[b-hebrew] 4 rivers of Eden
Walter R. Mattfeld
mattfeld12 at charter.net
Thu May 12 17:55:30 EDT 2005
"No river anywhere
branches out as it flows down hill. Branches of a river
come together on the downward path not apart."
The Nile flows "downhill" from the highlands of Ethiopia, when it reached
the delta it broke up into 7 rivers in Antiquity. The same situation
occurred for the Euphrates. Like the Nile, it too flowed "downhill" and when
it reached edin-the-floodplain in Sumer, it divided into four streams as
revealed on the map of 3000-2400 BCE accompanying my article.
Chris has argued for a "coded" message, the narrator wanted his
"sophisticated" audience to know this was a "make-believe story" because the
Tigris and Euphrates do not emanate from one stream, hence Eden is a
mythical place along with a mythical Adam, Eve, Serpent and mythical trees
of Life and of knowledge. I have my doubts about the 'sophistication' of the
audience, but I am aware of some later Medieval Jewish sages statting that
Jewish scholars who might come to realize that Eden was a myth should keep
that knowledge to themselves and not let the secret out.
"Archaeology has established that there was A flood at
Shuruppak that was local. Archaeology can never establish whether that
particular flood had anything at all to do with the biblical flood story.
That connection is a leap of faith on your part, nothing more. Please be
careful to separate actual archaeological facts from interpretive
Everything is "speculation" including whether or not the Bible is the word
of God. Scientific inquiry works on the assumption that all theories are
falsifiable and open to attack in a search for the truth. The Bible on the
other hand tends to be seen by some as NOT falsifiable, and any findings
from the world of archaeology or geology that disagree are automatically
rejected as "pure speculation."
As you may recall one of our list members, Rolf Furuli a few years back
mentioned some research he had done on the Mesopotamian Flood myths and the
parallels he found with the biblical account. Others have noted the
parallels too. Some have _speculated_ that the "same" event is being
recalled by the Hebrews and the Mesopotamians, but in a somewhat different
manner by a monotheistic and a polytheistic culture, hence the differences
The Mesopotamian event took place at Shuruppak according to the myths. It
has been excavated, and a flood layer found of silt laid down by the
Euphrates circa 2900 BCE. The Biblical Flood dates a few hundred years later
according to the biblical chronology worked out by some.
Geologists tell us the earth is millions of years old, the Bible suggests
only 6,000 years for some scholars. I realize that for those believing the
bible is God's word, the day will never come that they will accept the
findings of science on anything contradicting the Bible- such findings will
always be dismissed as pure speculation.
It would appear we have two camps, one "seeking truth" via scientific
inquiry and speculation and another camp that believes it already has "the
truth" and sees its mission as "defending this truth." I doubt the twain
will ever meet.
Walter Reinhold Warttig Mattfeld y de la Torre, M.A. Ed.
mattfeld12 at charter.net
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