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Before the Flood: The Biblical Flood as a Real Event and How It Changed the Course of Civilization Paperback – March 1, 2004

ISBN-13: 978-0312319717 ISBN-10: 9780312319717 Edition: First Edition

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Before the Flood: The Biblical Flood as a Real Event and How It Changed the Course of Civilization + Noah's Flood: The New Scientific Discoveries About The Event That Changed History + The Rocks Don't Lie: A Geologist Investigates Noah's Flood
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin; First Edition edition (March 1, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 9780312319717
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312319717
  • ASIN: 0312319711
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 0.7 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (24 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,515,000 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Historian Wilson (The Blood and the Shroud), who has made a career of proving the authenticity of the Shroud of Turin, now turns his attention to supporting the historical reality of the biblical flood in this sweeping narrative of history, mythology and philology. Building upon the work of William Ryan and Walter Pitman (Noah's Flood: The New Scientific Discoveries About the Event That Changed History), Wilson shows that around 5600 B.C. a huge wave from the Mediterranean, caused by the melting glaciers of the last Ice Age, broke over the land mass that connected Turkey to Europe, creating the Bosporus Strait. Wilson draws on recent archeological evidence to argue that this wave inundated agricultural societies around the Black Sea, creating a worldwide diaspora and driving some of the survivors south into Egypt, Mesopotamia and other parts of the Middle East. This Black Sea flood and the southern migration, Wilson argues, are the basis for the Genesis tale of Noah. He synthesizes the last 40 years' worth of archeological findings into a lively detective story, showing how various cultures in Europe, Asia and the Middle East still bear the vestigial traces of their Black Sea roots. He confirms his theory by citing the numerous myths of a great devastating flood and its aftermath among the Sumerians, Babylonians, Greeks and others. Wilson does not aim to prove the literal truth of the Bible story-only that Noah had real-life counterparts who escaped the flood by ship. Nonetheless, the book is sure to spur some lively debates. B&w illus. and photos.
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

The noted historian and author of Turin Shroud and The Blood and the Shroud turns his trained, professional eye to a specific event from the Bible: the narrative of the Flood (cf. Genesis 6:5-9:17). Despite the headline-grabbing style of the book's subtitle, the author's scholarly methodology examines serious archaeological, historical, meteorological, religious, and literary artifacts and issues. Building upon the groundbreaking hypothesis of William Ryan and Walter Pittman in Noah's Flood, Wilson posits the historical nucleus of the biblical Flood narrative on the flooding of the Black Sea by the Mediterranean Sea at the end of the last Ice Age, around 5600 B.C.E. Faithful to the evidence, the author points out where gaps in the archaeological record do not currently allow us to establish definitively a direct causal link between the later literary accounts of the Flood in Genesis or The Epic of Gilgamesh and events at the Black Sea. The author's style treats serious issues in a scholarly manner but is easily understandable and highly readable. Recommended for large public libraries.
Charlie Murray, C.S.S., Fordham Univ., New York
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

3.7 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

38 of 39 people found the following review helpful By Pieter Uys HALL OF FAMETOP 1000 REVIEWER on June 12, 2004
Format: Paperback
This fascinating book investigates a lost culture that thrived in northern Turkey before an inundation in 5600BC turned a freshwater lake into what is now the Black Sea by connecting it to the Mediterranean. Such a cataclysmic event must have caused major destruction and caused the death of thousands of people. It would also not have been restricted to the area under consideration.
By looking at the archaeological evidence brought to light by Robert Ballard's submarine explorations and by comparing the flood myths of the world, Wilson connects this disaster with the Biblical account of the Great Flood. He demonstrates that the Biblical account is composed of two different texts that were integrated, texts that he calls J and P. The opening part of original separate strands are displayed side by side. I found this very interesting; each of them is coherent in its own right but has a different emphasis. Both are in fact more coherent on their own than integrated as in the Bible.
Wilson suggests that Turkey and the Black Sea area may be the real cradle of civilization. It was the first Post Ice Age civilization and it flourished until about 6000BC. The metropolis of this culture was what is today called Çatal Hüyük, a city that was abandoned around this time, most probably because of climate change. It gets really interesting when he looks at the diaspora caused by these natural disasters; Wilson points out shared characteristics of the Minoan culture and the megaliths on the islands of Malta and Gozo. This includes the worship of bulls and the prevalence of the Mother Goddess which is found over an even larger geographic area.
There are far flung cultures displaying similarities to traits found at Çatal Hüyük, including in Egypt and Sumeria.
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21 of 22 people found the following review helpful By A. J. Valasek on November 8, 2003
Format: Hardcover
This book is good reading for understanding some of the recent advances of research pertaining to the Biblical flood. It focuses on the history of the Black Sea area and how a plausible flood in this area had far reaching implications in the world.

