Few years back there was a PBS documentary titled Walking the Bible, which was based on Bruce Feiler’s book. In the documentary Feiler climbs Mt. Ararat in Turkey in search of Noah’s Ark: Bible literalists believe that an actual Ark came to rest on top of this mountain.
The Noah’s Ark story is of course an adaptation of the Sumerian epic – the Atra-Hasis.
In this epic, the gods want to destroy humans because they have become noisy and the gods can’t get sleep. They try various tricks – plague, famine, and, drought; nothing works. The gods then take the draconian step of unleashing a flood. Again the dossier containing the plan gets leaked to Atra-Hasis by one of the gods, Enki. Thus Atra-Hasis builds a boat, carries animals and survives the flood which lasted seven days. [Noisy Epics]
If you want to see how Noah’s Ark looked like, here is a replica built by some folks in Netherlands. Here is a cartoon version and here is another. The Ark is imagined to be a large ship since as per Genesis 6:13-16, it 300 cubits long, fifty cubits wide and thirty cubits high.
A new translation of a 3700 year old tablet tells a different story about the Ark – the one in Atra-Hasis: It was not a boat, but a circular raft.
“In all the images ever made people assumed the ark was, in effect, an ocean-going boat, with a pointed stem and stern for riding the waves – so that is how they portrayed it,” said Finkel. “But the ark didn’t have to go anywhere, it just had to float, and the instructions are for a type of craft which they knew very well. It’s still sometimes used in Iran and Iraq today, a type of round coracle which they would have known exactly how to use to transport animals across a river or floods.” [Relic reveals Noah’s ark was circular]
6 thoughts on “Noah's Raft”
I wonder how Vaivasvata Manu’s boat looks like…
There was even an article in the Smithsonian magazine sometime back about whether the Ark now resides in present-day Ethiopia. It’s interesting that the Smithsonian should have chosen to publish this.
Lekhni, you are talking about the Ark of the Covenant which is what holds the Ten Commandments. It is different from Noah’s Ark.
I read about the Ark of the Covenant while writing this https://varnam.org/2008/12/consequences-of-having-reflective-floors/ and was planning to do some more research. Thanks for the link.
Gosh, I hadn’t even realized there were two Arks 😮 Thanks for the enlightenment !
Lekhni, the ark you mention was the one that Indiana Jones (along with the Nazis) was after, in the first film. 🙂
The version of the flood myth in the epic of Gilgamesh has the name of Atra-Hasis as Uta-Napishtim from the translation here: http://sacred-texts.com/ane/eog/eog13.htm