The Documentary Hypothesis does Damage to the Bible

16 Apr

The Documentary Hypothesis does Damage to the Bible

Published on October 23, 2009 by Stephen Rives

This series came in seven installments: an Intro, then Parts 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6. Because I am preaching through Genesis it seems fair to introduce the Old Testament documentary hypothesis (sometimes called the JEDP theory), its relationship to Genesis studies, and my reasons for rejecting it.

Instead of working from scratch it is expedient to construct the next few blogs around the book, Before Abraham Was: A Provocative Challenge to the Documentary Hypothesis by Kikawada (Berkeley) and Quinn (Princeton).  Their book is borrowed scaffolding.  Along the way I will show where my perspective varies from theirs, but my main objective is to explore the documentary hypothesis and reasons for my rejection of it.

An Admission
I am not trying to be fair to all adherents of the documentary hypothesis.  That is, I necessarily will work with main thrusts coming from the theory, even as I know that nuances abound and updated versions have new tweaks, twists and turns.  I maintain, however, that updates and tweaks to a sunken ship won’t free it from its watery grave, restore its crew, and get it sailing.  I am no more persuaded by the latest apologetics of Jehovah Witnesses or Islam than I am with the next defense from the documentary hypothesizers.

A Definition
The documentary hypothesis of the Pentateuch (the first five books of the Old Testament) states that there is a long history and complex layering of story fragments that comprise Genesis.  The Darwinian view of the Grand Canyon is illustrative of the hypothesis.  As with the Canyon, one looks upon stratum and supposedly gets irrefutable evidence for long evolutionary periods.  The writings of Moses are his in name only, for really they are accretions — the production of so many editors over so many centuries. Each contributor laid down their particular layer until, over time, the Pentateuch finally reached a settled state.  This is a hypothesis grown in the same dark and moldy room as Darwinian evolution. It too is rooted in the 1800s as it is, “a characteristic product of its time…” (9).

According to the program of the documentary hypothesizers, Genesis 1-11 is not read as the unveiling of one mind — not Moses’s, let alone God’s — but is a particolored quilt of seams and patches that betray the tinkerings of Jewish scribes.  These editors secretly and anonymously created a poorly done religious history that shows no higher design than propagandized agendas.   As man evolved from apes, so the books of Moses are not by special design; they are manuscripts that suffer the accidents of time.  They emerged as survivors of religious fitness and scribal mutations.

They have a presently stable form despite their tumultuous struggle to emerge from the scribal slime.  According to the clever inspectional work of specially trained researchers from the 19th century, that scribal slime turns out to be composed of at least four detectable editors.  We don’t know who the editors are, of course, but we can assign them names.  The most common monikers for the four are J, E, P and D.  That is, the J editor (along with her disciples and followers) is uniquely discernible behind particular patches in the variegated quilt.  Of course, discerning J is not a black and white venture because the specially trained researches are not uniform in their imaginations.

A Problem
Just as Darwin’s evolution is pre-Micro Biology, pre-Computer, pre-Flight, pre-Hubble, pre-NASA, pre-GNOME, pre-Einstein, pre-Nuclear, … so the documentary hypothesis is a leftover from an age long gone.  The documentary hypothesis was a mistake of history never meant to upstage the real sciences of Archaeology, Egyptology, Assyriology and Linguistics.  Biblical studies can be likened to other sciences.  As the physical sciences frequently abandon false starts, Biblical studies are not beholden to failed conjectures advanced during the pre-archaeological period.

Before Abraham Was. Chapter 1
Genesis 1-11 tells the story of creation, Adam, the fall, Noah, the flood, the tower of Babel and the emergence of nations.  The pre-flood period is as its own world with its own history.  Out of the ark emerged a new history distinct from Genesis 1-5.  And in terms of God’s redemptive activity, all of it is a prelude to Abraham (who shows up in Genesis 12).  “Before Abraham Was” refers to the long and complex history of Genesis 1-11.

The Name (הַשֵּׁם)
In the telling of Judah’s long and complex history, God’s name is alternatively “Elohim”, “Yahweh” and sometimes “Yahweh Elohim”.  Switches between these names are taken to be the DNA evidence of different editors.  According to the documentary hypothesis, Genesis 1-5 is internally grouped according to two editorial schools — one written by priests who use “Elohim” and one from the editors who use “Yahweh.”  To this day Yahweh is not a name often spoken by Jews.  At some point in the Jewish past (perhaps after the destruction of the temple in AD 70), the name Yahweh ceased to be pronounced by the religiously pious.  It is a priestly concern that guards the name as holy.

