January 26, 2007

Noah's Ark and the beauty of Myth

This was part of a thread on the Bible and whether it should be read as myth, fact or legend. I found it fascinating.

JamesK (Fri, Jan 26/07, 04:34 pm)wrote:

I believe the pile of pages we call the Bible is a fact. And history points out that it is a selection of old (and very old) writings, all of which were created by men and, possibly, women. The "selecting" and discarding was done by other men.

What they selected was a mixture of myths and legends.
Noah and his ark is a myth because it is totally unworkable (for one, you can't flood the whole earth).
Many of the Old Testament stories are likely legends because they contain some elements of what probably happened.
Most of the New Testament is likely fact but got a bit twisted in the telling and recording.
In short - the Bible is a huge mixture.

monasksit (Fri, Jan 26/07 08:38 pm) wrote:

Floating boats and Noah's ark, how about this tidbit I stumbled on from Genesis:

Gen 6:19"(U)And of every living thing of all flesh, you shall bring two of every kind into the ark, to keep them alive with you; they shall be male and female.

20"(V)Of the birds after their kind, and of the animals after their kind, of every creeping thing of the ground after its kind, two of every kind will come to you to keep them alive.

Gen 7:2"You shall take with you of every (B)clean animal by sevens, a male and his female; and of the animals that are not clean two, a male and his female;

3also of the birds of the sky, by sevens, male and female, to keep offspring alive on the face of all the earth.

Almost like two versions of the same story, one, the one I was more familiar with, using the common two-by-two motif, then the lesser- known seven-by-seven (or I guess that would be actually 7 pairs so it would be 14 by 14), creating havoc in many illustrators lives for sure.

Beautiful, wonderful, mystical and inspiring myth that challenged our ancestors and still makes us pause to think even in this modern era. Amen and Awomen!

klaatu (Fri, Jan 26/07 08:40 pm):

"Beautiful, wonderful, mystical and inspiring myth that challenged our ancestors and still makes us pause to think even in this modern era."

You got it, monaskit!

StephenGordon (Fri, Jan 26/07 09:24 pm):

trivia tidbit I once heard but am not certain of, my math skills are terrible. The 7 clean was supposedly done so that while the land was flooded Noah would not have to eat of the unclean.... I'm just saying...

I think the more mystical, interpretive tidbit to chew on is that Noah knew what was clean and unclean before the giving of Torah on Mt. Sinai. This is also apparently when humans began eating meat. =)

monasksit (Fri, Jan 26/07 09:47 pm):

Oooh, good point! Noah was not only 600 years old, but he could see the future and Moses's orders about diet. Cool! Too bad he didn't warn his descendants to not sew coats of many colors for their spoiled youngest sons :)

Myths are meaningful, I repeat, Myths are meaningful!

StephenGordon (Fri, Jan 26/07 10:11 pm):

Noah is a good place to also see the influence the time period had on the importance of recorded events.There were eight people remaining in the entire world. They were Noah, Shem, Ham, Japheth... and??? and??? well Noah's wife and the son's wives.... their names were???
Some things were important in ancient times and some things were not.

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