[b-hebrew] Re: Eden's Four Rivers (article)

Karl Randolph kwrandolph at email.com
Wed May 11 15:29:47 EDT 2005

----- Original Message -----
From: "Peter Kirk" <peterkirk at qaya.org>
> On 10/05/2005 00:17, kwrandolph wrote:
> > ...
> >
> > Further, Abraham was not even from Sumer, but from Ur of the 
> > Chaldeans, which spoke a different language. Would Abraham have 
> > even known about the Sumerian legends? That there are 
> > similarities between the Sumerian and Biblical flood accounts 
> > could also be the result of a common source for those and all 
> > flood accounts around the world.
> Hold on, Karl. I agreed with you that Ur of the Chaldees MIGHT not 
> be the traditional Ur, a major Sumerian city in southern 
> Mesopotamia. But you are going too far to imply that it CERTAINLY 
> WAS not. We just don't have enough information. Anyway, many of the 
> Sumerian myths are known to have been translated or reworked in 
> Akkadian, a Semitic language close enough to what Abraham might 
> have spoken that these myths would surely have been known in a form 
> which he could understand.
> This is not an argument for you to disbelieve the Bible or assume 
> that Genesis is simply a reworking of Sumerian myths. But it does 
> allow for cross-fertilisation between different ancient accounts of 
> the Creation and the Flood.
> -- Peter Kirk
> peter at qaya.org (personal)
> peterkirk at qaya.org (work)
> http://www.qaya.org/


We have all heard about Kirkland, Washington, U.S.A., but how many of us know about Kirkland, Quebec, Canada? Similarly Moscow is the capital of Russia, but that is not Moscow, Idaho, U.S.A. Today Las Vegas, Nevada is known world wide for its gambling, but as late as 1950 it was less well known than Las Vegas, New Mexico. Thus when the Bible talks about a Ur of the Chaldeas, I find it pretty hard to relate it to Ur of the Sumerians, especially when I find out that the Sumerians spoke an Indo-European language. That there was an ancient town in a Semitic language speaking area with a name whose pronunciation was almost identical to the Biblical Ur pretty much clinches it for me.

As for the spread of the flood story, did it come to the Sumerians via the Chaldeans, or did the Chaldeans get it from the Sumerians, or did both get it from a third source independently of each other? The same with other stories known among both groups. The problem is that too much information has been lost from then to now, and archeology is too imprecise a tool to give an answer.

Karl W. Randolph.

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