THE FLOOD MYTH: The Sinking of the Ark By Donald Roberts 'Great! Reads like an informative

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THE FLOOD MYTH: The Sinking of the Ark By Donald Roberts "Great! Reads like an informative article that should be read by all." -- Char S. "Very interesting content. Nicely done." -- Bennet N. "A real `eye opener'". -- Shelia M. Uta-Napishtim, Dionysus, Osiris and Noah In the ancient region of Sumer the gods one day resolved to destroy the human race. Assembled in the town of Shuruppak, which is situated on the banks of the Euphrates, the great gods Shamash, Anu, Enlil, Ninutra and Ennugi decided to drown the earth with a deluge. But Ea, who was also present, took pity on mankind. He confided the secret of the project to a reed hut. As Ea intended, the secret was overheard by an inhabitant of Shuruppak named Uta-Napishtim: "Man of Shuruppak, son of Ubar-Tutu, Destroy thy house, build a vessel, Leave thy riches, seek thy life, Store in thy vessel the seeds of all life." Uta-Napishtim listened to Ea's advice and set to work without delay building a great ship. He loaded it with all he possessed in gold and silver. He took his family aboard and herded his cattle, together with animals and birds of the land. Meanwhile the hour appointed by Shamash had arrived. That evening the Lord of Shadows caused the rain to fall, a rain of filth. Uta-Napishtim hastened to board his vessel and make fast the door. "When dawn broke A cloud as black as night rose from heaven's foundation. thin it Adad bellowed! Shullat and Khanish marched at the head, Nergal tears away the mast. He comes, Ninuta, he spurs the attack, The Anunnaki are bearing torches, Their brilliance lights up the land, Adad's tumult reaches the skies, All that is bright is changed into darkness." Seized with fear the Gods sought refuge in the sky with Anu. They crouched like dogs on the ramparts and their burning lips quivered with fright. Ishtar `cried out like a woman in labor'. She repented having supported, perhaps even provoked, the decision of the gods. She had not contemplated a chastisement so dreadful. "May the day become as mud, That day when I spoke evil to the assembled gods, For I spoke evil to the assembled gods, In order that my people might perish, I commanded the battle. I give birth to my people! Like the spawn of fish they fill the sea!" But nothing could stop the scourge. "Six days and six nights the winds were abroad and the deluge descended." At last, on the seventh day the evil wind grew peaceful, the sea became calm; the voices of men were stilled, "and all mankind was changed into mud." At this spectacle Uta-Napishtim could not hold back his tears. Meanwhile his ship had come to rest on the top of Mount Nisir, the only land which had emerged from the waves. Uta-Napishtim let loose a dove and then a swallow, but they came back to the ship, having found no where to alight. A raven, in his turn released, didn't come back at all. Then Uta-Napishtim came out from his boat. He poured wine and placed a burnt offering on the summit of the mountain. With joy the gods smelled the good odor of sacrifice. Only Enlil was enraged to see that some mortals escaped the disaster. But Ea managed to appease him by carefully chosen words. In token of reconciliation Enlil took Uta-Napishtim and his wife by the hand. He touched them on the face and said: "Formerly Uta-Napishtim was a human being. Now Uta-Napishtim and his wife will be like unto us, gods." And he fixed their abode `far away, at the mouth of the rivers', in an inviolable retreat. In the classic Greek myths, the gods flooded the world and destroyed the human race because of it's wickedness. However, Deucalion and his wife were granted safe passage through the destruction by building and provisioning an enormous wooden chest, after which they repopulated the world by throwing over their shoulders stones, which were magically transformed into people. Deucalion was also strongly associated with the vine -- as indeed, was Dionysus (Bacchus), god of wine and vegetation in general. A common theme in classical Greek art and myth was that of `Dionysus at sea', sailing in his boat with grapes hanging from the rigging. Also ancient Greek hymns describe a boat crowded with animals. In Egypt, Osiris was a god with almost identical attributes to Dionysus. He was murdered by his brother and his body, locked in a wooden chest, was set afloat on the sea on the seventeenth of the month, the same day as that given for the beginning of the Biblical flood. Here, the passage is symbolized by the journey between life, death and