Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Noah's Birds

Alice C. Linsley

The historicity of Noah’s great flood is supported by findings in many disciplines. The key to the alignment of the data of the Bible and science is placing Noah in the correct location and time period. We can dismiss the idea that he lived in the region of the Black Sea and that the ark landed on Ararat. That idea dates from the 11th century A.D. when the Armenians began to identify Ararat as the ark's landing place. This was repeated in the two Catalan manuscripts known as the Ripoll and Roda Bibles written in Latin and illustrated at the beginning of the eleventh century in the monastery of Ripoll, during the time of Abbot Oliba (1008–1046). The Hebrew in Genesis 8: 4 states that the ark came to rest on hare 'ararat - hills of 'ararat. This is likely a pun on the Arabic word herarat - حرار - which means vehemence, a reference to God's wrath.

If we remove this very late gloss on the text, there is no longer any reason to assume that Noah lived in the region of the Black Sea. In fact, that suggestion runs contrary to all the other biblical data that indicates that Noah was a Proto-Saharan ruler and the grandfather of Kush (Gen. 10:6).

Noah was a ruler in the region of Lake Chad in central Africa. Climate studies reveal that the location of Lake Chad was much wetter in Noah's time than it is today. Noah lived between 4050 and 3800 BC, when the Sahara experienced a wet period called the Aqualithic or the African Humid Period). This places Noah in relatively recent history, not at the dawn of human existence.

Noah was one of the "might men of old" mentioned in Genesis 6. These rulers of the archaic period dispersed out of Africa into Mesopotamia, the Levant, and Southern Europe. Nimrod was one of the rulers who descended from Noah. He built his kingdom in the Tigris-Euphrates Valley. These great rulers were known as sar, meaning king. The word corresponds to the Sanskrit śāri and the Nilo-Saharan and Hausa word sarki. The Sumerian word for king is sar and the Chadic word for ruler is gon, so Sar-gon means "High King" or "King of Kings." The Elamite word for king was sunki, a variant of sarki. Another variant is the word šarka, found in the Lithuanian language.

DNA studies that show that Noah's R1b peoples dispersed from Africa. The dispersion of the R1b group is shown on the map below. Note the bright red mark in central Africa. This is the region of Lake Chad, Noah's homeland.

In the story of Noah's ark, the Bible recounts how Noah released two birds after the rain stopped: a dove and a raven. In Africa the dove is a symbol of prophetic discernment so sending out a dove was Noah’s way of seeking guidance. Among the ancient Nilotes birds symbolized celestial wisdom.

Knowing the location of Noah's homeland helps us to narrow the species of doves and ravens. The most common dove in the part of Africa where the flood occurred is the Pink-bellied Dove. This species is abundant near water sources and and was associated with shrines located at rivers, springs and wells, so the idea of the Spirit hovering like a dove over the waters at the beginning of creation is consistent with empirical observation of these doves. The pink belly is suggestive of blood sacrifice which made peace between the penitent and God. This peace is symbolized by the olive branch which the dove brought to Noah.

The raven mentioned in Genesis is probably the Fan-tailed Raven, in the crow family. Its habitat extends across North Africa, Arabia, Sudan and Kenya. It also ranges across the Air Massif in Niger where it nests in crags. The red area shows the Fan-Tailed Raven’s habitat. This is the location of ancient Eden described in Genesis. Noah's descendants were rulers and priests in this red shaded area.

This is the natural habitat of both the Pink-bellied Dove and the Fan-tailed Raven, the birds that Noah might have released.

The raven was a symbol of the Creator and his son Horus. The root of the word is ḱoro- and koro is a variant of Horo or Horus. Koro is also an ancient term for war, suggesting a scavenger bird, similar to the falcon (Horus' totem) and the Egyptian vulture, both significant birds in the Bible.

The vulture, scorpion, horse and lion are found on stone pillars at the Gobekli Tepe site in Turkey which dates to about 9000 B.C. Here they appear to correspond to constellations at a time when Thuban was the pole star and they are likely clan totems. These creatures are commonly found on African images, which suggests that the structure at Gobekli Tepe was influenced by priests whose origins were in Africa. The vulture is especially important totem among the Nubians whose warrior deity was Yah/YHWH.

No comments: