Noah's Flood: The Genesis Story in Western Thought

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Yale University Press, 1999 - Religion - 154 pages
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The biblical tale of Noah and the Flood has been interpreted in many different ways through the ages, mirroring the many changes in Western beliefs and values. In this masterly and beautifully illustrated book, Norman Cohn, the author of The Pursuit of the Millennium and Cosmos, Chaos and the World to Come, explores the origins, development, and varying interpretations of this ancient story and assesses its impact on the history of ideas. The roots of the Flood story, Cohn explains, lie in Mesopotamian mythology. But its meaning was totally transformed by the authors of Genesis so that it became a message of hope for Jews and later a prefiguring of salvation for Christians. Cohn then shows how, under the impact of the scientific revolution of the seventeenth century, the story came to be understood in a new way. Between the seventeenth and the nineteenth centuries it was closely associated with the development of scientific geology, which it both helped and hindered.
 

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Contents

The Genesis Story
11
Filling Gaps
32
A Ruined Earth
47
Providential Comets
62
Shifting TimeScales
94
g Harmonizers
109
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About the author (1999)

Norman Cohn is professor emeritus at the University of Sussex.

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