I liked how the author provided various links, some speculative, between the migration of the people of the Black Sea area as a result of rising water, to the development of human civilization.

I'm sure the notion that the cradle of civilization not being in Egypt will get some unwelcome reviews, but they are presented as theories that warrant investigation and not as fact. I like a book that stretches accepted knowledge.

The die hard 6000 year old Earth believers will be irritated that the "global" flood didn't happen in the literal sense, but they are descended from those who excommunicated the people who believed the Earth revolved around the Sun.

Finally, the book is an overall easy read and written in a logical fashion that is non-flammatory.
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25 of 27 people found the following review helpful By apoem TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on August 8, 2003
Format: Hardcover
I am neither an expert in Bible Archeology nor science. However, this book struck me as having a well thought out hypothesis. It is backed up by much research and evidence.
The author was able to write convincingly and to keep my interest at the same time. There was much information and the book could easily have become mired down in facts and proof and could easily have become boring. This did not happen. THe author was able to present the facts and research and keep it interesting.
Although his theory does not back up a world flood as depicted in the Biblical story of Noah, the theory is none the less interesting and believable.
Well worth reading.
Enjoy.
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful By John C. Landon on September 30, 2003
Format: Hardcover
This is a good upgrade/progress report on the work of Ryan and Pittman attempting to find the historical source of the long tradition of myths of the Flood in the Black Sea rise in the sixth millennium. To what degree the thesis is still mixed with speculation is still not entirely clear, but, taken with caution, the case overall is convincing, and extremely interesting. Worth checking out.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Scout on January 24, 2003
Format: Hardcover
It is inevitable that we will begin to see historic works that claim the Flood legend was really a local event, based on Ryan and Pittman's discovery in the Black Sea. Wilson's research is fine to the extent that he takes it. His contention that there is no evidence for the Flood or its effects elsewhere is unfounded. There are more than 650 cultures around the world that have flood stories. Wilson would have to extend his hypothesis to include all of them as having been spawned from the Black Sea.
As the Ice Age ended, during several thousand years the ocean level rose 400-600 feet. Recent submarine archaeological finds off the coast of India and in the Caribbean indicate that the Black Sea was not the only vicinity whose population became displaced. There are in excess of 200 megalithic sites under the Mediterranean, and roads leading away from the site on Malta go straight under the sea. Other undersea sites include off the coast of Denmark and Germany. Like the Black Sea, the Baltic was also once a fresh water lake.
To be sure, refugees from the Black Sea region resettled in what is now Turkey. From there, elements of that culture migrated southeastward to found the civilization of Sumer. The archaeological record demonstrates that. In Ancient times, Phrygia (north central Anatolia, now Turkey) vied with Egypt for the distinction of being the oldest civilization, and Phrygia eventually won the argument (on flimsy grounds). Geographic evidence embedded in the Garden of Eden story points to the Zagros Mountains in the same area for its origin.
Please read the book. It contains a lot of valuable information. However, its sweeping conclusion fails to address all of the evidence.
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