Fringe Writers Shocked By Text from Dead Sea Scrolls Claiming Noah's Ark was Pyramid-Shaped
Fringe writers have gone a bit bonkers over a recent news report that research on the Dead Sea Scrolls revealed that the author of one of the scrolls considered Noah’s Ark to be pyramidal in shape. According to Dr. Alexey Yuditsky, a researcher working on the scrolls, new high-resolution photography allowed him to read words in a fragment of an interpretation of Genesis previous illegible. The new words say that the Ark’s “tallness” was “gathered” together at its summit, implying that the Ark was shaped like a pyramid.
Fringe sites like Ancient Origins and Ancient Code jumped on this as a shocking “new” fact that challenges all of our beliefs about the Biblical Flood story. In so doing they revealed that they are utterly unfamiliar with the subject matter that they claim to investigate. It’s frustrating, really, that fringe writers are so terrible at research that they miss the bigger story every time.
The claim that Noah’s Ark was pyramidal in shape shouldn’t be a shock to fringe writers. It’s in fringe literature, typically as part of a conspiracy theory. For example, Scott Creighton described it in his book The Secret Chamber of Osiris (2015) in which he imagined that the pyramid-shaped ark on the doors of the Florentine Baptistery’s Gates of Paradise by Lorenzo Ghiberti was secretly depicting Khufu’s pyramid. Ramesh Ramsahoye wrote an article about the same piece of art in UFO Magazine in September 2003, where he claimed that Graham Hancock’s research helped him to realize that Noah’s Ark was really the Great Pyramid of Giza, and that it must have contained secret knowledge from before the Flood.
The story of Noah placing two of 'every living thing' within the Ark could be a poetic metaphor for 'everything being stored inside'. If an advanced civilisation knew that it was going to be devastated by an impending catastrophe, then it would make perfect sense to attempt to preserve its scientific knowledge and culture.
It’s rather surprising that Ramsahoye, who lacked any knowledge of the medieval Coptic-Arabian account of Surid or Hermes building the pyramids in just that way somehow stumbled upon the idea by working from some of the same sources as the inventors of that story.
What is especially interesting is that Ancient Origins actually used pictures of Ghiberti’s work to illustrate the story, seemingly without curiosity as to what Ghiberti depicted and why.
Ghiberti was actually depicting a widespread Jewish and early Christian belief about the Ark. Origen, in Genesis Homily 2, Philo in Questions and Answers on Genesis 2.5, and Clement in Stromata 6.11 all claimed that the Ark was pyramidal in shape. They derived this from the account in Genesis, which claimed that the Ark is 300 by 50 cubits at the base, but rose to a window embedded in a peak but one cubit square. They concluded, therefore, that the ship must be pyramidal to fit those measurements.
The Dead Sea Scrolls were deposited, scholars believe, between 300 BCE and 100 CE, overlapping the time when Philo was active and therefore proving that the belief was widespread enough to have popped up in multiple places around the ancient Judeo-Christian world. In other words, the Dead Sea Scrolls did not reveal a “new” interpretation of Noah’s Ark at all.
The claim that the Ark was pyramid-shaped had an unusual side effect. It must have led Late Antique Coptic Christians to try to explain why Egypt’s pyramids bore the same shape as the Ark. It is quite possible that this was one reason that the earlier legend that Hermes had encoded secret knowledge into the temples of Egypt to guard against the prophesied destruction of the Earth by fire and flood transformed into the idea that scientific knowledge had been saved from Noah’s Flood in stone versions of Noah’s Ark. The story then passed into the hands of the medieval Arab scholars. Ibrahim ibn Wasif Shah, the medieval writer quoted by al-Maqrizi, makes this connection rather clear when he parallels Surid’s efforts to save knowledge inside the pyramids with the Egyptian priest Philemon’s efforts to save people from the flood by finding Noah’s Ark. “Yes, whoever wants to be saved must go to reach the master of the Ark,” angels are made to say to Philemon.
7/1/2016 12:59:02 pm
Interesting. That pyramidal ark-Egyptian pyramids connection would also help lead to the belief the pyramids were granaries built by Joseph, wouldn't it?
7/1/2016 01:01:52 pm
The engineering theory behind the pyramidal design is that once afloat, the ark would flip 180 degrees, apex down, therefore becoming stable in the water.
