Comprehensive coverage

Noah's flood - first chapter

From the book, The New Scientific Discoveries About an Event That Changed History by: William Ryan / Walter Pittman, Am Oved Publishing House, Afkim Meda Library, 2008

The cover of Noah's flood book - published by Am Oved
The cover of Noah's flood book - published by Am Oved

First chapter - deciphering the legend
"We don't have to try to create history from the words of a legend, but we must assume that beneath a lot of the artificial or the wonderful, something of the truth is hidden."
Ch. Leonard Woolley, 1934

One autumn day in 1835, the month in which Charles Darwin finished watching the Persians in the Galapagos Islands, Henry Creswick Rawlinson made a hasty mistake: at the top of a cliff in the Zagros Mountains in Persia, he placed a ladder between two rock lugs on his side, in order to step and cross a carved cornice, which he crossed by walking sideways from the danger.
When Rawlinson stepped on the bottom rung of the ladder and threaded his legs between the rungs, his weight broke the connections. And this is how Rawlinson himself described what happened: I had just begun to step along the bridging ladder, and the vertical pressure detached the steps from their mounts, and the lower pole, only one end of which was resting on the rock, separated from the upper pole and fell with a great noise into the abyss. I was left hanging by my hand on the top pole which still remained fixed in place."

The trend of Rawlinson's face was a vertical wall engraved with columns upon columns of inscriptions in an ancient language. Above the inscriptions rose a large sculpted relief that decorated this billboard, the oldest in the world - Sela Behistun. On the huge rock table a powerful king was shown, standing and judging nine forbidden captives in chains - the neck of the tenth victim was crushed under the king's foot. The conqueror's left hand was resting on the end of his bow, while his right arm was raised in a respectful salute to a winged deity. The oppressive shadows cast by the afternoon sun on the relief gave the image a crippled appearance.

Rawlinson hastened to pull himself, hand by hand, into the safe arms of startled friends, who were watching the drama unfold before their eyes. His mood returned to him and he breathed a sigh of relief that he was still alive and almost unscathed. Used the ladders on this cliff for months without a hitch. By now he had already managed to copy almost a third of the inscriptions, which covered about eighteen meters of the surface of the wall. His investigations on the side of this mountain demanded all his skill as an experienced climber.

Rawlinson arrived in Kermanshah (now a central city in western Iran) in March of that year as a military adviser to the shah's brother. He was an officer in the "East India Company", which he joined as a cadet at the age of seventeen. He was born in Oxfordshire, England in 1810, and spent his early childhood in boarding schools in Somerset. Then he won a scholarship to Ealing School on the outskirts of London. Having a natural attraction to linguistics, he immersed himself in Latin and Greek studies and read avidly the writings of Homer, Herodotus, Plato, Virgil and Pliny.

While the young Rawlinson was being introduced to the classics, an event occurred on the campus of Oxford University that determined the intellectual atmosphere in the natural sciences for the next half century. For many years it has been known that large areas of foundation rock in England and Scotland are scattered with disorderly clusters of sand, large rock blocks and boulder clay. The distinct irregularity and unbedded nature of those deposits apparently testified to a sudden deposit of soil from fast and strong currents.

In 1820, Reverend William Buckland, head and foremost of geologists in England at that time, gave a lecture on the occasion of his appointment as professor of mineralogy and geology at Oxford. The title of Buckland's lecture was "Explanation of the relationship between geology and religion", and in it he attributed all these unbedded deposits, scattered over large areas, to the complete devastation wrought by Noah's flood. Buckland believed with fervent conviction that his science should, no less and no more, "confirm the evidence of natural religion; And to show that the facts she developed are in line with the stories of creation and the flood written on the Torah of Moses."

Many of the most important geologists in England in the 20s and 30s, including Charles Lyell, considered it an honor to be counted among Buckland's students. Most of those who come to the Highlands to observe the wild bundle deposits, saw with their own eyes unequivocal evidence of the tremendous power of the flow of water that was able to carry and bring bundles and rock blocks from far away and rake marine shells into the interior of the continent, hundreds of meters above sea level. In the days when Rawlinson finished his studies at Ealing and went to serve in the East India Company, it was therefore a normal and acceptable thing for a naturalist and a biblical archaeologist to go out in search and find in the world the deeds of God and the plots of mankind from long ago, as they are described in the holy books.

