Figures of Prominence in the Old Testament Notes by Dr. Honora M. Finkelstein 2 - Noah and the Flood Story The Hebrew people had a tendency to look for signs and portents in the tragedies they suffered. If things went well, the crops were good, their goats gave lots of milk, and their wives bore many children, they figured God was pleased with them. If there were plagues and famines or their children were stillborn, God was punishing them, and they’d better figure out why. We saw already a couple of stories of floods from the creation legends of other cultures. Does Noah equate to Utnapishtim in the Mesopotamian flood story and Deucalion in the Greek myth? It would seem so. The important aspect of all three stories is that the people interpreted the event as a punishment from God/Zeus/the gods, and after the event, God/Zeus/the gods made a pact with the people who were left. A New View of Noah’s Flood Some researchers, including the authors of your textbook, believe that over time there were little localized floods in lots of places, and that these account for the flood stories that have appeared in cultures all around the world from Hawaii to China in both directions. However, a recent book has a novel explanation of old evidence suggesting that there may once upon a time have been a flood of universal import. In verses 5-6 of St. Paul’s letter to the Hebrews, Paul tries to convince his readers that faith is more important than reason. He draws support from Old Testament patriarchs to support his view—Abraham, Sarah, Jacob, Joseph, Moses—but it is to the patriarch Enoch whom Paul finally refers as the one of strongest faith. In the list of “begats” in Genesis, Enoch is a descendant of Adam and an ancestor of Noah. He is not associated with the flood of Noah in the Bible, but he is so associated by Flavius Josephus, the first century Jewish historian, and he has long been associated by Freemasonry with having predicted the flood. In 1765 James Bruce, a Scottish Freemason, discovered a manuscript in his travels now known as The Book of Enoch. It describes Enoch’s being taken up to the throne of the Most High God by archangels where he was taught astronomical information and given data concerning “burning mountains” (comets?) that would impact Earth and cause a great flood. The final section of the work, entitled “The Epistle of Enoch,” deals with Enoch’s advice to Methuselah and his family, and with the miraculous birth of Noah. Christopher Knight and Robert Lomas in their fascinating book Uriel’s Machine (London: Arrow Books, 2000) connect the description of Enoch’s visit to the throne of the “Most High God” with the megalithic site at Newgrange in Ireland, supposedly built by some of the prehistoric astronomers mentioned above. If indeed Enoch was given information about comets that would impact the planet, Knight and Lomas speculate that there may well have been a universal flood as a result. They cite as further evidence the following: Edith and Alexander Tollmann, geologists at the Institute of Geology at Vienna University in Austria have demonstrated that the Earth was hit by comets in the Holocene Period (last Ice Age) about 10,000 years ago. They actually quoted the legend of Enoch regarding seven stars that appeared as great burning mountains falling toward Earth. Using evidence from the archaeological record, they date the Ice Age comet impact at 7640 B.C. About that time, 10,000 species became extinct. Another high-energy series of comets seems to have impacted the planet in about 3150 B.C., and they speculate this caused Enoch’s/Noah’s flood. For another view of the Noah information, see the following: Ryan, William, and Walter Pitman. Noah’s Flood. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1998. Made with Xara Website by Susan Smily