Book

When the Great Abyss Opened

J. David Pleins

Published in print August 2009 | ISBN: 9780199733637
Published online October 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780199852505 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199733637.001.0001
When the Great Abyss Opened

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The story of Noah's flood is one of the best-loved and most often retold biblical tales, it is the inspiration for numerous children's books and toys, novels, and even films. Whether as allusion, archetype, or literal presence—the American landscape is peppered with “recreations” of the ark—the story of Noah's animals and the ark resonates throughout American culture and the world. While most think of Noah's ark as a dramatic myth, others are consumed by the quest for geological and archeological proof that the Flood really occurred. Persistent rumors of a large vessel on the mountain of Ararat in Turkey, for instance, have led many pilgrims and explorers over the centuries to visit that fabled peak. Recent finds suggest that there may have been a catastrophic flood on the shores of the Black Sea some 7,600 years ago. Is this then the reality behind the ancient tale of Noah? More to the point, why does it matter? What does the story of the Flood mean to us and why does it so stir the collective imagination? This book examines the history of our attempts to understand the Flood, from medieval Jewish and Christian speculation about the physical details of the ark, to contemporary efforts to link it to scientific findings. Unraveling the mythical dimensions of the parallel Mesopotamian flood stories and their deeper social and psychological significance, this book also considers the story's positive uses in theology and moral instruction.

Keywords: Noah; flood; biblical tales; children's books; toys; animals; myth; Ararat; pilgrims; ark

Book.  260 pages. 

Subjects: Biblical Studies

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Table of Contents

Of Angels, Mangers, and Arks in When the Great Abyss Opened

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For the Bible Tells Me So! in When the Great Abyss Opened

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Not as Seamless as It Seems in When the Great Abyss Opened

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From Sarcophagus to Ship in When the Great Abyss Opened

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Weather Reports? in When the Great Abyss Opened

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Diverting the Stream of Tradition: in When the Great Abyss Opened

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Race, Sex, and the Curse in When the Great Abyss Opened

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Simone de Beauvoir aboard the Ark in When the Great Abyss Opened

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Can We Really Dig Up God? in When the Great Abyss Opened

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