Dating the flood

Banyai Michael banyai at t-online.de
Tue Oct 3 06:15:46 EDT 2000


Rolf Furuli wrote:

> Gen. 11:10 These are the descendants of Shem. When Shem was a hundred years
> old, he became the father of Arpachshad two years after the flood;
> Gen. 11:11 and Shem lived after the birth of Arpachshad five hundred years,
> and had other sons and daughters.
> Gen. 11:12 When Arpachshad had lived thirty-five years, he became the
> father of Shelah;

> In each case from Shem to Abraham we find the age of the father when the
> son was born and how long after the birth the father lived. As a linguist I
> am very well aware of the ambiguity of language and I wrestle with it
> daily, but I cannot see the slightest possibility that there can be gaps in
> this genealogy where the fatherhood is so clearly stated. Your examples
> above do not cover genealogies of this kind. So I think you have to face
> the fact: If it can be proven that a worldwide flood did not occur around
> 2.400 BCE the Bible is wrong.

Dear Rolf, as a long working linguist in the field of the ANE you should
have
observed, that this is not the kind of genealogies we usually have to do,
may
they be Assyrian, Egyptian or else.

Genealogies in the ANE DON´T usually consist of such data, like the age
some
ancestor was born to his begetter and so on, so on. They rarely say
anything
about the age one reached. This invites to caution.

As it looks for me, the shorter, more realistic looking set of data, that
concernining the age of the patriarchs as their heis were born, is
intrusive.

Those numbers, once added, gave once a sum of 1460 years between flood and
the
destruction of the Schechem temple by Abimelech. Thus the data were
symbolic
meant as of a Phoenix period (we recognise the Phoenix both impersonated
by the
pigeon and the raven sent by Noah after the flood, Phoenix being a wood
pigeon
according to a sumerian gloss quoted by Pettinato) ending in destruction.
This later set ought thus be dated to the aftermass of this destruction.

The ages of the patriarchs seem to be older data and are in harmony for
example
with the high data of the early babylonian dynasties or with those
concerning
the "predynastic" rulers of Egypt as quoted by Manetho. Maybe they once
too
alluded to the same Phoenix period somehow, but it lies beyond our
possibilities
to demonstrate.

However the data don´t fit for proper chronological use. This has nothing
to say
to the historicity of the flood. 

I don´t however understand the logic of those stressing the fact that
there
could not have been a global flood, so the flood story would be
unhistoric. Are
we to suppose the Hebrews or Assyrians writing about a "global" flood, had
any
idea about the existence of Australia or of the Americas? I don´t know who
is
the naive in this play? Their little world (I mean at the time we first
hear of a flood story) was cofined to an area of several 100s of
kilometers.


Best regards,

Banyai Michael



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