In the earliest Sumerian account, dated circa 1600 B.C. the Flood hero stands near a sidewall and receives a warning. No mention is made of what material this wall is composed of, that is to say we are NOT informed as to whether the wall is of reeds or wood or brick. NO mention is made of tearing down a house to build a boat. The ONLY mention of the boat is that is is "huge," we are NOT told if it was built shortly before the storm at a god's command or if had been in existence long before the storm, NOR are we told that the craft is made of reeds or of wood (emphasis mine):

"in the ki-ur (?), the gods, a wall [...]
Ziusudra hea[rd], standing by its side,
He stood at the left of the side-wall [...]
'Side-wall, I want to talk to you, [hold on] to my word,
[Pay atten]tion to my instructions:
On all dwellings (?), over the capitals the storm will [sweep].
The destruction of the descent of mankind...
The storm swept over the capitals.
And the destructive wind had ROCKED THE HUGE BOAT in the high water..."

(pp.143, 145. M. Civil. "The Sumerian Flood Story." W. G. Lambert & A. R. Millard. Atra-khasis, the Babylonian Story of the Flood. Winona Lake, Indiana. Eisenbrauns. 1999 reprint of 1969 Oxford University Press edition)

Lambert and Millard:

"The Sumerian epic edited by M. Civil on pp. 138-45 comes closest to Atra-khasis. Although only about a third of the text remains, this is sufficient to show that it has roughly the same content...Despite the similarity in content, the size is quite different (some 300 Sumerian as opposed to 1,245 Akkadian lines) and the wording nowhere agrees. Furthermore, the relative dates of the composition cannot be fixed. In its present form the Sumerian text is hardly much older than the tablet on which it is written (ca. 1600 BC), and this in all probability is the time that the Akkadian Atra-khasis was first being written down. It is possible that the Akkadian author knew the Sumerian text..." (p. 14. "Introduction." W. G. Lambert & A. R. Millard. Atra-khasis, the Babylonian Story of the Flood. Winona Lake, Indiana. Eisenbrauns. 1999 reprint of 1969 Oxford University Press edition)

According to Lambert and Millard the oldest reference to "the storm which swept over the land" (bringing the Flood) is in a hymn of Ishme-Dagan ca. 1953-1935 B.C. and a text mentioning Ur-Ninurta ca. 1923-1896 B.C. (p. 139. "Sumerian Flood Story." Lambert & Millard). Thus almost 1,000 years _after_ the ca. 2900 B.C. Shuruppak Flood, the "earliest" reference to the event appears ca. 1953-1935 B.C.

Heidel on the Shuruppak boat in the Epic of Gilgamesh (emphasis mine):

"Their speech [the gods] he [Enki] repeated to a REED HUT:
REED HUT, REED HUT ! Wall, wall !
REED HUT, hearken ! Wall, consider !
Man of Shuruppak, son of Ubar-Tutu !
Tear down (thy) house, build a ship !
Abandon (thy) possessions, seek to save life !
[Cause to go] into the ship the seed of all living creatures."

(pp. 80-81. "The Gilgamesh Epic." Alexander Heidel. The Gilgamesh Epic and Old Testament Parallels. Chicago. University of Chicago Press. 1946, 1949. reprint 1993)

Professors Lambert and Millard present several Atra-khasis recensions of the Shuruppak flood including stray fragments. They noted that the earliest Atra-khasis account appeared to be no earlier than ca. 1600 B.C. One such fragment portrays the boat being MADE OF REEDS and called "The Life Saver" (Note: The Atra-khasis myth explains why the gods made man -they made man to work in their earthly city gardens planted before man's creation- man will grow the gods' food and present it to them at temples and shrines, that is to say man's purpose in life to work in the gods' gardens and present the gods' this food relieving the gods of agricultural toil. This myth also explains why later the gods seek to destroy mankind in a universal flood, he disturbs their rest with his noise. On the sebittu-day, the "seventh-day" of the flood, all the gods rest, now that the flood has destroyed mankind ending his noise):

Lambert and Millard (emphasis mine):

"...] I will explain
...a flood] will seize [sabat] all the peoples together
...].before the flood sets out
...] build a big boat.
LET ITS STRUCTURE BE [....] ENTIRELY OF REEDS.
...]let it be a maqurqurrum-boat with the name, The Life Saver.
...] roof it over with a strong covering.
[Into the boat which] you will make
[Send...].wild creatures of the steppe [se-rim], birds of the heavens
...] heap up

(p. 127. "CBS 13532-J."  W. G. Lambert & A. R. Millard. Atra-Khasis, The Babylonian Story of the Flood. With the Sumerian Flood Story [by M. Civil]. Winona Lake, Indiana. 1999 reprint of 1969 Oxford University Press edition)

Another fragment found at Ras Shamras (ancient Ugarit) in northern coastal Syria, ca. the 14th century B.C., suggests that the Mesopotamian flood hero dwelt in the temple of his god Ea (Enki). Perhaps the "reed-hut" was a reed shrine or temple? If so, then Noah's Ark was constructed of reeds from Ea's temple/shrine? Ea is portrayed at times on cylinder seals sitting in a rectangular shrine in the depths of the apsu/abzu (a freshwater ocean the earth floats upon), might the Ark's rectangular or cubic dimensions be recalling Enki's abode? That is to say, perhaps the Mesopoamian Ark's cubic dimensions is to honor Ea/Enki and his rectangular/cubic shrine which he dwells in within the abyss? Some cylinder seals show a rectangular shrine which may be of reeds. Please click here for examples of Lower Mesopotamian reed-hut buildings and shrines from antiquity to modern times.

Lambert and Millard (emphasis mine):

"When the gods took counsel in the lands
and brought the flood in the regions of the world,
....[....]..Ea in his heart.
"I am Atra-hasis,
I LIVED IN THE TEMPLE OF EA, my lord,
.......[.]
I knew the counsel of the great gods,
I knew of their oath, though they did not reveal it to me.
He repeated their words to the wall,
Wall, hear [....

(p. 133. "The Flood Story From Ras Shamras." W. G. Lambert & A. R. Millard. Atra-Khasis, The Babylonian Story of the Flood. With the Sumerian Flood Story [by M. Civil]. Winona Lake, Indiana. 1999 reprint of 1969 Oxford University Press edition)

Gray's commentary identifies such a building with the Shuruppak Flood hero:

"Cane-plaited hall in the marshes of southern Mesopotamia. It is the kind of 'reed-hut' to which the god Ea divulged the secret of the flood."

(cf. p. 48. John Gray. Near Eastern Mythology. London. Hamlyn Publishing Group Ltd. 1969. Note: John Gray in 1952 was a Lecturer in Hebrew and Biblical Criticism at the University of Aberdeen, Scotland, and in 1962 was appointed Professor of Hebrew and Semitic Languages)

Cohn (Professor Emertius at the University of Sussex, Sussex, England):

"Finally Enlil decided to send a flood which would altogether annihilate mankind. This time the gods had to swear not to tell any mortal of the plan -but Enki found a way around that too: he passed the information not directly to Atrahasis but to the wall of the reed hut where he lived, and the wall -perhaps thanks to the wind whistling through it- transmitted the message.

Enki's advice was to build a huge boat and coat it with pitch; according to the Epic of Gilgamesh, he was to pull down his hut and build a boat from the reeds (reed boats were as common as reed huts). Atrahasis set about the task with a will." (p. 5. "Mesopotamian Origins." Norman Cohn. Noah's Flood, The Genesis Story in Western Thought. New Haven & London. Yale University Press. 1996)

Below is a photo of a limestone bas-relief _found _at_Shuruppak_ dated to circa 2600-2500 B.C., the Early Dynastic IIIa Period, some 300 years AFTER the circa 2900 B.C. Shuruppak Flood. However, it is almost _1000 years AFTER_ the 2900 B.C. Shuruppak Flood that the earliest Mesopotamian texts make reference of a "Great Flood". That is to say, _if_ the 2600 B.C. bas-relief _is_ Ziusudra's boat, some 1000 years _after_ this sculpture's creation (cf. the ca. 1600 B.C. and later Atra-Khasis Epic), "tall tales" arise in Mesopotamian texts of the boat being made of reeds from a reed hut and possessing the dimensions of a multi-storied gigantic cube. This bas-relief shows two bearded men seated in a shallow boat. Below the craft swim several fish. Could this "boating scene" recall the story of the Shuruppak Flood? Is this boat what was later to be embellished into the Bible's "Noah's Ark"? Could one of these bearded men be Ziusudra, the "Mesopotamian Noah" and "son"? The bas-relief  appears to resemble a boat of WOOD _not_ reeds. The earliest Flood account which is in Sumerian ca. 1600 B.C. does NOT have a god informing a man to tear down a reed hut and make a boat of it, NOR does this account state that the boat is made of reeds. All that is said is that the boat is "large." It is a _later_ Akkadian account  (Atra-khasis) which has the "Mesopotamian Noah" constructing his boat of reeds from a reed hut and _still later_ accounts (Gilgamesh) have the boat constructed of wood.

All this suggests for me that THE SHURUPPAK BOAT WAS _ORIGINALLY OF WOOD_ AND ALREADY BUILT AND AT HAND when the Flood hero allegedly heard through a sidewall that a Flood was on its way. That is to say, the below ca. 2600 B.C. bas-relief of a WOODEN BOAT reveals that this is what the "ORIGINAL" Noah's Ark looked like ! Later generations would transform this craft into reeds made of a torn down reed hut (Atra-khasis). Still later generations, probably _objecting_ to the "impossiblity" of a gigantic boat of seven stories in height being made of reeds, portrayed the craft as being of wood (Gilgamesh).

The flood sediment found at Shuruppak was only two feet deep. So a shallow craft as portrayed in the below bas-relief would be adequate to withstand the inundation caused by a locally flooding Euphrates river. Succeeding ages apparently embellished this 3rd millennium B.C. event to make it a flood which covered the whole world. Of peculiar interest here is that the man seated on the viewer's left appears to be steering the boat with an oar that is bent at almost a right-angle. Is this unusual oar a type of rudder? (For the below photo, cf. p. 41. Figure 14. "Early Cities." H. W. F. Saggs. Babylonians [Peoples of the Past Series]. Berkeley & Los Angeles. University of California Press. [The British Musem. London. 2000]).

Professor Saggs' commentary accompanying the below bas-relief:

"Shuruppak was prominent in ancient Mesopotamian tradition as the city of the great Flood. This piece of relief from Shuruppak Early Dynastic IIIa period (2600-2500 B.C.) shows a boating scene." (p. 41. Saggs)



Below, an impression from an ancient cylinder seal showing Enki/Ea standing within his Apsu house, two Lahmu gods serving as door keepers. Note the wavy lines symbolizing the watery abyss surrounding his dwelling. Enki/Ea is shown with two streams of water pouring forth from his body. He symbolized freshwaters, and provided the water for the Tigris and Euphrates; he was also the god of wisdom. In one myth, he gave man in the form of Adapa, great wisdom but denied him immortality. Before going to heaven to face the supreme god, Anu, Adapa had ben warned by Ea (Sumerian: Enki) not to consume any food or drink as it was the food of death. In reality it would have bestowed immortality on Adapa, making him LIKE A GOD, but obeying Ea's injunction he refused the proffered food and drink and thus lost out on immortality for himself and for all mankind. In another myth, Enki (Ea) makes man of clay over the Apsu in Eridu, to work in his fruit-tree garden which he planted for himself next to his reed shrine. Enki made man to be his agricultural servant, to work in his irrigated garden to relieve the junior Igigi gods of their burdensome toil in his garden. The creation of man gave the junior gods (the Igigi) an eternal rest from toil. So, Ea (Enki) not only was responsible for man's creation, he denied him immortality, allowed him to acquire forbidden wisdom (reserved for the gods) and later saved a remnant of man in the form of Ziusudra by having a craft built to withstand the flood sent to destroy mankind. That is to say, I understand that Ea/Enki was later transformed by the Hebrews in Yahweh-Elohim in Genesis. (for the photo cf. p. 98. "Ea." Piotr Bienkowski & Alan Millard. Dictionary of the Ancient Near East. Philadelphia. University of Pennsylvania Press. 2000)

Of interest here is that the man in the rectangular box on below seal was identified in 1875 by George Smith as  "Haisadra or the Chaldean Noah." Haisadra is rendered today as Sumerian Ziusudra (cf. p. 283. George Smith. The Chaldean Account of Genesis. London. 1875. Reprinted 1977, 1994 by Wizard Bookshelf. San Diego, California). He erred, its not Ziusudra, its Enki (Ea) who told Ziusudra (Atrahasis) to build his boat and save self, family and animals. Smith was 'the discoverer' of the Chaldean account of the Flood while reviewing tablets in the British Museum, London. On 3 December 1872 he "read his paper" before  the Society of Biblical Archaeology in London announcing to an astonished world his discovery of the Chaldean equivalent of the Bible's Flood account. Said tablets were from the Assyrian King Ashurbanipal's library at Nineveh. The Chaldean Flood account was correctly identified by Smith as being a part of the Epic of Gilgamesh (Smith's Izdubar today being rendered Gilgamesh).

As noted earlier, above, I understand that Noah's Flood is a later Hebrew reinterpretation and transformation of various motifs appearing in Mesopotamian flood myths, the event being recalled is the Shuruppak flood of ca. 2900 BC. Of interest are some "more" Mesopotamian motifs which appear in the Genesis Flood account:

In the Bible, we are told that the Flood commenced in the 600th year of Noah, I note that the Atrahasis myth suggests that the Flood occured at the end of a 600 year interval too. It appears _to me_ that the Hebrews have preserved Atrahasis' 600 year interval of time elapsing before a Flood commences and reformatted this motif as occurring in Noah's 600th year. Perhaps the Flood's commencement in the 600th year of Noah's life is a reformatting of the "catchline" or "repeating refrain" of the Atrahasis Epic that implies for 600 years the gods have endured man's noise and now seek his demise? In the epic, every 600 years (at last 3 or 4 times) Atrahasis receives advisement about the god's efforts to decimate mankind.

