts of the earth, and on all the birds in the sky, on every creature that moves along the ground, and on all the fish in the sea; they are given into your hands. 3 Everything that lives and moves about will be food for you. Just as I gave you the green plants, I now give you everything. [Source: New International Version (NIV), biblegateway.com *-*]

4 “But you must not eat meat that has its lifeblood still in it. 5 And for your lifeblood I will surely demand an accounting. I will demand an accounting from every animal. And from each human being, too, I will demand an accounting for the life of another human being. *-*

6 “Whoever sheds human blood, by humans shall their blood be shed; for in the image of God has God made mankind. *-*

7 As for you, be fruitful and increase in number; multiply on the earth and increase upon it.” 8 Then God said to Noah and to his sons with him: 9 “I now establish my covenant with you and with your descendants after you 10 and with every living creature that was with you—the birds, the livestock and all the wild animals, all those that came out of the ark with you—every living creature on earth. 11 I establish my covenant with you: Never again will all life be destroyed by the waters of a flood; never again will there be a flood to destroy the earth.” *-*

12 And God said, “This is the sign of the covenant I am making between me and you and every living creature with you, a covenant for all generations to come: 13 I have set my rainbow in the clouds, and it will be the sign of the covenant between me and the earth. 14 Whenever I bring clouds over the earth and the rainbow appears in the clouds, 15 I will remember my covenant between me and you and all living creatures of every kind. Never again will the waters become a flood to destroy all life. 16 Whenever the rainbow appears in the clouds, I will see it and remember the everlasting covenant between God and all living creatures of every kind on the earth.” So God said to Noah, “This is the sign of the covenant I have established between me and all life on the earth.” *-*

Sons of Noah, Death of Noah

18 The sons of Noah who came out of the ark were Shem, Ham and Japheth. (Ham was the father of Canaan.) 19 These were the three sons of Noah, and from them came the people who were scattered over the whole earth. [Source: New International Version (NIV), biblegateway.com *-*]

20 Noah, a man of the soil, proceeded[a] to plant a vineyard. 21 When he drank some of its wine, he became drunk and lay uncovered inside his tent. 22 Ham, the father of Canaan, saw his father naked and told his two brothers outside. 23 But Shem and Japheth took a garment and laid it across their shoulders; then they walked in backward and covered their father’s naked body. Their faces were turned the other way so that they would not see their father naked. *-*


God appears to Noah and his family

24 When Noah awoke from his wine and found out what his youngest son had done to him, 25 he said, “Cursed be Canaan! The lowest of slaves will he be to his brothers.” *-* 26 He also said, *-* “Praise be to the Lord, the God of Shem! May Canaan be the slave of Shem. 27 May God extend Japheth’s[b] territory; may Japheth live in the tents of Shem, and may Canaan be the slave of Japheth.” *-*

28 After the flood Noah lived 350 years. 29 Noah lived a total of 950 years, and then he died.

Noah in the Koran

The Koran story of Noah goes: “Prophets are the messengers of Allah who came from time to time to guide mankind to the way of Allah, the path of righteousness. Amongst the many who came as guides and warners to the people, Prophet Noah (Alaihisalam) was one of them. He lived long before the time of our Holy Prophet Muhammad (Salallahu alaihi wasalam), the last of the prophets. God appointed Noah as the prophet for his people, so as to guide them to the right path and turn them away from their evil ways. The Holy Qur’an tells us the story of Prophet Noah and his people in a number of suras [3], namely sura 57 (Nuh), sura 11 (Hud), and sura 23 (al-Mu’minun), and many ayats [4] therein. It tells us of the strong faith which the Prophet had in Almighty God and about the final destruction of those who ignored the Divine Message. [Sources: Holy Qur’an with narritive filled in by Jehangir A. Merchant, simerg.com, October 4, 2011 |~|]

“Commanding Prophet Noah to warn his people, God said: “Warn your people before there comes upon them a grievous penalty.” — Holy Qur’an, 57:61 Obeying the command of God, Prophet Noah went to his people and said: “I have come to you with a clear warning that you worship none but God. Verily I fear for you the penalty of a grievous day.” — Holy Qur’an, 11:25-26. |~|

The chiefs fearing they would lose their power and authority over the people they ruled, did not approve of what Prophet Noah was preaching and sought to detract the people from the True Path. They argued with the Prophet saying: “We see nothing special in you except as a man like ourselves. Nor do we see any who have followed you but those who are the meanest amongst us and immature in judgment. Nor do we see in you any excellence over us; in fact we think you are a liar.” —Holy Qur’an, 11:27 |~|

Prophet Noah was not perturbed by their derogatory remarks and continued his divine mission purposefully. He called upon his people in a very polite and loving manner to mend their ways. He also warned them of the grievous consequences which would follow if they continued to worship the false gods and lead an immoral life. Assuring them that he was not seeking any wealth or power or favours from them, he said: “And O my people! I ask you for no wealth in return: my reward is from none but God.” — Holy Qur’an, 11:29 |~|