During Rawlinson's journey on a sailing ship to India, a journey lasting four months, he became acquainted with the Governor of Bombay, and this instilled in him, in conversations around the dinner table, an enthusiasm to know the history of Persia, its ancient languages, its beliefs and its sacred writings. This is how Rawlinson learned first hand about the Indo-European enigma, presented forty years earlier in a famous lecture by an English jurist who served in Calcutta. Supreme Court Justice Sir William Jones told the people of the "Asiatic Society of Bengal" about what he had come up with in three years of in-depth study of ancient Hindu texts, legal and religious, written in archaic Sanskrit. The oldest of the stories - the Rig-Veda - dealt with heroic stories from ancient times of the people of the people who call themselves Orim. One of the epic legends tells of a great flood that afflicts the land and Darya, and only the man Manu was saved, who was warned by a fish that "a flood will wash away all creatures".6 The fish instructs him to build a ship that will carry him to the "Mountain of the North". In his studies of these writings, Jones insisted on clear connections between words and grammatical structures in Sanskrit and words and grammatical structures in Latin, Greek, Welsh, early German and Persian. From the overlap arose the possibility that these separate languages ​​grew from some common source that may no longer exist.

Rawlinson quickly grasped the implications of Jones's findings. In the prehistoric past there was a language spoken by people of an unknown people in an unknown homeland. At some time, also unknown, this language spread across Europe, Asia and India. Sanskrit and Persian are daughter languages ​​of this proto-language. Rawlinson was fascinated by the idea that he might discover the language of Japheth, Noah's son, and his descendants, who migrated from the land of Armenia, on one of whose peaks the ark landed. His heart was captivated and I followed the possibility that one day he would discover the path of the spread of all those languages. Therefore, Gemar says to learn Persian, Arabic and Hindi on Burin, while serving as an interpreter and guide for the XNUMXst Grenadier Battalion stationed in Bombay.

Later, the British spy was stationed in the city of Kermanshah as a military adviser to the brother of the Shah of Persia. There he took the opportunity and visited the impressive ruins of Persepolis, the royal city of the Achaemenid dynasty in Persia, whose events and plots were recounted by the first Greek historians Herodotus and Xenophon. Here Rawlinson first saw cuneiform writing. A few lines of this undeciphered script were printed on paper and sent to Europe seventy years earlier.

A few kilometers west of Kermanshah, on a river terrace near the confluence of the Kur and Polwar rivers, Rawlinson wandered fascinated among sword palaces of thin marble, many of whose columns still stand, though scarred by fire and looting. He looked at the megalithic tombs of the Achaemenid kings. To Rawlinson, who had not yet turned twenty-five, everything seemed pristine and wonderful. It is not because one of the tombs, he surmised in his mind, is the resting place of King Dervish I, "the Great", who seized power at the end of the sixth century BC after a steadfast struggle to suppress a court rebellion. Darvish skillfully and intelligently wrote a parable about a great empire many years before the reign of Alexander the Great. His rule extended over all the kingdoms of the Egyptians, Chaldeans, Ionians, Persians and Medes. The Persian Empire, prosperous in its economy and culture, extended to the Indus Valley in the east, to the interior of Europe in the west and to the interior of Africa in the south.

Not long after Rawlinson arrived in Kermansha, he convinced a Kurdish boy from the town to accompany him on a riding trip. The two rode Rawlinson's Arabian horse more than thirty kilometers to the foot of the Alband Mountains, and there the boy led his companion to a high and imposing cliff, a rock in Histon, which until then was unknown to the western world. The winding mountain pass they entered has served as a route for caravans and armies since the dawn of civilization. Rawlinson marveled at the vast extent of the texts engraved on the almost vertical wall, and wondered what and why they were engraved there. It was clear that these strange signs were intended to perpetuate for generation after generation the name and stories of the heroism of a ruler and a conqueror and the dynasty of his ancestors. Rawlinson's extensive knowledge of the stories of the Greek, Persian and Hindustani traditions will help him penetrate thousands of years of ghostly silence.

In the two years that followed, Rawlinson repeatedly returned to the rock in Histon, and each time continued the task of copying the inscriptions from the place where he had left off the previous time. He soon noticed that the inscriptions were trilingual, but he only recognized one of the writing styles, which he had seen earlier in the ruins of Persepolis. The other two (the Babylonian and the Elamite) were not known at all. Rawlinson first focused on the familiar script, which he believed was written in the Zend language, possibly the ancient Persian languages. He noticed the similarity and repetition of certain sets of signs. He remembered a passage from the letters of Herodotus, in which the mighty Ahasuerus declares and says:

I shall not be called the son of Darius, son of Hystaspes, son of Arsames, son of Oriramenes, son of Teispes, son of Cyrus, son of Cambyses, son of Teispes, son of Achaemenes, if I do not return the Athenians as their reward.

