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Ancient tablet reveals new details about Noah


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#1    docyabut2

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Posted 25 January 2014 - 04:57 AM

A recently deciphered 4,000-year-old clay tablet from ancient Mesopotamia -- modern-day Iraq -- reveals striking new details about the roots of the Old Testament tale of Noah. It tells a similar story, complete with detailed instructions for building a giant round vessel known as a coracle -- as well as the key instruction that animals should enter "two by two."
The tablet went on display at the British Museum on Friday, and soon engineers will follow the ancient instructions to see whether the vessel could actually have sailed.



http://www.foxnews.c...-ark-prototype/


#2    kmt_sesh

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Posted 25 January 2014 - 05:36 AM

It's unfortunate the article doesn't say in which language the cuneiform was written, but if the date of 4,000 years old is correct (I'm not convinced it is), then it's probably either in Akkadian or in Sumerian recorded by an Akkadian scribe. The story itself is no longer groundbreaking. It's the tale of Utnapishtim, the man given immortality by the gods after surviving a world-wide flood. It was later folded into the Gilgamesh epic.

One can only imaging how shocked the original nineteenth century translators were when they first came upon this ancient tale—a tale considerably older than the Hebraic fable of Noah. That the Noah story was adapted from the Utnapishtim story is practically inescapable. Interesting, however, is the detail that Utnapishtim's boat was round. I've read a number of translations of the Gilgamesh epic and it's the first time I've come across that detail, which is what makes the find interesting.

Man, I wish I could go to the British Museum.

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#3    questionmark

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Posted 25 January 2014 - 10:41 AM

I was about to post something right along the lines of kmt, but given that he did it quite eloquently the only think left to say is: This is "news" to Fox (and probably most of its avid watchers) but certainly not for archeology or for Sumerian literature.

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#4    Frank Merton

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Posted 25 January 2014 - 11:34 AM

I prefer the Disney Fantasia version of it where Donald Duck thinks he's lost Daisy.

Doesn't the New Testament refer to the global Flood as literal fact and somewhere?


#5    Harte

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Posted 25 January 2014 - 01:40 PM

View Postkmt_sesh, on 25 January 2014 - 05:36 AM, said:

It's unfortunate the article doesn't say in which language the cuneiform was written, but if the date of 4,000 years old is correct (I'm not convinced it is), then it's probably either in Akkadian or in Sumerian recorded by an Akkadian scribe. The story itself is no longer groundbreaking. It's the tale of Utnapishtim, the man given immortality by the gods after surviving a world-wide flood. It was later folded into the Gilgamesh epic.

Quote

The tablet was written during the Old Babylonian period, broadly 1900–1700BC. The document was not dated by the scribe, but from the shape and appearance of the tablet itself, the character and composition of the cuneiform and the grammatical forms and usages, we can be sure that this is the period in which it was written. It was composed in Semitic Babylonian (Akkadian) in a literary style. The hand is neat and that of a fully trained cuneiform scribe. The text has been written out very ably without error and for a specific purpose; it is certainly not a school practice tablet from a beginner, or anything of that kind. It measures 11.5cm by 6cm and contains exactly 60 lines.

View Postkmt_sesh, on 25 January 2014 - 05:36 AM, said:

One can only imaging how shocked the original nineteenth century translators were when they first came upon this ancient tale—a tale considerably older than the Hebraic fable of Noah.

It was George Smith that first translated the story from cuneiform:

Quote

“Smith took the tablet and began to read over the lines which… had [been] brought to light; and when he saw that they contained the portion of the legend he had hoped to find there, he said, 'I am the first man to read that after more than two thousand years of oblivion.’
“Setting the tablet on the table, he jumped up and rushed about the room in a great state of excitement, and, to the astonishment of those present, began to undress himself!”

Smith’s dramatic reaction achieved mythological status, to the point that all subsequent Assyriologists keep the tactic in reserve just in case they too find something spectacular.
So, people interested in Ancient Mesopotamia are actually waiting for an Assyriologist to perform a striptease.
Hope there's a pole!

View Postkmt_sesh, on 25 January 2014 - 05:36 AM, said:

That the Noah story was adapted from the Utnapishtim story is practically inescapable. Interesting, however, is the detail that Utnapishtim's boat was round. I've read a number of translations of the Gilgamesh epic and it's the first time I've come across that detail, which is what makes the find interesting.
This is Atra-Hasis.

Quote

The most remarkable feature provided by the Ark Tablet is that the lifeboat built by Atra-hasıs – the Noah-like hero who receives his instructions from the god Enki – was definitely, unambiguously round. “Draw out the boat that you will make,” he is instructed, “on a circular plan.”
Read the entire engaging article I got these quotes from.

View Postquestionmark, on 25 January 2014 - 10:41 AM, said:

I was about to post something right along the lines of kmt, but given that he did it quite eloquently the only think left to say is: This is "news" to Fox (and probably most of its avid watchers) but certainly not for archeology or for Sumerian literature.
Fox basically just repeated the AP story, regarding content.  Probably with a little more flair.

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#6    PersonFromPorlock

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Posted 25 January 2014 - 10:46 PM

When you think about it, a circular ark makes sense: the most deck space for the least amount of material, and since it doesn't have to navigate in any particular direction, there's no downside to not having a front. I don't believe the Flood legend, but it's an interesting detail.


#7    kmt_sesh

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Posted 26 January 2014 - 04:19 AM

View PostHarte, on 25 January 2014 - 01:40 PM, said:

It was George Smith that first translated the story from cuneiform:

So, people interested in Ancient Mesopotamia are actually waiting for an Assyriologist to perform a striptease.
Hope there's a pole!