Muslim Noah

But the chiefs continued to hinder Prophet Noah in his mission by instigating doubts about Noah. They would say to the people: “He is no more than a man like yourselves. His wish is to assert superiority over you. If God had wished (to send messengers), He could have sent down Angels. Never did we hear such a thing (as he says), among our ancestors of old.” — Holy Qur’an, 23:24. The chiefs would then turn in anger towards the Prophet and challenge him arrogantly: “O Noah! Indeed you have disputed with us and you have prolonged the dispute: now bring upon us what you have threatened us with, if you are of the Truthful Ones.” — Holy Qur’an, 11:32 |~|

“Prophet Noah would then remind them that it was not in his but God’s power to punish them for their evil ways. “Truly God will bring it on you if He wills, — and then, you will not be able to frustrate it.” — Holy Qur’an, 11:33 But all his warnings, his good advices and counsels seemed to fall on deaf ears. Except for a very few who had followed his guidance, others continued to worship the idols of stone with different names as attested in the following verse: “And they have said (to each other) ‘Abandon not your gods: abandon neither Wadd nor Suwa, neither Yaguth nor Yauq, nor Nasr.” — Holy Qur’an, 71:23 |~|

Prophet Noah re-doubled his efforts but all to no avail. He would then cry out to his Lord: “O my Lord! I have called to my people by night and by day, but my call only (increases their) flight (from the True Path). And every time I have called to them, that You may forgive them, they have thrust their fingers into their ears, covered themselves up with their garments, grown obstinate and given themselves up to arrogance. So, I have called to them aloud: further I have spoken to them in public and secretly in private.” — Holy Qur’an, 71:5-9 |~|

Noah’s Ark in the Holy Qur’an

The Koran story of Noah goes: “As the people became more obstinate and refused to accept God’s message accusing Prophet Noah of falsehood, God decided to bring down His punishment upon the unbelievers. To Prophet Noah, God commanded: “Construct the Ark within Our sight and under Our guidance. Then when comes Our command, and the fountains of the earth gush forth, take on board pairs of every species, male and female, and your people except those of them against whom the Word has already been issued: and address Me not in respect of those who are unjust; for verily they shall be drowned (in the flood).” — Holy Qur’an, 23:27 [Sources: Holy Qur’an with narritive filled in by Jehangir A. Merchant, simerg.com, October 4, 2011 |~|]

As commanded, Prophet Noah now set upon the task of building the Ark with the help of the small group of believers. The sight of Prophet Noah and his men constructing the Ark seemed to amuse the chiefs and unbelievers. They did not realise the seriousness of the situation but only laughed and jeered. “Whenever the chiefs of his people passed by him, they mocked at him…” — Holy Qur’an, 11:38 |~|


Noah's in 16th century Muslim Mogul miniature

Prophet Noah would now answer back to their mocking comments in a very bold and straight-forward manner: “…If you ridicule us now, verily we too shall mock at you, even as you mock (at us). But soon will you know who it is on whom will descend a penalty which will cover them with shame and upon whom will fall a lasting penalty.” — Holy Qur’an, 11:38-39 |~|

Noah Flood in the Holy Qur’an

The Koran story of Noah goes: “When the Ark was completed, Prophet Noah took with him his family and the believers, and a pair of every creature that was found on the land around him. Now God’s warning to the people that He would send floods upon them came to pass. “At length, behold! there came our Command, and the fountains of the earth gushed forth.” — Holy Qur’an, 11:40 [Sources: Holy Qur’an with narritive filled in by Jehangir A. Merchant, simerg.com, October 4, 2011 |~|]

The flood waters began to rise. Believers who had so far suffered at the hands of the chiefs and idol worshippers found themselves safe in Noah’s Ark. They offered their prayers and prostration to Almighty God as thanksgiving for the Mercy He had bestowed upon them. The unbelievers who had ignored God’s guidance were in a grievous state. All was lost to them. The heavy downpour of rain, the strong winds, the deafening thunder and the blinding lightning created confusion in their minds and fear in their hearts. They ran helter-skelter in search for safety. They climbed the roof-tops and the trees but nothing could save them now as the waters rose higher and higher. |~|

Amongst the unbelievers was Prophet Noah’s own son, and he too was desperately trying to save himself from the flood waters. Prophet Noah’s Ark with all aboard was sailing safely on the waters and just when the Prophet saw his son he called out to him and said: ‘O my son! embark with us and be not with the unbelievers’. The son replied: ‘I will betake myself to some mountain, it will save me from the flood’. And Noah said: ‘This day nothing can save you from what God has decreed, for only those on whom He has Mercy will be saved’. And the waves came between them and the son was among the drowned ones.” — Holy Qur’an, 11:42-43 |~|

Finally, when all the unbelievers were drowned in the flood, God commanded: “O Earth! swallow up your water, and O Sky! withhold your rain! and the water abated and the matter was ended. The Ark rested on Mount Judi.” — Holy Qur’an, 11:44. As the ark rested on Mount Judi, Prophet Noah prayed: “O my Lord! enable me to disembark with Your Blessings, for You are the Best of all to enable us to disembark.” — Holy Qur’an, 23:29 |~|

Noah Story and Mesopotamia

A number of flood stories are found in the oral histories of different tribes and ethnic groups. One of the oldest known ones if found in the Mesopotamian Gilgamesh story. According to that Gilgamesh tells of Utnapishtim who was warned by the water god Enki to build a boat for himself, his family, animals and artisans from a great flood. The Greeks and Romans had a similar story about Deucalion and Pyrra, who saved the children and a collection animals from a great flood.

