The Historical Evidence For Noah`S Ark

Josephus (A.D. 37-c.100) stated that, in the country called Carroe, there were "in it the remains of the ark, wherein it is related that Noah escaped the deluge, and where they are still shown to such as are desirous to see them."1 Elsewhere, Josephus wrote:

However, the Armenians call this place , the Place of Descent; for the ark being saved in that place, its remains are showed there by the inhabitants to this day.

Now all the writers of barbarian histories make mention of this flood, and of this ark; among whom is Berossus the Chaldean. For when he was describing the circumstances of the flood, he goes on thus: "It is said, there is still some part of this ship in Armenia, at the mountain of the Cordyaeans; and that some people carry off pieces of the bitumen, which they take away, and use chiefly as amulets, for the averting of mischiefs."--Hieronymus the Egyptian also, who wrote the Phenician antiquities, and Manases, and a great many more, make mention of the same. Nay, Nicholas of Damascus, in his ninety-sixth book, hath a particular relation about them; where he speaks thus: "There is a great mountain in Armenia, over Minyas, called Baris, upon which it is reported, that many who fled at the time of the deluge were saved; and that one who was carried in an ark, came on shore upon the top of it; and that the remains of the timber were a great while preserved. This might be the man about whom Moses the legislator of the Jews wrote."2

The existence of the ark on Mt. Ararat is also mentioned by Theophilus of Antioch (c. 115-185), who stated, "and of the ark, the remains are to this day to be seen in the Arabian mountains."3 A similar statement is made by Epiphanius of Salamis (c. 315-403), who said, "Do you seriously suppose that we are unable to prove our point, when even to this day the remains of Noah's Ark are shown in the country of the Kurds?"4

Chrysostom (c. 345-407), wrote, "Have you heard of the Flood--of that universal destruction? That was not just a threat, was it? Did it not really come to pass--was not this mighty work carried out? Do not the mountains of Armenia testify to it, where the Ark rested? And are not the remains of the Ark preserved there to this very day for our admonition?"5

Isidore of Seville (c. 560-636) wrote: "Ararat is a mountain in Armenia, where the historians testify that the Ark came to rest after the Flood. So even to this day wood remains of it are to be seen there."6

A thirteenth century Armenian prince, Jehan Haithon, wrote as follows:

In Armenia there is a very high mountain--the highest in existence--and its name is Ararat. On that mountain Noah's Ark landed after the Flood. No one can climb this mountain because of the great quantity of snow on it winter and summer. But at the summit a great black object is always visible, which is said to be the ark of Noah.7

Sir John Mandeville (d. 1372), an English knight, wrote an account of his travels between 1322 and 1356. In The Travels, chapter 13, he writes:

From that city of Artyroun men go to a mountain called Sabissocolle; and there beside is another mountain called Ararat, but the Jews call it Taneez, where Noah's ship rested, and still is upon that mountain; and men many see it afar in clear weather. That mountain is full seven miles high; and some men say that they have seen and touched the ship, and put their fingers in the parts where the devil went out, when Noah said "Benedicte."8

Adam Olearus (1603-1671) also travelled extensively, and wrote that "the Armenians, and the Persians themselves, are of opinion, that there are still upon the said Mountain some remainders of the Ark, but that Time hath so hardened them, that they seem absolutely petrified."9

The ancient traditions of India and China include accounts of a time when the ancient world was carried away by a flood and re-peopled by a few who had been preserved miraculously. According to Hindu tradition, Manu was warned by a great fish that the earth was about to be engulfed by water. He was told to build a ship and to put into it all kinds of seeds, together with the seven Rishis, or holy beings. The flood came as predicted and covered the whole earth. The ship was made fast to the horns of the fish, which drew it on safely and finally landed it on the highest summit of the Himalayas. Manu was then permitted by God to create the new race of mankind.