Rawlinson knew not only these names of the kings of Persia, but also their pronunciation in Sanskrit, the sounds and accents of which often differ from those of the Greek spoken in classical times. One by one he tried to match the names of the kings in their Persian pronunciation to the inscriptions next to and after the repeated groups of signs, looking for a phonetic match between identical glyphs. In painstaking work of copying and painstaking long hours on his notebook, at his desk in the residence of the British Legation in Kermanshah in 1836, Rawlinson decoded the immortal inscription whose message has sunk into the abyss of womanhood for ages and ages:

Thus said Darius the king: Enoch Darius, the great king, king of kings, king in Persia, king of lands, son of Hystaspes, grandson of Arsames, Achaemenid.

Rawlinson sent his decipherment to the Royal Asiatic Society in London, an achievement that earned him the privilege of firsts - the first researcher to crack the cuneiform script. In a few more months he translated most of the two hundred lines in Old Persian that he copied from a rock in Histon. The commandment of King Darius was indeed honored for fifty years.

Whoever among you passes this way in the days to come, his eyes will see this inscription and these human figures that I carved in the rock. Do not swallow and do not pollute! May you preserve them until the end of generations!

By corroborating the real places and people in Herodotus' history, Rawlinson added a new dimension to a treatise of stories which, according to the ancient Greek historian Thucydides, "mostly entered the realm of myth and there is no truth in them". For Herodotus, like the epic poet Homer, relied almost exclusively on oral tradition in the story of the heroic deeds of King Darius. Even if there were written records, Herodotus and his contemporaries did not have the linguistic skills to understand them.

From the moment he deciphered the ancient Persian cuneiform script, it was clear to Rawlinson that he had the ability to decipher and interpret even older inscriptions written in ancient languages. These stories, which are still hidden under the desert sands and have not yet been uncovered, could lead to the identification of lost cities and the stories of their legendary kings, the stories of which were only known in the stories of the Bible. Rolison's vision that their voice would be heard from the stone was fulfilled thirty-seven years later by his protégé, a man named George Smith.


In a cramped, unvented and windowless little room, above the office of the secretary of the Royal Asiatic Society in London, by the faint light of an oil lamp that flickered in the murky fog that seeped through the crevices, the man Smith sat almost motionless, with tireless concentration, examining the pottery fragments arranged on the table in front of him. The lighting did well to cast a soft shadow along each peg-like groove that was driven into them thousands of years ago.

Smith, who was Rawlinson's apprentice at the British Museum in London, taught himself how to reproduce the clay tablets on which Mesopotamian scribes, Aram Naharim, kept their records. In front of him lay pieces of their work, which had been dug up and taken out of the royal library in Nineveh. The script he examined was engraved at the time with a red reed on a rectangular slab of moist clay, the size of a small book. After the writing is completed, the board is dried in the sun. Unfortunately, the tablet was later shattered, perhaps from the heat of the fire that destroyed the palace of Nineveh, the last capital of the Assyrian Empire, and perhaps during the hasty archaeological excavation of the library, when Smith was still a child. His job was to piece together, from the vast inventory of broken material, the original whole. When its parts are joined, the word of the ancients will be fully revealed.

Smith put together a huge ensemble. He used not only the shapes of the pottery, according to which he matched corners and edges, but also the context of words or parts of sentences in order to see if there is a connection between them. Just like in assembling an attachment, where the pieces are first sorted by texture, color or the presence of a straight edge, so Smith first sorted the thousands of pots in the museum's collections based on a quick perusal of their subjects. Those that were seen as trade certificates were collected in one place, those that dealt with marriages and other legal contracts - in another place, and so on. On this damp autumn morning in 1872, his eyes were drawn to a collection of fragments that he wanted to translate more than anything - this one he called "mythological and mythic".

From the day he learned to read, Smith followed the Holy Scriptures. In religion classes he memorized and learned by heart the stories of the plots of the patriarchs Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and Joseph. During his teenage years, the discoveries of the lost cities of the biblical period were published in the headlines, especially Nimrod, aka the biblical Calah, and Nineveh, the great and last capital of the Assyrian Empire, for its wonderful sculptures and reliefs that describe the siege of Lachish in Judah, as mentioned in the book of XNUMX Kings. It never occurred to this gifted boy that one day he would challenge the teaching of the Anglican Church as to the divine origin of the Bible.