A passage on Noah’s flood in Genesis Bible reads: "And the water prevailed exceedingly upon the earth; and the all the high hills...were covered." The flood in the Epic of Gilamesh : "Swiftly it mounted up; the water reached the mountains."

How plausible i the Biblical flood story? The Mesopotamian landscape is essentially a flood plain. Historian Irving Finkel told The Telegraph: “In that landscape, mankind’s vulnerability to flooding is explicit,” he says. “There must have been a heritage memory of the destructive power of flood water, based on various terrible floods. And the people who survived would have been people in boats. You can imagine someone sunbathing in a canoe, half asleep, and waking up however long later and they’re in the middle of the Persian Gulf, and that’s the beginning of the flood story.” There are, he says, geological and archaeological suggestions that there was an especially cataclysmic flood around 5,000BC.

Mesopotamian Flood Story

Floods were a constant concern for people living along the Tigris and Euphrates in Mesopotamia. One of the most famous Sumerian tablets contained a story about a great flood that destroyed Sumer that is virtually the same story as the Noah story in the Old Testament. It describes a man named Utnapishtim who is warned by the water god Enki to build a boat to save himself, his family, animals and artisans from a great flood.


Flood Tablet of Gilgamesh

One passage goes:
All the windstorms, exceedingly powerful attacked as one.
The deluge raged over the surface of the earth.
After, for seven days and seven nights.
The deluge had raged in the land.
And the huge boat had been tossed about on great waters.
Utu came forth, who sheds light on heaven and earth.
Ziusudra opened a window of the huge boat.
Ziusudra, the king.
Before Utu prostrated himself.

According to the Mesopotamia tale: "Swiftly it mounted up; the water reached the mountains." The Bible reads: "And the water prevailed exceedingly upon the earth; and the all the high hills...were covered."

The passage with the reference to the flood was discovered in 1867 by an amateur linguist named George Smith who spent his free time at the British Museum rummaging through cuneiform tablets. Smith made his discovery from a fragment of a tablet that contained details of the flood, a ship caught on a mountaintop and a bird sent out to search for dry land. It was the first conformation of a flood story in ancient Mesopotamia , complete with a Noah-like figure and an ark.

Mesopotamia and the Noah Flood Story

Gerald A. Larue wrote in “Old Testament Life and Literature”: “The source of the flood story can be traced to Mesopotamia and the eleventh tablet of the Gilgamesh Epic, which in turn rests upon an older Sumerian flood legend. It is unlikely that such a story would develop within Palestine where the Jordan flows below sea level. The obvious marks of literary borrowing and the discovery of a fragment of the Gilgamesh Epic at Megiddo from the fourteenth-century level suggests that the story was known in Canaan prior to the Hebrew invasion, and would have come into the J material from Canaanite sources. [Source: Gerald A. Larue, “Old Testament Life and Literature,”1968, infidels.org <=>]

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Noah Great Flood
“Certain noteworthy differences between the Mesopotamian versions and the J account can be discerned. When the Hebrews borrowed the story, they related it to their own deity, Yahweh, discarding the polytheistic pattern of the Gilgamesh account. Furthermore, the flood in the Hebrew story came as a judgment resulting from Yahweh's regret that he had made man because of the latter's continued evil action, while in Gilgamesh mankind was to be destroyed by vote of the gods with no real reason provided.16 Finally, the hero of the Gilgamesh flood story, Utnapishtim, is rewarded with immortality for himself and his wife, while Noah and his family die as all mortals must. What the Hebrew writers borrowed they transformed in the light of their own theological convictions.<=>

“During the excavation of ancient Ur and nearby Al 'Ubaid, Sir Leonard Woolley uncovered evidence of what he interpreted as a major flood which occurred in the middle of the fourth millennium, and which covered an existing culture with a deposit of sediment to depths varying from eight to eleven feet. Similar deposits were found in other Mesopotamian sites, but these were from different periods. It has been argued that the Mesopotamian and biblical flood traditions may have their origin in a flood of unprecedented proportions. Woolley's interpretation of the evidence has been challenged and there are those who argue that what Woolley and others interpreted as river sediment is, in fact, a great layer of sand deposited by the dreaded idyah, a dust storm which occurs in the spring and summer in Mesopotamia, and which may lay down a thick layer of sand particles to form what is known as an "aeolian formation." The aeolian formation is quite different from river sediment. But this re-interpretation cannot be accepted as final, as the rebuttal from supporters of the Woolley hypothesis has demonstrated. We can only conclude that Mesopotamian floods did occur, that there is ample literary evidence of the disaster they brought to some settled areas and that it is quite possible that the flood traditions rest in an actual experience or series of experiences of the destruction wrought by these high waters.<=>

Explanation of Noah's Flood

Traditionally, it was believed that Noah myth arose from the seasonal flooding of the Tigris and Euphrates. But now many think it was inspired by a great flood involving the Black Sea. The Black Sea was created around 5000 B.C. when water levels in the Mediterranean Sea rose at end of a long ice age and broke through a natural dam at the Bosporus and poured into the Black Sea, at that time a fresh water lake whose surface was as much as 450 feet below the surface of the Mediterranean. An earthquake may have caused the natural dam to fracture.

