Flawed methodologies, Dating the Pentateuch

Niels Peter Lemche npl at teol.ku.dk
Thu Jan 20 13:12:35 EST 2000

But does it explain the ubiquity of such stories, all over the world? I
remember once having read somewhere that even the Indians in the Andes know
of the flood although they are up to some thousand meters above sea level.

Not that I am absolutely against an explanation like this. It is exactly the
kind of memory that could be transmitted over a long period by oral
tradition. And there might be other examples. In Denmark we already in
primary school learned about changing geological phases, the so-called
continential period and the Atlantic period. The continential period
followed after the last ice age, and lifted the country considerable (after
having been pressed down by the ice), later the pendulum swinged and the
country rose below the present level, and it is still moving up and  down. I
also remeber--but that is many years ago I read that--that the North Sea
which is quite shallow, originated within a rather short period, may be less
than 200 years, and after the last ic period. But it may of course be
nonsense and bad information..


> -----Original Message-----
> From:	Rodney K. Duke [SMTP:dukerk at appstate.edu]
> Sent:	Thursday, 20 January, 2000 17:03
> To:	Biblical Hebrew
> Subject:	Re: Flawed methodologies, Dating the Pentateuch
> Dear Colleagues,
> I have not been following the "Genesis and Gilgamesh" thread closely, but
> the following comments by
> Walter Mattfeld caught my attention.  Thought you might be interested in a
> summary of a lecture I
> heard by a geologist (below).
> > Subject: Flawed methodologies, Dating the Pentateuch
> > From: "Walter Mattfeld" <mattfeld at mail.pjsnet.com>
> > Date: Wed, 19 Jan 2000 18:45:26 +0100
> > X-Message-Number: 14
> >
> >snip
> >
> >
> > I had noted in an earlier post that archaeology and geology have failed
> to
> > find the proof of Noah's flood that covered the tops of mountains and
> which
> > destroyed all humankind except those save on the ark.  I accordingly
> take
> > the Humanist perspective that the dialogs between God, the serpent,
> Adam,
> > Eve, Noah and Moses are all fantasy, from the mind of the narrator. If
> the
> > flood didn't happen as we assured by geologists and archaeologists, then
> > obviously the bible's dialogs are all fictious and not to be trusted.
> Why
> > should I accept the narrator's claims that what I am reading are Moses
> > words, when I know he has earlier in Genesis fed me false information
> about
> > a world encompassing flood ?
> Last year I heard a geologist, Dr. Walter Pitman, speak who has done
> extensive research in the area
> of the Black Sea.  He cited evidence that around 12,500 years ago, the
> Black Sea became an isolated
> fresh-water lake due to the return in Europe of a glacial climate.  In
> 6200 BCE there was another
> mini Ice Age which resulted in farming villages in Anatolia and along the
> Fertile Crescent to be
> abandoned, with many peoples retreating to the rim of the Black Sea.
> Around 5800 BCE there was
> change in climate to increased warmth and rains.  By 5600 BCE the Sea of
> Marmara had risen to the
> height of the divide between it and the Bosporus Valley.  When it breached
> that divided, it quickly
> gouged out a flume through the Bosporus and flooded the basin with
> incredible and quite memorable
> violence.  The speaker then noted that it was soon after this time that
> foreigners with advanced
> farming technology suddenly reoccupied the deserted farm villages of the
> Fertile Crescent.  His
> suggestion was that these events precipitated the ANE flood stories.  Of
> course this flood would
> not have been world wide as we know the world, but it would have seemed
> quite "global" to those
> whose world was the basin around the Black Sea.  And, of course this flood
> might not have anything
> to do with the flood of ANE tradition; however, it does show that there is
> geological evidence for
> the genesis of such stories.
> --
> Rodney K. Duke
> Dept. of Phil. & Rel., Appalachian State Univ., Boone, NC 28608
> (O) 828-262-3091, (FAX) 828-262-6619, dukerk at appstate.edu
> ---
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