The Patriarchs referred to in Genesis and their seemingly exaggerated longevity have been a source of continuous debate ever since biblical criticism developed in the 18th century. Cornelius de Pauw referred to the apparently exaggerated life spans of the biblical patriarchs explaining that it was widespread in the Middle East and further afield to name a dynasty or family after its founder and attribute the total years of its reign to that founder. [1756.258]
Emilio Spedicato in a paper(f) entitled Large Numbers in Asian Chronology Decrypted includes some radical ideas on how to resolve the mystery of the ages of the patriarchs recorded in the Bible.
A paper(a) by an unnamed and apparently deceased author was published by Duane L. Christensen. It approaches the ages of the patriarchs from a numerological standpoint with some curious conclusions. I’m wary of such occult claims, but will leave it to readers to decide.
Another paper by Dean Talboys, entitled Methuselah Debunked(b)(c)(d) offers an convoluted explanation for the ages based on Babylonian astronomy/astrology.
(e) https://www.academia.edu/17026643/Noah_and_the_Deluge_Chronological_Historical_and_Archaeological_Evidence (around one third of the page down)
Noah the hero of the Flood story in Genesis and reportedly the first to plant a vineyard has been suggested by Frank Joseph[108 .85] to have been an Atlantean. However, he is not the first to offer this idea. Cosmas Indicopleustes a 6th century AD theologian and geographer from Alexandria wrote of Atlantis as a large island in the western ocean. He also added a twist to the tale by recording an ancient tradition that Noah had resided on Atlantis!
Another identification, by Robert Bowie Johnson Jr., is that Noah is Nereus in Greek mythology and widely depicted in Greek art(c). Confusingly, it has also been suggested(a)(t) that Enoch usually accepted as the grandfather of Noah were in fact one and the same person.
Nevertheless, Plato’s Atlantis was destroyed by the gods as a punishment for their wickedness, while the same reason is given in the Bible for the obliteration of Noah’s people. Coincidentally, both Atlantis and Noah’s homeland, which was probably located in Mesopotamia, were destroyed by water leading to the obvious suggestion that the two stories are related.
While the biblical account of the Deluge does not stand up to detailed scrutiny(j), the global ubiquity of Flood stories is seldom adequately explained. Some possibilities that occur to me are related to the ending of the last Ice Age, which had watery consequences around the world. While the rising sea level took place in fits and starts, there were more dramatic events during this period such as the huge melt water lake discharges and Heinrich Events that occurred across North America and Eurasia. The effect in the southern hemisphere was less spectacular. Survivors would have been forced to migrate in all directions, bringing their account of these floods with them. Another explanation, but in my view, a less likely cause of global floods would have been a close encounter with a large extraterrestrial body such a promoted by Emilio Spedicato.
Apart from the story of the actual flood, global or otherwise, the detailed biblical account of the building of the Ark along with the gathering of the animals and the voyage itself does not hold water (sorry)(y). Some decades ago, Roger A. Moore offered a forensic study of the account, which, is still impressive(x).
Some years ago, Pastor Bertrand L. Comparet (1901-1983), a staunch racist(w), denied that the Flood of Noah had been a global event(v).
The Flood of Noah has been dated as 3161 BC by Stuart L. Harris(s). >Similarly, Gérard Gertoux places the Deluge circa 3200 BC in a lengthy paper(z). in which he also controversially touches on subjects such as radiocarbon dating, the age of the Patriarchs, the Ice Ages, evolution and more.<
A further development in the Flood story came on January 1st 2010 when it was revealed(b) that a 3,700-year-old Babylonian tablet disclosed that the ark was circular in design and made of reeds!
This claim was made by Irving Finkel, a cuneiform specialist at the British Museum, in his recent book The Ark Before Noah: Decoding the Story of the Flood. Jason Colavito offers an interesting review of the book(d).
There is an unexpectedly large number of books written over the last century on the subject of Noah’s Ark that are listed on a specialist website(e).
One such offering, resurrected by Jason Colavito(f), provides some comic relief with the claim in 1922 by C. E. Getsinger, who wrote that Noah’s Ark was in fact the Great Pyramid(g)! Even earlier, John Taylor (1781-1864) claimed that Noah had built the Great Pyramid! Nevertheless, a recently deciphered fragment of the Dead Sea Scrolls has suggested that the Ark was shaped like a pyramid!(h)(i)
Barry Warmkessel also entered the fray with the suggestion that aliens had been involved in the design and construction of the Ark(r)!
Nevertheless, 2017 finished with renewed interest in Noah’s Ark being generated by media reports(k) of statements emanating from The Geoscience Research Institute, which is sponsored by the Seventh-day Adventist Church, which claims that a 2010 expedition to Mount Ararat in Turkey, carbon dated timbers found there to 4,800 years ago.
The late David Allen Deal was another investigator to propose the Ararat region as the landing place of the ark, with Mt. Judi as the specific location(o). A more recent article supports his ideas(p). The precise location of the biblical Ararat is a matter of continuing and intense debate(q).
The UK’s Daily Mail added, that talking after the initial claims in 2010, Mike Pitt, a British archaeologist, said the evangelical explorers had yet to produce compelling evidence. He said: ‘If there had been a flood capable of lifting a huge ship 2.5 miles [4km] up the side of a mountain 4,800 years ago, I think there would be substantial geological evidence for this flood around the world. And there isn’t.’
2018 began with matters really hitting rock-bottom when an English language newspaper offered the following headline(l) “Turkish academic claims Prophet Noah used cell phone to call his son before flood.” Unsurprisingly, Jason Colavito has covered this story with an interesting blog(m).>Nevertheless, that idea is certainly trumped by the suggestion of Xavier Séguin that the ‘Ark’ of Noah had been a satellite(aa)!<
A light-hearted look at the story of Noah is worth a read(n).
>However, a more valuable offering was a paper(ab) delivered in 2008 to the Sixth International Conference on Creationism in Pittsburgh, PA by Anne Habermehl. She finished her contribution, a Review of the Search for Noah’s Ark, with the following conclusions;
“(1) It would appear that the Ark cannot have landed on Mount Ararat, because scientists have shown that this mountain did not exist until some time after the Flood had ended. (Also, the area that Mount Ararat occupies was probably not yet included in Urartu at that time.)
(2) In light of historical and geographical considerations, Mount Cudi near Cizre, Turkey, is the most likely place where the Ark landed.
(3) It seems doubtful that anyone has actually seen the Ark anywhere in modern times. The alleged sightings all seem to evaporate on careful examination.
(4) It is unlikely that very much of the Ark exists today; it is probable that over the millennia it has decayed, and various scavengers have taken most of it away.
(5) Because of 14C dating problems, it may not be possible to prove that any given samples are or are not the right age to have come from the Ark.
(6) More archaeological work needs to be done if we are ever to reasonably prove the Ark’s landing spot anywhere.
(7) It is probable that no matter what is found in any location, there are those who will remain unconvinced.
(8) Interest in finding the Ark is unabated, and the Ark search will go on.
At the end of the day, we have to face the reality that it may be difficult, or even impossible, ever to prove where the Ark landed. This author would have liked to end on an optimistic note for soon recovery of a largely intact, proven Ark, but this seems unlikely; and this paper therefore ends, in the words of T. S. Eliot (1925): “Not with a bang but a whimper.”<
In March 2019, a paper by Roger M. Pearlman put forward another radical idea, namely, that Göbekli Tepe had been founded by Noah (Noach) and his sons(u).
(g) The Thomson Review, Thomson, Illinois, July 19th, 1922 – p.3