Genesis 7:11-12 RSV

"In the six hundredth year of Noah's life, in the second month, on the seventeenth day of the month, on that day all the fountains of the great deep burst forth, and the windows of the heavens were opened. And rain fell upon the earth forty days and forty nights."

Dalley:

"600 years, less than 600, passed and the country became too wide, the people too numerous. The country was as noisy as a bellowing bull. The god grew restless at their clamor, Ellil had to listen to their noise. He addressed the great gods, "The noise of mankind has become too much. I am losing sleep over their racket." (p. 18. "Atrahasis." pp.1-38. Stephanie Dalley. Myths From Mesopotamia: Creation, the Flood, Gilgamesh and Others. New York. Oxford University Press. 1989, 1991. ISBN 0-19-281789-2. paperback)

Disease decimates the populaton (p.18. Dalley)

(Catchline):
"600 years, less 600 passed  (p. 20. Dalley)

"Tablet II:
600 years, less than 600, passed and the country became too wide, the people too numerous. The country was as noisy as a bellowing bull. The god grew restless at their clamor, Ellil had to listen to their noise. He addressed the great gods, "The noise of mankind has become too much. I am losing sleep over their racket." (p.20. Dalley)

3 year famine attempted (pp.20-22. Dalley)

"[600 years, less than 600, passed and the country became too wide, the people too numerous...He grew restless at their noise. Sleep could not overtake him because of their racket." (p.23. Dalley)

Dalley on the repeating 600 year refrain:

"Six hundred years is a round number in the sexagesimal system used by the ancient Mesopotamians. as a numerical unit, 600 was the simple noun neru in Akkadian. Repetition of a number seems to occur as a literary device..(Note 22. p. 37. "Atrahasis Notes." Dalley)

"Note the literary strategem which defies literal chronology by featuring Atrahasis as the same mortal in recurrent crises 600 years apart." (note 32. p. 38. "Atrahasis Notes." Stephanie Dalley. Myths From Mesopotamia: Creation, the Flood, Gilgamesh and Others. New York. Oxford University Press. 1989, 1991. ISBN 0-19-281789-2. paperback)

Biography on Dalley:

"Stephanie Dalley has worked on various excavations in the Middle East and has published cuneiform tablets found there by the British Archaeological Expedition to Iraq as well as a book for the general reader about those discoveries. Mari and Karan (1984). She taught Akkadian at the Universities of Edinburgh and Oxford and is now Shillito Fellow in Assyriology at the Oriental Institute, Oxford, and a Senior Research Fellow of Somerville College. She is editor and main author of The Legacy of Mesopotamia (Oxford University Press). (cf. inner flyleaf of Myths from Mesopotamia)

The Sumerian Flood account has the rain-storm lasting 7 days and nights, the later Babylonian account has the rains ending on the 7th day as well. I wonder if perhaps these "motifs" have been preserved in the Genesis account as an "INVERSION"?  God is portrayed as announcing that in 7 days time the rains will begin and continue for 40 days. In other words, following a period of 7 days of NO RAIN, the Flood will begin. I would argue, then, that the 7 days of rain in the Sumerian and Babylonian accounts were INVERTED into 7 days of NO rain in the later Hebrew account; that is to say, the rains _ending_ on the 7th day have been transformed into rains _beginning_ on the 7th day. Also of interest is that both the Bible and Atrahasis have the Flood hero being given a SEVEN DAY advance warning of the coming flood.

Genesis 7:4 RSV

"For in SEVEN DAYS I will send rain upon the earth forty days and forty nights..."

Millard and Lambert noted that Atra-Khasis (alternately rendered Atra-Hasis) had 7 days notice for the Flood's commencement (emphasis mine, Update of 07 April 2005):

"...in Atra-khasis Enki gives the hero ONLY SEVEN DAYS in which to prepare for the onset of the flood..." (p. 12. "Introduction." W. G. Lambert & A. R.  Millard. Atra-Hasis, The Babylonian Story of the Flood. Oxford University Press. 1969. Reprint, 1999 by Eisenbrauns, Winona Lake. Indiana)

To date, archaeologists have failed to find evidence of world wide flood in the 5th-3rd millenniums B.C. in Mesopotamia, Syria or Canaan. They date some settlements in Sumer to the Ubaid period of circa 4900 B.C., specifically the ancient city of Eridu (modern Abu Shahrein near Ur of the Chaldees), which in Mesopotamian myths was the very first city built by the god Enki. This myth has the world covered in water, then a freshwater stream eurpts from the depths of the ocean, land forms about it and Enki builds the first city Eridu. Of course in the Bible the first city is built by Cain and called Enoch after his son (Ge 4:17). So, it is clear that Genesis' author understands at least _one city_ built by Cain sometime in the course of the 4th millennium was engulfed by Noah's 3rd millennium B.C. flood, but the archaeological evidence does not support this notion.

Millard and Lambert have noted that in antiquity plagiarism was common, texts were copied without acknowledgement and sometimes very freely recast or rewritten to tell a new story. I suspect just such happened with the biblical story of Noah's Flood, it too was plagiarized and recast from earlier Mesopotamian accounts:

"...the ancient world had no proper titles, no sense of literary rights, and no aversion to what we call plagiarism. Succeeding ages often rewrote old texts to suit new language forms and tastes."

(p. 5. "Introduction." W.G. Lambert & A.R. Millard. Atra-Hasis, the Babylonian Story of the Flood. Oxford University. 1969, reprinted 1999 by Eisenbrauns, Winona Lake, Indiana)

An example of such a rewrite is the Sumerian version versus the Babylonian or Akkadian account:

"The Sumerian epic...comes closest to Atrahasis...Despite the similarity in content, the size is quite different (some 300 Sumerian as opposed to 1,245 Akkadian lines), and wording nowhere agrees."

(p. 14. W.G. Lambert & A.R. Millard. Atra-Hasis, the Babylonian Story of the Flood. Oxford University. 1969, reprinted 1999 by Eisenbrauns, Winona Lake, Indiana)

Professor Bright (1942) on a world encompassing flood's absence in the 3rd millennium B.C.:

"Has Archaeology Found Traces of the Flood?"

"...For excavations in Palestine and Syria the answer is an unqualified "No." In these two countries some of the oldest towns in the world have been excavated. We know now that Jericho was founded near the beginning of the Late Stone Age. While we cannot be certain that the town was first settled in such an early period, we can be sure that the town was first settled between about 5000 and 4500 B.C. This city and others in Palestine established after it show no evidence whatever of a flood...

1. The evidence from Ur...At Ur Wooley found a continuous occupation from the Early Dynastic back to the Obeid Period. In the middle of the Obeid level he found a stratum of river mud or deposit some ten feet thick -conclusive proof that a deluge had interrupted the occupation of the place, at least temporarily, during the fourth millennium. Wooley is confident that he has here the evidence of Noah's flood (see, for example, his Ur of the Chaldees [1929] p. 29) and his assurance is enthusiastically shared by most popular handbooks which deal with the subject.

2. The evidence from Kish. The excavations conducted at this site between 1923 and 1932 also yielded evidence of inundation. But the flood level here lies well within the Early Dynastic Period l that is, considerably later than 3000 BC and many centuries after the Ur flood deposit, The two cannot refer, therefore, to the same catastrophe (see Watelin and Langdon, Excavations at Kish, Vol, IV, pp. 40 ff.).

3. The evidence from Fara [ancient Shuruppak]. During the excavations at this site in 1931 a sterile, alluvial layer some two feet thick was found between the Jemdet Nasr and Early Dynastic layers -thus indicating an inundation at the site which was earlier than the one at Kish and yet much later than the one at Ur (see Schmidt, Museum Journal, XXII, 193 ff.). (pp. 34-35. John Bright. "Has Archaeology Found Any Evidence of the Flood?" pp. 32-40. G. Ernest Wright & David Noel Freedman, editors. The Biblical Archaeologist Reader. Chicago. Quadrangle Books. 1961. Reprinted from The Biblical Archaeologist. Vol. 5. pp. 55-62. 1942)

"This concludes the actual archaeological evidence bearing on the flood...Archaeology has given us no trace of it..." (p. 37. John Bright. "Has Archaeology Found Any Evidence of the Flood?" pp. 32-40. G. Ernest Wright & David Noel Freedman, editors. The Biblical Archaeologist Reader. Chicago. Quadrangle Books. 1961)

Noah's Flood is a myth, as determined over the past 100 years by Geologists and Archaeologists and is most probably a later reworking of the Shuruppak flood occurring in the 3rd millennium B.C., the same millennium the Bible (Jewish Massoretic Text) dates the event too.

I have suggested that the local Shuruppak flood of ca. 2900 B.C. caused by a swollen Euphrates river was transformed into a flood covering the world's mountains due to an error, the word KUR, meaning land, underworld, country, (temples were called Kur too) and mountain, perhaps, is "the mechanism" by which a flooded KUR-land, or KUR-temple became a flooded KUR-mountain which would imply all the world's mountains were flooded.

"_If_" the above Shuruppak bas-relief is of Ziusudra's boat, it was most likely a small shallow craft of wood like present-day marsh boats. The SMALL REED BOATS shown in the Neo-Assyrian bas-reliefs of Sennacherib ARE PROBABLY what Ziusudra's REED BOAT WAS ENVISIONED AS IN THE ATRA-KHASIS and GILGAMESH EPICS, BECAUSE THEY ARE SMALL ENOUGH TO BE CRAFTED FROM A SMALL REED HUT.  It is of course preposterous that a gigantic seven story cube-like boat is constructed of a small reed hut, but this was probably a "signal" from the storyteller to his audience that this was a "fable or tall-tale" and NOT to be considered a real event. I seriously doubt anyone tore down their house or temple to build a huge "multiple-storied" boat, be it of marsh reeds from a reed hut, temple or a wooden house. No god warned a man 7 days in advance of a flood, this too is myth. Ergo, the more likely reality is that a small wooden craft as portrayed in the bas-relief was either already built and "at hand" for the family to board upon their realizing that the unusually prolonged heavy rains striking the area, were precipitating a swollen, flooding Euphrates river. At most, only "a few" domesticated animals, male and female to assure replenishment of breeding stock lost to the flood waters of the Euphrates got into the boat with Ziusudra's family.

The strange description of the Shuruppak craft as being "roofed over like the Apsu," and of the dimensions of a huge cube, suggest to me that either Enki/Ea's Apsu house in the midst of the abyss is being envisoned by the storyteller as a model for this unusual craft, or Enki's reed-built shrine at Shuruppak is the model for the "Mesopotamian Noah's" Ark.

Finally, I understand that Enki/Ea later was transformed by the Hebrews into Yahweh-Elohim of Genesis. Both gods share similar motifs: 1) Both are responsible for man's creation; 2) Both make man to work in their garden which possesses fruit trees; 3) Both Deny man immortality; 4) Both permit man to acquire wisdom like a god; 5) Both confound the one language of the world in a babel of tongues; 6) Both initially deny man the knowledge it is wrong to be naked. (7) Both warn a man of a flood intended to destroy all of mankind, telling him to build a craft to save himself, family and animals. I also understand that Enlil who is portrayed as the prime instigator of the Flood and who blesses the Flood survivor after the event, has been combined with Enki to become Yahweh-Elohim.

Contradicting Flood Chronologies from Contradicting Bible Recensions and Scholars:

Professor Steibing on three different and _CONTRADICTING_ dates for God's creation of the world found in the book of Genesis as calculated by Jewish, Catholic and Protestant scholars:

"Most scholars agreed that the world was only about six thousand years old, though there was considerable disagreement over the exact date of the creation. Jewish rabbinical calculations from the Hebrew Massoretic Text showed that the world began 3,740 years before the Christian Era. Roman Catholic tradition, based on the Latin Vulgate translation of the Bible, placed the creation in 5199 B.C. And most English-speaking Protestants accepted the seventeenth-century Archbishop James Ussher's calculation of the time of creation, 4004 B.C. Ussher's dates were placed in the margins of early eighteenth-century editions of the King James version of the Bible, making them seem even more authoritive." (p. 32. "The Discovery of Prehistory." William H. Steibing Jr. Uncovering the Past. New York & Oxford. Oxford University Press. 1994 [1993 Prometheus Books])

A search of the internet using Google for various Creation and Flood Dates turned up a number of "surprises": there is NO consensus or agreement on when Creation occurred and therefore the date of the Flood varies with the various contradicting Creation dates. In addition, for any given manuscript, scholars disagree among themselves on the procedures to be employed in the counting of years to establish Creation and Flood dates.

One of the "problems" in an attempt to "fix a date" for the biblical Flood is that several different recensions exist of the Bible who's "ages" assigned to the Patriarchs (pre-flood and post-flood) in Genesis DISAGREE with each other, such as the Samaritan Pentateuch, the Septuaginta, the Latin Vulgate Bible, the King James Bible, and the Jewish Massoretic Text called the TANAKH and the Jewish Seder Olam Rabbah.

For an example of the "wildly differing ages" of Genesis' pre and post-flood patriarchs between the Septuaginta, the Bible of the early Christians and the modern Revised Standard Edition (Oxford University Press. 1977) please click here. For tables showing different Flood dates abstracted from various Bibles like the Septuaginta (Alexandrian and Vaticanus), Samaritan Pentateuch, Massoretic Text please click here.

Circa 3402 BC.............Date of the Flood from the Alexandrian Septuaginta. (Chart C).

Circa 3350 BC             The "earliest date" for the beginning of the Jemdat Nasr Period/Era
                                     according to Maisels (cf. below)

Circa 3342 BC.............Date of the Flood from the Alexandrian Septuaginta. (Chart B).

Circa 3302 BC.............Date of the Flood from the Vaticanus Septuaginta. (Chart C).

Circa 3242 BC.............Date of the Flood from the Alexandrian Septuaginta. (Chart B).

