Book review: Noah’s Flood

by William Ryan & Walter Pitman


“We need not try to make history out of legend, but we ought to assume that beneath much that is artificial or incredible there lurks something of fact.” –C. Leonard Wooley, 1934

With this quote, the authors set the tone for the story of their exploration of the Black Sea basin. 7,500 years ago, their research determined, rising sea levels on the Mediterranean broke through a barricade and plunged into the Black Sea with a force 400 times greater than that of Niagara Falls, its thundering sound carrying at least 60 miles. Could this event have spawned the flood legends we read of in so many cultures, including the Hebrew story of Noah and the Ark? “The details given in the inscriptions describing the Flood leave no doubt that both the Bible and the Babylonian story describe the same event, and the Flood becomes the starting point for the modern world in both histories.” Could it be that people driven from their villages spread advances in agriculture and irrigation throughout Mesopotamia?

Because of the impact these flood stories have had on various cultures for so long, this is a fascinating topic for me. For the most part, the research of Ryan and Pitman has been well-received, and the general theory (if not all the details) deserves to be treated seriously. More recent research validates that a sudden flood event may indeed have occurred as suggested, though perhaps not at the magnitude described in Ryan and Pitman’s hypothesis.

The writing is interesting, and it reads like a scientific detective story. This isn’t a new book; it’s now thirteen years old, and you can pick it up used at Amazon for pennies.

1 Comment

  1. I have read about this research elsewhere and it does make a certain logical sense. If it is part of the great flood refereed to in the Bible, I do not know. At the very least it is interesting.

    Some people will want to use the possibility as proof for their position against the Bible. Others will want to disprove it because of their lack of faith. For me the answer is neither of the above. Thanks for including this in your reviews.

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