When the water poured through at its peak it produced a roar that could be heard 300 miles away and unleashed 10 cubic miles of water a day.Water flowed at rate equivalent of 200 Niagra Falls and caused the Black Sea to rise about six inches a day and covered an area the size of Florida after two years. Archaeologists speculate that villagers who lived on the Black that were forced to flee the rising waters were the source of the Noah's and other flood stories. Some flood victims stories no doubt found their way to Mesopotamia, where the first known flood stories originated.

In the late 1990s, archaeologists uncovered evidence of great flood that occurred around 7,000 years ago. The archaeological evidence was a series of submerged beaches at a depth of a around of 500 feet with the youngest freshwater marine creatures radiocarbon dated at an age of between 6,900 and 7,500 years. The beaches are evidence of an ancient shoreline and the freshwater creatures are seen as proof that the Black Sea was a freshwater lake around 7,000 years ago. Evidence of human habitation before the Great includes a 7,500-year-old structure discovered in the Black Sea found by explorer Robert Ballard.

Revising the Story of Noah, the Ark and the Flood


Noah's Ark at sea

Dr Irving Finkel, a leading revisionist historian of the Flood at the British Museum, has found an account of the Flood and the Ark that significantly different from that told in the Bible, Nick Fraser wrote in The Guardian, ““In 1985, an ordinary-looking clay tablet inscribed in cuneiform script was brought into the British Museum. The Ark Tablet, as Finkel calls it, was written in Akkadian, a Sumerian dialect. It gave details of the Flood significantly different from those in the Old Testament and other accounts. Finkel can’t tell us whether Noah, who was probably called Atrahasis, actually survived a flood, but he does, intriguingly, list the animals of southern Mesopotamia that he might have taken with him. (Wild boar, known as sah api, would have been present, as would the humble dormouse, for which three different names exist in Akkadian.) He also suggests that the compilers of the Old Testament, written in Hebrew, came across the story after learning cuneiform script while in exile in Babylon. This contradicts the notion that the Bible is of sacred inspiration, but I find it wholly convincing. [Source: Nick Fraser, The Guardian, November 9, 2014 /+/]

“All societies retell stories of catastrophe and Atrahasis’s is one of the best. It differs from the Bible’s account in not having an angry God eager to chastise; Atrahasis gets news of the impending waters because he listens to a voice outside his wall of reeds telling him to expect the worst. Those who lived in Mesopotamia were in many respects like us. They could see how fragile all life was and they wanted to know whether it was possible to sail away in the event of disaster. Atrahasis got the message: be clever, listen to your voices, survive. A message of this terrific book is that we too, modern as we may consider ourselves, should do the same. /+/

Tom Chivers wrote in The Telegraph, “Finkel gave me the tablet to hold. It’s almost exactly the size of a modern smartphone, and the shape of a pillow; terracotta-coloured, tightly covered, almost every last millimetre, in a strange pattern of carvings that look more like the arbitrary patterns on a Christmas jumper than anything we might recognise as writing; it’s cracked and glued back together, like an old vase, with some of the writing obscured by the worst bits of damage. I would like to announce that there is a sense of mystical awe that overwhelms me as I hold this 4,000-year-old artefact, this thing carved when the Egyptians were still building pyramids. But there isn’t, just a vague sense of terror that I’ll drop it and shatter it. “That would be the end of the world, for me,” confirms Finkel, unhelpfully. [Source: Tom Chivers, The Telegraph, January 19, Jan 2014]

Book: “The Ark Before Noah: Decoding the Story of the Flood” by Irving Finkel, 2014]

Looking for Noah's Ark

20120504-MountArarat.jpg
Mount Ararat
Mount Ararat---a 16,945 foot-high composite volcano located in the northeast corner of Turkey near Iran and Armenia---is said to be the final resting place of Noah's Ark, a belief that arose perhaps because it so high it seems like the first place that would emerge from a flood. Many adventurers have climbed the mountain and returned with unexplained pieces of wood above tree-line and other "evidence" of the Ark's existence. During Byzantine times a monk on a pilgrimage to Mt. Ararat was allegedly handed a plank from the Ark by an angel. That plank now rests in a church below the mountain. In 1670 a Dutch monk looking for the Ark on Ararat said he not only discovered it, he found a hermit living inside it who cured him of an illness. In 1829 a German scientist found nothing. Seventy years later however a Christian from India said he found the ark wedged into a rock and filled with snow and ice.

