Animals are shown running into Noah's Ark, as depicted by Paramount Pictures "Noah." Despite the depiction of the ark as a rectangular structure in the film, research has suggested the ark could have been round in structure.
This 3,700-year-old clay tablet, consisting of 60 lines in cuneiform, has been dubbed a prototype of Noah's ark described in the Bible. The tablet contains a detailed construction manual for building an ark with palm-fiber ropes, wooden ribs and coated in hot bitumen to make it waterproof. It also contains the first description of the ark's shape -- surprisingly, it's a massive round vessel.
Ilya Mauter/Wikimedia Commons
About two-thirds the size of a soccer field, the ark was "a giant version of the type of coracle that they actually used on the rivers," Irving Finkel, curator of the British Museum's 130,000 Mesopotamian clay tablet collection who translated the cuneiform script, told Discovery News.
The concept of a round ark emerges from this late 14th-century illustration. But according to Finkel, the picture is not significant. "The roundness of the ark had faded from memory before the Bible was written," he said.
Noah's Ark, oil on canvas painting by Edward Hicks, 1846 Philadelphia Museum of Art/Wikimedia Commons
Over the centuries, the ark has been depicted in many ways. Biblical creationists imagined Noah's ark like a large, box-like vessel, similar to the version shown in Aronofksy's $130 million epic. Other designs added a sloping roof.
Illustration from the Nuremberg Chronicle (1493)/ Wikimedia Commons
In many cases the shape matched the ships of the days. Designs ranged from square-rigged caravels to long vessels with pointy bows.
Wolfgang Sauber/Wikimedia Commons
This reconstructed medieval mural of the Noah's Ark from Saint Teilo church in Wales represents the idea of the ark in popular imagination and children's story books. There, the ark is often depicted as a large house on a boat, with animals sticking out.
Eve was not made from one of Adam’s ribs, but was instead created using a bone in his penis, a Biblical scholar has claimed, causing much stir.
The story of Adam and Eve in Genesis 2 says God made Adam from of the dust of the ground, then created Eve out of one of Adam’s ribs.
Ziony Zevit, distinguished professor of Biblical Literature and Northwest Semitic Languages at the American Jewish University in California, argues that the Biblical story has been wrongly interpreted since a mistranslation confused rib with baculum, or penis bone.
First presented in the 2013 book “What Really Happened in the Garden of Eden?” Zevit’s shocking claim has recently resurfaced in a paper published in Biblical Archaeology Review, causing heated controversy among outraged Christian readers.
According to Zevit, the bone of contention — literally — centers around the Hebrew word “tsela,” used in the Old Testament to indicate the bone taken from Adam to create Eve.
“This Hebrew word occurs some 40 times in the Hebrew Bible, where it refers to the side of a building or of an altar or ark, a side-chamber, or a branch of a mountain. In each of these instances, it refers to something off-center, lateral to a main structure,” Zevit wrote.
Tsela was first translated as rib in the Septuagint, a Greek translation of the Hebrew Bible dating to the mid-third century B.C.
It would have then lost its original meaning, which according to Zevit relates to “limbs lateral to the vertical axis of an erect human body: hands, feet, or, in the case of males, the penis.”
“Of these appendages, the only one lacking a bone is the penis,” Zevit wrote.
This would explain why the human penis has no “os baculum,” or bone, unlike most mammals, including primates such as gorillas and chimpanzees.
It would also clear up why men don’t have an uneven number of ribs compared to women.
In this view, the part in Genesis 2:21, in which God closes the flesh beneath the “tsela,” should be interpreted as to God closing up the flesh that exists on the underside of the penis.
Not surprisingly, Zevit’s phallic interpretation of the Biblical story has come under fire, with several readers of Biblical Archaeology threatening to cancel their subscription.
Israel’s daily Haaretz also entered the debate, arguing that ancient linguistics provide no support for the theory.
“Ziony Zevit’s theory is even more unlikely than the original story,” journalist Elon Gilad wrote.
He remarked that ribs generated life in stories predating the Hebrew bible, such as the Sumerian myth Enki and Nihursag.
He noted that tsela is still used in post-biblical Hebrew to mean rib, and has cognates meaning rib in other Semitic languages.
“That powerfully indicates that tzela meant rib thousands and thousands of years before proto-Semitic split up into the different Semitic language,” Gilad concluded.