The story of Noah is two thousand years older than the Old Testament.

Tuesday, 2/14/17

Starting two weeks ago, our first readings have been from the Old Testament that wat first written down in Hebrew five hundred and eighty years before Christ. That was when the whole population of Jerusalem was led off to hard work as captives in Babylon.

In their second and third years in Babylon the people were given two weeks off to join the people in the New Years holiday when they celebrated Inuma Elish, what they called their creation myth.

Gradually it began dawning on the captive Israelites, that they had a far more noble legend about how creation came about, and they began gathering their oral yarns that they fitted together into a unified Genesis.

For the most part they only put together yarns handed down by their twelve tribes, but for parts of Genesis they put their own twist on legend that had been going around for two thousand years.  That is the case with today’s story about Noah in the Ark.

like the story of Noah, that ancient story had begun with the gods finding humans so sinful that they decided on wiping out humanity with a flood.

In that ancient story, the god Ea felt a man named Utnapishtim worth saving. He ordered him to build and ark on which he would save a pair pf every animals. In that story too, when the waters began subsiding, the man on the ark at first sent out a raven. When it did not return, he sent out a dove that came back with an olive branch in its beak.

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