The Ark Before Noah

You might remember this story from back in January of this year about the discovery of a Babylonian clay tablet which had the oldest known story of the Flood myth.] I’ve been listening to Finkel’s book, The Ark Before Noah] and am almost done with it. I have to say that it is not for the fainthearted. It is, essentially, a college course on the subject.
Finkel first saw the tablet when a gentleman brought it into the British Museum on one of their “Ask an Expert” days. When Finkel read the opening lines, he looked up at the gentleman and told him (basically), “This is perhaps the most important tablet I’ve ever seen, and it looks to be the oldest version of the Flood myth to ever be discovered.” The owner of the tablet said (basically), “Oh, how fascinating.” and proceeded to rebox it and left the museum with it. That was in 1985. Finkel, to his credit, kept after the owner to let him see it again, and managed to convince him in 2009.
The tablet dates from roughly 2000 BC, but Finkel suspects that the story is probably from around 3000 BC, and is only 60 lines. (Why 60 lines? Because the number 60 was sacred to the Babylonians, that’s why.) Finkel’s book, after discussing how he found the tablet, moves on to his educational background (he had to learn German and French, because when he was in college there were no dictionaries written for English speakers), a history of the region, and details of the various languages which used cuneiform. It is entertaining, but dense. Finkel goes into a lot of detail about the ancient world, which is good, as you’ll need the information later on.
He then goes over the various Flood myths from that part of the world, and illustrates quite deftly how they can trace their origins to the tablet which he first saw back in '85 (and calls “The Ark Tablet”). And he also shows how the most likely site that it would have been claimed for the ark to have touched down would have been in the Zagros mountains in modern day Iraq/Iran (though there is another possibility as well).
I will say that the audiobook version is great, because its read by Finkel himself, along with Gareth Armstrong. Finkel reads the bulk of the text, with Armstrong handling the quotations from ancient documents. This makes it easy to power through the spots where it gets a little tough, but doesn’t help you figure out how some of the words are spelled. I would recommend that no matter what your level of interest you start with the audiobook, and then shift to either an ebook or dead tree edition if you’re really fascinated by the subject. I don’t blame Finkel for any lags in the work, as there’s really no way to accurately discuss the subject matter unless you’re certain your audience has the appropriate background info, and Finkel does make it interesting.
Finkel’s a fan of board games] and at one point in The Ark Before Noah describes how he discovered the rules for the Royal Game of Ur, and that because of this, one of his coworkers realized that the scratches on a statue which had been in the museum since the 1800s was a game board for the Royal Game of Ur. (And yes, this does have bearing on the subject of the Flood, but you’ll have to read Finkel to find out how.)

sorry about that :red:

Thanks CT; I’m adding it to my reading list. Sounds like a good read for my European History class as well. I read an impressive review of the book just after you posted the info. It’s an Ebook so it’s easy to buy.
Cap’t Jack

Thanks for the tip, CT. I downloaded the book to my iPhone.

The way CT was talking you’ll probably go through 2-3 phones before you finish reading that.

I’m planning to get an iPhone 6 next month when the contract on my iPhone 5 expires. The 16GB storage is getting cramped, my Phone 5 has a crack in the screen from a drop, and I left my iPad on my real estate agents car roof in June. Need a bigger screen and more storage for books and music. Can’t wait to read this one, just as soon as i finish Vic Stenger’s God and the Folly of Faith.

I managed to finish it fairly quickly, and it was a good listen, I hope those of you who’ve gotten it enjoy the book. The documentary about the book just recently aired, it seems. (Those in the UK or who have access to a VPN service can watch it here on BBC 4’s website.]) It doesn’t appear to be available for us 'Merkins to watch, but I did find the trailer for it on YouTube.] Its worth a watch because not only do you get to see the tablet and the methods used to study it, but you get shots of them building the replica of the ark as described in the tablet.