Circa 3213 BC.............Date of the Flood acording to Flavius Josephus, Jewish Historian.
                                           1st century AD. (Chart C).   

Circa 3171 BC.............Date of the Flood from the Samaritan Pentateuch. (Chart C).

Circa 3112 BC.............Date of the Flood from Samaritan Pentateuch. (Chart B).

Circa 3000 BC............Date of the Flood (David Livingston Ph.D., of Associates for Biblical Reseach).

Circa 2960 BC............Maisels'  "end" of Jamdet Nasr period (The Shuruppak Flood occuring in this Era).

Circa 2958 BC............Date of the Flood according to Eusebius' calculation (4th century AD) from the Greek Septuaginta
                                     noted by in the 5th century AD Jerome (Roman Catholic Latin Vulgate Bible).

Circa 2950 BC...........Date of the Shuruppak Flood (cf. MacDonald, who allows anywhere from 2950-2850 BC)                                                          
Circa 2903 BC............Date of the Flood from the Samaritan Bible
                                       (cf. below The on-line Catholic New Advent Bible Encyclopedia "Deluge" article). 
                                    
Circa 2900 BC............Date of the Shuruppak Flood according to archaeological findings
                                      (cf. below, Professor H.W.F. Saggs circa 2900 BC for the Shuruppak Flood). 
                                                    
Circa 2800 BC............The "latest date" for the "end" of the Jemdat Nasr Period or Era.

Circa 2750 BC           The Shuruppak Flood is dated ca. 2750 BC _in_ the Early Dynastic I Period
                                       by Trevor Palmer, Nottingham Trent University, United Kingdom (cf. below)
                                                              
Circa 2700 BC............Gilgamesh believed to have been a king of Uruk. In the Gilgamesh Epic
                                     he seeks out the Flood's survivor, Utnapishtim (the Mesopotamian Noah),
                                     formerly a king at Shuruppak where he was warned by his god to build a
                                     boat to save self, family and animals against a flood to be sent by the gods
                                     to destroy all mankind.

Circa 2648 BC.............Dean Coombs (Bible Prophecy website) notes _8_ "possible" dates for the Flood.

Circa 2600 BC.............Shuruppak limestone bas-relief showing men paddling a boat which might be the
                                      "original" boat behind the later "embellished" myths of reed-boats, reed-chests
                                         and the biblical Noah's "Ark."

Circa 2588 BC.............Dean Coombs.

Circa 2522 BC.............Flood Date Massoretic Text (Jewish). (Chart C).

Circa 2518 BC.............Dean Coombs.

Circa 2462 BC.............Flood Date Massoretic Text (Chart B).

Circa 2458 BC.............Dean Coombs.

Circa 2433 BC.............Dean Coombs.

Circa 2373 BC.............Dean Coombs.

Circa 2348 BC............Noah's Flood occurs according to Archbishop James Ussher (17th century AD)
                                        in  margins of many 18-19th century AD King James Version Bibles.
                                 
Circa 2345 BC........... Noah's Flood date according to Charles E. Sellier and David W. Balsinger (1995. cf. below)

Circa 2304 (+/- 11 yrs)...Date of the Flood according to J. Osgood Ph.D.

Circa 2303 BC.............Dean Coombs.

Circa 2243 BC.............Dean Combs.

Circa 2105 BC ...........Date of the Flood according to the Jewish Medieval sage Rashi's  calculation from the Jewish Bible.
                                   
Circa 2100 BC............3rd Dynasty of Ur (of the Chaldees) kings claim descent from Gilgamesh, idolizing him in poems.
                                                                            
Circa 2100 BC............Abraham and Terah at Ur of the Chaldees (according to Ussher), and later migrate to
                                      Haran in northern Mesopotamia.

Circa 2100 BC............Earliest "adventures" of Gilgamesh appear in Sumerian poems (p. xii. Foster)

Circa 1700 BC............Earliest Akkadian/Babylonian versions of Epic of Gilgamesh appear,
                                        reworking earlier Sumerian "adventures" of Gilgamesh (p. xiii. Foster)
                                     
Circa 1600 BC............Sumerian Atrahasis Flood account from Nippur, Flood hero is Ziusudra,
                                       a large boat is mentioned but nothing is said of how, when it was constructed
                                        or whether it was made of reeds or wood (p. 14.Lambert & Millard. 1969, 1999).

Circa 1500-1000 BC...."Middle Babylonian" versions of Epic of Gilgamesh. Shuruppak boat made of reed-hut.

Circa 1446-1406 BC....Moses writes the "Flood account" according to some Conservative Protestant scholars.
                                    
Circa 669-626 BC.......Epic of Gilgamesh version found in Assyrian king Asshurbanipal's library
                                      at Nineveh.

Circa 612 BC.............Fall of Nineveh to Medes and Chaldeans.

Circa 612-539 BC.....Rise and Fall of  the Neo-Babylonian Empire and fall of Assyria (612 BC)

Circa 560 BC..............Genesis-2Kings is composed in the Babylonian Exile (587-539 B.C.) by one author according to
                                       some scholars (cf. Whybray).

Circa 275 BC..............Berossos' Flood account appears in a History of Chaldea written in Greek.
                                      Xisuthros is Flood hero.


Professor Finegan has extracted from Jerome, Biblical Chronologies compiled from Eusebius:

From Adam to the flood the number of years is 2,242 (cf. p. 191. "Cumulative Summary Figures in the Introduction of the Chronicle of Eusebius. Table 98. Early Chroniclers and Chronographers." Jack Finegan. Handbook of Biblical Chronology, Principles of Time Reckoning in the Ancient World and Problems of Chronology in the Bible. Revised Edition. Peabody, Massachusetts. Hendrickson Publishers. 1964, 1998).

Adam's creation  is given as 5200 B.C. (p. 190. "Summary of the Chronicle of Eusebius in the Latin Version of Jerome. Table 97. Early Chroniclers and Chronographers." Jack Finegan. Handbook of Biblical Chronology, Principles of Time Reckoning in the Ancient World and Problems of Chronology in the Bible. Revised Edition. Peabody, Massachusetts. Hendrickson Publishers. 1964, 1998).

My note: subtract 2,242 years from 5200 B.C. and the Flood is dated according to Jerome (using Eusebius) to circa 2958 B.C. This date also appears in the Greek written Septuaginta Bible.

MacDonald (Ph.D. in Ancient History, a teacher at the University of Minnesota) dates the Shuruppak Flood anywhere from circa 2950 to 2850 B.C.  I note that a 2950 B.C. Flood is only 8 years off  from the Greek Septuaginta's 2958 B.C. Flood date:

"...excavations of a third Mesopotamian site, Shuruppak, also uncovered a flood stratum (Schmidt, 1931)...This flood level separated late Protoliterate and Early Dynastic I remains and dates from around 2950 to 2850 B.C...the deposit at Shuruppak is about fifteen inches..."

(David MacDonald. "The Flood: Mesopotamian Archaeological Evidence." 1988)

However, some scholars have dated the Shuruppak flood deposit to as late as 2750 B.C. and the Early Dynastic Period:

"On the other hand, at the nearby city of Shuruppak (the modern Fara), there was evidence of a flood during
the Early Dynastic Period, around 2750 B.C., and an alluvial deposit dating from around the same time was found at another Sumerian site, the city of Kish."

(Trevor Palmer, Nottingham Trent University, UK. Catastrophes: The Diluvial Evidence. Paper presented at the SIS Silver Jubilee conference at Easthamstead Park, 19 September 1999)
http://abob.libs.uga.edu/bobk/ccc/ce102899.html

For many Conservative scholars (Protestants), Arch-Bishop Ussher's 17th century A.D. chronology of the Bible gives Adam's creation as 4004 B.C. and the Flood as circa 2345 B.C. Apparently Eusebius and Jerome came up with different sums from Ussher. Why? The Catholic Bible is in part a recension of the 3rd century BC Septuaginta which preserves _different ages_ for the pre-flood patriarchs, giving a Creation date of ca. 5200 B.C. and Flood of 2958 B.C.

The Jewish TANAKH 1985 (Philadelphia, PA. The Jewish Publication Society) or Anno Mundi 5758, suggests creation was circa 3763 B.C. If 1656 years are subtracted from Adam to the Flood, it occured ca. 2107 B.C.

Professor Bailey noted that the Greek text (the Septuaginta) differed from the Hebrew text (the Massoretic text) on the years elpasing bewteen Creation and Noah's Flood:

"Whereas the traditional Hebrew Text (Massoretic Text) of Genesis 5 reports a total of 1656 years from the creation of the first human being to the coming of the great flood in Noah's time, the traditional Greek text (Septuaginta) gives a total of 2242 years..." (p. 186. "Elapsed Time from Adam to the Flood According to the Greek Bible (LXX)." Lloyd R. Bailey. Genesis, Creation and Creationism. New York & Mahwah, New Jersey. Paulist Press. 1993)

The Religious Tolerance Website ( http://www.religioustolerance.org/ev_date1.htm ) gives "numerous" Creation Dates, of which only "a few" are shown below:

5586 BC........The Septuaginta (a 3rd century BC bible written in Greek for Jews at Alexandria,
                       Egypt, used by early Christians and quoted from in the New Testament.
5555 BC........Flavius Josephus, a Jewish Historian of the 1st century AD who wrote a history of
                       the Jews, paraphrasing the Bible.
5508 BC........ Eastern Orthodox Church
5493 BC.........Ethiopian Church
5490 BC.........Syrian Christians
5481 BC.........Flavius Josephus' 2nd date for creation
5199 BC.........Pope Gregory XIII (1580)
4004 BC.........Arch-bishop James Ussher of Armagh, Ireland (17th century AD) appears in King
                       James Version of the Bible.
3761 BC.......Creation date from the Massoretic Text as found in the Jewish Seder Olam Rabbah.

I note that this year, 2006 A.D. (or C.E., "Common Era") is rendered by some Jewish authorities as 5766 from the Creation. For some Protestants, using Ussher's calculations this year would be 6010 from the Creation. For Catholics, using Eusebius' calculations, this year would be 7206 since the Creation.

One Jewish site, using the Medieval Jewish Sage Rashi's calculations, understood the Flood was ca. 2105 B.C.
(cf. "Chabad. Org. Calendar."   http://www.chabad.org/calendar/view/day.asp?tDate=11/19/2005&show=8 )

Professor Skinner on the elapsed years between the Creation and Flood noted for the Flood 1656 years in the Massoretic Text, 1307 years in the Samaritan Text, and 2242 years in the Septuaginta (cf. "Chronology Table," on p. 134. John Skinner. A Critical and Exegetical Commentary on Genesis. Edinburgh, Scotland. T & T Clark. 1910, 1930 revised edition, reprinted 1994).

Of all the above "many" proposals for the Creation of the World and the Flood, the one which most closely "aligns" with the Shuruppak Flood of circa 2900 B.C. _which I understand is the event being recalled in Noah's Flood_ is the Samartian Bible's 2903 B.C. Flood date appearing on the internet under the Catholic on-line New Advent Bible Encyclopedia and its article titled "The Deluge" (cf. below for details). The second closest date to the 2900 B.C. Shuruppak Flood date is "Roman Catholic" Flood date of circa 2958 B.C. (this date is derived from the Greek Septuaginta), as worked out by the 4th century A.D. Christian scholar Eusebius and preserved by Jerome in the 5th century A.D. 

All this is to say, that the chronological schema for a Flood is BEST PRESERVED by the Samaritan and Septuaginta Bibles.

Below is what I regard as a "typical" Christian Apologist refutation that the Bible has "borrowed" from Mesopotamian Flood myths Noah's Flood:

"A popular theory, proposed by liberal "scholars," said that the Hebrews "borrowed" from the Babylonians, but no conclusive proof has ever been offered. The differences, including religious, ethical, and sheer quantity of details, make it unlikely that the Biblical account was dependent on any extant source from the Sumerian traditions. This still does not stop these liberal and secular scholars from advocating such a theory. The most accepted theory among evangelicals is that both have one common source, predating all the Sumerian forms. The divine inspiration of the Bible would demand that the Genesis account is the correct version. Indeed the Hebrews were known for handing down their records and tradition. The Book of Genesis is viewed for the most part as an historical work, even by many liberal scholars, while the Epic of Gilgamesh is viewed as mythological. The One-source Theory must, therefore, lead back to the historical event of the Flood and Noah's Ark. To those who believe in the inspiration and infallibility of the Bible, it should not be a surprise that God would preserve the true account of the Flood in the traditions of His people. The Genesis account was kept pure and accurate throughout the centuries by the providence of God until it was finally compiled, edited, and written down by Moses. The Epic of Gilgamesh, then, contains the corrupted account as preserved and embellished by peoples who did not follow the God of the Hebrews." (Frank Lorey, M.A. "The Flood of Noah and the Flood of Gilgamesh." Please click on the following url for Lorey's article in its entirety http://www.icr.org/index.php?module=articles&action=view&ID=414 )

The problem in the above assertions? The biblical account does not tell us "where" Noah was at when God allegedly warned him to build the Ark. The Mesopotamian account furnishes the missing information, the Flood hero is residing at Shuruppak in Lower Mesopotamia. Shuruppak has been identified and excavated (1931) and it had only _one_ flood layer, dated to circa 2900 B.C. The Shuruppak Flood did not extend over all of Lower Mesopotamia, it was very local, of a flooding Euphrates and its canal serving Shuruppak. It would appear that the Mesopotamian account has been VINDICATED by archaeological findings at Tell Fara (ancient Shuruppak) and the Samaritan Bible's flood account is "somewhat" VINDICATED to the degree that its 2903 B.C. Flood date is very close to the 2900 B.C. Shuruppak Flood.  As noted earlier, archaeology has documented villages back to the 12th millennium B.C. in the Ancient near East, and no-where does there exist the evidence of a universal Flood sediment. Quite simply the Bible is wrong. It is not the word of God.