There were seven companions of Manu, and, including himself, eight were saved. Manu is called Satya, or "the righteous." After the flood, he drank mead and became senseless and lay asleep, naked. One of the three sons who had been born to him, Charma, found him and called on his two brothers to witness the shame of their father, and said, "What has now befallen? In what state is our sire?" The two brothers were more dutiful than Charma and hid him with clothes. When he recovered his senses, and knowing what had happened, he cursed Charma and said to him, "Thou shalt be a servant of servants."10

According to Chinese tradition, Fah-he escaped from a deluge which destroyed the human race with the exception of himself, his wife, his three sons, and three daughters, and from these, the whole earth was peopled.

Manetho, who lived about 250 B.C., wrote the ancient history of the Egyptians, according to which there was a worldwide catastrophe in which a person called Toth was saved. Before the cataclysm, Toth inscribed on a slab of stone in sacred language the principles of all knowledge. Afterward, he translated it into common language. The Egyptians connected the Deluge tradition with their commemoration of the dead, which was done by symbolic ceremony, in which the priest placed the image of Osiris in a sacred ark and launched it into the sea and watched it disappear from sight.11

In the ancient town of Apamea in Phrygia, there was pillar upon which was carved an ark, which, according to tradition, had come to rest on that very spot. A coin was also found on one side of which was represented an ark with the door wide open and a patriarchal figure receiving a returning bird into the ark. On the other side of the coin is a man and his wife leaving the ark. On the ark itself appears the name "Noe."12

The Roman Flood tradition was preserved by the well-known Latin poet Ovid, in Metamorphoses, while the Greek writer Plato preserved material on the flood tradition in his unfinished dialogue, Critias. Another ancient writer, Lucian (A.D. 120- 180), renders the Greek tradition as follows in his Dialogues on the Syrian Goddess:

Not one of us now living is descended from the original race of men, who all perished. We, numerous as we are, are no other than a second race sprung from Deucalion. The aborigines were full of pride and insolence, unfaithful to their promises, inhospitable to strangers, deaf to supplicants. Hence they were overtaken by a greater disaster. The earth suddenly opened its sluices, heavy showers of rain fell, the rivers swelled, and the sea arose until the waters everywhere prevailed, and every mortal [perished] except Deucalion, who on account of his virtue and piety, was saved to give birth to a new race of men. He put himself with his wives and children in a great chest, and thereupon there came to him boars and horses and lions and serpents and all kind of land animals. He took them all in, and all the time they were with him Zeus ordered it so that they did no injury, but lived together in harmony.13

The native North American Kolushes of Alaska had an ancient tradition that the father of the Indian tribes formerly lived toward the rising sun. Having been warned in a dream that a deluge would desolate the earth, he built a raft on which he saved himself and his family, and all animals. He floated for several months on the water. The animals, who could then talk, complained against him. A new earth at length appeared, and he then alighted with all the animals, which then lost the power of speech as a punishment for their complaining.14

The native Mexican historian, Ixtilxochitl, wrote as follows:

It is found in the histories of the Toltecs that this age and the first world, as they call it, lasted 1,716 years; that men were destroyed by tremendous rains and lightning from the sky, and even all the land, without the exception of anything, and the highest mountains were covered up and submerged in water fifteen cubits (caxtolmolatlic); and here they add other fables of how men came to multiply from the few who escaped from this destruction in a `toptipetlocali,' which nearly signifies a closed chest; and how, after men had multiplied, they erected a very high `zacvali,' which is today a tower of great height, in order to take refuge in it should the second world (age) be destroyed. Presently their languages were confused, and, not being able to understand each other, they went to different parts of the earth. The Toltecs, consisting of seven friends, with their wives, who understood the same language, came to these parts, having first passed great land and seas, having lived in caves, and having endured great hardships in order to reach this land; they wandered 104 years through different parts of the world before they reached Hue Hue Tlapalan, which was in Ce Tecpatl, 520 years after the Flood.15

