The Ark Before Noah: Decoding the Story of the Flood

The Ark Before Noah: Decoding the Story of the Flood By Irving Finkel, The Ark Before Noah Decoding the Story of the Flood The recent translation of a Babylonian tablet launches a groundbreaking investigation into one of the most famous stories in the world challenging the way we look at ancient history Since the Victori
  • Title: The Ark Before Noah: Decoding the Story of the Flood
  • Author: Irving Finkel
  • ISBN: 9780385537117
  • Page: 388
  • Format: Hardcover
  • The Ark Before Noah: Decoding the Story of the Flood By Irving Finkel, The recent translation of a Babylonian tablet launches a groundbreaking investigation into one of the most famous stories in the world, challenging the way we look at ancient history Since the Victorian period, it has been understood that the story of Noah, iconic in the Book of Genesis, and a central motif in Judaism, Christianity and Islam, derives from a much older sThe recent translation of a Babylonian tablet launches a groundbreaking investigation into one of the most famous stories in the world, challenging the way we look at ancient history Since the Victorian period, it has been understood that the story of Noah, iconic in the Book of Genesis, and a central motif in Judaism, Christianity and Islam, derives from a much older story that existed centuries before in ancient Babylon But the relationship between the Babylonian and biblical traditions was shrouded in mystery Then, in 2009, Irving Finkel, a curator at the British Museum and a world authority on ancient Mesopotamia, found himself playing detective when a member of the public arrived at the museum with an intriguing cuneiform tablet from a family collection Not only did the tablet reveal a new version of the Babylonian Flood Story the ancient poet described the size and completely unexpected shape of the ark, and gave detailed boat building specifications Decoding this ancient message wedge by cuneiform wedge, Dr Finkel discovered where the Babylonians believed the ark came to rest and developed a new explanation of how the old story ultimately found its way into the Bible In The Ark Before Noah, Dr Finkel takes us on an adventurous voyage of discovery, opening the door to an enthralling world of ancient voices and new meanings.
    The Ark Before Noah: Decoding the Story of the Flood By Irving Finkel,
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      Irving Finkel

    About "Irving Finkel"

    1. Irving Finkel

      Irving L Finkel born 1951 is a British archaeologist and Assyriologist.The British Museum Dr Finkel is the curator in charge of cuneiform inscriptions on tablets of clay from ancient Mesopotamia, of which the Middle East Department has the largest collection some 130,000 pieces of any modern museum This work involves reading and translating all sorts of inscriptions, sometimes working on ancient archives to identify manuscripts that belong together, or even join to one another.

    695 thoughts on “The Ark Before Noah: Decoding the Story of the Flood”

    1. This book provides information about the history of ancient Mesopotamian writing and the art of reading cuneiform texts than the average reader probably cares to learn The author at one point claims that after 30 years of studying cuneiform texts he believes that he has a feel for the personalities of the ancient writers and the nature of their culture After finishing this book I m inclined to agree at least I doubt there many are people who are familiar with cuneiform An extra bonus is that t [...]


    2. This is one of THOSE books You knowe type with the big time expert author and the complex and abstruse subject and the 600 pages This is a doorstop of a book It made my wrists ache to hold it up to read So why did I give it five stars Well, as I have repeatedly stated in reviews and comments on this site, I m all about the story So this is one of the oldest, most beloved, most often told stories in the history of mankind It s The Flood, people, the BIG flood it s the huge boat and the harassed h [...]


    3. I absolutely ADORED this book Not only did I learn an incredible amount, but the author is a quintessentially British academic and that makes him adorable At least, to me I dig that sort of thing Page after page is injected with both hard facts, historic discovery, and the dry humor that you either get and love or you don t This is a book written by a man that deciphered one of the important tablets that show how much the traditional myth story of Noah s flood was just a copy paste job from an [...]


    4. Before 1872 everyone believed that the story of Noah and the Ark was unique to the Bible, a distinctive part of the story of the Jewish nation That assumption crumbled one day when an assistant in the British Museum discovered a Babylonian version of the story from the city of Nineveh written on a clay tablet in wedge shaped cuneiform, a full one thousand years older than the Bible version It contained all the elements of the Genesis story displeased by humans, the gods decide to drown everyone, [...]


    5. It is delightful and fascinating to watch Finkel explain how he does textual criticism of Akkadian and Sunerian cuneiform tablets, and see how the details of the different versions of the flood story help unlock further lines that have been misunderstood or lost to damage He warms to his task, providing helpful illustrations and diagrams along the way I found myself thoroughly convinced of all his reconstruction and correction of the Akkadian philology in Gilgamesh and Atrahasis, and admiring th [...]


