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Noah's Ark and the Ziusudra Epic: Sumerian Origins of the Flood Myth Hardcover – Unabridged, Unknown format


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Noah's Ark and the Ziusudra Epic: Sumerian Origins of the Flood Myth + Myths from Mesopotamia: Creation, the Flood, Gilgamesh, and Others (Oxford World's Classics)
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Eisenbrauns; Unabridged edition (May 1, 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0966784014
  • ISBN-13: 978-0966784015
  • Product Dimensions: 1.2 x 6.5 x 10 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #651,680 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"Your suggestions are creative and stimulating and should generate some interesting discussion. I think you are on the right track in attempting to glean pertinent information from all the flood stories and not just one. Your book is exceptionally well organized, written, and documented. The scientific matters you touch on appear to be accurate. -- Prof. Davis A. Young, Calvin College

About the Author

The author was born in Pennsylvania and received a BS degree in Physics from Carnegie-Mellon University.

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Customer Reviews

3.2 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

66 of 74 people found the following review helpful By Bruce McGrew on June 26, 2000
Format: Hardcover
This book examines six versions of an ancient flood legend (The Ziusudra Epic, The Atrahasis Epic, The Epic of Gilgamesh, Genesis 6-9, The Berossus History, and The Moses of Khoren. The author begins by listing phases and words common to each version, to demonstrate they are related and have a common origin. He then extracts the plausible and possible portions of each legend and removes the mythical (physically impossible or highly improble) elements. He draws upon archeological evidence of actual historical events, sites, and persons, examines early numbering systems, and the various meanings of key words in early written languages. The result: a very realistic, readable, and convincing reconstruction of the flood myth.
The author attributes the Noah story to a six day flood on the Euphrates River, around 2900BC. Noah (Ziusudra, a known king of the Sumerian city-state Shuruppak) and his family are swept down the river into the Persian Gulf on Noah's commercial river barge. They drift for nearly a year and eventually ground in an estuary near the mouth of the river.
This book is the most convincing and plausible account of the Noah legend I have read, or ever expect to read. The author examines every detail of the legend, and shows how mistranslations of key words and phrases led to faulty modern interpretations, such as the ark grounding on Mt. Ararat.
Also included is an analysis of the ages of Noah and the other antediluvians. Again, the author is totally convincing. This book is a scientific "tour de force". The author sifts through a mountain of information and extracts its essence ... what REALLY happened to Noah.
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41 of 46 people found the following review helpful By Virgil Brown VINE VOICE on May 11, 1999
Format: Hardcover
At last there is a well-reasoned proposal for the historical reality underlying the legend of Noah and the Flood. Best does not speculate that the Flood is merely an allusion to one of the many floods of the Tigris-Euphrates plain. Rather "Noah" is a king/priest who lived at the beginning of the third millenium. The Flood is the flood of 2900 BCE. Best includes chapters on the transmission of the text, the construction of the Ark, the voyage of the Ark, and what happened to Noah and his family after the voyage. Most thought-provoking is Best's detailed explanation of the biblical fi- gures found in Genesis 11. This book is fascinating and worth reading by anyone interested in the stories of Noah and the Flood.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Paul Sheer on February 8, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Because of the scarcity of information, the author rightly concludes that we will never be completely certain about the Noah story. However, this book is more about the most-probably truth according to a wide array of available evidence. The author also uses plenty of arithmetic to deduce the real timelines and lifespans of the various biblical characters and the reason for their misrepresentation in the bible - which I found absolutely fascinating.

Because academic treaties ought to focus on what is provable, this book cannot be thought of as such. For instance it ought to be considered imprudent to bring religious questions into an archeological and historical discussion. So, is there no place for a work that attempts scientifically-guided speculations? Indeed this book fulfills this purpose gracefully.

After reading the important chapters one is left with a satisfied feeling that the Noah story may have a real, historical, practical, and plausible context; requiring no supernatural element.
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34 of 46 people found the following review helpful By meirion30 on May 29, 2001
Format: Hardcover
A great book.An excellent guide to the origin of the Noah myth and the other flood myths from the area.Great detail had been achived in researching possible origins for the many wild statements made in Genesis,and in showing that the flood was not global. A great book to give to a creationist as a present.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By CAMILLVS on May 5, 2011
Format: Hardcover
I read this book a few years ago and found the author's theory to be the most logical explanation of both the Sumerian and Biblical flood myths. One of the ideas I found fascinating was the possible explanation of the exaggerated reigns of both the antediluvian Sumerian kings and biblical patriarchs. It seems an Akkadian scribe may have used Semitic base-10 number symbols to represent the Sumerian base-60 number system when translating texts. It's not hard to imagine an incompetent bureaucrat making such a mistake.

There are plenty of gems in Robert Best's book to keep you happily reading for hours at a time. And don't think the author's assertions are mere flights of fancy. Robert Best backs up his theory with plausible science, archeology and paleography as the story of the Sumerian Noah unfolds. If we're not talking about a physically impossible global flood, then we're talking local. In this antecedent to the flood myths, Ziusudra is not only a local king, but a business man with a transport barge loaded with animals and grains on the way to be delivered to buyers. When a flash flood occurs at a time of high river levels, it becomes the perfect storm.

I won't give any more of it away but when you read what transpires during the local flood between the two rivers, you can understand why it would look like a global flood to anyone unfortunate enough to be on a runaway barge headed into the Persian gulf. This book would make a nice present for anyone who takes the Bible literally...or the Epic of Gilgamesh for that matter.Noah's Ark and the Ziusudra Epic: Sumerian Origins of the Flood Myth
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