Authenticating the lineage and history of the children of Jacob
and the nations of the gentiles.
Tracking history via artistic style, content, materials and method of production.
Ancient Artifacts Substantiate the Jewish Biblical Record
by Marc Richard Rubin
The "Jewish Old Testament" called Tanakh states that Noah is the 10th generation after Adam and Abraham is the 10th generation after Noah. Tanakh also lists the ancestors and descendants of Noah and Abraham. There are too many people named in Tanakh who are recorded by other civilizations to discount their existence as myth. A substantial portion of Tanakh records lineage through marriages and male offspring. Today's laws governing marriage have not changed since Noah proclaimed seven laws. One of the laws defines legal and illegal marriages and forbidden sexual activities covering incest, adultery and bestiality. Fragment artifacts from ancient civilizations tell an incomplete and disjointed story. Why do I say disjointed? Archeological finds whether unearthed during scientific or pre-scientific periods are subject to discovery by individuals who continually interpret their findings as unique. It has only been since the discovery of the Egyptian "King Tut" in 1922 and later in the 1970's after the re-establishment of Israel that archeological scholars have sought to scientifically relate ancient artifacts to their place of origin and authenticate their date of creation. The trained eyes and minds of artists with knowledge of artistic style systems, methods of art production and the uses of materials have been ignored within archeological circles. What the art of ancient relics depicts is only part of a comprehensive knowledge. To factually link artifacts to the people who created them you must see and understand the artistic style and ability embodied in every artifact. Inconsistent streams of artist accomplishment denote disruptions due to natural calamities or domination by a violent invader.
NOAH and Human History
What we know of Noah comes primarily from the Jewish manuscript called Tanakh. It is in the book of Bereshit (Genesis) that we gain our knowledge. This book contains the lineage names of Noah's ancestors with fragment records of his life and its importance to humankind. Noah left a system of 7 laws which continue to exist to this day. (image) Noah had 3 sons. The first born was Shem, the second born was Japheth and the third born was Ham. To authenticate their lives we must go back to before 3000 B.C.E. It is at that approximate time when the first recorded war of domination is physically waged against the oldest core civilization, Sumer-Akkad. During the next 800 years much of the previous human record is destroyed and rewritten by the first violent dominators, the As-syrians. The Akkadian library at Nineveh was damaged or destroyed along with much of the city during a succession of wars. There are greater numbers of Sumerian and Hittite records but most are still awaiting translation and dating. They are a nation of descendants of Noah's youngest son Ham. Tanakh contains Noah's warning to his two eldest sons that they must maintain control over the descendants of his youngest son or they will become violent and ignore his 7 laws. Scientifically dated to before this keystone date are magnificent Mesopotamian stone statues commonly called "Winged Bulls". These iconic works are obviously so important that they were even produced after 3000 B.C.E. in areas not subject to war and having an adequate supply of sculptural rock suitable for their creation. Most notable are winged bulls discovered in Persia. They must have greatly impressed even the most ignorant warlords for they were spared from destruction. In them we find proof of a continuous culture reaching to at least 7800 B.C.E. and proof of Noah's important personage.
Why are "Winged Bulls" important?
They are unique in that their appearance is carefully unaltered throughout the many millenniums during which they were made. Archeologists have not been able to establish their purpose or meaning. For an artist their component parts tell the reasons for their creation and their importance to human civilization. To understand why they have a specific appearance we must know about Noah. He was selected by Elohim (God) to re-establish human civilization after he destroyed all humans with a worldwide flood except for Noah, his wife Naamah, his three sons and their wives. It is recorded in Tanahk that Noah is told to make a huge Ark (box or container of important purpose) which must float in water. It is made of "Gopher wood" (wood which does not rot and is not subject to destruction by insects). Its exterior is sealed with pitch (waterproof tar). It houses Noah's family plus domestic and wild animals that will re-establish populations after the great destruction event. It also contained a cargo of seeds and plants necessary for human survival. Noah adds one more law to the six that Adam left humankind. These are the Noahide Laws which all humans, even Jews, must adhere to as the basis of civilization.