    6. I had to question whether this book was another to capitalise on Russell Crowe s new movie Noah, or whether it was a genuine academic text.While there will be some cross promotion with the movie, it does not take long to determine that The Ark before Noah is a purely academic text To call it dry would be a complement.It is in fact an investigation into the ark and specifically an ancient clay tablet, called cuneiform The book centres on the tablet and how it provides a new interpretation of the [...]


    7. Finkel brings something as dry as ancient history and cuneiform and brings it to life It is wonderful to read a book in which the author actually did his own research and is an authority on the subject he presents He doesn t actually rub it in your face in the book either Rather, he reveals his passion in some of the stories he tells about his life s work This is by no means a light read, but I enjoyed it I may not agree with all of his conclusions, but it is still worth 5 stars.


    8. view spoiler Bettie s BooksThe rating, any status updates, and those bookshelves, indicate my feelings for this book hide spoiler


    9. Review The Ark before Noah Decoding the Story of the Flood by Irving Finkle The Flood story, absent Noah, is rather widespread in ancient civilizations There are remnants of two versions of the Flood story in the book of Genesis I challenge readers to review the Flood accounts in Genesis and to write down a summary of what they read It has been clear to me for decades, and to scholars for centuries, that the Flood stories in Genesis are derivative That is why I read this book To his credit, Fink [...]


    10. I downloaded The Ark Before Noah from Audible in a version which is read by the author, Dr Irving Finkel For the first few minutes, I found his unpolished narrating style awkward to listen to and wondered if I had made a mistake However, once his wonderful enthusiasm began to shine through, I was hooked Finkel discusses his academic life, British Museum career and fabulous fairly recent discovery of an ancient clay tablet containing details concerning the story of the ark and the flood He also i [...]


    11. While the first third of The Ark Before Noah can be somewhat dry, especially to the casual reader, Finkel sets the foundation of assyriology and cuneiform writing and an over view of the writing system and a brief history of the cultures that produced it This is necessary for the remainder of the book relies on at least a basic understanding of cuneiform texts and the myths they record Once this preliminary matter is dispensed with, Finkel clearly and entertainingly explains the Mesopotamian flo [...]


    12. We have known for over a hundred years that Biblical account of Noah s flood derived from a Mesopotamian legends Anyone who has read the Epic of Gilgamesh has noted the parallels But apparently even the Gilgamesh tale is a late rendition of the legend Finkel s book is a marvelous explication of that legend based on various cuneiform tablets To read The Ark Before Noah is a bit of an undertaking It is part memoir, part academic text and part detective story It is alternately fascinating and extre [...]


    13. too many wild speculations, but an enjoyable readjor plus for the anecdote about Smith trying to undress himself from excitement having first deciphered the flood tablet.


    14. I enjoy works by practitioners of their craft over journalistic accounts of those crafts and the practioners discoveries I suppose most practitioners too eccentric to be good writers, but Irving Finkel does a decent job he apparently moonlights as a fiction author He s a committed philologist and Assyriologist living his childhood dream of working in the British Museum and is one of the world s foremost experts on Akkadian Sumerian Babylonian cuneiform I listened to Gerald Davis new translation [...]


    15. I have SUCH conflicted feelings about this book The contents are fascinating, and continue my growing interest in the ancient Near East Finkel provides a wonderful introduction to Assyriology itself, Akkadian and Sumerian cuneiform, Babylonian mathematics, ancient and modern boat building practices, the workings of the British Museum s cuneiform collection and many other topics The author s voice really comes across well, he seems like a fascinating individual with so much knowledge to share BUT [...]


    16. Wow, this was a lot to unpack I m quite the Arkphile, if you pardon the word, since I grew up A local author had journeyed to Turkey searching for the Ark and written a book on it So, I came to this early and have been highly interested my whole life If an expedition looked for a sherpa to help them I would be there in a heartbeat no matter my career.Irving Finkel at the British Museum has made a study of cuneiform texts and found some stories of round boats, which fits the boat usage of the loc [...]


    17. A good enough book about Mesopotamian flood myths and their relationship to the biblical Noah story Unless you re a budding or trained Assyriologist, the book probably tells you than you ever wanted to know about the flood myth tablets their history, language, interpretation, inter relatedness, etc For a book intended for a popular audience, the text gets quite dense and detailed, though the author lets his sense of humor come through in occasional jokes Finkel clearly loves the subject and his [...]


