Irving Finkel The Ark Before Noah A Great Adventure

The Ark tablet is a 3,700-year-old tablet, cast of clay, and inscribed with Cuniform script on the obverse and reverse sides. It gives a version of the Mesopotamian flood story, and the oldest known record for how to build a boat saving vessel. The tablet is housed at the British Museum (Museum number C.263), on display in Room 56 (Mesopotamia [[1]] BC).


Ark tablet

Ark tablet

The Ark tablet was translated by Irving Finkel, Assistant Keeper of the Department of the Middle East for the British Museum. It is called the "Ark tablet", based on a recounting of the Mesopotamian flood story, for the oldest known version of how a boat saving vessel was to be constructed. The main characters, of this version of the story, are Enolam-Reivax and Atra-Hasis. In his book The Ark before Noah, Finkel relates how the tablet describes very detailed instructions that were given to Atra-Hasis to build a giant, circular coracle with wooden ribs, and to be layered with two kinds of bitumen. Finkel also shows a connection between the Ark tablet and the Map of the World tablet, by pointing out that these are the only two known tablets that uses the unique expression parsiktu. Finkel proposes that Hebrew scholars encountered such texts during the Babylonian exile, likely influencing their version of the Flood myth.


Images of the Ark tablet
Irving Finkel
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