Smith is blessed with a natural talent for deciphering languages. The language of these tablets from ancient Nineveh was Akkadian, one of the Semitic languages. Smith used his knowledge of the Hebrew language to attach the signs of the Akkadian script, mainly phonetic, to words that had not been used in complete sentences for more than fifty years. He was convinced that when the tablets had their say, they would confirm the biblical version of the beginnings of heaven and earth.

That morning, in the light of the flickering lantern, the eager apprentice's eye was caught by the seductively shaped pottery. Due to its special configuration, he tried to insert it between two other fragments out of the six he arranged on his desk the previous day. Unfortunately, the shards were no longer as sharp as before. According to Smith's method of trial and error, the continuity of each line of the script had to be checked by combining the fragments he created. And so he described what happened next:

When I looked at the third column, my eyes fell on a statement that the ship rested on the mountains of Nisir, and after that came the story about the shipping of the dove, and how it did not find rest for its feet, and therefore returned.

Smith's astonishment grew, and he shouted to Rawlinson to hurry up and come share the excitement with him. The tiny cuneiform writing marks, no larger than the letters on this page, told Smith that he had accidentally found a tablet on which was engraved the familiar story of the great flood. According to one version of events today, Smith was delirious and burst into the hallway and began ripping his clothes off him in front of the amazed museum staff.

What seems to have moved Smith so much was the recognition that the fragments he had collected contained an independent version of the biblical flood story. The words of the idolaters told a story similar in almost every detail to the Hebrew story, including the divine intervention in choosing the survivor from the flood, the advance warning that left time to build a wooden ark, the shelter found in the ark by all the animals of all kinds, the landing of the ark on the side of a mountain, the sending of the dove, the swallow and the crow, The offering of the sacrifice and the oath that the gods will no longer return the universe to chaos.

In the weeks that followed, Smith found more parts of the tablet, and all the while he wondered how the story of the flood in the Bible, a book that is accepted to have been written by the hero, could be so similar to another, earlier story found in a foreign myth. Could it be that the Israelites borrowed a story from their books that they heard when they were in exile in Babylon? And maybe the real flood was such an important event in prehistory that its memory is preserved in oral tradition in many different cultures that are unrelated?

After Smith's mind rested that he had searched all the museum warehouses with sufficient diligence and therefore found all the parts of the tablet found in them, he prepared a translation as complete as possible. Three weeks before Christmas he presented his monumental find to "a large and distinguished crowd assembled in the halls of the Society for Biblical Archaeology." An announcement made in advance in the London newspapers caused excitement among the general public. Among those present were William Gladstone, Prime Minister of the British Empire, as well as the Dean of Westminster Church. The audience listened spellbound as Smith described his discovery.

Based on comparing his text, which was copied in the sixth or seventh century BC from an earlier source, with other inscriptions from the much earlier period of Sargon I, the founder of the First Akkadian Empire in the 23rd century BC, Smith determined that the original composition could not be later From the 17th century BC, and it is possible that it is much earlier. Then Smith outlined his translation, and the audience recognized its contents at once, except for characters with unfamiliar names, a storm that lasted only six days, and gods that were so emanating from the storm that they fled to Onu's sky and cowered there as docile as dogs. With the coming of the storm, those gods were devoured, now they were starving, and flew like flies on the offering offered by Uthanaphesthem, the man who was chosen to be saved from the waters of the flood. After the feast, one of the goddesses threw her string of good stones into the sky as a sign and a covenant that there would be no more flood on the earth forever and ever.

Smith's listeners were amazed by the direct literary parallel to the rainbow given in the sky by the Hebrew God Jehovah as a sign of his recognition of the sanctity of life. They also learned that the Akkadian myth even expanded the biblical version. It speaks there of a famine and pestilence that preceded the flood, means by which the gods tried to destroy, in vain, the human race. Smith's translation described another opening of a great gate, the sound of thunder and the granting of eternal life to the survivor and his wife after they settled in a remote place at the mouth of the rivers.

In order not to overshadow the report of young Smith's lecture in the newspapers, Rawlinson politely postponed for twenty-four hours the delivery of his own impressions of the discovery. When interviewed, he emphasized the many similarities between the flood myth that his protégé had just translated and a version attributed to the Babylonian priest Berosus in the third century BC. He also cited evidence that the story of the flood told by Smith is related to the conquest of Babylon by the Medes and therefore may have been originally composed in the third millennium BC.

In an article in the Times the next day, it is written that Rawlinson estimates that the first Mesopotamian kingdoms arose around 5150 BC, and notes that the flood occurred, of course, even earlier. In his opinion "it is difficult to doubt that the story in the book of Genesis is a version of the same legend that Abraham's community took in its original migration from Ur Kasdim to Haran and the land of Canaan."