rebirth. Meanwhile, somewhere in the Sumerian Empire, Noah builds and stock an enormous chest. Noah and his family are cast out to sea by the rising flood waters. Later Noah and his family are grounded on uninhabited shores near or in "the mountains of Ararat" and start the second rebirth of mankind. While some, who follow Judeo-Christian doctrine, will find it difficult to draw firm conclusions in this matter, these figures -- Uta-Napishtim, Dionysus, Osiris and Noah -- draw on a common archetype, a sort of hero who was remembered with the vine, agriculture and a fateful journey in an enormous boat. Uta-Napishtim, Dionysus, Osiris and Noah share a common experience. Can they be the same archetype also? To find out where the Hebrews assimilated the story of the `Great Flood', one needs to look no further than to Ancient Babylon -- during a period of time when the enslaved Jews called Babylon home. The issue of the integration of myth from one culture to another is common. Technology and religious beliefs have always, more or less, flowed freely between cultures. The important issue here is that the Judeo-Christian myth about a deluge is neither exclusive to the old testament nor a record of Hebrew experience. The earlier Babylonian account provides striking parallels to all the major elements of the later Jewish version of a `Flood story': The destructive rains, the warning given to one person (in this case a man named Uta-Napishtim), the construction of an enormous vessel to protect both people and animals, and the release of birds to test the condition. Misunderstood by most theology students, the `Holy Scriptures: Part 1' are an appropriation of the Epics of the Akkadians and Sumerians from the third millennium B.C. and other older legends of the region. There have been many attempts to elucidate the mythical stories of the deluge. However, all the legends of a universal Flood are mere exaggerations of purely local events. This is easily understood when one considers that most if not all delta areas around the world do flood -- sometimes more disastrously than other times. It wasn't until the last half of the 21st century that we see man's technology managing delta flood plains. The flooding of the Tigris and Euphrates rivers in ancient Sumer and the Nile delta in Upper Egypt are indeed legendary. The closest Flood legend of actual Noachian proportions was the one that occurred in 2357 B.C.. The great alluvial plains of China were buried under billions of tons of water from incessant rain, melting snow, and river inundations. Chinese chronologers recorded the plains flooding to have lasted 152 years. The older Sumerian legend peaks and ebbs perhaps a thousand years or more before Noah reaches the scene. The study of Flood legends is not simply a question of identifying one local oral tradition, such as the Babylonian, as the `original'. If we study the Judeo-Christian Flood myth, next to the Creation myth, the Flood story is undoubtedly the most controversial episode in the Old Testament. It clearly records the grandest experiment -- the creation of life by the god Yahweh. Not happy with his creations, Yahweh set in motion a the downward spiral of the human race into degeneracy until, circa 2370 B.C., the coming of Noah. In the Assyro-Babylonian region the bronze age had emerged. The first pyramid had been built in Egypt. Elsewhere on the planet, before and uninterrupted by the supposed global deluge, Huang-ti had been the Emperor of China, Knossos was founded by Minoans in Crete, the Clovis people reached Arizona, and the Algonquian maritime traditions had been in existence for at least 3,000 years. TIME LINE COMPARISON BETWEEN FLOOD MYTH AND WORLD HISTORY B.C. Event ---- ----------------------------------------------------- 4236 First date on Egyptian calendar. 3760 First date on Jewish calendar and traditional date of Creation myth. 3372 First date on Mayan calendar. 3000 Phoenicians settle eastern Mediterranean coast. Old Copper Culture in North America. 2697 Huang-ti Dynasty in China is established. 2500 Knossos founded by Minoans in Crete. 2370 Traditional date of Noah myth. 2350 Sumerian empire founded. Yao Dynasty in China is established. 2150 Aryans invade Indus Valley. 2000 Bronze Age begins in northern Europe. 1950 End of Ur empire. 1830 First Dynasty of Babylonian Kings. 1513 Traditional date Moses begins writing the Bible. 