In 1949 a CIA spy plane returning from missions over the Soviet Union photographed what appeared to be the outline of an ancient vessel on Mt. Ararat and continued to photograph it for 40 years but kept quiet on the issue, saying it did not want to get involved in a religious dispute. In 1950s the ark was supposedly photographed emerging from a glacier by a helicopter. In the 1970s Skylab reportedly saw it from outer space. Material evidence includes a nine-foot-long timber brought back in 1930 by a New Zealand climber and a piece of carved wood, purported to be 3000-year-old, found in 1956 by a French explorer. Geologist have found rocks with holes that resemble “drogue stones” which ancient ships dragged behind them for stability.

One of the latest claimants was George Jammal, a Frenchman who asserted, in an 1993 CBS television documentary, that he had found a large wooden structure during a 1984 expedition on Mt. Ararat, with a "room made into pens, like places where you keep animals." Presenting a piece of wood as evidence he proclaimed, "We knew that we had found ark!" Unfortunately, he said, the friend that was with him, and the film he shot, were buried in an avalanche. Later it was discovered that the Jammal was an actor who had never been to Mt. Ararat, and the "hunk of ark" was a piece of pine he doctored up in the kitchen of his California home. The documentary that featured Jamal also claimed that Biblical Age people used batteries and had air-conditioning, and that the Great Flood was caused by a subterranean explosion as powerful as 10 million hydrogen bombs that released vast chambers of underground water into the air like gargantuan geysers.

In the late 1990s, an Italian explorer claimed he found Noah’s Ark on Mt. Ararat after searching for days on foot and with a donkey. The boat he found he said was 156 meters long and was frozen in a glacier in the mountain 4,000 years ago. His evidence was some grainy photographs. Around the same time two Australian scientists sued creationist Allen Roberts for deception when he said he found evidence of Noah’s Ark 20 miles from Mt. Ararat. A judge dismissed the case.

Noah’s Ark Looks Different Than We Picture It


traditional view of Noah's Ark

Nick Fraser wrote in The Guardian, “The ark didn’t look boxy, with a raised prow and a wide gangplank for the animals. It is more likely to have been circular, made out of massive reeds waterproofed with bitumen. These are the craft that until recently were rowed up and down the Euphrates. How to build one without perishing is one of the many delightful features of this account of the Flood story. (The answer is that you get your servants to do the work, organising a feast for them as the floodwaters rise.) [Source: Nick Fraser, The Guardian, November 9, 2014 /+/]

The tablet describes a huge vessel, two-thirds the size of a soccer field, with high walls and made with so much rope that “stretched out in a line would reach from London to Edinburgh.” Finkel said that a circular vessel would be a “perfect thing,” because it “never sinks, it’s light to carry.” He also contends that his discovery does not provide evidence supporting the Biblical story of Noah’s ark, instead saying the tale was likely passed down from Babylon. “I’m sure the story of the flood and a boat to rescue life is a Babylonian invention,” he said. “I don’t think the ark existed — but a lot of people do. “It doesn’t really matter. The Biblical version is a thing of itself and it has a vitality forever.” [Source: Oliver Darcy, The Blaze, January 25, 2014]

Tom Chivers wrote in The Telegraph, The most interesting revelation from the Simmonds tablet is that the Ark, as originally conceived, was not how we picture it. “We all know what Noah’s Ark looked like – a boat, with a house on it, and a high prow and a high stern,” says Finkel. “You could sail to New York in it if you liked. But the Ark didn’t have to go in a direction, it just had to survive the flood.” In essence, it would have been a giant life raft: circular, and almost impossible to sink. “It was a coracle,” says Finkel: a kind of round boat of rope around a wood frame. “Half the people in Mesopotamia were professional boat people, so when someone told them this story, and said, imagine the biggest boat you ever saw, they must have asked: what did it look like?” What is incredible is that the tablet has detailed instructions how to build this enormous coracle, 70ft across, six yards high, even down to the length of rope required. “It’s about the distance from London to Edinburgh,” says Finkel, who had a mathematician check the working and found that it was correct to within one per cent. [Source: Tom Chivers, The Telegraph, January 19, Jan 2014]

Dutchman Builds Life-sized Replica of Noah's Ark

In 2012, Dutchman Johan Huibers launched a replica of Noah’s ark that measured a whopping 130 meters long, 29 meters wide and 23 meters high. Associated Press reported: “Just as the first storms of winter roll in, Dutchman Johan Huibers has finished his 20-year quest to build a full-scale, functioning model of Noah’s Ark — an undertaking of, well, biblical proportions. Huibers, a Christian, used books 6-9 of Genesis as his inspiration, following the instructions God gives Noah down to the last cubit. Translating to modern measurements, Huibers came up with a vessel that works out to a whopping 427 feet (130 metres) long, 95 feet (29 metres) across and 75 feet (23 metres) high. Perhaps not big enough to fit every species on Earth, two by two, as described in the Bible, but plenty of space, for instance, for a pair elephants to dance a tango. [Source: The Associated Press, December 10, 2012 ++]