As noted above by Lorey, at least "some" Evangelical Scholars are willing to accept the notion that the Mesopotamian and Biblical accounts are recalling THE SAME EVENT, when differences arise in details the Bible "must always" trump the Pagan account. The COMMON EVENT IS THE SHURUPPAK FLOOD of 2900 B.C.

Lorey's Chrisitian Apologetic _assumes_ that a Holy Spirit really exists and that it is responsible for the Bible's creation. The claim is made that this Holy Spirit is still alive and well today, guiding the pious and preserving God's Holy Word from the machinations of Satan. The Holy Spirit is also envisoned as guiding the pious in correct doctrines and dogmas. All of these assertions are of course nonsense. What is the proof they are nonsense?

The proofs there is no HOLY SPIRIT:

1. As noted by Professor Steibing we have three Bibles, Jewish, Catholic and Protestant, each _contradicting_ the other on when the world was created and consequently when the Flood occurred. If there was a "real" Holy Spirit, it would be able to keep God's Holy Word from being corrupted into contradicting chronologies with different ages for the Pre and Post Flood patriarchs. The faithful's response is that ONLY the original writings were without error, they are now lost and consequent copies introduced man-made errors. This "favorite" excuse or "Apologetic" though _really is AN AFFRONT to the Holy Spirit_ because it implies the Holy Spirit is impotent and unable to preserve God's Holy Word from man-made errors. Satan has then TRIUMPHED over God and the Holy Spirit by corrupting with man-made errors ALL the Holy Texts ("Recensions"). Consequently the churches founded on these error-riddled texts are possibly erecting their dogmas and doctrines on error. No one today can say which Bible is the real "error-free" text. We are asked to believe that the error-riddled texts should be accepted as evidence of God's "inerrant" Holy Word and that a Holy Spirit is alive and well today and unconcerned about the errors.

Please click here for my article on "Is the Bible Errant or Inerrant?"

2. If the Holy Spirit was real and still alive today, it would NOT permit the various Christian faiths to contradict each other as to what constitutes correct doctrines. Christianity has fragmented into hundreds of denominations, each accusing the other as being under Satan's power and embracing false dogmas. In past ages Christians slaughtered each other over doctrinal differences, claiming others were under Satan's power, teaching the doctrines of men for God's Holy Word (The 16th century A.D. Protestant vs. Catholic wars of the Reformation which decimated hundreds of thousands of men, women and children). In this age Christians tortured Christians to confess to heresy, then they were burned alive at the stake in public spectacles called Auto-da-fe's. Supposedly the Holy Spirit had told Christians to "turn the other cheek and pray for their abusers," NOT torture and burn alive their enemies. I have no doubts or illusions that these "pious" Christians believed that the Holy Spirit was directing them to treat their Christan opponents in such a barbaric manner.

3. As noted elsewhere on this website, the Bible contains numerous failed prophecies. God allegedly warned his people NOT TO BELIEVE a prophet UNTIL the prophecy was fufilled (De 18:20-22). CONTRA God's instructions, ALL of the above faiths, Christian and Jewish, tell their congregations to IGNORE GOD, the "failed prophecies" will be fufilled in some future age. If there was a real Holy Spirit, it would not tolerate this nonsense being preached. The Holy Spirit was quite adamant that the only way to know if a prophet was false or not was to WAIT for the prophecy to be fulfilled, which NULLIFES Christianity's and Judaism's claims the prophecies are for a future age. All (Christian and Jew) are guilty of teaching that the prophets should be believed despite the failure of _ALL_ the prophecies to materialize. Please click here for my article on "Christianity's Flawed Methodologies Regarding Claims to Fulfilled Prophecies."

4. Had the Holy Spirit been "real", Geologists and Archaeologists would have found the remains of Noah's world-wide Flood in the context of a 3rd millennium B.C. world as Genesis' chronology suggests a 3rd millennium B.C. Flood. They did not. What they found was the evidence of the Shuruppak Flood of circa 2900 B.C., which was a flooding Euphrates river and canal. Some 17 paralllels exist between the Bible's Flood and the Shuruppak Flood, leading some scholars to concede both accounts, pagan and biblical are recalling the same historical event. The Mesopotamian myths state that Shuruppak was destroyed by the flood, and a two foot alluvial clay deposit exits at Shuruppak (Tell Fara) dating circa 2900 B.C. Archaeology has vindicated the Shuruppak flood tradition, the last of the Antediuvian cities in Mesopotamian tradition. For an in depth article on the non-existence of a Holy Spirit please click here for my article titled "The Reception of God's Holy Spirit: How the Hebrew Prophets _contradict_ Christianity's Teachings."

Because Christians believe in a Holy Spirit, and its Bible, some fundamentalists reject the findings of Archaeology and Geology and make "silly claims" that the world of the Dinosaurs is Noah's Flood because the Bible dates the creation of the earth and universe to 4004 B.C. in some King James Version Bibles.

Two Christian scholars Sellier and Balsinger understand Noah's Flood destroyed the dinosaurs ca. 2345 B.C:

"Imagine a world of huge dinosaurs, gigantic flying birds, and enormous plants and you probably have a good picture of what the earth was like in Noah's time." (p. 58. Charles E. Sellier & David W. Balsinger. The Incredible Discovery of Noah's Ark. New York. Dell Books. 1995)

"...based on Noah's records found in the Genesis account, and astronomical computer analysis, we determined that he began building the ark in 2465 B.C., with the first rains falling in 2345 B.C..."
(p. 14. Charles E. Sellier & David W. Balsinger. The Incredible Discovery of Noah's Ark. New York. Dell Books. 1995)

Walton identifies himself as a bible-believing evangelical scholar:

"I believe in the authority of the Old Testament as the Word of God and would categorize myself as an evangelical." (p. 16. "Introduction." John H. Walton. Ancient Israelite Literature In Its Cultural Context. A Survey of Parallels Between Biblical and Ancient Near Eastern Texts. Grand Rapids, Michigan. Zondervan Publishing House.1989, 1990 Revised edition)

Walton on the biblical Flood account noting some Conservative bible-believing scholars will not accept the notion it is borrowed from Mesopotamian myths (Emphasis mine):

"While most scholars are content to assume that the Mesopotamian account is the ultimate source of flood traditions which are reflected in the Genesis account (readily acknowledging the complexity of attempting to reconstruct the exact path of transfer) there is a minority of scholars who finds this assumption unacceptable. FOR THEOLOGICALLY CONSERVATIVE SCHOLARS, IT IS UNACCEPTABLE TO UNDERSTAND THE GENESIS ACCOUNTS AS VARIATIONS OF BABYLONIAN MYTHS. THE AUTHORITY OF THE BIBLE IS A PRESUPPOSITION THAT NEEDS TO BE DEFENDED AND IS THREATENED BY THEORIES THAT SUGGEST THAT THE NARRATIVES OF GENESIS ARE DEMYTHOLOGIZATIONS RATHER THAN REVEALED TRUTH. THERE IS THEN A VESTED INTEREST OF FAITH that must be considered when examining the relationship of the respective literatures of Israel and Babylon." (p. 39. "Cosmology." John H. Walton. Ancient Israelite Literature In Its Cultural Context. A Survey of Parallels Between Biblical and Ancient Near Eastern Texts. Grand Rapids, Michigan. Zondervan Publishing House.1989, 1990 Revised edition)

Professor Millard (being quoted by Professor Walton; brackets [ ] and Emphasis are mine):

"The two accounts [Babylonian and Hebrew] UNDOUBTEDLY DESCRIBE THE SAME FLOOD, the two schemes relate the same sequence of events." (p. 40. "Cosmology." John H. Walton. Ancient Israelite Literature In Its Cultural Context. A Survey of Parallels Between Biblical and Ancient Near Eastern Texts. Grand Rapids, Michigan. Zondervan Publishing House.1989, 1990 Revised edition).

For my part, I have NEVER encountered an Apologist who "connected _all_the dots" for his readership showing that the Shuruppak flood dated to the 3rd millennium B.C. is the very SAME MILLENNIUM the Samaritan, Catholic and Protestant Bibles date the Flood to. Nor do these Apologists bother noting for their readership that there is geologically NO EVIDENCE of a 3rd millennium B.C. Flood anywhere in the Ancient near East. How do they handle this information which has been around since 1931? Easy, they just turn a blind eye to it and ignore it (what their congregations don't know won't hurt them)!

Professor William H. Shea, a devout 7th Day Adventist scholar, has written an article challenging the notion that Noah's Flood is recalling a "local" flood in Mesopotamia. The problem? I find his "methodologies" and "arguments" seriously flawed. His conclusion is that this notion is preposterous because the Bible says Noah's flood covered the whole world. In other words, because of his "faith committment" he cannot accept archaeological and geological findings that there was never a universal flood. Let us look at Shea's arguments and take them apart and show why they are flawed.

Shea:

"The local flood theory raises many problems, which may be examined from three different perspectives: archaeology, linguistics, and literary traditions. Such an examination will determine whether the biblical flood story ultimately goes back to the story of a local river flood in Mesopotamia or to the Bible as a historical record of a universal deluge."

Shea notes that under "Archaeology" Lower Mesopotamia was subjected to repeated floods in antiquity and archaeologists have dated them to different eras at different sites. There is no era where all the sites were engulfed simultaneously.

Shea notes under "Linguistics" that the Akkadian word for the flood is abubu and suggests Hebrew mabbul is related and describing the same flood event.

Shea notes under "Literary Traditions" that both the Mesopotamian and biblical accounts suggest a unversal flood occurred wiping out _all_ of mankind except those on the boat.

Shea's conclusion on the above "three tests: Archaeology, Linguistics and Literary Comparsion":

"The biblical flood story comes close...but makes a moral distinction that the Mesopotamian version does not. God was disgusted with the wickedness of humankind, but he decided to rescue the few righteous in the world through the use of Noah's ark (Genesis 6:4-8). One cannot do this on either the Biblical or the Babylonian scale with only a local river valley flood. A universal deluge that virtually wipes out humankind is required."

Shea then follows up noting the universality of flood traditions in cultures from all over the world as support for the universal flood. He also notes fossils in mountains suggesting the flood covered them.

The problems?

Archaeology: While Shea does note that Shuruppak was excavated in 1931 and found to have flood sediment from a flooding Euphrates canal circa 2900 B.C. and that the Mesopotamian flood hero was from this city HE NEGLECTS TO MENTION that the Samaritan Bible dates the Flood to 2903 B.C. a scant 3 years off from the 2900 B.C. Shuruppak Flood while the Roman Catholic Bible dates Noah's Flood to 2958 B.C., a scant 58 years from the 2900 B.C. Shuruppak flood. He also NEGLECTS TO MENTION that Geologists and Archaeologists have found _no_ evidence of a universal flood ANYWHERE in the ancient Near East (Egypt, Sinai, Canaan, Phoenicia, Syria, Mesopotamia, Turkey, Iran) for the 3rd millennium B.C. when the Bible dates this event (Protestant Bibles dating Noah's flood ca 2348 B.C.). He also NEGLECTS TO MENTION that archaeologists have dated villages in Turkey, Syria and Iraq to as early as the 12th millennium B.C. and that they have found no evidence of a universal flood sediment from that time frame up to the modern day.

He also NEGLECTS TO MENTION that when the flood traditions from all over the world were compared with the findings of trained Anthroplogists, Archaeologists and Geologists that they were found not to be all from the same moment in time, nor alike in details, nor were they in the 3rd millennium B.C. when Genesis dates the flood.

He NEGLECTS TO MENTION under his "geological flood proofs" of fossils that Geologists date these fossil-bearing strata which appear all over the world to different eras MILLIONS OF YEARS AGO _NOT_ THE 3rd MILLENNIUM B.C.

The "best" he can come up with from his Christian Apologist point of view is that a local flooding canal of the Euphrates at Shuruppak is impossible as being behind Noah's flood because this disagrees with the Mesopotamian and Biblical accounts of a universal flood destroying all of mankind except those on the boat. In other words, for Shea, two "literary compositions" mentioning a universal flood, Mesopotamian and Biblical, "trump" the findings of Archaeology, Anthropology and Geology. Please click here to read Shea's article. He therefore rejects Secular Humanists' and Liberal scholars' declaration that the Shuruppak flood of ca. 2900 B.C. is what is behind the Mesopotamian and Biblical traditions.

Professor Hoerth (1998) on there being _no_ evidence of Noah's Flood in Mesopotamia and devout Christians ("flood geologists") refusal to accept the findings of Geologists:

"Evidence of the biblical flood has not been found in the silt layers of Mesopotamia. "Flood geologists" claim that the greatest event of all time was the Noachian flood, which laid down many if not all of the rock strata in the earth's crust. To them, evidence of the flood can be seen in geology. On the other hand, geologists claim that no one trained in their discipline accepts such a theory."

(pp. 190-191. "The Flood." Alfred J. Hoerth. Archaeology and the Old Testament. Grand Rapids, Michigan. Baker Books. 1998)

Professor Hoerth lists 14 parallels shared by Noah's Flood and the Shuruppak Flood in the Epic of Gilgamesh:

1. The flood was divinely planned.
2. The flood was connected with the defection of the human race from God/the gods.
3. A divine revelation to the hero of the deluge tells of an imminent disaster that no one else knows about.
4. A ship is built, pitched inside and out.
5. The family of the hero is saved.
6. The living creatures that are to be saved are put abroad.
7. A storm brings on the flood.
8. Everyone not on the ship is destroyed.
9. The duration of the flood is specified.
10. The ship lands on a mountain.
11. Birds are sent out to see whether the water has receded.
12. Sacrifice is offered to and accepted by the deity.
13. The hero receives a special blessing.
14. There is reference to the possibility of no future flood.

