Asimov's Guide to the Bible: The Old Testament by Isaac Asimov, Rafael Palacios

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By Isaac Asimov, Rafael Palacios

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In 1929, the English archaeologist Sir Charles Leonard Woolley reported finding water-deposited layers as much as ten feet thick in his excavations near the Euphrates. Such deposits were not found everywhere in the region and Sumerian culture showed no over-all break. C. there were indeed drastic floods of at least a local nature. With time, as the story is told and retold it is dramatically inevitable that a flood which spreads out over parts of Sumeria and neighboring regions with great loss of life will be said to have covered "all the world," meaning the entire region.

C. , there came the Flood. This, according to the Bible, was a world-wide deluge, but there is no record of any such phenomenon, of course. The Egyptian civilization, for instance, was in a particularly flourishing state at this very time and was building its pyramids. Nor do the Egyptian records speak of any floods other than the annual overflow of the Nile, as far as we know. This is not to say, however, that the Biblical story of the Flood was not based on some actual, but local, flood in Sumerian history.

Neither river can be identified, though glamorous guesses have been made' for each. ) Havilah is thus pictured as a land of wealth, where one can find gold and other precious material. " In that case, the Pison (or Pish~n)might be the Indus River, the long river-as long as the Euphrates-that drains what is now Paldstan, flowing into the Arabian Sea. " Ethiopia was, in ancient times, a land to the south of Egypt, and a nation bearing that name is still located about five hundred miles south of Egypt nowadays.

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