1. Noah is the father of modern mankind
2. Noah makes use of large trees (most likely cedar species)
3. Noah leaves a system of law
4. Noah preserves wild animal species and those species needed for domestic purposes
5. Noah preserves cereal crop seeds, vegetable crop seeds and useful tree saplings (fruit and lumber)
The visual elements of a Winged Bull depict Noah and a Universal Respect for Elohim's Blessing of Non-human Creations
Visual imagery transcends verbal and written languages. Artists combine visual elements to communicate a story or message. Winged Bulls are both symbolic and non-religious. They artistically combine the body of a bull the " farm tractor machine" of the ancient world, the wings of a bird of prey which would commonly destroy rodents and all other animals that destroy crops and the personage of a sublime man, Noah, wearing a tall hat which has the shape of a cedar tree with the stylized image of that tree on it. The Noah portion has a well braided beard typical of nearly all male depictions in stone or clay from well before and continuing long after 3500 B.C.E. Winged Bulls were not worshipped. In artistic terms they are symbolic and serve to tell a story. That story is the importance of Noah an ancestral father and the laws he left which are a blueprint for a peaceful and productive civilization.
Recognizing Statues of Noah
Over many millenniums a specific faithfully reproduced small statue of man with the Noah elements of a Winged Bull but wearing a coat with feathers covering its lower half has been collected in multiple by The Oriental Institute, University of Chicago and other renowned antiquity museums. Archeologists have associated numerous names for these nearly identical statues pertaining to the time period of their creation and the civilization where they were discovered. It is most noteworthy that archeologists iconize these statues as pagan Gods rather than more common human reasons; good luck and a reminder of lineage and law. So many have been unearthed that the shear number means they must have been very common to own and pass down through generations.
Carved Stone Stele Which Depict Noah and His Sons
In Tanahk we learn that after the great flood of destruction Noah discovers that his youngest son Ham is displaying unapologetic behavior like that of the people who were killed off by Elohim's (God) flood. He then instructed his other two sons to make Ham's descendants subservient to the rule of his older brothers' descendants. The written passage in Tanakh is strong and definite. It's importance seems to be the reason why large stele, document tablets and even seals on traded goods often have an image of Noah on a raised chair speaking to three men one of which (the middle figure) is held by his arm as he is pulled towards Noah. The middle figure is often depicted without a hat while the figure behind wears a hat identical to Noah who is seated on a raised chair and the figure in the lead wear a similar hat to Noah's. These three are artistically obvious as Noah's sons and the obvious message is "honesty - integrity - adherence to the law". (image) The first war of domination was waged by descendants of Ham called Syrians who rename themselves, As-syrians, a name which later replaced the names Sumer-Akkad and Babylon. They had been relegated to a region surrounded by a small mountain range and numerous small rivers in southern Anatolia, modern day southern Turkey. Those "Hamites" caused so much disruption that it is easy to understand the use of a visual label or amulet to brand trustworthy goods or an honest man.
The Epic of Gilgamesh is not the Epic of Noah
It is paramount to understand that Noah and his legacy were so important within Mesopotamian culture that even millenniums after the flood he remained their most important factual ancestor. In approximately 2200 B.C.E., an elected regional Sumerian ruler named Gilgamesh describes a near death experience survived by himself and his family while they are on their cargo river barge when an enormous flash flood occurs as if he relives Noah's epic. He aptly describes his experience as identical to Noah to substantiate his honesty when his barge is washed down the Euphrates River and out to the Persian Gulf where he loses his prepaid contracted cargo so he may later seek mercy from Mesopotamian laws of commerce. Within the recorded tale are nearly all of the important elements from Noah's flood epic. He fortifies rather than replaces the importance of Noah and his legacy to humankind. The Gilgamesh epic reads like a great fictional novel incorporating pieces of the lives and accomplishments of several historic Mesopotamians who would have been well known to all Mesopotamians such as the first Nimrod, grandson of Ham who founded Babel (Babylon). The fact that the Gilgamesh epic was safely stored should be seen as testament to the artistic sophistication of Mesopotamian culture. Supporting this conclusion are known pieces of the Mesopotamian cultural identity. The identity symbols of Sumeria are images of musicians with harps, other musical instruments and bearers of scrolls. The Hebrew Tanakh and later Greek literary works substantiate the telling of stories and epics while accompanied by harp music. Will the American novel "Gone With The Wind" which names actual historic figures within its fictional tale be someday agued to be a factual record of the American Civil War?
I have laid out only 4 of a myriad of substantiations for the existence of Noah. In my next article I will investigate the lineage of nations and peoples described in the Hebrew Tanakh that further support the reality of Noah. (image)
Tanakh: The Jewish Torah (five books of Moses) and additional books
Scientific Archeology: Applied use of modern materials dating technologies, geographic place of origin, modern excavation techniques and photographic records