- Hardcover: 352 pages
- Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton; 1st Edition edition (30 Jan. 2014)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1444757059
- ISBN-13: 978-1444757057
- Product Dimensions: 16.3 x 3.8 x 23.6 cm
- Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars See all reviews (93 customer reviews)
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 195,387 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
The Ark Before Noah: Decoding the Story of the Flood Hardcover – 30 Jan 2014
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A serious book, but rarely a heavy one: in a sprightly, good-humoured way, Finkel communicates the thrill of true scholarship...it feels fresh and exciting here. (The Sunday Times)
The charged thrill of Finkel's chase permeates the book - the pages don't just join dots, they supply new pieces for a beautiful, Bronze-Age jigsaw-puzzle... Scholarly and droll, Finkel's writing is also eccentrically vivid... it is a joy. (The Times)
One of the most important human documents ever discovered... his conclusions will send ripples into the world of creationism and among ark hunters. (The Guardian)
A painstaking and lively investigation ... there are remarkable scholarly insights to admire ... brilliant. (Literary Review)
Finkel is a master at deciphering these ancient cuneiform clay tablets, but this book is far more than a fine piece of detective work: it is a humane work of scholarship that enlarges the soul. (Richard Holloway The Observer)
Delightful...a digressive, amusing personal book for the general reader, a book that is willing to ask big questions. (Stephen Moss The Guardian)
Finkel's account is wryly and entertainingly told. (Tom Holland The Guardian)
Exudes the enthusiasm of an expert deeply absorbed in his subject. (Times Literary Supplement)
A gem of a book. (The New Yorker)
Engaging and informative . . . Finkel is an enthusiast and shows evident delight in bringing this find to the wider public. (The Wall Street Journal)
THE ARK BEFORE NOAH: Decoding the Story of the Flood by Dr Irving Finkel is a compelling investigation of one of the most famous myths in the world - and how the re-discovery of an ancient tablet challenges our view of ancient history in a new and exciting way.See all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
I found it most amazing how the presence of a handful of words in this short tablet have radically changed and coalesced our understanding of these varied Flood myths. It is a masterful work written for the layman but suitable for someone knowledgeable in the field. It even has one of my chief preferences in a text like this, an interlinear interpretation of the text so that you can take a look at the language behind the translation which often provides insight that the translation alone cannot. Amazingly, for all the insights that Dr. Finkel brings to this topic, there are plenty of insights which he seems to have missed or not included awaiting the interested reader.
My only complaint about the book is the referencing. Dr. Finkel (or, more likely, his editors) employ a truly atrocious form of referencing called chapter notes. These are the notes that you find in a section at the back of the book which are usually not terribly specific and can only be linked back to the page by page numbers and general context.Read more ›
Everyone knows the basic story of Noah's Ark and it has been known for years that the biblical story is based on earlier versions which go back as far as 1900BC. Dr Finkel, who is a curator at the British Museum and an expert on ancient Mesopotamia, carefully carries the reader through the histories of the flood story and even tries to teach us the basics of cuneiform writing. His major contribution to the work is his reading and interpretation of the Ark Tablet; this clearly describes the size and methods of manufacture of the ark. In spite of our preconceptions, it turns out that the original Ark was circular in shape and was, in fact, a super-sized coracle!
This book will be enjoyed by almost anyone who has an enquiring mind and who enjoys history. I was almost persuaded to try and grow a flowing white beard like Dr Finkel's but, perhaps wisely, my wife dissuaded me! A most enjoyable and informative read!
The impact of deciphering Babylonian Cuneiform writing turns out, in its own way, to be as controversial as Darwin's theories - and the Babylonian 'Noah' myth is a rich, human story. I won't spoil the delight of finding out for yourself what this 'Noah' made his Ark from - but, when you come to his complaints to his gods about the quality of the bitumen tar he's had to use to waterproof it, just try not to think of any builder across all of time whistling through his teeth!
A great read, turning what could be a very 'dry' subject into a detective story!
And it has a surprising link to the kids TV show The Double Deckers!
Great man. Great book.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Extraordinary. This book is not just about the quest to build an ark, it's part autobiography, a lot of investigative and interpretative history, and a superb cuneiform philology. Read morePublished 28 days ago by Jules
I really enjoyed this book which explained complex ideas in a very interesting and understandable way -but how does anyone manage to read that Cuneiform writing?!Published 9 months ago by Anne Holmes