(pp. 195-196. "The Flood." Alfred J. Hoerth. Archaeology and the Old Testament. Grand Rapids, Michigan. Baker Books. 1998)

My personal investigations into the "pre-biblical origins" of the Sabbath have identified the Mesopotamian Flood myth found in the Epic of Gilgamesh and Atrahasis as THE SOURCE of the Bible's Sabbath (Hebrew Shabbat). The methodology employed was quite simple, I asked myself, "Does there exist in _any_ Mesopotamian myth, a statement about gods resting on a seventh day?" The answer was yes,  ALL THE GODS RESTED ON THE SEVENTH DAY after destroying mankind who's noise prevented them from resting by day and sleeping by night. I understand that the six days and nights that the gods destroyed the earth and all that dwelt on it with their flood, was transformed by the Hebrews via a reversal/inversion into a God creating the earth and populating it, then setting aside the seventh day for his rest. Please click here for all the details.

My research on the "pre-biblical origins" of who Japheth "_really was_" who appears on Noah's Ark, has determined that he is the Greek Titan called Iapetos (Japethus). Iapetos' descendants survive a flood in Greek myths called the flood of Deucalion, in Greece. For the story of how Deucalion's flood came to be "erroneously" assimilated and merged by the Jews in the 7th/6th century BC with their traditions of Noah's Flood (based on the Shuruppak Flood of 2900 B.C.) please click here.

As noted above, George Smith in 1872 discovered the Mesopotamian Flood Account on clay tablets  brought to the British Museum in London for study and originally found in the Library of the 7th century B.C. Assyrian king Ashurbanipal at Nineveh. Smith noted that the Flood hero lived at Shuruppak which he rendered "Surippak". Eventually this city was identified and excavated by Eric Schmidt (1930-1931) on behalf the the Pennsylvania Museum and the University of Pennsylvania. He established that the Mesopotamian Flood myths were "partially correct" - a Flood had left its two-foot layer of sediment at the site ca. 2900 B.C. However, the flood layer was very local, and did not include all of Lower Mesopotamia. It was concluded on the basis of the archaeological evidence that the Mesopotamian Flood Account was an "embellished tall-tale."

It has been over 75 years now since Schmidt's excavations and the conclusions reached by many so-called "Liberal Bible Scholars" is that since Noah's Flood shares so many parallels with the Shuruppak Flood, the former is derived from the latter.

However, since that time (1931), Conservative Bible scholars are still in defiant "denial" of the irrefutable evidence. They have a lot to loose if they accept the Shuruppak Flood as being what's behind Noah's Flood (Ge 6:17-11:10): the claim that the Bible is God's inerrant word will be "compromised", so too the claims in the New Testament alluding to Noah's Flood (cf. Matthew 24:37-39; Luke 17:26-27; 2 Peter 2:5); not only Christendom "has its back up against the wall," so too does Judaism and Islam, for these faiths also accept Noah's Flood as a real event.

I have yet to read a "convincing" argument from the Apologists, be they Christian, Jewish or Moslem as to why the Shuruppak Flood is _not_ what is behind Noah's Flood. It shares many of the same details, it is located in the 3rd milllennium B.C. which is the same millennium the Bible dates the event to. Archaeology and Geology have found no evidence of a 3rd millennium B.C. universal flood in the Ancient Near Eastern world be it Egypt, Israel, Syria or Mesopotamia.

I doubt the day will ever come that the Apologists will admit they are wrong, and concede that Noah's Flood is based on an "embellished" and exaggerated account of a local river flood at Shuruppak. The Mesopotamian account has the Flood lasting only 7 days. The Bible grossly expanded the 7days to 40 days of flooding (Ge 7:17). I have noted that the possible "mechanism" behind the Flood covering "mountains" in the Mesopotamian accounts is the word kur meaning mountain, country, land, underworld and even temple. Via either a _mistake, or playful "tongue-in-cheek" punning_ by an ancient author with a wry sense of humor, a flooded land (kur) about Shuruppak became a flooded mountain (kur) implying for "later" readers that all the world's mountains were inundated.

Kramer and Maier noted that Enki was famed as a "trickster" god, his statements often having "double-meanings" which ensnare and confuse the unsuspecting audience. He told his servant Adapa not to eat the "bread of death" or drink the "water of death" when presented by Anu. When Anu presented Adapa "bread of life" and "water of life" Adapa refused to eat or drink, thereby losing a chance to obtain immortality for himself and mankind. When the Mesopotamian Noah asked Enki what he was to say to folk about the gigantic boat he was building so to to not alert them of a pending flood he was told to repeat a phrase that had double-meanings, tricking the audience into not being aware of an immanent flood:

"The advice...is given Atrahasis, called Utnapishtim in Gilgamesh and identified here as the "man" of the city of Shuruppak...The ironic lines are clever, for they are to convince the residents of the city to help build the boat -without their knowing the terrible events to follow. Ea's [Enki's] advice just skirts the lie..."

(cf. p. 132. Samuel Noah Kramer & John Maier. Myths of Enki, The Crafty God. New York. Oxford University Press. 1989).

I am sure that if the ancient Mesopotamian author could be brought back to life, he would be amazed that his tongue-in-cheek farcial "Tall-Tale" or "Yarn" came to accepted as "Gospel Truth" by later generations, and that three great monolithic faiths would arise using his nonsense: Judaism, Christianity and Islam.

What are "the clues" or "signals" utilized by the Mesopotamian author to "alert" his audience that the Shuruppak Flood is "nonsense" and only to be regarded as a "Tall-Tale" or "Yarn"? 

(1) A _SMALL_ REED HUT is to be torn  down and A _GIGANTIC_ BOAT, seven stories in height is made in only 7 days to hold "the seed of all living things" and punting poles will navigate this monstrosity!

(2) In only 7 days time the seed of _all_ living things, meaning animals domestic and wild, will assemble at one location, Shuruppak, to board the reed boat upon its completion on the 7th day.

(3) The Flood lasting only 7 days generates enough water to cover the tops of all the world's mountains.

(4) The Flood drains from the earth in only 7 days' time, whereupon all the living exit the boat.

(5) Shuruppak's excavation in 1931 revealed the Flood was a caused by the Euphrates river ca. 2900 B.C. and the two foot alluvial sediment which was deposited did NOT cover any kur (mountains), the only kur it covered was a kur (land) in the vicinity of the city. This deposit screams loud and clear that the Mesopotamain notion that the Shuruppak flood covered the world's mountains is nonsense.

Any rational thinking individual should have no problem spotting the above four "signals" from the Mesopotamian author as an "alert" that the story is to be regarded as a Tall-Tale or "Yarn."  Sadly, these signals came to be overlooked with the passage of time and later generations came to foolishly believe this farcial "Myth" or "Tall-Tale" and even embellish it by extending the length of time of the Flood from 7 days to 40 days (Genesis 7:17), and extending the recession of the Floodwaters from 7 days to 150 days (Genesis 8:3) in order _to make the Flood MORE BELIEVEABLE_, after all, 7 days is really too hard to swallow as Gospel Truth, for a Flood to cover the world's mountain tops!  Please click here for an in-depth presentation of various objections raised by Scientists to Noah's Flood being a real event.

As for the "silly" claims of some Conservative Bible scholars that Noah's Flood was the world of the dinosaurs, and that the dinosaurs were destroyed in Noah's Flood in the 3rd millennium BC (based on the biblical chronology), the records of Mesopotamia _BELIE_ this nonsense. As noted earlier by Lambert and Millard, there is NO appearance of a "Flood Tradition" in the 3rd millennium B.C. records of Mesopotamia, the "Flood Tradition" makes its FIRST APPEARANCE in the early 2d millennium B.C., _AFTER_ the Shuruppak Flood of circa 2900 B.C., that is to say the "Flood Tradition" arises _after_ an interval of almost 1000 years, which is "plenty of time" for the Shuruppak event to become garbled and embellished into a "Worldwide Flood". Shuruppak has _no_ dinosaur fossils in its flood layer, nor do any of the "other pre-flood cities" mentioned in the Mesopotamian texts and excavated by archaeologists (some texts enumerating 8, others 10 pre-flood cities in Mesopotamia).

Lambert and Millard on the "absence" of any mention of a "Great Flood" in Mesopotamian texts of the 3rd millennium but its appearance in texts of the 2d millennium B.C.:

"All the material in list form just described is from the first half of the second millennium B.C. So far there is no evidence for this tradition of a great flood among the Sumerians of the third millennium." (p. 16. "Introduction." W. G. Lambert & A. R. Millard.
Atra-Hasis, The Babylonian Story of the Flood. Winona Lake, Indiana. Eisenbrauns. 1969 Oxford University Press. Reprint 1999 by Eisenbrauns)

Maisels (PhD. in Anthropology, University of Edinburgh, Scotland) dated the Jemdet Nasr period as circa 3350 to 2960 B.C. and Early Dynastic I as circa 2960 to 2760 B.C. (cf. p. 133. fig. 5.1 "Periodization of Mesopotamian History." Charles Keith Maisels.
The Emergence of Civilization From hunting and gathering to agriculture, cities, and the state in the Near East. London & New York. Routledge. 1990, 1993. Note: Maisels has a PhD in Anthropology from the University of Edinburgh, Scotland)

David R. Harris, the Director of the Institute for Archaeology, London made the following endorsement of Maisels' book:

"The strength of Maisels' approach to his grand theme lies precisely in its breadth...it is generously illustrated with diagrams, maps and graphs...both scholarly and accessible to non-specialists; indeed it is a tour de force."

The Flood Layer at Shuruppak (Tel Fara) brought to an end the Jemdet Nasr era at that location. The city was rebuilt but not directly over the flooded site in the Early Dynastic I period. The Roman Catholic Bible, as noted earlier (above) dated Noah's Flood to circa 2958 B.C. on the basis of the chronology worked out by Eusebius in the 4th century A.D. and preserved by Jerome in the 5th century A.D. Maisels dated the end of Jemdet Nasr as ca. 2960 B.C. The Roman Catholic Flood date of 2958 B.C. is then _only two years_ off the mark for the circa 2960 B.C. Shuruppak Flood event. I find this "near-alignment" of Flood dates quite amazing! I do, however, realize that the Shuruppak Flood is dated by various scholars anywhere from circa 3000 to 2800 B.C. Yet Maisel's 2960 B.C. "end date" for Jemdet Nasr and the Shuruppak Flood ending Jemdet Nasr at Tell Fara and the Catholic Flood date of 2958 B.C. are "worth noting" in my view. In any event, the below 3200-2800 B.C. "range of dates" for the Jemdet Nasr period _BRACKETS_ the Roman Catholic Bible's 2958 B.C. date for Noah's Flood:

The dating for the Jemdet Nasr Period varies among scholars: 3350-2960 B.C.; 3200-3000 B.C.; 3100-2900 B.C.; 3000-2900 B.C.; 3000-2800 B.C.:

Maisels suggests 3350-2960 B.C. for the Jemdat Nasr Period (cf. p. 133. fig. 5.1 "Periodization of Mesopotamian History." Charles Keith Maisels. The Emergence of Civilization From hunting and gathering to agriculture, cities, and the state in the Near East. London & New York. Routledge. 1990, 1993. ISBN 0-415-096596. paperback. Note: Maisels has a PhD in Anthropology from the University of Edinburgh, Scotland).

Gwendolyn Leick. p. 278,  3200-3000 B.C. Jemdet Nasr period (Mesopotamia, the Invention of the City. London. Penguin Books. 2001).

Michael Roaf. p. 68 "...Jemdet Nasr period (about 3100-2900 B.C.)..." Cultural Atlas of Mesopotamia and the Ancient Near East. New York. Facts on File. 1990.

"...our understanding of Mesopotamian society during a short period, lasting about one century, around 3000-2900 B.C.E. This time-span, named Jemdet Nasr after the site..." (British School of Archaeology, Iraq. "Jemdet Nasr: a place and a period.")
http://www.britac.ac.uk/institutes/iraq/newjemdet.htm

"Important Sumer City States"
"The Jemdet Nasr Period lasted from 3200 to 2900 B.C."
http://ancientneareast.tripod.com/Sumer.html

"The urban revolution or the building of the first cities took place in 3100 - 2900 B.C. in the transition from prehistory to history." (John Heise. "The First Cities: Jemdet Nasr Period")
http://ancientneareast.tripod.com/Jemdet_Nasr.html

Jemdet Nasr ca. 2,800 B.C. (A seal is being described and dated)
Diyala Project. The Oriental Institute of Chicago.
http://oi.uchicago.edu/OI/PROJ/DIY/Photos/kh6_0346.html

Saggs (Professor Emeritus of Semitic Languages at University College, Cardiff, Wales) on the date of the Flood associated with Shuruppak as being circa 2900 B.C. (Note: SKL is an abbreviation for The Sumerian King List which mentions kings who reigned before and after "the Flood"; ED is an abbreviation for Early Dynastic Period) (emphasis mine):

"The biblical story of the Flood has its counterpart (and perhaps its origin) in Mesopotamian tradition. Since major floods have always been a threat to south Mesopotamia the question arises: was the Mesopotamian tradition simply a mythological expression of a constant anxiety, or was it based on the memory of some particular flood of unparalleled magnitude? If the latter, what was the date of the Flood?

Mesopotamian records offer some clues on when the Flood was believed to have occurred. According to the Epic of Gilgamesh, Gilgamesh went to consult Uta-napishtim, the sole survivor from the Flood, to discover how he obtained eternal life (see pp. 111-112). Behind the Gilgamesh traditions was a real person, who lived at about 2700 B.C., and the epic represents Uta-napishtim's exploits as remote in time from Gilgamesh, implying an interval of at least two centuries. This makes 2900 B.C. the latest date for Uta-napishtim's Flood. SKL places the Flood before the First Dynasty of Kish, which would be compatible with this.

At several south Mesopotamian sites excavators came upon layers of apparently water-laid silt, prima facie indicating a major flood. One such, found by Sir Leonard Wooley at Ur in 1928-29, lay immediately above the final phase of the Ubaid level, indicating a date not later than 3500 B.C., too early to fit the Gilgamesh tradition; it has been suggested that this layer was not water-laid but wind-blown sand, but this has not been substaniated. At Kish three or four different flood layers were identified, the earliest from the beginning of the ED period, at about 2900 B.C. There is also evidence from Fara, the site of Shuruppak, the city with which the Epic of Gilgamesh links Uta-napishtim. Here there was a layer of alluvial sterile clay and sand, datable to the beginning of the ED period, which could correspond with the earliest flood stratum at Kish.