“Johan’s Ark towers across the flat Dutch landscape and is easily visible from a nearby highway where it lies moored in the city of Dordrecht, just south of Gazing across the ark’s main hold, a huge space of stalls supported by a forest of pine trees, visitors gaze upon an array of stuffed and plastic animals, such as buffalo, zebra, gorillas, lions, tigers, bears, you name it. Elsewhere on the ark is a petting zoo with actual live animals that are less dangerous or easier to care for — such as ponies, dogs, sheep, and rabbits — and an impressive aviary of exotic birds. “This boat — it’s amazing,” said Alfred Jongile, visiting from South Africa with his Dutch wife. ++

“For Huibers, a builder by trade, it all began with a nightmare he had in 1992, when the low-lying Netherlands was flooded, as it has been many times throughout its history. Huibers thinks that new floods are possible, not least due to global warming. He cites a New Testament passage prophesying that “the cities of the coast shall tremble” near the end of times. But he’s not worried the whole Earth will ever be flooded again. In the Bible, the rainbow is God’s promise it won’t be.” He said his motivation is ultimately religious, though. He wants to make people think what their purpose is on Earth.“I want to make people question that so that they go looking for answers,” and ultimately find salvation through God and eternal life, he said. ++

“Johan’s Ark also contains a restaurant on the topmost level and a movie theatre capable of seating 50 people. Around the edges of each level of the craft are displays on ancient Middle Eastern history and dress, scenes from the life of Noah, and games for kids, including water pumps and a system of levers to lift bales of hay. Down below there is a honeycomb system of hatches, each opening into an area where food could be sealed in for long-term storage. There is an outdoor space near the stern with a dizzying series of stairwells. Walking around, Johan points out features such as the curvature of the upper deck, which he said would have been used to collect rainwater for drinking, as well as for letting animals such as horses out to exercise where they could run around.

Another visitor, Martin Konijn, said he was impressed with the level of detail. “You might know the story of Noah, okay, but if you see this you begin to get an idea of how it would actually have worked in practice.” Huibers says he’s considering where to take the floating attraction next, including European ports or even across the Atlantic — though the latter would require transport aboard an even bigger ship. But Huibers is also working on a new dream, perhaps even more unlikely than the first one: he wants to get Israelis and Arabs to co-operate and build a water pipeline from the Mediterranean Sea to the Dead Sea. “If you have faith, anything is possible,” he says.” ++


Ark Encounter in Kentucky


Replica of Noah's Ark in Kentucky

In the U.S. state of Kentucky a Christian group called Answers in Genesis said it would build another replica of Noah’s Ark. Dylan T. Lovan of Associated Press wrote: “Tucked away in a nondescript office park in northern Kentucky in the US, Noah's followers are rebuilding his ark. The biblical wooden ship built to weather a worldwide flood was 152 meters long and about 24m high, according to Answers in Genesis, a Christian ministry devoted to a literal telling of the Old Testament. This modern ark, to be nestled on a plot of 320 hectares of rolling Kentucky farmland, isn't designed to rescue the world's creatures from a coming deluge. It's to tell the world that the Bible's legendary flood story was not a fable, but a part of human history. "The message here is, God's word is true," said Mike Zovath, project manager of the ark. "There's a lot of doubt: 'Could Noah have built a boat this big, could he have put all the animals on the boat?' Those are questions people all over the country ask." [Source: Dylan T. Lovan, Associated Press, August 17, 2011 /=\]

“The ark will be the centrepiece of a proposed US$155 million religious theme park, called the Ark Encounter, and will include other biblical icons like the Tower of Babel and an old world-style village. It's an expansion of the ministry's first major public attraction, the controversial Creation Museum. It opened in 2007 and attracted worldwide attention for presenting stories from the Bible as historical fact, challenging evolution and asserting that the earth was created about 6000 years ago. "The ark is really a different approach" than the museum, Zovath said. "It's really not about creation-evolution, it's about the authority of the Bible starting with the ark account in Genesis." /=\

“Inside the ark's headquarters in Hebron, a small team of artists and designers are working on the visuals at the new park, but once the project begins early next year, there will be hundreds at the creation, including a team of Amish builders from Indiana who will erect the giant ark. Many of the same people who helped design the museum are on board for the ark project, including Patrick Marsh, who helped build some of the attractions at Universal Studios in Florida. /=\

“Zovath said the ark will have old-world details, like wooden pegs instead of nails, straight-sawed timbers and plenty of animals - some alive, some robotic like The Creation Museum's dinosaurs. He said it has not yet been determined how many live animals will be in the boat during visiting hours, but the majority will be stuffed or animatronic. At their count, Noah had anywhere from 2000 to 4000 on board. /=\

“There are a handful of replica arks around the world, but Zovath said this one will be authentic inside and out. "When you get to walk through the boat and see how big this thing really was, and how many cages were there, and how much room there was for food and water ... our hope is people start seeing that this is plausible, that the account could be believed," Zovath. A longtime critic of the Answers in Genesis ministry argues the attraction will bring in converts to creationism by challenging scientific findings about the world's history./=\

