First we had pop singer Katy Perry and movie starlet Megan Fox going bonkers for Giorgio Tsoukalos and Ancient Aliens. Now we can move a bit down market and witness the bizarre effort of former Baywatch star Donna D’Errico to raise $10,000 via Kickstarter to finance a documentary chronicling her upcoming expedition to Mount Ararat in Turkey to search for the physical remains of Noah’s Ark.
Yes, Noah’s Ark. Again. Worse: Like every alternative and fringe writer, she calls her quest “a modern-day, real-life Indiana Jones adventure.” Paging David Childress and Scott Wolter…
D’Errico believes that she almost found the Ark on her first trip to Ararat last year, but narrowly missed the massive boat because she slipped and injured herself on some rocks. She claimed in 2012 that she had to cut the expedition short to avoid kidnappers who were on her tail. Somehow the kidnappers are not expected to care about her expedition this year.
D’Errico wants the money to film a documentary in which she will complete her quest, set to be filmed sometime in August or September. What amazes me is that a former TV star who apparently still receives Baywatch royalties can’t afford $10,000 for a cameraman, “computer-generated imagery and archival footage, post-production.”
According to the actress, she expects to find the actual cages used to hold the animals.
Keep in mind that the Bible did not say two of every species, but rather two of every kind. That means that one feline kind, rather than every species of feline, would have been taken aboard the Ark. Smaller animals would have been kept in cages that could stack on top of each other. As few as 2,000 animal kinds could have been taken aboard the Ark, which would have resulted in all of the species we have today.
I suppose it’s interesting that she takes literally animals that enter the Ark but apparently ignores Genesis 8:4 where the text clearly states that “on the seventeenth day of the seventh month the ark came to rest on the mountains of Ararat,” that is, a general region, not a specific peak, least of all the actual peak today named Ararat. Nicholas of Damascus, for example, identified the mountain as the rather unclear Baris, somewhere in Armenia, and claims that the Ark was still visible there in his day (Josephus, Antiquities of the Jews 1.3). Julius Africanus placed Ararat “in Parthia” (Armenia) or elsewhere: “And when the water abated, the ark settled on the mountains of Ararat, which we know to be in Parthia; but some say that they are at Celænæ of Phrygia, and I have seen both places” (Syncellus, p. 21), and the Qur’an agrees: “and the ark rested on the mountain Al Judi” (11:44), or seems to; the phrase could also mean simply “rested on a high mountain” rather than a specific peak.
Berossus, reporting the more ancient Babylonian flood myth, also claimed that the ark of Xisithrus, a near-exact counterpart of Noah, set down in “Armenia” (now northern Iraq and southern Turkey), in the Gordyaean Mountains (Eusebius, Praep. Evan. 9), in substantial agreement with the even more ancient Epic of Gilgamesh, which had the ark of Utnapishtim set down on Mt. Nisir, today identified with Pir Magrun, in the north of Iraq. The Greek Gordyaei, incidentally is thought to derive from the name Gardu (or Kurdu—i.e. “of the Kurds”), which was corrupted into Jordi and then the Arabic Judi—yes, it’s all thought to be the same mountain from Gilgamesh. (The etymology is somewhat uncertain, and some scholars deny that the various words are related.) If that doesn’t give good evidence for the persistence of tradition, I don’t know what does.
So far as I know, no one has gone in search of the Ark there in modern times (though Ron Wyatt looked close by), but it was a popular Ark-hunting spot in ancient times. Berossus said that a popular activity for the visiting tourist was to visit the Ark’s remains and “carry off pieces of the bitumen, which they take away, and use chiefly as amulets for the averting of mischiefs” (Josephus, Antiquities, 1.3). Epiphanius (Panarion 1.18) reported the Ark’s remains were a tourist attraction at Gordyaei, and the thirteenth-century Arab Christian writer George Elmacin (Girgis Al-Makin) reported (Historia Saracenica 1.1) that the Emperor Heraclius visited “the place of the Ark” atop this same mountain:
Heraclius then came to the village of Thamanin (where Noah, of pious memory, built his Ark and afterward came out from it), and in order for him to see the place of the Ark, he ascended the mountain of Al-Judi, which rises above all these lands, for it is very high. (my trans.)
In this, he was merely repeating what Theophilus of Edessa had reported centuries earlier, as preserved by Agapius:
Then Heraclius retraced his steps and camped at a village which was called Thamanin. This is the village where the ark stopped at the time of the flood, in the time of Noah. He climbed the mountain which is called al-Djoudi, examined the place of the ark, looked at the world, while turning to the four cardinal points, and went then over to Amid where he remained for all the winter.
But I think you’re getting the point. For most of recorded history, there was a different candidate for the Ark’s resting place, and people actually saw (well, assumed they saw) the remains of the Ark there, just as people do today on Mt. Ararat. Does the ship simply hop from peak to peak when we aren’t looking? Perhaps that’s why the CIA didn’t find the Ark and has no record of it.
Although Turks still pointed out the alleged wreckage of the Ark on Al-Judi down to the modern era, by the eighteenth century a new candidate had come to the fore, and George Sale, in a note to his translation of the Qur’an, captures the gradual change, which was complete in the West for several centuries but was still undergoing change in Eastern Orthodoxy:
… it seems the credit of this tradition hath declined, and given place to another, which obtains at present, and according to which the ark rested on mount Masis, in Armenia, called by the Turks, Aghir dagh, or the heavy or great mountain, and situate about twelve leagues south-cast of Erivan.
Masis is one of the two peaks of the mountain today called Mt. Ararat.
The long and short of it is that people tend to see what they want to see when they go Ark hunting.