The Sources: J, E, P, D
J, E, P and D are names given to the theoretical schools who wrote that which Moses wished he wrote (Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy).  In fact, the only thing that documentary scholars seem to agree about is that Moses and his helpers were too dense to pull off the complex writing that recorded God’s activities.  In fact, when they get done with their hypothetical scholarship, Moses himself probably did not exist, the exodus is a myth, and the only thing that is certain is that they are scholars of what they consider to be a fairytale book.  Following this pattern, in 2000 years I expect people to get their PhDs in Harry Potter and then to endlessly debate and pretend that their ideas merit the attention of other scholars.

P stands for Priestly and designates the supposed editor who reworked material according to a late priest’s perspective.  An orthodox priest of Jerusalem (writing after the Babylonians took Jerusalem) sees God as above, wholly other, far off, creating by his words, inhabiting his high mountain, instituting Sabbath, and dwelling in a heavenly and exalted temple.  The P editors used Elohim as the name of the deity (being too humble to evoke the covenant name).  Thus the P material of Genesis can be detected in the use of the name Elohim, particularly when God is acting or speaking with priest-like concerns (holiness, sacrifices, otherness, exalted status, etc.).

J is for Jehovah. The Hebrew name Yahweh was rendered by Germans scholars (leaders in the development of the documentary hypothesis) as Jehovah.  I use Yahweh and Jehovah interchangeably.  The documentary hypothesis postulates that Yahweh/Jehovah would have connoted the view of a conservative religious editor writing from a Jerusalem-like perspective.  Namely, Yahweh is the name of the God who was with Israel in the wilderness.  Yahweh is the God who walked in the garden of Eden. He is the relational God with a revealed covenantal name.  The conservative religious editor is from the southern kingdom of Judah and employed the name Jehovah as a polemical way to obtain distance from  the polytheistic religions.

E is the name of the non-Priestly editor who used “Elohim” to reference God. Elohim is plural.  This plural form is interpreted as a residual of a polytheistic editor.  It represents a theological point of view — a view that would have been at home in the northern kingdom of Israel (Ephraim).  Roughly speaking, E designates editors from Ephraim who were less critical of polytheism and who used the name Elohim to reference God (II Kings 1:3).

One can see how the documentary hypothesis is capable of putting a lot of stock in a name. The selection of a name to alternately encode a polytheistic or monotheistic worldview is to laden one word with the essence of a religious debate.  Of course it is possible that the plural ending is a theological polemic revealing the polytheistic DNA of northern editors, but if we go by an argument from possibilities, then it is just possible that it is not the case.  In fact, by Occam’s razor, the documentary hypothesis asks one word to do too much.

JEP  Naming the different editors and authors, the books of “Moses” can be graphically sliced and color coded according to the different contributors.

However, the documentary hypothesis is sophisticated enough that it won’t be boiled-down to name usage only.  One can observe that with each switch in name (Elohim vs. Yahweh), there is a corresponding switch in literary style.  Genesis 1, for example, has a different feel than Genesis 2.  Genesis 1 uses Elohim and Genesis 2 uses Yahweh.  One style is Priestly (P), another is Yahwehistic (J).

So what we find in Genesis 1-5 are not only changes in vocabulary, narrative styles, and theologies, but also unnecessary…repetitions–and all these obey the general sectioning of Genesis 1-5 suggested by the divine names. (20).

Inventors of the Documentary Hypothesis have Invented a Crisis
The astute reader detects stylistic changes as Genesis unfolds; chapter 1 gives way to chapter 2, and things move around and the story has development and action as we go from 2 to 3 all the way to the end of the book.   At this point the documentary hypothesis invents a crisis by finding contradictions whenever the camera angle changes or when a new character comes in uninvited.  After the crisis is elevated to the level of a force-ten hurricane, the hypothetical scholar puts on his cape and the documentary hero emerges to save us from the dreadful deluge.

The documentary hypothesis had its own Noah, and his name was Wellhausen (21).

Without a single story teller, we are quickly saved from the notion of a single theme.  The story of the Bible can’t be about Jesus (who named himself as the theme in John 5:39), but is about something altogether different.   The Bible becomes the story of hypothesizing scholars.  It becomes the story of how 19th century scholarship untangled the mess of ancient Hebrew texts.

