Friday, December 16, 2016

Debunked Claims of the Ark's Discovery

Alice C. Linsley

Claims of the discovery of Noah's Ark have circulated for decades, but none have proven to be legitimate. Based on a common reading of Genesis, the attention has focused on the Ararat mountains (shown below).

Recently, the longstanding claim of the discovery of fossilized Ark material was debunked when it was shown that the supposed Ark in eastern Turkey is a slab of basalt. Read the account here.

A careful reading of Genesis diminishes hope that the ship of Noah will ever be found. The Bible tells us that it was built of gofer or papyrus reeds which would have disintegrated long ago.

Reed boat building
Reed boats of this type can carry up to 50 tons when fully loaded.

Reeds were readily available in the region of Bor-No (Land of Noah) during Noah's time. Moses's mother placed him in a reed (gofer) basket which is called an "ark" in Exodus 2:3. This is why some Bibles correctly read: "Make yourself an Ark of gofer wood, with reeds make the Ark..." (Schocken Bible, Vol. I, p. 35)

If the ark was constructed of a wood frame with hollow reeds in large bundles it would have had great buoyancy. Thor Heyerdahl learned from the Marsh Arabs that if the reeds are cut in August they retain their buoyancy rather than absorbing water.

Noah lived approximately 4190-4000 BC, when the Sahara experienced a time of wet conditions. In Genesis 6:9-11, Noah is described as God's favored ruler on earth; "an upright man among his contemporaries."

The Genesis accounts of Noah's flood do not specify a mountain and there is doubt that the word Ararat refers to a mountain chain. That idea is based on a supposition that the biblical Ararat corresponds to Urartu, the Assyrian name for a kingdom in the region of Lake Van.

This view is based on Jerome's reading of Antiquities of the Jews, in which Josephus wrote:
“the ark rested on the top of a certain mountain in Armenia ... However, the Armenians call this place, αποβατηριον 'The Place of Descent'; for the ark being saved in that place, its remains are shown there by the inhabitants to this day. Now all the writers of barbarian histories make mention of this flood, and of this ark; among whom is Berossus. For when he is describing the circumstances of the flood, he goes on thus: "It is said there is still some part of this ship in Armenia, at the mountain of the Cordyaeans; and that some people carry off pieces of the bitumen, which they take away, and use chiefly as amulets for the averting of mischiefs."  (I.3.5-6, trans. William Whiston)

However, there is another interpretation that aligns with the biblical data about Noah, the Proto-Saharan ruler. The word ararat is from the root RRT in which the T was a mark symbolizing a mountain. The reduplicated R symbolizes a high ranking ruler, even the Creator. According to this theory, the mount upon which Noah's ark rested is a metaphorical mountain that represents divine judgement and divine provision.

Throughout the Bible mountains represent God's interaction with Man. Abraham and Isaac encounter divine grace and provision on Mount Moriah. Moses comes face-to-face with God on Mount Horeb and Mount Sinai.

The motif of mountains as the connection to the Creator and the Heavens is found in many ancient texts. In the Bhagvad Gita, Krishna says, "Among the mountains, I am Meru", that is, the spinal cord of the world. The Vishnu Purana (c. 200 BC) speaks of seven peaked continents (volcanic?) ringed by seven oceans. This cosmology was a mirror image of the seven celestail planets/bowls, following the ancient belief "as in the Heavens, so on Earth."

Likely, the association of Noah with Armenia has both a mythological and a historical basis. The word Armenia may be an inaccurate rendering of Har-Meni, meaning Mount Meni. As Noah's territory was Bor-No in the region of Lake Chad we should consider a mountain closer to Lake Chad. David M. Westley, PhD, who served as Director of the African Studies Library at Boston University, reports that "From the center of the Chad Basin to Mount Meni is about 230 miles."

Josephus also quoted Nicolas of Damascus, where he wrote in his ninety-sixth book: "There is a great mountain in Armenia, over Minyas [a word for mountain], called Baris, upon which it is reported that many who fled at the time of the Deluge were saved; and that one who was carried in an ark came on shore upon the top of it; and that the remains of the timber were a great while preserved." In the Greek we find Minyas and Meni in connection to the mount upon which the Ark was said to rest.

Noah's reign in Central Africa must have been one of great prosperity. There was abundant fishing and hunting. The climate sustained vineyards (Genesis 9:20).  An oracle concerning Noah states, “This one shall bring us relief from our work and the toil of our hands.” (Genesis 5:29)

The dispersion of peoples from Noah's homeland has been verified by DNA studies. YDNA R1b is found in the region of Lake Chad and the Upper Nile, Europe, France, and the British Isles. This dispersion began about 20,000 years ago, long before Noah's time.

The dark red spot in Central Africa is Noah's homeland.

Haplogroup R1b, also known as haplogroup R-M343, is the most frequently occurring Y chromosome haplogroup in Western Europe, some parts of Russia (the Bashkir minority), Central Asia (e.g. Turkmenistan) and in the region of Lake Chad, Noah's territory.

This is the Haplogroup of Abraham's Proto-Saharan ancestors who dispersed widely and are known by different names in ancient history: KushitesKushanAnnuSaka, Hittites, etc. Among them was a caste of ruler-priests known in ancient texts as 'Apiru, Hapiru, Habiru or Hebrew

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