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New research suggests that Noah’s Ark was round
Finkel has no doubts.
"I'm sure the story of the flood and a boat to rescue life is a Babylonian invention," he said.
He believes the tale was likely passed on to the Jews during their exile in Babylon in the 6th century B.C. And he doesn't think the tablet provides evidence the ark described in the Bible existed. He said it's more likely that a devastating real flood made its way into folk memory, and has remained there ever since.
"I don't think the ark existed — but a lot of people do," he said. "It doesn't really matter. The Biblical version is a thing of itself and it has a vitality forever.
"The idea that floods are caused by sin is happily still alive among us," he added, pointing out a local councilor in England who made headlines recently for saying Britain's recent storms were caused by the legalization of gay marriage.
"Had I known it, it would have gone in the preface of the book," Finkel said.
Jill Lawless can be reached at http://Twitter.com/JillLawless