"Many think that since creationism is so irrational and so unscientific that nobody really could believe it, but that's not so," said Edwin Kagin, a lawyer in northern Kentucky who is president of a nationwide atheist group. The new park will be "so slick and so well done, you can get people to believe in anything. Creationism, when you're ready to believe anything." Some in the state hope it will be a major attraction. A feasibility study on the Ark Encounter declared that the park would attract 1.6 million visitors in its first year, Zovath said. The smaller Creation Museum has attracted well over a million people since it opened four years ago. /=\

“State officials are banking on the park's success and the 900 jobs it is expected to create, by making the project eligible for more than US$40m in sales tax rebates if the Ark Encounter hits its attendance marks. Tying state incentives to a religious theme park has also attracted some criticism, though notably less than The Creation Museum, which received no state support. That facility was built on private donations. Americans United for Separation of Church and State, a Washington-based group, has said the park would run afoul of constitutional law. "Noah didn't get government help when he built the first ark, and the fundamentalist ministry behind the Kentucky replica shouldn't either," the group said in a statement. But so far they have taken no legal action.” /=\

Other Noah’s Arc Replicas and Theme Parks


models of Tyrannosaurus rexes in Ark Encounter

Dylan T. Lovan of Associated Press wrote: “The Ark Encounter won't be the nation's first theme park inspired by the Bible, or the first with Noah's big boat. A park in tourism-rich Orlando, Fla., features a portrayal of the crucifixion by actors six days a week, along with Jesus' resurrection and gospel concerts. The Holy Land Experience opened in 2001, but the nonprofit park struggled with debt before it was taken over by Trinity Broadcasting Network in 2007. [Source: Dylan T. Lovan, Associated Press, August 17, 2011 /=\]

“Other replicas of Noah's famous ship have been built around the world. A huge fiberglass ark sits at the center of a Hong Kong Noah's Ark attraction, and another floating ark in the Netherlands is being built by a Dutch man, who wants to sail it to London for the 2012 Olympic games. Closer to home, a church in Frostburg, Md., is building a to-scale ark supported by a steel frame. /=\

“But attractions with religious themes can be a risky venture, according to an amusement park expert. "In some ways it's a two-edged sword: If you go for the religious market, you already have something that is somewhat unique in the market, and that particular market is known to be willing to make a special effort, to drive an extra distance, to get the church groups to go out and make a special outing," said John Gerner, managing director of Leisure Business Advisors of Richmond, Virginia. "The problem with that approach is you always risk bordering on being disrespectful if not sacrilegious," Gerner said. "There is a line as far as what you can do in this approach."

Noah the No. 1 U.S. Baby Name in 2013

in 2013, Noah beat out Jacob and became the most popular U.S. baby name for boys in 2013, ending Jacob’s 14-year run at the top. Sophia was the most popular baby name for girls for the third straight year. The Social Security Administration announced the most popular baby names Friday. Noah was followed by Liam, Jacob, Mason and William. Sophia was followed by Emma, Olivia, Isabella and Ava. [Source: Associated Press, May 10, 2014 =/=]

Associated Press reported: “The rise of Noah and Liam highlights a trend toward more smooth-sounding baby names, said Laura Wattenberg, creator of Babynamewizard.com. “You compare Jacob with all its hard, punchy consonants, versus Noah and Liam, you can really see where style is heading,” Wattenberg said. She also noted that the most popular baby names aren’t nearly as popular as they used to be. For example, a little more than 18,000 babies born last year were named Noah. In 1950, when James was No. 1, there were more than 86,000 newborns with that name.=/=

“Jacob first rose to No. 1 in 1999. In the 45 years before that, Michael was king for all but one. The Social Security Administration’s website provides lists of the top 1,000 baby names for each year, dating to 1880. The top baby names that year were John and Mary. John is now No. 27 and Mary has fallen to No. 121. Social Security also charts the fastest-rising names each year. These names may not be in the top 10 or even the top 100, but they moved up more spots than any other. For boys, the fastest rising name was Jayceon, which jumped 845 spots, to No. 206. Two hip-hop artists are named Jayceon. One simply goes by the name Jayceon. The other, Jayceon Terrell Taylor, is a rapper who goes by the stage name The Game.” =/=

Noah, the Film


Noah is a 2014 American epic biblical drama film directed by Darren Aronofsky and inspired by the Biblical story of Noah's Ark from the Book of The film, which was co-written by Aronofsky and Ari Handel, stars Russell Crowe as Noah, along with Jennifer Connelly, Emma Watson, Ray Winstone, Logan Lerman, Douglas Booth, and Anthony Hopkins. The film was released in North American theaters on March 28, 2014, in 2D and IMAX, while a version of the film converted to 3D and IMAX 3D was released in several other countries. [Source: Wikipedia +]

“Noah received generally positive reviews from critics and grossed over $362 million worldwide, making it Aronofsky's highest-grossing film to date. It was praised for its direction and performances, but generated controversy and was banned in several Muslim countries because it was seen as contradicting the teachings of Islam. +

