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View Diary: Noah brings the rain (201 comments)

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  •  yes, the marsh arab culture is extremely ancient (8+ / 0-)

    and as the iraq wetlands are being restored, that culture is reviving and a good thing too, because at the rate the world's ocean levels are rising, a lot of the world is likely to become in need of their ancient technologies.

    it's somewhat chrono-centric to posit that

    "the whole world" consisted of "everything from here to that big rock,
    since there is pretty extensive archaelogical evidence that caravaning around in the old-world land-mass, and sailing around all its shores dates back pretty far that we have found so far alone, such as
    Egyptian seafaring expeditions had already been made to Byblos to bring back "cedars of Lebanon" as early as the 3rd millennium BC, the greater likelihood is that by the time a major outburst flood became recorded as flood mythology of the Sumerian Atra-Hasis precursor to the Gilgamesh flood story, the
    whole world
    as understood by the most powerful and the most widely travelled members of those cultures was not a parochial notion at all.

    naturally, we have an automatic tendency to assume that human observational capacity of the natural world must accord with the level of technology of the culture as we, in our era, conceptualize "technology". Our own current mythologies (e.g., "rugged individualism") are so shaped by our own times that we easily forget how relatively insulated most of us are from dependence on personal, individual capacity to observe the natural world and learn to draw the kinds of conclusions from harsh experience that confer the skills to survive. We are too easily led astray by our amusement over the "absurd" and "primitive" mythologies which, by construction in a sequential fictionalized form, empower the transmission of underlying information across generations, centuries, and millenia.

    The reality is that in our present time we are quite good at virtual reality, but set us down in an actual reality such as the iraqi wetlands and we'd be utterly dependent on the skills and generosity of those whose native environment it is and know from millenia of transmitted knowledge how to interpret the motions of the natural realm and precisely what they need to do to survive and flourish.

    just sayin'

    •  I'm sure many folks went sailing around (4+ / 0-)

      but Noah? Wasn't he a wine grower? When "that big rock" went under water, it would be the "whole world" for him.

      I don't think the nomadic tribes have apocalyptic flood myths--though I am purely speculating here--because if the waters start rising in valley A, they simply pack up and move to plateau B.

      Now, a jökulhlaup (glacial outburst flood) would possibly sweep the whole tribe away, unless they had adapted to them (head for that big damn rock!). The Noah myth doesn't sound like that type of flood however.

      And God said, "Let there be light"; and with a Big Bang, there was light. And God said "Ow! Ow My eyes!" and in a flash God separated light from darkness. "Whew! Now that's better. Now where was I. Oh yea . . ."

      by Pale Jenova on Mon Mar 24, 2014 at 07:00:46 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  a tale with a beginning, middle, end, and details (1+ / 0-)
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        is a mnemonic device commonly used in religious and cultural mythologies by which make viable and transmissible various pieces and kinds of information embedded in the story.  effective across generations but extremely susceptible to all kinds of misinterpretation across centuries let alone millenia.  we can surmise what information was meant to be transmitted via the noah story as constructed but we'll never know for certain.  our own contexts and cultures too powerfully affect unconcious assumptions.

        such as our assumption that a person engaged in a livelihood other than sailing wouldn't be aware of much about maritime trade.  you might want to have a look at some of my other comments in this discussion - my lifelong studies as well as materials fairly readily available online strongly suggest to me that an across the board assumption of isolation and primitivity in the neolithic and iron ages is probably a misinterpretation based on our own perspective rather than on the facts of what is increasingly known about past eras.  some of the wrecks found in the black sea in circumstances that suggest they were wrecked while docked during massive flooding includes evidence of cargoes including wine amphoras.  

        according to wikipedia's noah article, noah became a husbandman of a vinyard after the flood, but if perhaps he had been before the flood, i.e., owned a vineyard, his workers might not have much sophistication about the wine trade, but the owner of the vinyard might well have to in order to be sure of keeping is vineyard a going business.

        i'm not sure why a nomadic way of life would be figured in at this point, but since nomadic livelihoods have anciently included caravanning --just as ancient military-service livelihoods consistently including conquesting a thousand miles or more from home base, if archaeological documents can be trusted as to who fought with whom where for control of which territories-- we might be in error to assume a low level of knowledge about the diversity of the world and the products and persons to be conveyed and the places to be conveyed to and the next forms of conveyance on land or water that one's cargo and passengers might take.  the abrahamic story alone involves a very considerable extent of travel, repeatedly and over sometimes-varying routes, and while that too is of course a myth, it represents an understanding by the storytellers of a considerable stretch of geography.

        greatflood myths are prevalent in such widely disparate parts of the world (i think i put a few links in my other comments in this thread) that i think we can rely on more scholarly and expert opinion than our own, but offhand i don't recall which kind of flood the majority opinion considers the noah story to be involved with.

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