Scholars of the Documentary Hypothesis are Self Created Heroes
The creation story ceases to be how the Holy Spirit brooded over the formless void to create order.  Genesis becomes a formless mass of texts where vipers find their brood wherein to hatch hypothetical scholars.   The documentary scholars have come to save us from the despair of an ancient story that moves along and has development.   They save us by saying there is no theme and there is no single author.  They relieve us of seeing how God and Moses wrote the Pentateuch.  The hypothetical scholar becomes the hypothetical savior to save us from thinking that God wrote a book.  God is dethroned, and the scholar is put in his place.

Our salvation comes in realizing that we have been tricked.  There is no unified author and only the discovery of editors shows the order embedded in the formless crisis.  They created the problem, and they created the solution, and they are the real heroes of the story.  The Bible, it turns out, is about them and their scholarship.

The Documentary Hypothesizers are Blind to Masterminds and Artists
The documentary hypothesizers don’t know about single authors who write complex, changing and multi-faceted masterpieces.  A single book, like Genesis, with a single author… it is preposterous!  Who could imagine such a thing?  Moses writing Genesis 1 and Genesis 2 would be like a musician who could play two instruments.  Vocalists can sing only one song.  Artists can make only one album.  Narrators can’t write poetry, and poets can’t write history, and historians can’t make music.  Moses couldn’t write Genesis, because that would mean he was able to write both Genesis 1 and Genesis 2 (and that insanity would be a crisis of Biblical proportion). It is too complex.  Genesis was created over centuries and each editor attributed his part according to his editorial-kind.  And so the crisis is solved.  Salvation has come and we are relieved from believing that one author could have written an amazing book.

If Genesis 1-5 is the product of a single author, then that author is capable of two quite different narrative styles and no compunction about using them…from this thesis and antithesis we would expect him to attempt a synthesis, a synthesis that would exhibit to an even greater degree his theological profundity and literary virtuosity (21).

How to Answer a Fool
Kikawada and Quinn are sharp, almost sarcastic, in how they represent the documentary hypothesis — perhaps following the Proverb, “answer a fool according to his folly.”  If a fool thinks that the many colors of a great painting prove that the painting had many artists and many pallets, then what is left to say?  Great artists do paint great paintings.  Genius authors do write complex books.  God did create the visible and invisible realms and all that is in them — writing down his deeds seems like a lesser feat.  The answer for the fool is too obvious to give, so sarcasm may be all that is left for them.

God is the Author of the Bible
In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.  His story has a beginning and an end, and Jesus is the Alpha and Omega.  The story is history that radiates from a point and consummates in a Lamb.  God has worked and created according to a unified purpose; the Holy Spirit hovered over the formless void to bring it into conformity to the pattern of the architect.  The same God who did this promised by his Spirit that he would attend to the keeping of the divine records.  Earth would contain a written copy of the heavenly records (John 14:26), and it does.  We have the Bible.  It is a book divine in origin.  This is no more incredible than a God who can create the whole cosmos.   Whoever invented atoms, molecules, air, water, cells, blood, frogs, trees, dirt, elephants, you, volcanoes, quarks, planets, space, and light can have a book.  In the grand scheme of things, to believe that God wrote a book is not a crisis.

The documentary hypothesis is a rival theology that presumes to talk about God.  It refuses to have him as he is revealed.  Like the first rebel force, it starts by asking, “Has God really said” (Gen 3:1), and then goes on to articulate how God is not the Alpha and Omega.  God becomes like us, only less so, for he is nothing more than the invention of an editor or a theologian from the 1800s.  Documentary hypothesizers are unable to see a single author, and so the question of a single theme is not even a possibility for them.  When we can’t find a single author for the Bible, it becomes a collection of circumstantially gathered writings bound together from evolutionary processes.  If God can’t keep a record, then he can’t give us his grand theme or purpose. The documentary hypothesis is nothing more than another way of saying Amen to the crafty serpent of the garden.

Steve Rives
Eastside Church of the Cross


Taken from:

Gilgamesh vs. Genesis

19 Mar

Gilgamesh vs. Genesis

By Gary F.  Zeolla

The “Gilgamesh Epic” records a story of a world-wide flood and pre-dates  Genesis. So some claim that this invalidates the Genesis record. But P.J.  Wiseman presents an interesting theory in this regard in his book Ancient  Records and the Structure of Genesis (New York: Thomas Nelson, 1985).