    18. I bought this book because I could not answer my 7 years old son if the Noahs Ark is a really story or fictional History with actual dates, place, beginning of event is not clearly written neither in Quran nor other old books stated firmly about the facts Prof Ussher of Trinity College in the 17th century calculated that the flood had taken place in 2349 BC near to the slopes of Mount Ararat I enjoyed reading Dr Irving Finkel investigations on Babylon Story of Floods cuneiforms It is well writte [...]


    19. Interesting book, a bit too long though You have to be a keen Assyriologist amateur to enjoy the extended sections on cuneiform and Mesopotamian languages they are too descriptive and boring On the other hand, the analysis on the origins of the Bible stories Genesis, Moises and, obviously, the Ark is fascinating and well accomplished In conclusion, if the book were written in a third of pages it would have been very entertaining.


    20. What a superb piece of scholarship Extraordinarily deep research, clearly laid out, evidence detailed.But from my side, just too much I am not That interested in the topic, so gave up about third way in.Nevertheless I d recommend it maybe you ll find it pulls you in.


    21. The author is adorably excited and his enthusiasm is infectious I think some of the conclusions have a very thin foundation he admits this Overall, really interesting.


    22. Written by an enthusiastic specialist who tells the story of his translation of a cunieform tablet acquired by the British Museum that provides detailed instructions on how to build an Ark which he calls the Ark Tablet.The book teases out as much as possible from this 60 line tablet and in the process you learn much I had previously read the Bible Ark story and I had also read Gilgamesh, but had not particularly focused on the Ark story in it What this book succeeds in doing is looking at the va [...]


    23. Some interesting information, but not the most compelling on some levels.The book can really be divided in two the first part is a highly technical primer on Assyriology and an introduction to cuneiform languages, the second part gets to the Flood story.Within the second part, Finkel assumes that the entirety of the Hebrew Bible Old Testament was written during the Babylonian exile, and he therefore asserts that the parallels from Mesopotamia are at least a millennium older While his explanation [...]


    24. 5 stars for interest a scholarly but readable reconstruction of pre Biblical flood legends Yes, please , but 3 for execution I admit a fair amount of skimming when the author went into the weeds over minutiae I guess I m not quite as interested in arcane details of Sumerian and Babylonian cuneiform tablet reconstruction and textual comparison as I thought I was, go figure That was to be expected though, given the author, Irving Finkel, is a highly respected Assryologist and cunieformist at the B [...]


    25. From the moment I saw the title i had to open and read it I ve grown up reading the Noah s Ark stories and even watched the many versions in movies For me, it wasn t for any study purposes I read it with the hope that there was a real story behind I ve been taught as a young en.No spoilers just my personal opinion I normally read historical fiction and get a feel about life in the eyes of misunderstood individuals What caught my eye with this book The fact it s a Noah s Ark story right from the [...]


    26. In the end, I found this to be an enormously useful book in providing a background for the origins of the flood story I also learned quite a bit about cuneiform and the advent of writing in Mesopotamia For me, however, the explanation of decoding the cuneiform tablets was too technical Finkel s conclusions are interesting but very speculative I would have liked for him to incorporate corroborative evidence for some of his views He posits, for example, that the story of Noah was composed during [...]


    27. I really enjoyed listening to this book on audio The author is was an Assyrialogist at the British museum and the book is about a newly somewhat discovered piece of pottery with the ark story in cuneiform The book is about cuneiform, ancient near east flood myths including the Biblical story of Noah , and theories about how they all relate Overall, it s a good book, although I don t agree with his conclusion of the relationship of the Noah story to the Babylonian story But, you ll have to read l [...]


    28. The Ark Before Noah by Irving Finkel is a scientific piece about deciphering cuneiform writing on ancient clay tablets from Mesopotamia, encompassing the Sumerians, Babylonians and the Assyrians The book focuses particularly on a tablet that contains the story of Noah and the Ark The author gives an explanation and short lesson about cuneiform writing and then expounds on the comparisons of the stories of Noah from several sources including Genesis from the Bible I found it interesting although [...]


    29. The discovery of a flood story remarkably like the bible was found early in the 1870s in the story of Astrahassis a Sumerian epic in Cuneiform It pre dates the biblical account and most likely is the source for the Noah story The story is also retold in the epic of Gilgamesh where the lead character is Utnapishtim The flood story seems to be a tale that was going around the middle east at the dawn of civilization The book covers this bit of ancient mythology in great depth I have a passing inter [...]


    30. I loved this book I find the enthusiasm of the author contagious I disagree with the reviews that state that this is not a book for the layman and that the chapters about his academic history are irrelevant It is of journey of exploration of the cultures that shared the mythology of the flood that one takes with the author We experience what he experienced For example I thought the tale of how they found the board game on the base of the statues in the museum and the description of how he imagin [...]


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