This is Atra-Hasis.

Read the entire engaging article I got these quotes from.


Fox basically just repeated the AP story, regarding content.  Probably with a little more flair.

Harte

Excellent post, Harte. I've met some of the Assyriologists at the Oriental Institute but will have to pay closer attention to them, just in case they make a dazzling discovery and break out that pole.

Utnapishtim and Atrahasis are the same person but go by different names according to culture and period. Ziusudra is yet another name for this figure. I can't remember for sure but I think Atrahasis was the original version, and was a mytho-historical Sumerian king.

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#8    kmt_sesh

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Posted 26 January 2014 - 04:23 AM

View PostFrank Merton, on 25 January 2014 - 11:34 AM, said:

I prefer the Disney Fantasia version of it where Donald Duck thinks he's lost Daisy.

Doesn't the New Testament refer to the global Flood as literal fact and somewhere?

I'm better versed in the Old Testament but I recall that Jesus talks about the flood in the gospel of Matthew. It's probably mentioned elsewhere in the New Testament, too. That's not surprising. The New Testament makes many references to the Old Testament, especially in so far as Jesus' fulfilling of prophecy is concerned. And to be frank, the books of the Old Testament were already taken as literal history before Jesus' day, so there's no reason to doubt Jews of the early centuries CE believed it to be true. Fundamentalists still do today,

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#9    laver

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Posted 27 January 2014 - 02:40 AM

Surely a round 'ark' would be much more difficult to build if of plank and frame construction - all the frames would have to be from a central point
not along a keelson which would be a much stronger and easier method of construction. This is particularly relevant with its intended cargo - all the
survivors of all the species on Earth  -  limited to 2 per of course.

It might therefore be wise to consider this reference to the a 'round' ark in the myths as more symbolic of the circle, a symbol of the completion of a cycle,
and a shape obviously considered very important to early cultures of the world.

A round ark might also have a tendency to spin with the actions of wind and waves which would be rather alarming for its live cargo......!


#10    kmt_sesh

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Posted 27 January 2014 - 03:30 AM

View Postlaver, on 27 January 2014 - 02:40 AM, said:

Surely a round 'ark' would be much more difficult to build if of plank and frame construction - all the frames would have to be from a central point
not along a keelson which would be a much stronger and easier method of construction. This is particularly relevant with its intended cargo - all the
survivors of all the species on Earth  -  limited to 2 per of course.

It might therefore be wise to consider this reference to the a 'round' ark in the myths as more symbolic of the circle, a symbol of the completion of a cycle,
and a shape obviously considered very important to early cultures of the world.

A round ark might also have a tendency to spin with the actions of wind and waves which would be rather alarming for its live cargo......!

Circular boats are well attested in ancient Mesopotamia. They were certainly not large like a ship but were simple to make and use, especially for fishing and fowling. I remembered something about it from Herodotus and found this page, which should help clarify the issue.

That such a boat could not possibly serve the purpose for which Utnapishtim would need it is really beside the point. Don't use the logic and sensibilities of a modern person but think with an ancient mind: exactitude in details were not so important. It's the story that matters, and circular boats were familiar to anyone residing in Mesopotamia. As far as that goes, it would go against logic to believe that any sort of boat could hold two of every animal, nor is the collection of two of every animal realistic on the face of it. This was a fable.

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#11    aquatus1

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Posted 27 January 2014 - 03:35 AM

View Postkmt_sesh, on 25 January 2014 - 05:36 AM, said:

The story itself is no longer groundbreaking. It's the tale of Utnapishtim, the man given immortality by the gods after surviving a world-wide flood. It was later folded into the Gilgamesh epic.

And today I learned something new!  I always thought Gilgamesh was the original source.


#12    kmt_sesh

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Posted 27 January 2014 - 03:39 AM

View Postaquatus1, on 27 January 2014 - 03:35 AM, said:

And today I learned something new!  I always thought Gilgamesh was the original source.

You're not alone, aquatus1. I used to think the same until I started researching Mesopotamian civilizations. It's commonly believed. It's just amazing how ancient these stories are…and how fun they are to read right up to this day and age.

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#13    Macroramphosis

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Posted 27 January 2014 - 04:16 AM

It's not the quantities of creatures that fills me with disbelief, but the amount of feedstuff that would have been required that makes a mockery of the legend, unfortunately. A pair of elephants are going to consume 1000lbs of food between them daily, for starters. And we're talking about 110 days of this, of course, not the 40 days most people think is the float-time...

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#14    cormac mac airt

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Posted 27 January 2014 - 04:40 AM

View Postkmt_sesh, on 27 January 2014 - 03:30 AM, said:

Circular boats are well attested in ancient Mesopotamia. They were certainly not large like a ship but were simple to make and use, especially for fishing and fowling. I remembered something about it from Herodotus and found this page, which should help clarify the issue.

That such a boat could not possibly serve the purpose for which Utnapishtim would need it is really beside the point. Don't use the logic and sensibilities of a modern person but think with an ancient mind: exactitude in details were not so important. It's the story that matters, and circular boats were familiar to anyone residing in Mesopotamia. As far as that goes, it would go against logic to believe that any sort of boat could hold two of every animal, nor is the collection of two of every animal realistic on the face of it. This was a fable.

Even more so when one realizes that the claim is seven (7) pairs of 'clean' animals and two (2) pairs of unclean animals in the Biblical account.

cormac

Edited by cormac mac airt, 27 January 2014 - 04:41 AM.

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#15    Likely Guy

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Posted 27 January 2014 - 04:54 AM

"You're going to need a bigger boat." - Chief Brody.

Edited by Likely Guy, 27 January 2014 - 04:58 AM.





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