He believes that Moses did not WRITE Genesis but rather TRANSLATED it from  ancient stone tablets written in Cuneiform script. The tablets each would have  been originally written by eye-witnesses of the particular events, or those who  received their information from eye-witnesses.

He breaks Genesis into parts according to the phrase “These are the  generations” (KJV; “This is the history” – NKJV; “This the account” – NASB; NIV;  Gen 2:4; 5:1; 6:9; 10:1; 11:10; 11:27; 25:12,9; 36:1,9; 37:2).

He compares the use of this phrase and the structure of each section to the  stone tablets written in cuneiform script. Many of these tablets have been  discovered and they date to the third millenium BC.

Wiseman’s theory is that Genesis is translated from individual tablets which  would have contained the material before each occurrence of the above phrase. So  the narratives of the creation of the universe (Gen 1) and of the Garden of Eden  (Gen 2) would have been written on one tablet by Adam as these events were  revealed to him by the only Eye-witness of the events, God Himself.

The narratives of the Fall and subsequent events would have been written on  another tablet by Adam as an eye-witness of the events. Adam then passed each of  these tablets on to his descendant Seth. Seth then recorded the events of Gen 5  and passed the tablets to his descendant Noah.

Noah then recorded the events of Gen 6-9 and passed the tablets to his  descendant Shem, and so one until Joseph. Joseph then recorded the final  chapters of Genesis and placed all of the tablets in the library of the  pharaohs. Moses then, while in pharaoh’s court, would have had access to these  tablets. He then translated them into his native Hebrew.

The above theory “fits” with various evidences in the Scriptures. For  instance, it would explain such passages as Exod 6:3: “I appeared to Abraham, to  Isaac, and to Jacob, as God Almighty, but by My name, LORD [YHWH], I was not  known to them.”

But the Tetragrammaton appears in Genesis, making for an apparent  contradiction. However, this problem is easily explained if Moses translated,  but did not write, Genesis. While translating, when Moses came across the name  for God in the cuneiform tablets, he used the Name God revealed to him to  translate it. So the Name YHWH was not known to Abraham and other Genesis  figures.

Also, note that in the Bible Genesis is never said to be written by Moses,  whereas the other four books of the Torah are. For instance, in Matt 18:4-5  Jesus refers to two quotes from Genesis. He introduces them with the general  phrase, “Have you not read….” But in verse 8, when referring to a passage from  Deuteronomy, Jesus specifically attributes the statement to Moses.

In addition, Wiseman’s theory is consistent with the relationship of  Gilgamesh and Genesis. There are some similarities between the two, yet many  important differences.

More specifically, if Genesis was translated from stone tablets written by  the main characters of the events, then these tablets would pre-date the writing  of Gilgamesh. Meanwhile, Gilgamesh was based on oral transmission of the  events.

So the record in Genesis would be the accurate record; whereas Gilgamesh  would be a somewhat “twisted” record. Being based on oral traditions passed over  centuries, the latter would be expected to keep some of the main points intact  but alter many of the details.

Wiseman’s theory also fits with the archeological evidence of the character  of the ancient cuneiform, stone tablets as compared to the Genesis narratives.  There are many similarities in the writing structure between them. He summarizes  all of the evidences on pages 144-148 of his book.

He concludes by stating:

These twenty-four strands woven together make a  cumulative muster of evidences, so exceptional both in character and importance,  that they establish the antiquity of Genesis as a contemporary record of events  upon a sure foundation. This foundation is the internal testimony of the book  itself, supported by the external corroboration of archeology.

I don’t know if I agree with all of Wiseman’s ideas. But I do find them  interesting. To anyone else who is interested, I would recommend his book It  might still be available from the book clubs listed at Christian Books and  Software.

Gilgamesh vs. Genesis. Copyright © 1999 by Gary F. Zeolla of  Darkness to Light ministry (


Taken from:

The Institution of Marriage: John R. Salverda

12 Mar

The Institution of Marriage: John R. Salverda


As noted, the Genesis account contains the origins of the institution of marriage. However, the kind of marriage that first appeared, the one that led to the Original Sin, was one that Adam described as; “Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife:” (Genesis 2:24 KJV). In essence it was the marriage arrangement of a matriarchal society, one where a man left his own family and went to live with his wife’s. The children born to such a social structure belonged to the family of their mother, using, no doubt the mother’s family name, and following the dictates of the matriarch. It was what we would call today, full-blown feminism. This system did not work out, it led directly to the Original Sin. God Himself described Adam’s mistake as; “thou hast hearkened unto the voice of thy wife” (Genesis 3:17 KJV). After all, this original feminist concept of marriage was apparently Adam’s idea in the first place, a decision in which God seems to have taken no part. (see Genesis 2:23,24).