On balance, the archaeological evidence seems to point to a flood of particular severity at about 2900 B.C., which might be the basis of literary themes about a world-wide Flood, attested first in Mesopotamia and then in other parts of the ancient Near East."

(pp. 38-39. "The Flood: archaeological and literary data." H. W. F. Saggs. Babylonians. [Peoples of the Past Series]. Berkeley & Los Angeles. University of California Press. 2000. Also published in the United Kingdom under the Trustees of the British Museum at the Bath Press. Bath, England. 2000)

What was "the moral" in crafting the Shuruppak Flood for the Mesopotamian audience? The Mesopotamians portrayed their gods as being very human, like humans they possessed unflattering personalities and shortcomings. Enlil "lord wind" (Akkadian Ellil) who instigated the Flood is portrayed as somewhat rash, not thinking through the future implications of the demise of all mankind vis-a-vis the gods to achieve his rest from mans' constant noise. He fails to consider that with man gone the gods will have to return to their earthly gardens and hoe them themselves, onerous work which they hated, thus the reason why they made man to work in their gardens. They will also have to feed themselves, man will not be around as their slave or servant to pour out drink offerings and make food offerings in the temples.

The Flood taught the gods a valuable lesson. THEY NEEDED MAN, they could not afford to act rashly again and seek the demise of all mankind with another Flood. Genesis _DENIES_ this portrayal of WHY man was made to work in Yahweh's garden and WHY Yahweh decided to destroy mankind in a Flood.

The Mesopotamian Flood myth then did NOT understand that the Flood was sent because Man was a terribly evil SINNER and was shedding the blood of his fellow men, it was "his noise" that disturbed Enlil's rest by day and sleep by night that brought on the Flood.

Where then did Genesis get the notion of a Flood sent to destroy an "evil" or SINFUL mankind? I suspect the answer lies in Enki's (Akkadian Ea) plea to Enlil not to send another Flood to destroy man. Enki tells Enlil in the future, take only the SINNER'S LIFE, not the lives of _all_ mankind (implying Enlil has acted ignobly in destroying innocent people along with sinners). I understand Genesis has expanded this motif making all of mankind "sinners" (only evil-hearted from their youth and violent Ge 6:5,13, 8:21) in the pre-Flood world and thus deserving of the destruction wrought on them by Yahweh. Surprisingly the Mesopotamian Flood stories (Atrahasis and the Epic of Gilgamesh) portray the gods terrified and in remorseful tears as they witness mankind's destruction by the Flood. Ishtar (Sumerian Inanna) cries out like a woman in travail that she is ashamed of herself for voting in the council of the gods for man's destruction, for she "gave birth to mankind" as a mother-goddess. Only Enlil who instigated the Flood is without remorse and sheds no tears, he is infuriated any humans have survived. Yahweh-Elohim's lack of remorse in destroying man seems best mirrored in Enlil (Akkadian Ellil). Of interest here is that in other myths Enlil at Nippur had man created to serve in his city-garden to end the mutiny of the Igigi gods who objected to the back-breaking toil. Man's purpose in life will be to work in a god's city-garden forevermore, planting the crops, weeding, and presenting food to the gods that they may be at ease from toil upon the earth.

In the Mesopotamian myths both Enlil and Enki are credited with making man to work in their city gardens at Nippur and Eridu. Enlil sends a Flood to destroy his creation, man. Enki defies Enlil and warns one man, Ziusudra to make a boat and save self, family and animals. After the Flood Enki beseeches Enlil to never send another Flood. Enlil assents and then gives his blessing to the survivors. In the Bible Yahweh instigates the Flood, warns Noah to build an ark and save self, family and animals, and Yahweh blesses Noah after the Flood. I understand that Enlil and Enki have been fused together and recast as Yahweh while  Ziusudra has become Noah.

How did the Mesopotamian Flood hero whose name is variously rendered Ziusudra, Utnapishtim, or Atra-khasis come to obtain the Hebrew name of Noah?

The Hebrew scholar Rabbi Cassuto on an "anomaly" regarding the meaning of Noah's name:

Genesis 5:28-29 RSV

"When Lamech had lived a hundred and eighty-two years, he became the father of a son, and he called his name Noah, saying, "Out of the ground which the Lord has cursed this one shall bring us relief [niham] from our work and from the toil of our hands." (Hebrew niham: "to comfort")

"This one shall bring us comfort-" This etymology does not fit the root nuah. As far back as Rabbinic times
(Bereshith Rabba xxv2) it was observed that 'the explanation does not correspond to the name nor the name to the explanation. The text should have either, Noah- this one will give us rest; or Nachman- this one will bring us comfort [yenahmenu]." (p. 288. Umberto Cassuto. A Commentary on the Book of Genesis, From Adam to Noah. Jerusalem. Magness Press. The Hebrew University. 1944 [in Hebrew]. 1989 English edition)

Cassuto noted that the root nuah pronounced nuach/nuakh means "rest." I understand that in the Mesopotamian myths ONLY ONE MAN ATTAINS IMMORTALITY, Ziusudra. We are told he is given life eternal like a god and settled in Dilmun, in the east where the sun rises. When Gilgamesh finds him he is _lying about on his back_ "like a god," that is to say he does not have to toil in the gods' gardens like the rest of mankind. The gods enjoy an eternal REST from toil, for they have made man to toil in the gods' gardens on their behalf and present the harvest to them in food offerings. Thus, because the Flood hero enjoys a REST FROM TOIL like the gods, I suspect he got the epithet NUACH or NUAH (English Noah). That is to say He is the one that enjoys a REST FROM TOIL in the gods' gardens.

Regarding the motif of Noah's getting drunk on wine, this may be a reworking of the Atrahasis and Gilgamesh Flood myths. The Mesopotamian Noah is the "provider of the wine" for his workers. In the Bible Noah is credited as being the "provider of wine" for mankind via the planting of the "first" vinyard.

"Bullocks I slaughtered for [the people];
Sheep I killed every day.
Must, red wine, oil, and white wine,
[I gave] the workman [to drink] as if it were river water,
[So that] they made a feast as on New Year's Day."

(p. 83. Alexander Heidel. The Gilgamesh Epic and Old Testament Parallels. Chicago. University of Chicago Press. 1946, 1949, reprint 1993)

"I poured out a libation on the peak of the mountain...
The gods smelled the savor...
gathered like flies over the sacrificer..."

(p. 87. Heidel)

The Mesopotamian Noah, Atrahasis, is the one who "who went in and out" (of the Ark or great boat?) while the workers, outside the boat were feasting upon its completion. He is nervous, knowing they will be destroyed in the coming Flood, and that he has agreed to keep secret from them their pending doom.

"While one was eating and another was drinking.
He went in and out; he could not sit, could not kneel,
For his heart was broken, he was retching gall."

(p. 72. "Story of the Flood." Benjamin R. Foster. From Distant Days, Myths, Tales, and Poetry of Ancient Mesopotamia. Bethseda. Maryland. CDL Press. 1995)

Perhaps "the going in and out" was transformed into Ham going into and  out of Noah's tent, seeing him asleep in a naked drunken stupor, picking up on the motif of wine being consumed like water with the boat's construction?

Leick on Ea/Enki's reason for saving mankind from a flood, he realizing the gods need man to be their servants:

"In the later mythological tradition, Enlil's relationship with mankind is always problematic: he is easily roused to anger and impulsively gives in to his urge towards destruction. The flood myths describe how, when the noise generated by the masses of humans drives him to distraction, he immediately decides to wipe them off the face of the earth. In contrast, Enki/Ea realizes in his wisdom that the gods depend on mankind and finds ways to foil Enlil's plans for annihilation." (p. 153. "Enlil." Gwendolyn Leick. Mesopotamia, the Invention of the City. London. Penguin Books. 2001)

If Leick is correct then Ea/Enki did not save man (Utnapishtim/Atrahasis/Ziusudra) from the Flood because he cared about man's well-being, he did it out of self-interest. The Gods had made man to replace the Igigi gods as laborers. Who would build the canals and irrigation ditches, grow, harvest and prepare food for the gods if man was no more? The gods would have to do this. So, Ea/Enki, being a god of "wisdom" foresaw what would happen from Enlil's rash act and thus warned Utnapishtim to save the "seed" of mankind and creatures for a new beginning.

Clifford views Enki more favorably than Leick:

"Genesis 2-11 moves in a different direction than the creation-flood genre of Mesopotamian literature...Atrahasis is a critique of the gods; their assembly is bumbling and fragmented; their leader is the bullying and cowardly Enlil. This unflattering picture is relieved only by the introduction of the wise and compassionate Enki and Nintu. Fault lies with the gods rather than with human beings. The gods' miscalculations lead to the annihilation of the race, and their needs to its restoration...Both Atrahasis and Genesis were written with a sense of confidence. Atrahasis shows confidence in the human race; people are necessary because the gods are generally lazy, shortsighted, and impetuous. Confidence in Genesis is founded on God's justice and mercy, and the reliability of the created world." (p. 149. "Genesis 1-11." Richard J. Clifford. Creation Accounts in the Ancient Near East and in the Bible. Washington, D. C.  The Catholic Biblical Quarterly Monograph Series 26. The Catholic Biblical Association of America. 1994)

Apparently as late as the 8th century B.C. the Assyians understood that the Flood did NOT cover all the world and its mountain tops for the god of Babylon, Marduk, is made to say that the city of Sippar, which lies on the flood-plain of Iraq was NOT overwhelmed by the Flood waters (As noted earlier, above, Archaeologists excavated Shuruppak the city of the Mesopotamian Noah and confirmed that Sippar was NOT overwhelmed by the 2900 B.C. Shuruppak Flood):

"Even Sippar, the eternal city, which the Lord of
Lands did not allow the Flood to overwhelm, because it was so dear to him..."

(p. 305. "Erra and Ishum IV." Stephanie Dalley. Myths From Mesopotamia: Creation, the Flood, Gilgamesh and Others. Oxford & New York. Oxford University Press. 1989, 1991)

The Bible suggests that Noah's ark landed somewhere in the mountains of Ararat (not on a mountain called Ararat). The Assyrians knew a mountainous country to their north called Urartu and some scholars have suggested the biblical Ararat is Urartu. The excavations at Shuruppak revealed the Flood was a very local affair it did not even cover all of Sumer in Lower Mesopotamia. According to the Epic of Gilgamesh the boat landed on kur Nisir, translated mount Nisir. I note that kur can also mean "land" or "country." Downstream from Shuruppak lies modern-day An Nasiriyeh, could kur Nisir be the "land of Nisir" or Nasiriyeh, downstream from Shuruppak? That is to say as the local flooding of the Euphrates river at Shuruppak began to subside, the river resumed its normal flow southeastward toward An Nasiriyeh (kur Nisir?), where it came to be beached. After the boat's beaching the Flood hero is placed by the gods Anu and Enlil in kur Dilmun (alternately rendered kur Tilmun/Telmun) in the east. Perhaps kur Dilmun is modern-day Tel el Lahm just east of Nasiriyeh, Ur and Eridu? In antiquity the shore of the sea was said to be near Ur and Eridu, making Tell el Lahm in the midst of this sea an island (today there is no sea surrounding the site). Please click here for additional information on Tell el Lahm possibly being the island Dilmun.

Langdon (1931):

"The boat touched upon mount Nisir.
Mount Nisir held it fast and allowed it not to move."

(p. 221. "Legends of the Deluge." Stephen Herbert Langdon. The Mythology of All Races: Semitic. Volume 5. Boston. Marshall Jones Company. Archaeological Institute of America. 1931)


Professor Walton's contrasting the Mesopotamian and Israelitie concepts regarding the status of man in his Creator's eyes (Emphasis mine):

"In the book of Genesis, dignity is conferred on humankind because only humans are in the image of God. All of the cosmos is created for people and with people in mind. In the ancient Near Eastern perspective, humankind is an afterthought and even a bother. There is no dignity to be found in the created status of humanity. HUMANKIND IS CREATED TO BE SLAVES RATHER THAN TO RULE. Dignity in Mesopotamia, for example, is therefore found in the function of humankind -THE GODS NEED THEM TO PROVIDE HOUSING (temples) and FOOD (sacrifices). (p. 232. John H. Walton. Ancient Israelite Literature In Its Cultural Context, A Survey of Parallels Between Biblical amd Ancient Near Eastern Texts. Grand Rapids, Michigan. Zondervan Publishing House. 1989, 1990 Revised Edition)

"What Aristotle later observed about Greek religion was just as true of Mesopotamian religion: "Men imagine not only the forms of the gods, but their ways of life to be like their own." Like human conduct, then, the conduct of the gods lacked consistency and was for the most part unpredictable. There was no absolute morality characteristic of divine conduct and no code to which the gods were bound. The gods were not obliged to be moral, ethical, or even fair, and integrity could never be assumed...since humans were created to do work for the gods, the gods were seen to depend on people to provide for them. This primarily involved two basic elements: the sacrifices provided food for the gods, and the temples provided shelter and housing for the gods." (pp. 238-239. "Summary and Conclusions." Walton. 1990)

Professor Batto (1992) on the Hebrews recasting of earlier Mesopotamian myths and motifs in the Hebrew Bible:

"...I want to emphasize that this new mythmaking process is a conscious, reflected application of older myths and myhic elements to new situations...In so far as one admits the presence of myth in ancient Babylonian and Canaanite culture, then one must also admit the presence of myth in the Bible...This book, then, is a series of case studies of mythmaking in ancient Israel, or to be more exact, in the biblical tradition." (pp. 13-14. "Introduction." Bernard F. Batto. Slaying the Dragon, Mythmaking in the Biblical Tradition. Louisville, Kentucky. Westminster/John Knox Press. 1992)

"Now the Yahwist's primeval narrative is itself a marvelous example of mythmaking based upon prior Mesopotamian myths, notably Atrahasis and Gilgamesh. Interestingly, the reappropriation of mythic traditions and intertextual borrowing posited for biblical writers was already present within ancient Babylonia, and illustrates that biblical writers must be understood within the larger ancient Near Eastern literary and theological tradition." (p. 14. "Introduction." Bernard F. Batto. Slaying the Dragon, Mythmaking in the Biblical Tradition. Louisville, Kentucky. Westminster/John Knox Press. 1992)

"The theme of this volume...is, of myth and mythmaking speculation within the Hebrew Bible...biblical writers employed much the same techniques and even the same mythic motifs as their ancient Near Eastern neighbors...Israel...drew heavily upon the Babylonian myth of Atrahasis, supplementing with motifs from Gilgamesh and other traditional myths, to create a specifically Israelite primeval myth...Like their ancient Near Eastern counterparts, Israel's theologians were concerned with the place of humankind -and particularly of their own people- within the realm of being." (pp. 168-169. "Conclusion." Bernard F. Batto. Slaying the Dragon, Mythmaking in the Biblical Tradition. Louisville, Kentucky. Westminster/John Knox Press. 1992)

Noah's Flood, dated to the 3rd millennium BC by both Roman Catholic and Protestant Christian scholars is a myth. Archaeology and Geology have found no evidence of such an event, some villages being dated to the 12th millennium BC and having no Flood layers _anywhere_ in the Ancient Near East. It has been correctly identified as a Hebrew recast of the circa 2900 BC Shuruppak Flood, a much over-embellished tall-tale of a flooding Euphrates river and its canals at modern Tell Fara south of Babylon.

