Noah’s Precursor

Irving Finkel in the New York Times and The Telegraph and also Jerry Coyne on his blog (reprinted in The New Republic) have noted the interesting story (mentioned here a while back) about a Mesopotamian version of the flood myth, another one that is much older than Genesis, featuring a coracle – i.e. a round boat. Click through any of the links above to read more details.

  • arcseconds

    I’ve just re-read the Atra-hasis myth in Stephanie Dalley’s translation, so this is in my head at the moment!

    Coyne asks what Biblical literalists will make of this. Can’t they just maintain that the Genesis account is the original one, it was preserved accurately by divine guidance, and the other accounts are garbled or have made-up details in them? They can either deny the mainstream dating of the works, or insist that although Genesis was written down later it’s still the one telling the truth.

    (Personally, I find it not so palatable reading about these sorts of things couched largely in terms of them making life difficult for literalists. Seems a very petty interest to take in such matters. This is plenty interesting in its own right! But since the question has been raised…)


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