After the committing of the Sin, which is characterized by Moses as eating from the forbidden tree, God Himself prescribed the remedy to mankind’s, originally perverse, marriage arrangement, directly to the woman; “thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee.” (Genesis 3:16). This is a complete departure from the previously attempted matrilineality. This, much overlooked, reading of the Genesis account, garners a kind of confirmation from the Jewish Legends, wherein a woman named Lilith is said to be Adam’s first wife. “Like him she had been created out of the dust of the ground. But she remained with him only a short time, because she insisted upon enjoying full equality with her husband. She derived her rights from their identical origin. … She takes her revenge by injuring babes–baby boys during the first night of their life, while baby girls are exposed to her wicked designs until they are twenty days old.” (Louis Ginzberg, “Legends of the Jews” Vol. I, Chap. II, “Woman”) Legendary it may be, but Lilith, as the allegorical figurehead of modern feminism, still injures babes to this very day, through the contrivance of the women’s liberation movement’s favorite political imperative, abortion!

How does this understanding of the Scriptural origin of patrilineal matrimony compare with what we know about what Greek mythology has to say about it? The two, supposedly separate, cultures have surprisingly corresponding accounts. The Greek myths tell us that it was Cecrops, who, upon leading the people up out of the land Egypt (a matrilineal society), was the first to recognize patriarchal paternity. While, to the Hebrews, it was Moses who led the people out of Egypt and wrote Genesis 3:16 (Unto the woman he said, …thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee.) in order to redefine the roles of men and women for the Israelites as opposed to the custom of their previous Egyptian overlords (Athena, of Cecrops’ Athens, had “accidentally” killed Pallas in the Greek myth, much the same as Eve had superseded Lilith in the writings of Moses.).

At this point let us recall the Athenian myth that covers this same episode. According to Marcus Varro (a Roman historian who died about 28 BC. he wrote a now lost book called “De Gente Populi Romani” from which Augustine, who had access to it back then, got this story), the choice between worshiping Athena or Poseidon was put to the vote of the people of Attica. They were asked to pick which would be more beneficial to mankind, Athena’s olive tree or Poseidon’s fountain. In those days, women had an equal vote with men. The men all voted for the god, and all the women voted for the goddess, but since there was one more woman than there were men, Athena won the referendum. Angered, Poseidon sent a great flood. So terrible was his judgment that it was decided to deprive women of the vote and to forbid children to bear their mother’s names for the future. (Augustine, De civitate Dei xviii.9). Notice how, in accordance with the Greek myth, before choosing the serpent woman’s tree, children born to the Athenian women (people who were led up out of the land of Egypt by their great lawgiver and settled into twelve national groups), were raised under their mother’s name; and women, by virtue of their majority vote, ruled over the men. When it turned out that the choice of the women angered the male god, the situation was rectified in nearly the same way that it was in the Scriptural narrative.

John Gill’s commentary on Genesis 2:24 says; “Athens … had a king named Cecrops, whom, as all antiquity is full of fables, they represented to have been of both sexes, because he was the first to join male and female in marriage.” (Justin, “Epitome of the Philippic History of Pompeius Trogus” Volume 2. 2. c. 6.), whence he was said to be “biformis” (twi-formed) and was called “difyis” (according to the “Dictionary of Greek and Roman Biography and Mythology” under the article “CECROPS” by William Smith “Some ancients referred the epithet “difyis” to marriage of which tradition made him the founder”) unless, as some (William Salden, “Otia Theologica” Exercitat. 1. sect. 14. p. 13, 14.) have thought, that he and Moses were one and the same who delivered out the first institution of marriage. (Gill’s Exposition of the Entire Bible, perhaps quoting John Calvin, on Genesis 2:24). Notice how the quote from Justin, is seemingly referring to the serpent half of Cecrops, as representing women; and how the quote from William Salden shows that it was thought by some, that Moses and Cecrops, were the same person!