Flood traditions of this kind are characteristic of just about all ancient cultures. Dr. Richard Andree, a German scholar, has compiled a collection of 88 different flood traditions from various cultures around the world.16

There have been many modern sightings of Noah's ark. In 1905, a ten-year-old Armenian boy, Georgie Hagopian, went with his uncle from Azerbajain in Old Persia to Mount Ararat and saw Noah's ark.17 An interview with Mr. Hagopian is printed in John Warwick Montgomery's book, The Quest for Noah's Ark, which refers to him as George Tamisian.18

In 1916, during the First World War, a Russian airman, W. Roskovitsky, flying over Mt. Ararat, stated that he had observed on one of the slopes of Mt. Ararat the remains of an ancient vessel. The Czar organized an expedition, which found the remains in question and brought back a description of them which was conclusive with respect to their identification. The report was lost during the Bolshevik revolution in 1917.19

In the 1930s a New Zealander, Hardwicke Knight, stumbled upon the remains of Noah's ark without realizing what it was until some time later.20 Then, in 1952, George Jefferson Greene took photographs of Noah's ark from a helicopter. These photographs were lost ten years later, when he was murdered for his gold.21

There have been many recent reports of sightings of Noah's ark, including that of Chuck Aaron of Orlando, Florida, in September of 1989. He and Bob Garbe photographed the ark during a September 15 flight. These photos are available from the Immanuel Expedition Foundation in Orlando, Florida.22

1 Flavius Josephus, Antiquities of the Jews, XX, ii, 2, in The Works of Flavius Josephus, 2 vols., trans. William Whiston (Philadelphia: J. Grigg, 1833), vol. II, p. 107.

2 Josephus, Antiquities of the Jews, I, iii, 5 and 6, in Whiston, vol. I, pp. 17, 18.

3 Ad Autolycum, book 3, chapter 19, trans. Marcus Dodds, in the Ante-Nicene Fathers (1885), vol. II, p. 117.

4 Panarion, I,i,18, trans. John W. Montgomery, The Quest for Noah's Ark, 2d ed. (Minneapolis, Minn.: Bethany Fellowship, 1974), p. 77.

5 John Chrysostum, sermon, "On Perfect Charity," trans. John W. Montgomery, The Quest For Noah's Ark, p. 78.

6 Isidore of Seville, Etymologies, in "Scriptorium Classicorum Bibliotheca Oxoniensis," (1911), XIV,8,5, trans. Montgomery, p. 80.

7 Trans. Montgomery, pp. 82-83.

8 Quoted by Montgomery, pp. 93-94.

9 The Voyages and Travels of the Ambassadors, trans. John Davies (London, 1662), Book IV, p. 187.

10 Hugh Miller, The Testimony of the Rocks (Edinburgh: Thomas Constable & Co., 1857), p. 290.

11 John Urquhart, Modern Discoveries and the Bible (London: Marshall Brothers, 1898), p. 175.

12 Alfred M. Rehwinkel, The Flood (St. Louis, Mo.: Concordia Publishing House, 1951), p. 144.

13 Quoted by Byron C. Nelson, The Deluge Story In Stone (Minneapolis, Minn.: Bethany Fellowship, 1968), p. 175.

14 Ibid., p. 183.

15 Quoted by Ibid., pp. 186-187.

16 Richard Andree, Die Flutensagen, ethnologisch betrachtet, as cited by Rehwinkel, pp. 129-130.

17 Violet Cummings, Has Anybody Really Seen Noah's Ark? (San Diego, Ca.: Creation-Life Publishers, 1982), p. 217.

18 Montgomery, pp. 113-118.

19 Ibid., pp. 119-125; Cummings, pp. 61-108.

20 Montgomery, pp. 125-128.

21 Montgomery, pp. 128-131; Cummings, pp. 143-148.

22 "Yanks: We Discovered Noah's Ark," in The Home News, Friday, September 22, 1989, p. A6.

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