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Publisher's Summary

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.
©2014 Irving Finkel (P)2014 Tantor
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Critic Reviews

"[Finkel's] conclusions will send ripples into the world of creationism and among ark hunters." (Guardian)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

By D. Littman on 07-17-14

excellent, enlightening, entertaining

Any additional comments?

The author successfully combines "modern" detective stories from the 19th, 20th & 21st centuries, archeological, linguistic & literary; with an approachable guide to the history of written language (focusing on cunieform); and the evolution of biblical literature (focusing on the Noah story, but not only that). The writing & the narration, excellent. I was so sorry when the book was over, I wanted to hear more.

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5 of 6 people found this review helpful


By Mike de D on 11-02-17

Nerd candy!! (Linguistics + History)

Yes, there are videos online providing much of the same story; however, you might find the finer details in this book even more fascinating. In short, it's a detailed historical and semi-linguistic discussion about Cuneiform tablets, the Babylonians, and how their inscriptions passed through history in a variety of forms all the way into modern day religion. If you don't get captivated by academic studies, then move on. But if you do, this book is for you.

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