Greek Serpent Ladon and Hebrew Leviathan

12 Mar

Greek Serpent Ladon and Hebrew Leviathan


John R. Salverda Writes:


The Serpent

Although the serpent Ladon is associated with the tree in the Greek myth, it is apparently the tree of life, and not the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. As noted the Greek serpent is not enticing people to pick from the tree, but like the Cherubim in the Scriptural account, he is portrayed as guarding it; “So he drove out the man; and he placed at the east of the garden of Eden Cherubims, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to keep the way of the tree of life.” (Genesis 3:24 KJV). Accordingly the quest for immortality by Herakles required him to kill the serpent before he could receive the apples. “the serpent Ladon, a son of the Libyan soil, had kept watch over the golden apples in the Garden of Atlas, while close at hand and busy at their tasks the Hesperides sang their lovely song. But now the snake, struck down by Herakles, lay by the trunk of the apple-tree. (Apollonius Rhodius, “Argonautica” 4. 1390 ff.). “Some say, however, that he did not take the apples from Atlas, but killed the snake that guarded them, and picked them himself.” (Apollodorus, “Bibliotheca” 2. 121). Thus Herakles (however blasphemous you may consider the idea to be) is portrayed as fulfilling the “Messianic” promise; “God said unto the serpent, … I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.” (Genesis 3:14,15 KJV). “Jupiter, in admiration of their struggle, placed it among the stars; for the Draco has its head erect, and Hercules, resting on his right knee, tires to crush the right side of its head with his left foot.” (Hyginus, “Astronomica” 2. 6, citing a work now lost called “the Heraclea” by a Greek poet of the 5th century BC. named Panyassis). “The huge Draco, Typhon’s son, which used to guard the golden apples of the Hesperides, he (Herakles) killed near Mount Atlas” (Hyginus, Fabulae 30). “Atlas, mindful of an oracle since by Themis, the Parnassian, told, recalled these words, `O Atlas! mark the day a son of Jupiter [Zeus] shall come to spoil; for when thy trees been stripped of golden fruit, the glory shall be his.’ Fearful of this, Atlas had built solid walls around his orchard, and secured a dragon, huge, that kept perpetual guard, and thence expelled all strangers from his land.” (Ovid, “Metamorphoses” 4. 617 ff.). Take note, how an ancient prophecy (here called an “oracle”) had promised the eventual arrival of an avenging son of god (Zeus); when he came he famously killed the serpent; the labor was immortalized in the Heavens, where a constellation was described by Hyginus, as Herakles crushing the serpent’s head with his foot.

Apparently the Scriptural “Leviathan,” already linked by many scholars with the “Lotan” of the Ugaritic myth of Baal, is the source for the Greek serpent Ladon. Yahweh defeats the, many headed, Leviathan (as Baal does the seven headed Lotan, and Herakles Ladon): “It was you who crushed the heads of Leviathan and gave him as food to the creatures of the desert.” (Psalm 74:14) “An immortal serpent guarded them, the child of Typhon and Ekhidna, with one hundred heads which spoke with voices of various types.” (Apollodorus, Bibliotheca 2. 113). Take note that Apollodorus makes the serpent Ladon to be immortal, having one hundred heads, and like the one in Eden, it has the ability to speak. In regards to Leviathan serving “as food to the creatures of the desert,” Apollonius Rhodius bemoans the unfortunate fate of the flies that feed upon the dead “serpent Ladon, a son of the Libyan soil” (“Argonautica” 4. 1390 ff.).

This battle is sometimes expressed as if in fulfillment of the Messianic prophecy, depicting a future victory over the “serpent” Leviathan; “In that day the Lord with His severe sword, great and strong, will punish Leviathan the fleeing serpent, Leviathan that twisted serpent; He will slay the reptile that is in the sea.” (Isaiah 27:1). Ladon himself was not thought to be a sea serpent as such however, he is often associated with the sea, and did live in the sea in the sense that his home, in the Garden of Hesperides, was, at least sometimes, thought to be on an island of the sea; “The Hesperides who guard the rich, golden apples and the trees bearing fruit beyond glorious Okeanos.” (Hesiod, Theogony 215 ff.); “Over the waves and the waves and the deep brine they came to the beautiful island of the gods, where the Hesperides have their homes” (Stesichorus, Geryoneis Fragment S8, from Oxyrhynchus Papyrus 2617 C6th to 7th BC.). He sleeps and will, one day be awoken; “those who are ready to rouse Leviathan.” (Job 3:8). The Scriptures make an unambiguous identification of the Messianic adversary in the apocalyptic literature; “And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world.” (Rev. 12:9).

