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Before the Flood: The Biblical Flood as a Real Event and How It Changed the Course of Civilization [Paperback]

Ian Wilson
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Mar 2004
For centuries in the Near East archaeological evidence has been turning up of a major flood in the area's ancient history. In 1995, two marine biologists put forward evidence that showed that until almost 7500 years ago the Black Sea was a freshwater lake separated form the Mediterranean Sea by a small strip of land where Istanbul now stands. Their theory suggested that around 5600 BC the Mediterranean broke through the land barrier and salt water poured through with a force 200 times that of Niagara Falls inundating the Black Sea and raising its level by over 300 feet. In September 2000, Marine archaeologist Robert Ballard discovered the wooden remains of houses 300 feet below the surface of the Black Sea, 12 miles north of the present-day Turkish coast. Building on this evidence Ian Wilson puts forward the hypothesis that this catastrophic inundation - the Biblical Flood - drowned tens of thousands of people and precipitated an exodus of people to Egypt and Mesopotamia, who formed the precursors of these great civilisations.
--This text refers to the Hardcover edition.


Product details

  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Press; Reprint edition (Mar 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 9780312319717
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312319717
  • ASIN: 0312319711
  • Product Dimensions: 23 x 16 x 2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 3,344,694 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

Book Description

Dramatic new evidence that the biblical flood was a real-life event --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

About the Author

Born in 1941, Ian Wilson graduated in Modern History from Magdalen College Oxford. He has written many books and also won a BAFTA for a documentary on the Turin Shroud. He has also written and presented a three part TV series based on his book Jesus: The Evidence. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The real cradle of civilisation? 25 Jun 2004
By Pieter Uys HALL OF FAME TOP 500 REVIEWER
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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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent. I enjoyed every bit of the book 17 April 2002
Format:Hardcover
I recommend this book to anyone who is interested in learning a bit about our ancient history. It covers everything from Bible history to modern day excavations. Its informative and its information is backed up by evidence and believable theories. A wonderful read on an amazing subject
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3.0 out of 5 stars An interesting read 20 Jan 2014
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I like Ian Wilson he always writes about challenging things and I have many of his books. Worth a read.
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0 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Here Comes The Flood 28 Nov 2012
Format:Hardcover
Yet another book that I picked up in a charity shop. It cost me £2. And it's in excellent condition; almost brand new. In a bookshop it would have cost me nearly £19 brand new.

This is also the first book I have read by Ian Wilson. On the strength of this book I bought another of his works, The Shroud, which I will review when I have finished.

While the book is very readable and ejoyably takes us through the early pre-Flood and post-Flood civilisations, there is nothing remarkable about its conclusions. The whole concept behind the book is that there may have been a civiliastion before an actual Flood, like the one in chapters 6-9 of Genesis.

So what? The only reason we have these books is because dumbo Darwinians and arrogant atheists believe that everything that in the Bible is fiction. Or, we have Creationists who believe that everything in the same book is literal.

If our experience if the biblcal Flood came just from other sources, few people would be questioning it. But because of the symbolism of the Bible we have this endless debate going on. Several sources (The Epic of Gilgamesh, for example)state that a Flood took place around 5,600 BC. The Bible would have borrowed from these sources, but used its own symbols to convey its own truth (as did all the other versions).

The question is not whether a bloke called Noah built an ark a couple of thousand years before even the Pyramids were built to survive an enviromental catastrophe, the question is: How does it apply to me?

Even if the event (the Flood) happened, is it any more relevant to me than any other environmental catastrophe. I am here in the 21st century: What do I care?
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Amazon.com: 3.7 out of 5 stars  24 reviews
38 of 39 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The real origin of civilization? 12 Jun 2004
By Pieter Uys - Published on Amazon.com
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. I found his discussion of loan words in Sumerian very enlightening. Although Wilson is not a linguist, I would have liked a deeper exploration of historical linguistics to cast more light on the matter. He does look at the work of Indo-Europeanists Marija Gimbutas and Colin Renfrew. According to the consensus, the original Indo-European language is considered to have broken up into daughter languages between about 5000 and 4000BC.
Another puzzle is why the Indo-European and Semitic parent languages share so many common vocabulary items. Looking at the bigger picture of the Nostratic (or Eurasiatic according to Joseph Greenberg) language family, one finds that there is a great structural similarity between Indo-European, Uralic-Yukagir and even Eskimo, but relatively few shared vocabulary items, the fewer the further North and Northwest you from the Black Sea/Caucasus area. Semitic (a member of the large Afro-Asiatic family) and Indo-European display fundamental structural differences, but share certain phenomena that are clearly linked across their family lines, including key words for concepts like "full, horn, ear, eye, bull, earth."
Wilson refers extensively to the work of Dr James Mellaart, the excavator of Çatal Hüyük. This theory of an original civilization in the Anatolian/Black Sea area before Egypt and before Sumeria is highly original and very plausible. Wilson is just scratching the surface and further investigation would no doubt lead to more remarkable discoveries. According to the Good Book, there is no end to many books. In this case, the more the merrier.
This is a bold direction and needs an interdisciplinary approach. It would be of great value if the author incorporates the work of linguists like Greenberg and Merritt Ruhlen in his further writings. The book concludes with notes & references, a bibliography, an appendix of some key documents and an index. The text is illumed by some really gripping maps and illustrations. I would not classify Before The Flood as "alternative history" - rather the cutting edge of historical research, already underpinned by significant archaeological discoveries.
21 of 22 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Modern, enjoyable, and organized. 8 Nov 2003
By A. J. Valasek - Published on Amazon.com
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.
25 of 27 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting 8 Aug 2003
By apoem - Published on Amazon.com
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.
16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Decoding a myth 1 Oct 2003
By John C. Landon - Published on Amazon.com
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.
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Tunnel visioned conclusion 24 Jan 2003
By Scout - Published on Amazon.com
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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