I understand that the "biblical Flood" is actually _a conflation of two different Flood myths_, probably 8th century B.C. Homeric Greek and 2900 B.C. Sumerian Mesopotamian. Japheth who appears on Noah's ark is most likely the Greek mythical Titan called Iapetos (Iapetus or Japetus). In Greek myths he is the "father of the Greeks" via his son Prometheus and grandson Deucalion. Deucalion builds a great chest or boat to ride out a local flood in Thessaly, Greece. The book of Genesis was most likely written ca. 560 B.C. in the Exile. The Jews' garbled knowledge of Japheth (Iapetos) is probably derived from their pre-exilic exposure  (pre- 587 B.C.) to Greek merchants and Greek mercenaries serving in the Saitic pharaohs' armies that overran Judah in the 7th-6th centuries B.C. making it a tributary state of Egypt. In error, the Jews thought the Iapetiade who survived Deucalion's Flood were recalling the Shuruppak Flood of circa 2900 B.C. in the 3rd milllennium B.C. Please click here for more details on how the Greek Iapetos (Japetus) was transformed into Japheth by the Jews.

Below a map showing the location of Shuruppak in relation to modern day Nasariyah (an-Nasiriyeh). Nasariyah lies southeast of  Shuruppak and in antiquity the Euphrates flowed to the general vicinity of Nasiriyah which lies just north of ancient Eridu and Ur. I understand that the "_kur_ Nisir  " that Utnapishtim's boat landed on is the an-Nasiriyah area. Kur can be rendered mountain, underworld and _land_ (as in a "_REGION_"). I am proposing here that as the flood waters from the Euphrates abated during the Shuruppak flood of ca. 2900 B.C., the narrator apparently understood that the Shuruppak boat coasted downstream to the area of modern day an-Nasiriyah, which might preserve the ancient kur Nisir, "the region of Nisir" (not Mount Nisir). So, via a misunderstanding of the word kur a "region" of Nisir became a "mountain" of Nisir. This explanation _is more in harmony with the geological evidence_ unearthed at Shuruppak (modern Tell Fara) which revealed that the famous Flood of Utnapishtim appearing in the Epic of Gilgamesh was a flooding Euphrates river and adjacent canals (For the below map cf. p. 181. H.W.F. Saggs.
Peoples of the Past: Babylonians. Berkeley & Los Angeles. University of California Press. 2000. Published originally by the British Museum Press in London, England). Note: the dotted lines are ancient courses of the Euphrates as it subdivided into four major streams in the edin (plain) of Lower Mesopotamia in antiquity, the solid lines show the present day course of the Tigris and Euphrates rivers.

Pritchard (Emphasis mine):

"There emerged a REGION (-mountain).
On Mount Nisir the ship came to halt.
Mount Nisir held the ship fast..."
(p. 69. "The Epic of Gilgamesh." James B. Pritchard. Editor. The Ancient Near East, An Anthology of Texts and Pictures. Princeton, New Jersey. Princeton University Press. 1958. Paperback edition)





If my "hunch" is correct that Enki's Apsu/Apzu house is the probable prototype for Ziusudra's "cube-like" ark or boat, the below pictures of Enki's shrine or temple may be of interest. The earliest shrine was of mud-brick and appears in the drawing to be a 45 foot SQUARE (CUBE?) rather than a rectangle. Did this "CUBE" become the Shuruppak Ark of the Atra-Khasis Epic? Later rebuildings (cf. below) -staggered by the artist for clarity- take on a distinctly rectangular shape (rather like Noah's Ark in the Bible).

Professor Fagan on the excavation of the Eridu shrine/temple dedicated to Enki:

"Safar and Lloyd removed brick by brick what they called Temple VI (allowing for five subsequent rebuildings shown by the concentric rectangles), then uncovered no less than ten earlier shrines, each built atop its predecessor, right down to Temple XVI, which lay on clean sand. Measuring 45 feet (14 meters) square, this humble mudbrick shrine had one entrance, an altar, and an offering table...as early as 4900 B.C., at a time when southern Mesopotamia was a land of estuaries and marshlands, of seacoasts far inland from today's, Eridu was a sacred place of pilgrimage." (Brian Fagan. "Searching for Eden." pp.147-164. Time Detectives, How Scientists Use Modern Technology to Unravel the Secrets of the Past. New York. Touchstone Books [Simon & Schuster]. 1995, 1996. cf. pp. 160-161 for the below temple drawings; level XVI is the lowest level of a mud-brick shrine 13 feet SQUARE (HENCE the "square" ark of myth?).
Could the below "rectangular form" of Enki's temple/shrine be what is being recalled in the biblical dimensions of Noah's Ark?
Below, a cropped image (The lower third register of a plaque) of a line drawing showing a boat from Early Dynastic Nibru (Nippur). It resembles somewhat in design layout the above boat found at Tell Fara (Shuruppak), including the placement of fish under the keel and the strangely "bent" oar serving as a primitive "rudder." The artist has rendered in dots the missing details (cf. p. 150 Figure 20. Jeremy Black, Graham Cunningham, Eleanor Robson & Gabor Zolyomi. The Literature of Ancient Sumer. Oxford University Press. 2004, 2006 paperback edition). Also of interest is that four men are shown on this boat, and in the biblical story four men figure prominently, Noah and his three sons: Shem, Japheth, and Ham. Are these four men what is behind the biblical story?
Below, a bas-relief from the Assyrian King Sennacherib's (reigned ca. 705-681 B.C.) palace showing his soldiers pursuing in the reed infested marshlands of Lower Mesopotamia, his enemies. Note the shallow draft boats made of reeds lashed together. Hrouda's two page spread of this relief shows six boats, all made of reeds; some with the enemy hiding amongst the reeds on reed-boats (cf. the lower left corner), while other reed-boats are in use by the Assyrian soldiers (cf. pp. 146-147. Barthel Hrouda. Editor. Der Alte Orient, Geschichte und Kultur des alten Vorderasians. C. Bertelsmann Verlag. Munchen, Deutschland. 1991)

I suspect that Ziusudra's reed boat made from his torn down reed hut is BEST envisioned in the below examples of SMALL reed boats employed by the marsh dwellers who are depicted as hiding from the Assyrian soldiers among tall reeds, that is to say, these reed boats ARE SMALL ENOUGH TO HAVE BEEN CRAFTED FROM A REED HUT, as noted in the later Akkadian version (Atra-khasis, after 1600 B.C.) of the Shuruppak flood account.
Noah's Flood, the Archaeological and Geological evidence for its 3rd Millennium B.C. occurrence. (Including pictures of Noah's Ark) and it's Origins as an Amusing "Tongue-in-Cheek" Mesopotamian Farcial and Satirical Comedy!

Please click here for  Part 2 of this article ( It is _very_important_ that you also read Part 2 and not just Part 1 !!!! )


Walter Reinhold Warttig Mattfeld y de la Torre, M. A. Ed.

Please click here for this website's most important article: Why the Bible Cannot be the Word of God.

For Christians visiting this website _my most important article_ is The Reception of God's Holy Spirit:
How the Hebrew Prophets _contradict_ Christianity's Teachings. Please click here.

18 July 2005  (Revisions through 22 August 2010)


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Methodologies to uncover what is the truth regarding Noah's Flood:

Try to "think" like a Police Detective in your search for "What is the truth?":

(1) Establish _the time_ of the crime event; (2) Gather physical evidence for clues also called forensic evidence;(3) Interview possible witnesses; (4) Assemble a list of "persons of interest" who might have a reason for committing the crime and check their alibis and backgrounds to eliminate suspects; (5) Compare witnesses' statements and investigate for garbled or false information that contradicts the physical evidence; (6) Establish a "motive" for the crime.

Lets look at Noah's Flood like a Police Detective:

(1) Establish the chronological context (time) for the event:

The Bible's internal chronology suggests for some Catholic scholars  2958 BC  for the Flood (their Bibles give longer ages for some of the pre-flood patriarchs than that found in Protestant Bibles);  the Samaritan Bible dates the Flood to circa 2903 B.C. whereas some Conservative Protestant scholars date the flood to circa 2345 B.C. . All of these dates 2958, 2903, and 2345 B.C fall within the 3rd millennium B.C.

(2) Gather evidence for the event:

Is there any physical evidence for a universal worldwide flood circa 2958, 2903 or 2345 B.C. according to the findings of archaeology, geology and paleohydrology? The answer is no. Archaeology dates some villages in Iraq, Turkey, Syria, Iran, Israel to the Neolithic period, the 12th millennium B.C. and no flood deposit has been fround from that era down to the 1st millennium B.C.  there simply is no evidence of a worldwide flood anywhere.

(3) If there is no physical evidence for a worldwide flood, then it is necessary to explain "why" the Bible dates the Flood event to the 3rd millennium B.C.

Some scholars understand an archaeologically attested flooding Euphrates river at the city of Shuruppak in Lower Mesopotamia is dated 2900 or 2750 B.C. In Mesopotamian accounts which parallel to some degree the Bible account, the flood hero lives at Shuruppak when told to build a boat by his god to save the seed of man and animal against the flood who's intent is to destroy all life: man and animal. After the flood he releases three sets of birds to test the abating flood waters just like Noah.

Bingo! We have a match! Well, sort of: The 3rd millennium B.C. biblical date for the flood _matches_ the 3rd millennium B.C. Shuruppak flood. The problem? Scholars disagree on the date of the Shuruppak Flood. Keith Maisels dates the end of the Jamdet Nasr period as circa 2960 B.C. and I note that this flood brings to an end this period at Shuruppak. Maisels' 2960 B.C. is just 2 years off from the Greek Septuaginta's flood date of 2958 B.C. David MacDonald, Ph.D., suggests the Shuruppak flood can be dated anywhere from 2950-2850 B.C. I note that the Greek Septuaginta Bible's 2958 B.C. flood date is just 8 years off from 2950 B.C. Professor H.W.F. Saggs suggests the Shuruppak flood was about 2900 B.C., I note that the Samaritan Bible's flood date of 2903 B.C. is just 3 years off from Saggs' 2900 B.C. Shuruppak flood. In other words, using different calculations by different scholars for the Shuruppak flood, and different dates for Noah's Flood found in various Bible recensions we come up with a series of remarkable "near matches" with differences of anywhere from 2 to 8 years between Noah's Flood and the Shuruppak flood.

(4) Establish a Motive:

The Bible's date for Noah's Flood aligns with the Shuruppak Flood to the degree that both events fall within the 3rd millennium B.C. Archaeology revealed that the flood was local, of a flooding Euphrates river. Why then did the Bible claim falsely it was a worldwide event? Answer: The Mesopotamian myths concerning this flood claimed _falsely_ it was a worldwide event and the Bible's authors apparently accepted these traditions of a 3rd millennium B.C. worldwide flood.

In a quest of a "motive" behind the false story it should be asked: Why did the Mesopotamians portray the local flood at Shuruppak as a worldwide event? Perhaps for entertainment. All cultures engage in "tall tales" for amusement. The gods are portrayed as "cowering in fear like dogs" during the flood. At its end they accuse Enlil of unjustly killing innocent humans. The gods are being _faulted_ by the narrator of this tall tale, they had no right to send the flood against humans just because they were noisey and disturbing Enlil's rest.

The Hebrews, objecting to this "storyline" of an _unjust god (Enlil)_ sending a flood over a little noise, recast the story as one God (Yahweh-Elohim) who _is _justified_ in destroying man and animalkind for being evil and filling the world full of bloodshed and violence. The Hebrew "motive" is to _deny, refute and challenge_ the Mesopotomian portrayal of why the flood occurred: An unjust god, Enlil (Ellil) was held responsible for drowning untold numbers of _innocent people_  in the Mesopotamian account.

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Special Note: I have determined that the Hebrew Shabbat (English: Sabbath) is _derived_ from the circa 2900 B.C. Shuruppak Flood account appearing in two Mesopotamian literary compositions: (1) The Epic of Gilgamesh and (2) The Epic of  Atra-Khasis. Please click here to access this article explaining how the Hebrews derived their Sabbath Day from this mythical Worldwide Flood.