7/1/2016 02:03:00 pm
Huh, I thought because no matter which way it rolls, it's always flat-side down. =P
7/1/2016 03:26:45 pm
So the window at the "top" would become an underwater viewing portal. Interesting. Unless of course it had a very, very, very large keel.
7/1/2016 04:00:00 pm
You guys laugh all you want. Don't forget that God told be how to build it. If you have a problem, take it up with him.
7/3/2016 06:48:12 pm
Noah, how long can you tread water?
7/2/2016 06:23:52 am
The ancients were wrong
7/1/2016 01:56:47 pm
Too bad that the ark "replica" in Kentucky that's almost finished was built with the traditionally accepted but now questionable shape. I doubt that this will dissuade religious minded tourists, though.
7/1/2016 02:42:23 pm
I had the same thought as well, perhaps they can change it to a pyramid.
7/1/2016 02:41:19 pm
> the Ark
7/1/2016 03:28:27 pm
You have to go to some ridiculous length to explain how a 14th century fresco artist in Italy would have a better idea of what the Ark "really" looked like than people writing about the story thousands of years earlier, in the place where it was supposed to have happened. (If you're curious, Ramsahoye suggests Italian scholars somehow found really ancient texts and translated them, and then apparently kept their contents secret from everyone but the the guy decorating doors.)
7/2/2016 06:08:11 am
Eh? What Jason is saying is that the pyramidal Ark was "a widespread Jewish and early Christian belief"- with examples from texts which are still known today.
7/2/2016 06:26:34 am
There were no eyewitnesses alive when the story of Noah's Ark was committed to writing, a later version of the story of Ziusudra.
7/2/2016 06:31:04 am
Noah's Ark was made from gopher
7/2/2016 06:34:49 am
Yes, I know, Bible-believers dispute that the story of Noah in the Bible was an adaptation of the story of Ziusudra, despite the fact that the Sumerian race was extinct at the time when the story of Noah was committed to writing in the Bible, The Book of Genesis is not the oldest book of the Old Testament according to the mainstream Biblical scholars.
7/2/2016 07:48:09 am
Albert Einstein to philosopher Eric Gutkind in January 1954: "Religions are childish Fairy Tales".
7/2/2016 07:54:40 am
The correct quote by Albert Einstein
7/2/2016 12:50:05 pm
David Bradbury - I'm talking about the explanation given in the UFO Magazine article, whose author doesn't know all the rest of the stuff Jason is talking about. Jason doesn't mention that part, which I thought was kind of funny.
7/1/2016 03:39:10 pm
How much would a pyramidical roof (tented, pavilion roof, or hip roof) fit into the description?
7/2/2016 07:18:00 am
7/2/2016 04:46:21 pm
The earliest flood story of Atrahasis described the ark as an actual boat, a coracle. They actually figured out the amount of materials needed. The later writers were just lazy, with their cubes and pyramids and such.
7/5/2016 04:56:38 am
I'm guessing that a lot of people don't know how to picture things in their head when given dimensions to work with. How does a ship with a base that's 50 cubits wide by 300 cubits long resemble the base of a pyramid, which is square? 50/300 is a ratio of 1:6 (or if you prefer, 6:1), which makes for a long, narrow ship. I'm going to go out on a limb and assume that the description of the ark wasn't meant to imply smooth-surfaced exterior walls from bottom to top, so a more likely construction still makes it pretty much some kind of more classic ship-shape, with a deck, from which may have been imagined to have risen a structure that would have reached a point at the top, resembling a big sail more than a pyramid.
7/6/2016 05:24:18 am
7/6/2016 08:18:36 am
7/10/2016 12:22:58 am
But since we're discussing Noah's Ark, not Gilgamesh's (and yes I know the two tales are linked), and the Bible says the ark was 300 cubits long, 50 cubits wide and 30 cubits high (440x73x44 ft), why would a (presumably) good Christian like Origen say the Bible is wrong and the dimensions were those of Gilgamesh's version? This is an odd mixing of two mythologies which makes no sense from a Christian point of view. I know there was a lot of New Testament apocrypha in the early years of the church, much of which was rejected only after Origen's time, but the Old Testament's Genesis was already pinned down and accepted long before his time, so wouldn't the early church consider Origen's preference for the tale of Gilgamesh to be worse than apocryphal?
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