7/11/2013 01:35:24 pm
It wouldn't surprise me if at sometime since that story has been told, that someone went up and actually built a boat shaped structure in the area. Perhaps there was such a structure or natural formation shaped like a boat that was the germ of the story. So, if something is ever found it would be interesting. I would hope that real archeology would come into play rather than a media circus, but I doubt it.
7/11/2013 02:01:07 pm
So, in 2013 some clowns are still searching for a mythical boat. Wow, this is what lack of decent education gives us.
7/11/2013 02:14:20 pm
This reminds me somewhat of a documentary I saw years ago, where a team of scientists were given permission to examine the famed Spear of Destiny. Due to the post-WW2 stories that Hitler had replaced the original with an elaborate forgery, they actually broke the Spear down into its components.
7/11/2013 03:01:06 pm
Jason,thank you for educating me.I had to Google for Katy Perry & Donna D’Errico.
7/11/2013 05:32:55 pm
It always amazes me that people try to take the Bible literally without having ANY IDEA what's actually said in it. For instance, the whole "two by two" thing is inaccurate.
7/11/2013 11:36:02 pm
There's the rub: Most scholars feel that the Flood story is a combination of two separate traditions. Thus, Genesis 6:19 says "You are to bring into the ark two of all living creatures, male and female, to keep them alive with you." But Genesis 7:2 says "Take with you seven pairs of every kind of clean animal, a male and its mate, and one pair of every kind of unclean animal, a male and its mate..." etc. Since the two sets of instructions differ, this has been taken as evidence that multiple traditions (usually called the Jehovistic and Priestly Documents) were merged, though this gets into levels of criticism that aren't really relevant here.
7/12/2013 11:24:39 am
It's more that I have NEVER heard ANY of the Ark hunters actually reference Genesis 7:2-3. I mean, you'd at least think that the Ancient Astronaut bunch would try to use it as justification for the insane "DNA bank" idea they throw around; wouldn't it make more sense to have a broader range of DNA in each species, given the problems of inbreeding?
The Hebrew words used for animals (or creatures) in the Flood verses are more restrictive to what types of animals were to be collected than is apparent in the English translation. There's no need to fit thousands of species on the ark. This also underlines the futility of the efforts of some people to put everything from polar bears to dinosaurs on the ark.
7/14/2013 02:27:33 pm
Varika, I am always amazed at people that use the Bible to support their views but leave out what doesn't. In Genesis 6:19-22 it does specifically state every animal after it kind. Which in the Hebrew is more descriptive of a family of animals such as feline, canine, bovine and so on and so forth. If animals can interbreed at some point they are in the same family , that is somewhat simplified. I believe in the Bible. The ark would be about 3500 years old now some may remain or not most of us that believe in what the Bible says well we really don't need to prove it for ourselves it would be nice to find it so the person that does not believe would see tangible proof that the Bible is true history but even if it were found most would choose another explanation because the bottom line is most people do not want to believe there is a God let alone a God that has the right to judge this world on His terms.
7/11/2013 05:55:42 pm
Well, I think it's understandable why she needs the extra money for the filming. To stay to form, the whole documentary will be shot in slow motion.
7/14/2013 10:45:03 am
I've long suspected that either Dmanisi or another similar Lower Paleolithic site in the region may have influenced Medieval reinterpretations of the story of Noah's Ark. To the people of Mesopotamia or Israel, it would have been "in the mountains of Ararat." It actually *does* have fossil remains of a wide variety of what are now identified as exotic African fauna (and other nearby sites may have had "elephants," in the form of mammoths). There were also extremely ancient human remains. That is, we now have clear, scientific archaeological evidence for a context with well-identified concentrated remains of "every kind" of animal--including many species unusual to the region (in historic times)--in "the mountains of Ararat." Dmanisi was located on an ancient road and a Medieval monastery was built directly on top of the Lower Paleolithic site. If I remember correctly, a fossil rhinoceros bone was even found near the foundation. Voila! The remains of "Noah's Ark"!
7/14/2013 02:24:18 pm
That's a very interesting idea. I wonder, though, if they would have recognized the animal bones, or if they would have seen it as the remains of the Genesis 6:4 "giants" who died in the Flood.
7/14/2013 06:33:52 pm
Here's a link to a map of the location of Dmanisi:
7/14/2013 06:38:45 pm
A relevant fact about the Plio-Pleistocene site of Dmanisi is that it was discovered during the excavation of a Medieval citadel that had once been a way station on the Silk Road. The 1.7 million-year-old human and animal fossils were found directly beneath the remains of a 12th-century town, a place where caravan routes to Byzantium, Aremenia, and Persia once converged. It seems likely to me that the Medieval inhabitants of Dmanisi would have encountered some of these remains.
7/14/2013 06:41:16 pm
Please note that I am NOT suggesting that Dmanisi itself was the specific place that inspired the story as it appears in Genesis. The Epic of Gilgamesh and other flood stories of ancient Sumeria probably played a more important role.in the original myth.
7/14/2013 06:50:30 pm
Note that the site of Dmanisi is located about 200 km (a little over 120 miles) directly north of Mt. Ararat (a short distance in regional terms. To people living in the Middle East to the south, that would have seemed just like "in the mountains of Ararat."
7/14/2013 06:17:45 pm
I feel certain they would have recognized the animal bones. The faunal diversity at Dmanisi is truly impressive. The list of species reads like a menagerie.
7/14/2013 06:56:01 pm
I think we should feel grateful that Dmanisi was *not* discovered by a team of Christian fundamentalists. If it had been, it would have become a holy shrine to the scientific proof of the story of Noah's Ark. From what I can tell, none have yet attempted to explain it from a Bible-believing perspective. Given their tendency to ignore paleontological and archaeological evidence, they may not yet even know about its impressive faunal assemblage "near the mountains of Ararat."
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