mercoledì 29 gennaio 2014

Istruzioni di costruzione dell'Arca: 3700 anni fa.

Babylonian tablet describes how to 

build 'Noah's ark' 

Noah's ark was never built, still less crash landed on Mount 

Ararat, a British Museum expert has declared – despite 

holding in his hand 3,700-year-old instructions on exactly 

how to construct one. 

Irving Finkel with the cuneiform clay tablet at the British Museum [Credit: Sang Tan/AP] 

"I am 107% convinced the ark never existed," Irving Finkel

 said. His discoveries, since a member of the public brought a

 battered clay tablet with 60 lines of neat cuneiform text to 

Finkel – one of the few people in the world who could read

 them – are outlined in a new book, The Ark Before Noah.

 While every child's toy and biblical illustration – and the 

latest film version, due for release later this month and

 starring Russell Crowe as Noah – shows a big pointy-ended

 wooden boat, the Babylonian tablet gives what Finkel is 

 convinced is the original version of the story. The ark is a 

 huge circular coracle, 3,600 square metres in dimension

  or two-thirds the size of a football pitch, made like a giant 

 rope basket strengthened with wooden ribs, and 

waterproofed with bitumen inside and out. This was a giant 

version of a craft which the Babylonians knew very well,

 Finkel pointed out, in daily use up to the late 20th century to

 transport people and animals across rivers. Its people-and-

animal-carrying abilities will soon be put to the test: the 

production company Blink is making a Channel 4 

documentary based on his research, including building a 

circular ark. The tablet gives a version of the ark story

 far older than the biblical accounts, and Finkel 

believes the explanation of how "holy writ appears on this 

piece of Weetabix", is that the writers of the Bible drew on 

ancient accounts encountered by Hebrew scholars during the

 Babylonian exile. 

The Ark Before Noah: Decoding the Story of the Flood  by Irving Finkel, Hodder & Stoughton  

Texts about a great flood and the order by God to the one

 just man to build a boat and save himself, his family, and all

 the animals, clearly older than the Bible story, were first

 found in the Middle East in the 19th century. They caused

 both consternation and wild excitement, including an

expedition to find the broken part of one tablet in a 

mountain of shattered clay fragments. However, the tablet

 studied by Finkel is unique, the only one with precise 

instructions on how to build the ark – and the crucial detail

 that it should be circular. He believes the data on its exact 

dimensions, the two kinds of bitumen, and the precise

 amount of rope needed, are evidence not that the vessel

 once existed, but of a storyteller adding convincing details

 for an audience that knew all about boat-building. The tablet

 was brought to him on a museum open day by Douglas 

Simmons, whose father, Leonard, brought it back to England

 in a tea-chest full of curios, after wartime service in the 

Middle East with the RAF. When the Guardian originally

 broke the story of its discovery, Simmons said his father had

 once showed his treasures to some academics, and was 

bitterly disappointed when they were dismissed as rubbish.

 He suspects the tablet was either bought for pennies in a 

bazaar or literally picked up. Finkel describes the clay tab

let as "one of the most important human documents ever discovered", and his conclusions will send ripples into the world of creationism and among ark hunters, where many believe in the literal truth of the Bible account, and innumerable expeditions have been mounted to try to find the remains of the ark. The clay tablet is going on display at the British Museum, loaned by Simmons, beside a tablet from the museum's collection with the earliest map of the world, as seen from ancient Babylon. The flood tablet helped explain details of the map, which shows islands beyond the river marking the edge of the known world, with the text on the back explaining that on one are the remains of the ark. Finkel said that not only did the ark never exist, but ark hunters were looking in the wrong place – the map shows the ark in the direction of, but far beyond the mountain range later known as Ararat.

Author: Maev Kennedy | Source: The Guardian [January 24, 2014]

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