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Archaeologists have determined that Noah's Flood mentioned in the book of Genesis, and dated to the 3rd millennium B.C. on the basis of the Bible's internal chrononolgy by some Conservative Scholars, is a myth (The Flood being dated to ca. 2348 B.C. according to Archbishop James Ussher's chronology appearing in King James Bibles) . Excavations in the Near East in Egypt, the Sinai, Canaan, Phoenicia, Syria, and Mesopotamia reveal no universal worldwide flood layer dated to the 3rd millennium B.C., some settlements being dated to the Neolithic or New Stone Age period of the 13th millennium B.C.

The surprise however, is that there was indeed a 3rd millennium B.C. "flood layer" found at Shuruppak in Lower Mesopotamia left by a flooding Euphrates river and its canal. This flood is understood by a number of Liberal scholars to be what underlies the biblical event as the "Mesopotamian Noah" (called Ziusudra, Atrahasis, Atramhasis and Utnapishtim, Uta-napishtim) lived at Shuruppak.

Clay tablets from Lower Mesopotamia dated as early the 2d millennium B.C. do mention a worldwide flood. The Mesopotamian "Noah" is called variously Ziusudra (alternately rendered Zi-ud-sura), Atrahasis (Atra-khasis, Atramhasis) or Utnapishtim (Uta-napishtim). He is portrayed as living in the city of Shuruppak on the Euphrates river and its canal. His patron god, Enki (Ea), warns him of the impending flood to be sent by the angry gods to destroy all of mankind, and to save himself, family and animals. He does so by building a boat.

Professors Lambert and Millard on the "absence" of any mention of a World Flood in Mesopotamian texts of the 3rd millennium but its appearance in texts of the 2d millennium B.C.:

"All the material in list form just described is from the first half of the second millennium B.C. So far there is no evidence for this tradition of a great flood among the Sumerians of the third millennium." (p. 16. "Introduction."
W. G. Lambert & A. R. Millard. Atra-Hasis, The Babylonian Story of the Flood. Winona Lake, Indiana. Eisenbrauns. 1969 Oxford University Press. Reprint 1999 by Eisenbrauns)

The details in the Mesopotamian story have been compared to the biblical account and some 17 "correspondences" or "parallels" have been identified by scholars. They have concluded that the Mesopotamian and Biblical accounts are probably two differing versions -polytheistic vs. monotheistic- of the same event!

The city of Shuruppak has been identified as being the ruin-mound of modern Tell Fara (south of Babylon) and when excavated a flood sediment was found dating to circa 2900 B.C. This is the _only_ flood layer at the site, and this layer does not exist at other Mesopotamian sites, so it was very restricted in its locality.

I find it quite remarkable that the Shuruppak flood is dated to the the 3rd millennium BC, the SAME millennium that the Bible dates the flood to.

Below, a map showing the location of Shuruppak (alternately rendered Curuppag by some scholars), modern Tell Fara. This map shows cities listed in the so-called Sumerian King List, enumerating locations from ca. 3000-2100 B.C. Note, the thin dark violet lines represent ancient river courses and canals found by archaeologists. The blue lines are of today's river courses (cf. p. 83. Map titled "The Cities in the Sumerian King List." Early Dynastic III Period. Michael Roaf. Cultural Atlas of Mesopotamia and the Ancient Near East.New York. Facts On File, Inc. 1990).
Below, a line-drawing in ink showing the full panel of Sennacherib's warriors hunting for marsh-dwelling enemies. _All_ the craft are made of marsh reeds but vary in size, the smaller craft hold 3 adults while larger craft can hold as many as 7 adults. Some reed-boats are shown "hiding" amongst reeds which have been pushed down and displaced by the craft, the hiding occupants, men and women, being "seated" rather than standing (cf. p. 176. Henri Frankfort. The Art and Architecture of the Ancient Orient. New Haven & London. Yale University Press. 1954. 4th edition 1970. Reprint 1996).
Below, close-up from the above bas-relief:
Below, the reverse side of a Roman coin with a line drawing of  Noah's Ark, portrayed as a box with the dimensions of a cube. Several scenes have been compressed by the coin's die sinker. Scene one: Noah and wife in the Ark receiving a dove bearing an olive twig in its mouth, a sign that the Flood waters have abated and it is safe to disembark from the Ark, and scene two: Noah and wife standing outside the Ark with upraised hands thanking God for their safe delivery. This bronze coin was issued by the city of Apameia Kibotos in the 3rd century A.D. Apparently Jewish traditions are behind this portrayal as Noah's name in Greek appears on the box on other coins. Today Apameia is called Dinar and it lies in western Turkey (cf. p. 70. Figure 7. Lloyd R. Bailey. Noah, the Person and the Story in History and Tradition. Columbia, South Carolina. University of South Carolina Press. 1989).

Please click here for additional line-drawings of Noah's Ark as a large "chest" or "box" from coins issued under five different Roman Emperors: Septimus Severus (reigned 193-211 A.D.), Severus Alexander (222-235 A.D.), Gordian III (238-244 A.D.), Philip I (244-249 A.D.) and Trebonianus Gallus (251-253 A.D.).
Below, Noah's Ark as conceived by Robert Best. Best understands Noah was a wealthy merchant at Shuruppak who's business involved the construction of large barges to carry products up and down the Euphrates river. Best has proposed these large boats were made by lashing together several smaller individual craft made of wood (presumably modeled after the lightweight skin-boats called kuffas) after water-proofing them with pitch as shown in the below drawing. This notion however _contradicts_ the Sumerian account of a _single_ reed hut being torn down and a gigantic seven-story reed boat being made by Ziusudra.(for the drawing cf. p. 93. figure 8. Robert M. Best. Noah's Ark and the Ziusudra Epic. Fort Myers, Florida. Enlil Press. 1999) Please click here to purchase Best's book.
"If" the above bas-relief is a "memorial" in stone of Ziusudra's boat, it appears to be made of wood rather than of reeds. Below is a boat similar in appearance. It is a model made of silver, about 65 centimeters or 25 inches in length. It was found in the tomb of King Meskalamdug (reigned ca. 2600-2550 B.C., Early Dynastic IIIa Period, the same time period as the Shuruppak bas-relief boat) of Ur of the Chaldees (modern tel Muqayyar). It would have been made of planks of wood and steered by a rudder. The German commentary calls this craft a "Ruderboote." Dear reader, I understand that this silver model captures what "Noah's Ark" originally looked like in 2900 B.C. (cf. p. 198 for the below photo and p. 199 for the commentary. Barthel Hrouda. Editor. Der Alte Orient, Geschichte und Kultur des alen Vorderasiens. Munchen. C. Bertelsmann Verlag GmbH. 1998). In other words, Noah's Ark was no larger than a big four-man canoe!
Below, a cylinder seal showing Enki (Ea) in his Apsu house. The entrance is guarded by two naked Lahmu gods. The double-faced god is Isimud, Enki's vizier.
Below, modern-day "descendants" of the 2900 B.C. Shuruppak wooden boat. Note the punting pole used for propulsion (in the myths the Shuruppak boat had punting poles brought on board) and the "high curving prow" of the boat in the foreground. In the background are reed huts, a reed meeting house or shrine and cattle standing on reed matts (for the photo cf. pp. 10-11. John Gray. Near Eastern Mythology, Mesopotamia, Syria, Palestine. London. Hamlyn Publishing House. 1969)
The below extract from the on-line Wikipedia suggests that "kur Nisir" could just as well have been a sandbar or hill or high ground in a marsh, which would align with my proposal that an-Nasiriyah (surrounded by marshes in antiquity) downstream and southeast of Shuruppak (Tell Fara) was "kur Nisir" (Emphasis mine in bold letters):

"The Assyrian king Ashurbanipal claimed that he had been to Mount Nisir and saw the boat of Utnapishtim. His army and he then took artifacts from the boat and put them in his museum of ancient artifacts. However, this museum has long since been destroyed so archaeology doesn't know how much truth there is in the story. Mount Nisir is supposedly in modern-day Iran.

The word nişir (spelled with a dot under the s) may have come from the Akkadian word nişirtu which, with reference to localities, had the "connotation of hidden, inaccessible, secluded" and also meant arcane and secret.[1] In other words, nişir could be descriptive, in addition to being a proper name. The partly translated sentence in line 141a of the Gilgamesh flood myth is "KUR-ú KUR ni-şir held tight the boat." The first KUR is followed by a phonetic complement -ú which indicates that KUR-ú is to be read in Akkadian as šadú (hill). The second KUR without the complement is read mātu (country). Since šadú (sha-doo) can mean mountain as well as hill, and scholars were familiar with the expression Mount Ararat, it has become customary to translate "KUR-ú KUR ni-şir" as Mount Nisir or Mount Nimush.

This noun phrase was probably derived from an earlier Sumerian edition and was first written in clay about 2600 BC when the only written language was the Sumerian language. Therefore, we should read KUR as a Sumerian word, not as Akkadian. In Sumerian, KUR did not mean mountain. The Sumerian word for mountain was HURSAG. In Sumerian, KUR meant land, or hill, or country, especially a foreign country. Hence the sentence "KUR-ú KUR ni-şir held tight the boat" should be read as "A mound in an inaccessible country held the boat tight."[2] A sand bar in a marsh would qualify."

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nisir

Maxwell (1919) humorously noting how his Arab boat guides at Basra (surrounded by the marshlands of Lower Mesopotamia) identified various stands of palm trees as being the Garden of Eden and any high land as the mountain that Noah's Ark grounded itself upon ( Note: I have proposed that the "high ground" about an-Nasiriyah near Ur of the Chaldees is the Epic of Gilgamesh's kur Nisir which grounded Utnapishtim of Shuruppak's boat as it drifted downstream from Shuruppak with the receding flood waters of the Euphrates river):

"Every group of palm trees more than twenty in number is pointed out as the garden of Eden, every bump of ground more than six feet high is the mount on which the Ark rested..."

(p. 22. Donald Maxwell. A Dweller in Mesopotamia. Being the Adventures of an Official Artist in the Garden of Eden. London & New York. John Lane & Company. 1921)

Maxwell on the mouth of the Euphrates in antiquity (Abraham's world) being near Ur (today's Tell Muqayyar, his Mugheir); Shushan is the name of his boat which he took in 1919 from Basra to Qurna (Kurna), then on to Mugheir (Ur) and Hilla (Babylon):

"To the archaeologist and the historian Mugheir is intensely interesting, for the great mound discloses the site of Ur
-Ur of the Chaldees- from which Abraham set out towards Canaan. Up till now, upon a map of the world in Abraham's time, the good little Shushan would still be at sea. She would be approaching the coast at the mouth of the river Euphrates, the Tigris flowing out some fifty miles further east. Dockyards and busy workshops would proclaim the vicinity of this capital, the greatest of all cities of Chaldea.
Since these prosperous days the sea has receded about 150 miles, and left Ur a nondescript heap to be disputed over by professors."

(p. 45.  Donald Maxwell. A Dweller in Mesopotamia. Being the Adventures of an Official Artist in the Garden of Eden. London & New York. John Lane & Company. 1921)

What is _most remarkable_ is that Genesis "correctly dated" Noah's Flood to the 3rd millennium BC, the same millennium that witnessed the Shuruppak Flood!

Below, some additional dates for Noah's Flood according to Khan (2002):

B.C.
3262  Africanus
3258  Hippolytus
3238  Eusebius
3090 Septuagint
2970 Samaritan Bible
2929 Whiston
2349  Ussher
2105 Seder Olam Rabbah

http://www.alislam.org/library/articles/new/NOAH_FLOOD_I.pdf
Munir Ahmed Khan. Noah's Flood In Bible, Quran and Mesopotamian Stories. Karachi, Pakistan. 2002.

The on-line "New Advent Catholic Bible Encyclopedia" (accessed 19 June 2008) gives the following dates for Noah's Flood (of interest here is that the Jamdat Nasr period associated with the Shuruppak Flood is dated variously by different scholars to between
3350 and 2750 B.C. and the below Flood dates of the Septuagint and Samaritan Bibles fall within this time period):

B.C.                               
3134  Septuagint Bible
2903  Samaritan Bible
2350  Masoretic Text (Klaproth)
2253   Masoretic Text (Lukan)

"Time of the Deluge:

Genesis places the Deluge in the six-hundredth year of Noah; the Masoretic text assigns it to the year 1656 after the creation, the Samaritan to 1307, the Septuagint to 2242, Flavius Josephus to 2256. Again, the Masoretic text places it in B. C. 2350 (Klaproth) or 2253 (Lüken), the Samaritan in 2903, the Septuagint in 3134."

(http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/04702a.htm  "Deluge" New Advent Catholic Encylopedia)

The Flood date of 2903 B.C. from the Samaritan Bible _is the closest date_ to Professor Saggs' circa 2900 B.C. date for the Shuruppak Flood, this date being off by only 3 years! The next "closest date" to Saggs' 2900 B.C. Shuruppak Flood date is Eusebius' Flood date of 2958 B.C.,  this date being off by just 58 years.  It has to be stressed here that Saggs' 2900 B.C. Shuruppak Flood date is not a "hard" date, it is an 'approximate' date and could vary perhaps 50 to 100 years on either side of 2900 B.C.

Please click here for Part 2 of this article (It is _very_important_ that you read Part 2 and not just Part 1!)


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Below, a photo (1976) of a modern descendant of the above reed-boats of Sennacherib's day (7th century BC) in the Iranian marshes of the province of Khuzistan (cf. p. 125. David & Joan Oates. The Making of the Past: The Rise of Civilization. New York. E. P. Dutton & Co. Inc. 1976. in conjunction with Elsevier Phaidon, an imprint of Phaidon Press Ltd.). The Epics of Gilgamesh and Atrahasis have the flood-hero asleep in a reed-house which he is told to tear down and make a reed-boat of to save the seed of animalkind as well as mankind. A small reed hut could probably be torn down and made into a reed-boat of the below dimensions.
Below, an aerial view of reed-huts or reed-houses in the marshes of lower Mesopotamia, modern Iraq and Iran, from which Atrahasis' (Utnapistim's) boat would have been constructed.