Wednesday, April 1, 2015

The Ark Before Noah

The Ark Before Noah begins with the arrival of a cuneiform tablet to the British Museum in 2008. Someone brought it in to have it examined by Dr. Finkel, an expert in the field. It ended up being more important than either could have expected. Dating to 1850 BC, it is a copy of the Babylonian Flood Story. One of the interesting things on this tablet were the detailed instructions on how to build the ark. The discoveries on this tablet combined with information from other sources, lead to Dr. Finkel to reveal his new information on the topic in this book.

This book has been on my to read list since I heard about it on a podcast from History Extra. I enjoyed reading about the history of Mesopotamia and learning more about cuneiform. It really helped me understand more about the language, and why the flood story was very popular. I also really liked the comparison of different flood myths from different cultures. It was very interesting to see how the different narratives were the same or where they differed, and why that might be.

The material was very interesting, and I appreciated that Finkel gave a lot of background information that directly related to the topic to help readers understand why this tablet was such an interesting discovery. I do think you will need to be very interested in the topic to appreciate this book. A person with passing interest might not care for all the details on cuneiform or the different types of boat and materials that could have been used.

I would recommend reading this book.

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