A civil debate forum for people of all persuasions (Atheists, Agnostics, Deists, Christians, and adherents of any religion)

Reply to topic
Post BBCode URL - Right click and save to clipboard to use later in post Post 1: Sun Apr 09, 2017 7:14 pm
Noah and the Flood

Like this post
There are over 300 flood epics, well written before the Noahnic epic. The Biblical flood is written about 1700 BCE or so, while the older Sumer flood is a Nippur cuneiform tablet that was found by Thorkild Jacobsen. Thorkild Jacobsen is also a historian on the Eridu Genesis.

The younger revised epic of Noah is interesting as the epic of Noah is a much younger epic than that of the Epic of Ziusudra, who is a pious man and is saved from a flood. We see this later on with Noah and his family. Cool fact about the time of Noah, the common method of making rafts was to inflate sheep bladders like balloons and lash those together. Planks of wood or more likely reed mats could be placed on top.

A little on the ark of Noah, we begin with a Bible verse

Genesis 6: 14-16

Make yourself an ark (tēvāh) of gopher wood [came the instruction]; make rooms
(qinnīm) in the ark, and cover it (kāpar) inside and out with pitch (kopher). This is how you are to make it: the length of the ark three hundred cubits, its width fifty cubits, and its height thirty cubits. Make a roof for the ark, and finish it to a cubit above; and put the door of the ark in its side; make it with lower, second, and third decks.

The biblical word tēvāh, which is used for the arks of Noah and Moses, occurs
nowhere else in the Hebrew Bible. The flood and baby episodes are thus deliberately associated and linked in Hebrew just as the Atrahasis and Sargon Arks are linked associatively in Babylonia.
Now for something extraordinary: no one knows what language tēvāh is or what it
means. The word for the wood, gopher, is likewise used nowhere else in the Hebrew Bible and no one knows what language or what kind of wood it is. This is a peculiar state of affairs for one of the most famous and influential paragraphs in all of the world’s writing

The associated words kopher, ‘bitumen’, and kāphar, ‘to smear on’, are also to be found nowhere else in the Hebrew Bible, but, significantly, they came from
Babylonia with the narrative itself, deriving from Akkadian kupru, ‘bitumen’, and kapāru, ‘to smear on’. In view of this it is logical to expect that tēvāh and gopher are similarly loanwords from Babylonian Akkadian into Hebrew, but there has been no convincing candidate for either word. Suggestions have been made for gopher-wood, but the identification, or the non-Hebrew word that lies behind it, remains open.

Ideas have also been put forward over the centuries concerning the word tēvāh, some linking it – because Moses was in Egypt – with the ancient Egyptian word thebet, meaning ‘box’ or ‘coffin’, but these have ended nowhere. The most likely explanation is that tēvāh, like other ark words, reflects a Babylonian word.

A cuneiform tablet dealing with boats from around 500 BC, now in the British
Museum, mentions a kind of boat called a ṭubbû which is found at a river crossing, apparently as part of a vessel swap among boatmen:

BM 32873: 2

… a boat (eleppu) which is six cubits wide at the beam, a ṭubbû which is at the
crossing, and a boat (eleppu) five and a half (cubits) wide at the beam which is at the bridge, they exchanged for (?) one boat which is five cubits wide at the beam.

The consonants t (in tēvāh) and ṭ (in ṭubbû) are distinct from one another, so it is impossible that ṭubbû, a masculine noun of unknown etymology, and tēvāh, a feminine noun of unknown etymology, represent the same word etymologically. I think that the Judaeans encountered the Akkadian boat word ṭubbû used for the Ark in the story along with the other Akkadian ark words and Hebraised it as tēvāh. In this case the original consonants are less important; the idea was to render the foreign word, for it was only to be used twice in the whole Bible, once for Noah, once for Moses. The relationship between the words is thus that they are neither cognate nor loaned: the Babylonian was given a Hebrew ‘shape’. It is much the same as the way in which Nebuchadnezzar’s eunuch Nabu-sharrussu-ukin became Nebusarsekim in the Book of Jeremiah. This would perforce mean that the word ṭubbû must have occurred in place of eleppu, ‘boat’, for Utnapishti’s Ark, in some first millennium BC Babylonian source for the Flood Story that we do not have now.

(Irving Finkel- The flood before Noah)

Goto top, bottom
View user's profile 
Post BBCode URL - Right click and save to clipboard to use later in post Post 2: Wed Apr 12, 2017 7:48 pm

Like this post
Moderator Action

Moved to Bible Study sub-forum. Please note that the "Christianity & Apologetics" sub-forum is for debate. As such a brief introduction should be given followed by a question or questions for debate. For bible discussions and debate see the "Theology, Doctrine & Dogma" sub-forum.


Moderator actions indicate that a thread/post has been locked, moved, merged, or split.

Goto top, bottom
View user's profile Visit poster's website 
Display posts from previous:   

Jump to:  


On The Web | Ecodia | Facebook | Twitter

Powered by phpBB © phpBB Group.   Produced by Ecodia.

Igloo   |  Lo-Fi Version