A View on the Possible existence of Written Records before the "Biblical Flood"

Just food for thought, not for advocacy on my part… Cheers!

The Flood? Seriously?

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As a memorable regional occurrence, yes. In an area so vast as to be describable by the author as encompassing the “whole land.”
And far enough back in time to effectively target those who were in the first few generations of descent from Adam, to slow the spread of human evil.
Notice that in one iteration of a GAE understanding, it need not have wiped out every human being “made in the image of God” who were comparatively morally innocent (or at least not outright evil) who hadn’t inherited a propensity toward moral callousness, but only those who had, by virtue of descent from Adam.
Remember, I read Genesis 1 as happening well before the events in the later chapters, not in any fashion as concurrent.
Comments, @jongarvey ?

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Sorry, but that isn’t what the author of that piece means by the Flood. As a matter of fact he distinguishes it from “an enormous local flood” as you describe.


As I said, not offered by way of advocacy. Many go off the rails looking for a “global” (a concept foreign to the context) flood that wipes out all of humanity.
That is not definitively what the Hebrew acccount conveys.
It is only one available interpretation, which is totalized by some, as this author seems to be trying to align with.
Other interpretations are more sustainable, in my view.

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I agree completely. The most sustainable interpretation is that it’s just a story with no significant historical basis, that there never was a Noah, an ark, or a flood widespread enough to fit anything like the description in Genesis. The proper understanding of the authors’ intentions therefore becomes less crucial to one’s religion, unless it’s an understanding of whatever theological or moral message was intended. Perhaps it’s a fable.


(1) Writing before the Flood: Ashurbanipal, whose library was excavated though much damaged by poor transportation, was a scholarly king who claimed to have studied inscriptions before the Flood (and found them tedious). Indeed, the large work I’m currently reading is quoted from him: “I Studied Inscriptions from Before the Flood.”

This is utterly possibly if the Flood, as most widely supposed, is that of around 2900BCE centred on Shuruppak: writing in that region goes well back into the fourth millennium, and was well established by around 2600.

(2) Historicity and extent of Flood. The Flood was regarded as a crux point of Mesopotamian history (cf Kenneth Kitchen), and the commonest “mythological” understanding of scholars is to regard it as standing for the military “flood” of Semitic people that hit the Sumerians from the north-west. There seems no good reason, though, to deny a major physical Flood (which maybe facilitated the takeover) in a region for which there have been many major exacerbations of the annual inundation.

There’s also a probable asteroid crater in the Iraq marshes, believed to date from the 3rd millennium, in an area that was sea at the time. The details map poorly to the narratives, but there was certainly a tsunami at some stage and it’s not otherwise mentioned in the documents we have… which at least tells one that historical records are always very incomplete.

The Mesopotamian versions of the Flood are focused on the cities of their respective protagonists, and the Genesis narrative on the lineage of Adam. None actually mandate a global flood, and indeed such a concept would be anachronistic, because there was neither a concept of a globe, nor even of “the world as a bounded entity” then. See my work (or WLC’s) on the “babylonian World Map.”

As far as the subject matter of Genesis is (specifically) concerned, the “land” that matters (particularly under GAE, or at least my interpretation of it) is the land of Adam’s desendants, that is, those corrupted by his sin.


@jongarvey , Totally agree.
Also, the way I “flesh out” more than simply theologically-conceived concepts like “sin” (which many take to mean only moral imperfection, rather than decided, self-justifying moral disorientation) into the “Adam as GAE” framework is by literally postulating a heritable neurological change that the “fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil” caused, possibly through a novel enzymatic catalysis. @swamidass has shied away from this scenario, but enzymatic metabolism can cause genetic or epigenetic “damage” as compared to the cellular matrix’s previous state. A sort of “change tsunami, with cascading effects” if, say, novel proteins or protein folds ensued.
Rather than through gastronomic ingestion only, such enzymatic blood-borne intrusion could occur through mouth or GI tract lesions or tissue permeability.
What if, for example, a significant change in brain crenelization was a result?


72 posts were split to a new topic: Hermeneutics 101: Genesis Flood is Global or Not?