As a Messianic prerequisite, eliminating the serpent is the determinant method of acquiring eternal life. It is so in the case of many mythical gods and heroes that the prophetic requirement, “her seed … shall bruise thy head” (Genesis 3:15), is a kind of Messianic identifier. It is the individual qualifying characteristic, attribute, or activity, by which the Messiah would be recognized and distinguished. In the Scriptures it is the cherub’s job to guard the way to the tree of life, however as we have seen, there is a well known and wide spread mythological equivalent. For not only is a serpent guarding the way to the “golden” apples of the Hesperides, but also the way to the “golden” fleece is guarded by a dragon. Gold, a most valued commodity indeed, is often a mythological substitution for the most valued possession of all, “life.” We can thereby identify the cherub as it appears in many other myths such as the winged gryphon (of the“Scythians”) whose job it is to guard “gold” in general. However life is not always symbolized by gold, there are many myths that use no symbol for it and use the term “life” literally or prosaically. Cerberus keeps us from gaining immortality, or rather, life after death. Heracles was seeking immortality as an Olympian when he crushed the head of the hydra and stepped upon the “crab,”wounding his foot, (Heracles sought life for everyone in capturing Cerberus, he also destroyed the serpent that guarded the aforementioned “golden” fruit of the famous tree in the ancient garden of Hesperides.) and the “scarab” is a well known Egyptian symbol of eternal life. (The “gryph” in gryphon is an evident shibboleth of “cherub” as is the “serp” in serpent, the “Cerb” in Cerberus, the “scorp” in scorpion, as well as the words “crab,” “scarab,” and“harpy.”).

Ezekiel, in a much speculated, and very enigmatic statement, hints that there may have been some justification for imagining a connection between the serpent and the cherub; “Thou hast been in Eden the garden of God; … Thou art the anointed cherub that covereth; and I have set thee so: thou wast upon the holy mountain of God; thou hast walked up and down in the midst of the stones of fire. Thou wast perfect in thy ways from the day that thou wast created, till iniquity was found in thee. By the multitude of thy merchandise they have filled the midst of thee with violence, and thou hast sinned: therefore I will cast thee as profane out of the mountain of God: and I will destroy thee, O covering cherub, from the midst of the stones of fire.” (Ezekiel 28:13-16 KJV). Christianity has traditionally linked this reference to the fall of Satan. The Hebrew word, here used twice as an adjective, “covereth” and “covering,” to describe the cherub, is “sakak” (saw-kak’), is from a primitive root the primary, proper, use of which is “to entwine” as a screen (a serpent “entwined” on a tree?) by implication to fence in, cover over, (figuratively) protect: cover, defend, hedge in, join together, set, shut up. This is quite comparable to the word rendered “keep” in the KJV of Genesis 2:15 and 3:24, shamar (shaw-mar’), to hedge about, that is, guard; generally to protect, attend to, etc. It seems to me, that there is something missing in the Scriptural narrative, that should explain the relationship between the serpent and the cherub. I balk at using mythology to fill in the blank, so I’ll just leave it at that.


Zeus and Hera in Ancient Paradise

12 Mar

Zeus and Hera in Ancient Paradise

John R. Salverda Writes:


“If Adam and Eve, in the Greek religious system, have become Zeus and Hera, there should be literary evidence for their presence in this garden, and there is. Apollodorus wrote that the apples of the Hesperides “were presented by Gaia [Earth] to Zeus after his marriage with Hera.” This matches the Genesis account: Eve became Adam’s wife right after she was taken out of Adam (Genesis 2:21–25), and the next recorded event is the taking of the fruit by the first couple. Connecting Zeus and Hera with the Hesperides connects them with the serpent and the fruit tree with which the Hesperides are always represented.” (From Chapter 9: “The Forbidden Theory of Ancient Greek Art”)