1400 Knossos destroyed. Iron age begins in Asia and India. Was Noah a real person? There is no evidence that Noah was a singular individual compared to the inference that a `Noah' is a mythological archetype of many local heros. For certain this `Noah hero' is not the only player in the Flood myths. There are other equally powerful and equally important heros associated with the Biblical Flood that are often overlooked. In case you are not familiar with the Noachian drama it begins like this (with a contemporary translation): The `Others', beings from an alien world under Yahweh's command, landed on Earth bringing science and technology and enjoying the bountiful wine, women and song of the region. Increasingly, the technology gave the human race the knowledge and strength to overcome Yahweh's influence. The cultural interference of Yahweh's legion was in direct violation of some prime directive and Yahweh had to do something to cover up his error in judgement for allowing this intrusion. Eventually Yahweh decides to exterminate all life forms on the planet! What precisely was wrong or displeasing to Yahweh is not specified. What has been recorded is that he was disturbed with `the corrupt and lawless goings-on' by unnamed perpetrators. Why did Yahweh decide to use the forces of nature to snuff out life by the means of drowning? When the rains came Noah's boat was carried out to sea. For a year or so Noah wandered on currents, setting no sail, in an oversized box. Where did he set forth and where did he land? Was he on the great alluvial plains of China? Once the cleansing process was completed, the Experiment of Humanity II began with the demi-god Noah symbolically replacing Adam as the father of the human race and is given charge of his tribe and the tribes through his sons Ham, Shem and Japheth. The second experiment apparently fails soon after when a naked Noah passes out from the over-indulgence of wine. When Noah was just coming to, Ham was passing by and discovered Noah had been engaged in pedophilia activities with Ham's son Cain. Noah, the demi-god that he was, needed to save face and negate his misdeeds. In a less than god-like move and, perhaps, to keep Ham and his son from filing sex abuse charges with the clan elders, Noah ordered Ham and his tribe out of the district. The complexity of the Biblical Flood story raises many questions: If the globe was under many feet of water, what happened to all the plants and trees? If Noah gathered all the animals and released them in the mountains of Arrat, why aren't animal species equally distributed around the planet (i.e. how did all the Kangaroos hopped to Australia)? Whether you choose to believe the Biblical Flood story as a myth or not, it is important to understand a few key points: If there ever was a widespread global deluge the most reasonable view is that it took place in remote prehistoric times before humans learned to walked upright. The Biblical Flood story comes from Jewish oral traditions which are adapted from ancient pre-Sumerian legend that predates the Jewish concept of Yahweh. The Biblical version of the Flood story has been heavily overlaid with a layer of myth about a culture hero or demi-god who fathered the second human race, protected animals and created wine. This hero journeys safely through the battle of god-like beings and ends up, with family, as sole survivors in a geophysical place they perceive is the entire world. In truth the Biblical Flood story cannot be understood in historical, geological, theological, or mythological terms. In a purely metaphysical sense the imagery on the stage of the `Flood' speaks of a safe passage from an old world to a new world through a ritual of purification symbolized by the element of water. Symbolically, we tread a narrow passage between the seen and unseen worlds before embarking onto the sea of universal consciousness. This passage is symbolized by washing away the negative realities of the everyday life. As an act of ritual purification, we cleanse and calm the physical self in order to reach the other side of conscious reality. We may not know where on the other side our spiritual `boat' will dock and we may not have any control over the currents that exist in the realms beyond the physical. We do, however, have faith that our purification by water will carry us safely to the opposite shore and back to this world. ------------------------------------------------------ For a copy of the published version which includes footnotes and Bibliography send $2.00 and mailing instructions to: Sauvie Island Press P.O. Box 751 Beaverton OR 97075-0751. Allow one week for delivery. The opinions expressed do not reflect the editorial policies of the publisher. This is an informative and unbiased article presenting known scientific and accademic facts. === End ===


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