Hebrew story of the flood
In the story of the Flood that follows there are evident borrowings from the Mesopotamian stories of a flood sent by the gods to destroy mankind, but in the biblical account it is emphasized that man’s extreme wickedness is the cause and that Noah is saved along with his family by God’s deliberate choice because he is a righteous man. (In the flood story in the Babylonian Gilgamesh epic, by contrast, there is no apparent moral reason why the gods resolved to destroy mankind, and the only reason why the hero of the Flood and his kin are saved is that he is favoured by one of the gods, who tricks the others, including the chief god.) After the Flood, God blesses Noah and bestows on man the earth and the things on it for sustenance and makes a covenant with Noah and all creatures that he will never again unleash a world-destroying flood. The permanent order of the world is assured, and God’s blessing and covenant make their first explicit appearance in the Bible.
Setting of the ark
Eastern Anatolia is composed of lofty ranges and recent volcanic cones, such as Agri Dagi (Mt. Ararat, the highest peak in Turkey with an altitude of 16,945 feet [5,165 metres]—the legendary site where Noah’s ark came to rest) and Süphan Dagi (14,547 feet [4,434 metres]) These rise above high plateaus often covered by extensive lava flows. The plateaus are interrupted by basins, one, which is occupied by Lake Van, a salt lake formed by action of the now-extinct volcano of Nemrut Dai, which last erupted in 1441.
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