I quit reading reviews of the movie, Noah, when I realized that many of the reviewers haven’t seen the movie. Here, though, is a review of a book (The Ark Before Noah: Decoding the Story of the Flood) that came out too late to influence the movie. It brings the older Mesopotamian flood story to bear on the Bible story.
The author, Irving Finkel, is an interesting guy.
His idea of a circular ark is also interesting.
But mostly I want to use the review to point out a problem with popular treatments of the Bible. First, the review says that the Genesis story of Noah is usually dated during the Babylonian exile. I think most people reading this would think that the story, in its Biblical form, came into being then. But later the review says that the biblical story was compiled then to conserve earlier traditions.
See the difference.
The Pentateuch may well have been compiled during or shortly after the Babylonian exile. But the material in it is often way older than that. There is evidence that some of the older traditions came to the compilers pretty much in the form they now have.
Anyway the review gives us the following funny perspective:
He also finds wry humor in the fact that unlike the Old Testament, where the flood is God’s moral punishment against sinning humanity, in Babylonian tradition the waters are sent to destroy life because mankind has become cacophonous, or as one ancient god put it: “The noise of mankind has become too intense for me,/ With their uproar I am deprived of sleep.”
“To our minds, noise abatement as justification for the total annihilation of life looks a bit over the top,” Finkel writes.