Friday, June 03, 2005

Ararat, Urartu, Lubar, Kardu

Apparently they are still looking for Noah's ark on "Mount Ararat," also known as Agri Dagi.

I suppose it is worth repeating that the biblical text does not mention a particular peak where Noah landed, but refers to the "mountainS of Ararat." Ararat was not a mountain, but a kingdom — the ancient name is Urartu — in the vicinity of Lake Van in modern-day Turkey. I don't know whether its borders extended as far north as the location of Agri Dagi, in the northeast of Turkey next to Armenia.

The Book of Jubilees (2nd century BCE?) named the mountain as "Mount Lubar." The Targum and Peshitta designated the area as "Kardu" or Cordyene, now known as Kurdistan. Jerome translated the key phrase as super montes Armeniae. Apparently the idea that Agri Dagi was the site of the ark's landing dates only from the 11th-12th centuries CE.

BIBLIOGRAPHY: Lloyd Bailey, "Ararat," Anchor Bible Dictionary I:351-353.


Gordon said...

Mentions by Josephus and Marco Polo and others, and a lack of corroboration from successive expeditions, suggests that something has fed the tradition over the years. I think that a patch of black basalt in stark relief against the white snowcap, visible for miles, lead generations of Armenians and Turks to offhandedly suggest, "that's Noah's Ark."

Jim Janknegt said...

If I was Noah and had just landed on a big soggy planet I would have used all that gopher wood to build me a house and some stables and maybe even a good roaring fire.

EMC said...

Actually, Jim, that's exactly what he did. And then he had a glass of wine afterwards. :)