Matt Zoller Seitz wrote in rogerebert.com: “"Noah" is a bizarre movie. It's a modern blockbuster, chock full of the visual and aural and narrative tics we expect from modern blockbusters: flash-cut nightmares and hallucinations, prophecies and old wise men, predictions of apocalypse and a savior's rise, computer-generated monsters with galumphing feet and deep voices, brawny men punching and stabbing each other, and crowd scenes and floods and circling aerial views of enormous structures being built, scored to tom-toms and men chanting and women wailing. But wait: this is not the latest Marvel Comics epic. Nor is it a standard-issue messianic sci-fi film along the lines of "Star Wars" or "The Matrix." "Noah" is more of a surrealist nightmare disaster picture fused to a parable of human greed and compassion, all based on the bestselling book of all time, the Bible, mainly the Book of Genesis. More specifically, "Noah" is writer-director Darren Aronofksy's interpretation of the story of Noah and the flood. He's made a few changes. [Source: Matt Zoller Seitz, rogerebert.com, March 28, 2014 *^*]

“Okay, more than a few. Way more. This is the Book of Genesis after a page one rewrite. Among other things, Aronofsky has stirred in ideas from earlier film versions of Noah's story, plus bits from other religions and mythologies, including the Kabbalah, pre-Christian paganism and, it would appear, J.R.R. Tolkien and "The Neverending Story." And he's worked in what comic books or long-form TV watchers would term "callbacks" to earlier parts of the Old Testament, including the slaying of Abel by his brother Cain, the death of Noah's father Lamech, and Adam and Eve's ejection from the Garden of Eden. The film's most visually inventive sequence is an ellipsis in the main narrative: a self-contained, time lapse retelling of the birth of the universe—essentially a Big Bang story that could be dropped right into either version of the great science show "Cosmos." And of course, the international cast speaks with English accents, or tries to, English accents being Hollywood's way of conveying "foreignness" or "antiquity" without making ticket buyers read subtitles. All the actors have elegantly sculpted eyebrows and gorgeous hair, particularly Russell Crowe's Noah, who in one scene sports a teased-up 'do that makes him look like a beefy version of Christopher Walken in "The King of New York." *^*

'Noah' Banned in Several Arab Countries

The film “Noah” was banned in several Muslim countries for being disrespectful and contradicting the teachings of Islam. Noah Browning of Reuters wrote: “Three Arab countries have banned the Hollywood film “Noah” on religious grounds even before its worldwide premiere and several others are expected to follow suit, a representative of Paramount Pictures told Reuters. Islam frowns upon representing holy figures in art and depictions of the Prophet Mohammad. “Censors for Qatar, Bahrain and the UAE (United Arab Emirates) officially confirmed this week that the film will not release in their countries.,” a representative of Paramount Pictures told Reuters. “The official statement they offered in confirming this news is because ‘it contradicts the teachings of Islam’,” the representative said, adding the studio expected a similar ban in Egypt, Jordan and Kuwait. [Source: Noah Browning, Reuters, March 8, 2014 ^^^]

“Cairo’s Al-Azhar, the highest authority of Sunni Islam and a main center of Islamic teaching for over a millennium, issued a fatwa, or religious injunction, against the film. “Al-Azhar ... renews its objection to any act depicting the messengers and prophets of God and the companions of the Prophet (Mohammad), peace be upon him,” it announced in a statement. They “provoke the feelings of believers ... and are forbidden in Islam and a clear violation of Islamic law,” the fatwa added. ^^^

“Mel Gibson’s 2004 film “The Passion of the Christ” on Jesus’s crucifixion was widely screened in the Arab World, despite a flurry of objections by Muslim clerics. A 2012 Arab miniseries “Omar” on the exploits of a seventh century Muslim ruler and companion of the Prophet Mohammad also managed to defy clerics’ objections and air on a Gulf-based satellite television channel. Jerry A. Johnson, president of a conservative National Religious Broadcasters (NRB) group, said he wanted to “make sure everyone who sees this impactful film knows this is an imaginative interpretation of Scripture, and not literal.” Paramount responded by agreeing to issue a disclaimer on advertising for the film.

Image Sources: Wikimedia, Commons, Schnorr von Carolsfeld Bible in Bildern, 1860

Text Sources: Internet Jewish History Sourcebook sourcebooks.fordham.edu “World Religions” edited by Geoffrey Parrinder (Facts on File Publications, New York); “ Encyclopedia of the World’s Religions” edited by R.C. Zaehner (Barnes & Noble Books, 1959); “Old Testament Life and Literature” by Gerald A. Larue, King James Version of the Bible, gutenberg.org, New International Version (NIV) of The Bible, biblegateway.com Complete Works of Josephus at Christian Classics Ethereal Library (CCEL), translated by William Whiston, ccel.org , Metropolitan Museum of Art metmuseum.org “Encyclopedia of the World Cultures” edited by David Levinson (G.K. Hall & Company, New York, 1994); National Geographic, BBC, New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, Smithsonian magazine, Times of London, The New Yorker, Time, Newsweek, Reuters, AP, AFP, Lonely Planet Guides, Compton’s Encyclopedia and various books and other publications.

Last updated September 2018


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