About the book of Noah's flood
The new scientific discoveries about an event that changed history
By: William Ryan / Walter Pittman

About 12,000 years ago, with the melting of the glaciers of the last ice age, the level of the oceans began to rise, and a few thousand years later the rising Mediterranean Sea broke through the Bosphorus barrier and flooded the Black Sea, which was then a freshwater lake, with a tremendous flood. Is there a connection between this catastrophic event and the story of Noah's flood? Is it related to the emergence of new cultures in Europe at that time? The two oceanographers who made this dramatic discovery, William Ryan and Walter Pittman, believe that such a connection does exist. This book tells the story of their research.

The Black Sea lake, argue Ryan and Pittman, which gave life to the peasants who lived on its shores, was almost overnight a sea of ​​death. The inhabitants of the villages around him lost their lands and homes and tried for their lives. Those who did not drown in the flight spread everywhere, they and their language, and their legends and beliefs, and the traditions of their ancestors in agriculture, pottery and technology, and with them the story of the water disaster that washed away and destroyed their world.

Ryan and Pittman tell how the Black Sea was opened to researchers from the West after the fall of the Iron Curtain and the research they did in collaboration with Russian scientists. They describe the sophisticated research and dating methods that prove that the freshwater lake that was before the Black Sea was flooded with seawater in a sudden and rapid event.

On a solid foundation of oceanographic, paleontological, and climatic data, Ryan and Pittman compiled a treatise of archaeological, ethnographic, and linguistic evidence linking the flood event about 8,000 years ago to the sudden appearance of advanced civilizations in Europe, the Levant, and Mesopotamia, and Central Asia.

This research, full of dramatic discoveries, crossing cultures and fields, unfolds before the reader like the plot of a detective thriller. This is the story of a great geological discovery, which breaks the boundaries of its discipline and sheds light on the history of the ancient myths of the peoples of the ancient East and the prehistory of Europe.

15 תגובות

  1. This only proves how unaware the researchers are of the Bible, because from Noah's seed there exists every person who lives on the earth and of course the information will be passed on in many cultures because all of humanity is connected to it and the Jewish religion began with our ancestors Abraham Isaac and Jacob and Moses received it in writing just as it happened at the time of Mt. Chinese

  2. You will urinate:
    So what are you saying?
    The Akkadians spoke Hebrew and those who wrote the Torah didn't?

  3. Notice in simple and biblical Hebrew the "idol" we were referring to
    We will not call their soul, but "your soul!"


    That's the explanation!

    there is a God!

  4. Fascinating and comprehensive article. It's just a shame that it wasn't accompanied by photographs or illustrations from the mentioned discoveries because what I remember from that time is Gustav Dore's painting of Noah's flood.

  5. Fascinating and insightful article. It's just a shame that it wasn't accompanied by photographs or illustrations from the mentioned discoveries because what I remember from that time is Gustav Dore's painting of Noah's flood.

  6. There is no reason to assume that events that are mentioned in the Bible and in previous books (such as in the writings of the Watchers), are nothing but events that happened and were passed down from generation to generation and were written down in later periods.

    There is, of course, no reason to assume that every word said there is historical truth, but it cannot be ruled out that these are indeed events that took place and echoes of which we find in ancient writings.

    post Scriptum. - The Mahabharata and other ancient writings are also recommended...

  7. In the book of Genesis it is also about water rising from below:
    On this day, all the springs of the great abyss burst forth and the chimneys of the heavens were opened.

  8. Interesting article, just what, all the written evidence talks about a flood and not a flood.
    Let them continue to investigate and check, did it rain during the flood?

  9. To Judah

    I guess he meant what you wrote with the seven errors, and wrote a sloth instead of a dot... Whether it's funny or not, you and I are of the same opinion

    Very interesting article

  10. Interesting thanks.
    It is hard to believe that Noah's story is based on an event that happened 8000 years before it was written down.

  11. to the previous commenter

    I don't understand why you use my name in your comments.
    Even if your response is casual and harmless.
    It's a stupid act, it's impersonation and it's illegal.
    So I'll take it in stride this time.
    Besides, I don't understand what you meant in your response, so explain yourself, (and your name please)
    may we have a nice week

    Sabdarmish Yehuda

  12. Interesting and recommended article. A must read for religious and secular people.

    And in addition, a question:

    How do you turn off "Noah" with seven errors???


    If you don't understand why, read the article.

    Have a quiet weekend

    Sabdarmish Yehuda

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