The record of Greek mythology presents several “messianic” heroes in the same light. The marriage of Zeus and Hera is not the only one that features the symbols of the Hesperides, for example after Cadmus destroyed the serpent of Ares he had a very high profile wedding feast, at which; “the gods shared their marriage feasts” (Pindar, Pythian Ode 3. 86 ff.); “There, as they say, by the Tritonian Lake, Kadmos the wanderer lay with rosycheek Harmonia, and the Nymphai Hesperides made a song for them, and Kypris (Aphrodite) together with the Erotes (cherubs) decked out a fine bed for the wedding, hanging in the bridal chamber golden fruit from the Nymphai’s garden, a worthy lovegift for the bride; rich clusters of their leaves Harmonia and Kadmos twined through their hair, amid the abundance of their bridechamber, in place of the wedding-roses. Still more dainty the bride appeared wearing these golden gifts, the boon of golden Aphrodite. Her mother’s father the stooping Libyan Atlas awoke a tune of the heavenly harp to join the revels, and with tripping foot he twirled the heavens round like a ball, while he sang a stave of harmony himself not far away.” (Nonnus, “Dionysiaca” 13. 333 ff.). Take note that, according to Nonnus, the wedding of Cadmus not only featured the golden fruit, but it also took place in the vicinity of Mount Atlas.

Then there was the wedding of Peleus and Thetis; “Singing of Peleus’ Bridal of Delight, which all the blest Immortals brought to pass by Pelion’s crests; sang of the ambrosial feast when the swift Horai brought in immortal hands meats not of earth, and heaped in golden maunds; sang how the silver tables were set forth in haste by Themis blithely laughing; sang how breathed Hephaistos purest flame of fire; sang how the Nymphai (the Hesperides) in golden chalices mingled ambrosia.” (Quintus Smyrnaeus, “Fall of Troy” 4. 128 ff.). Not only did the Hesperides appear, but so did one of their golden apples as Eris, angered at not getting an invite, used the fruit to cause the Trojan War as an act of revenge; “And now she bethought her of the golden apples of the Hesperides. Thence Eris took the fruit that should be the harbinger of war, even the apple, and devised the scheme of signal woes. Whirling her arm she hurled into the banquet the primal seed of turmoil and disturbed the choir of goddesses.” (Colluthus, “Rape of Helen” 58 ff.). Take note that the fruit, that was elsewhere touted as the fruit of the quest for immortality (ie. from the tree of life), is depicted here as “the primal seed of turmoil.”

Nonnus, in his “Dionysiaca,” says of the participation of the Hesperides at the marriage of Helios and Clymene; “The light that shone on that bridal bed come from the starry train; and the star of Cypris (Aphrodite), Eosphoros (the Morning Star), herald of the union wove a bridal song … The Hesperides raised the joy-cry.” (Nonnus, “Dionysiaca” 38. 135 ff.).

Although I can find only one account that links the apples of the Hesperides, with the golden apples in the myth of Atalanta (the usual story is that they were supplied by Aphrodite, the mother of the cherub Eros, with no word as to where she got them), Virgil (c. 30 BC.) clearly makes this association as his Orpheus croons about Atalanta; “he sings of the maid who marveled at the apples of the Hesperides.” (Virgil, “Georgics” 6. 61 ff.). Thus Virgil credits the apples of the Hesperides with facilitating the marriage of Atalanta to Hippomenes.

It is apparent that the symbols of the Hesperides were not exclusive to the marriage of Zeus and Hera, but rather that the Hesperides and their symbolisms were traditionally applied often to the wedding feasts of many other gods and heroes. There is no doubt that all of these traditions can be traced back to the origin of all marriage in the Garden of Eden, but this is not really evidence that any or all of these couples, and their respective weddings, are depictions of the story of Adam and Eve. It could be that, among the Greeks, the symbols of the original wedding, became those of all weddings. Furthermore, the ancient mythological record is not unanimous as to the location of the wedding of Zeus and Hera; “several places in Greece claimed the honour of having been the scene of the marriage, such as Euboea (Steph. Byz. s. v. Karustos), Samos (Lactant. de Fals. Relig. i. 17), Cnossus in Crete (Diod. v. 72), and Mount Thornax, in the south of Argolis. (Schol. ad Theocrit. xv. 64; Paus. ii. 17. § 4, 36. § 2.)” (from William Smith’s “Dictionary of Greek and Roman Biography and Mythology”).

“The chorus in Euripides’ play Hippolytus speaks of “the apple-bearing shore of the Hesperides” where immortal fountains flow “by the place where Zeus lay, and holy Earth with her gifts of blessedness makes the gods’ prosperity wax great.” Thus Euripides put Zeus in the garden, and his language affirms that this is where Zeus came from.” (From Chapter 9: “The Forbidden Theory of Ancient Greek Art”)

I shall here present the same quote, without the ellipses, as translated by the English classical scholar, Philip Humphrey Vellacott (The parenthetical remark is from the notation that is included at the “Perseus Project.”); “The apple-bearing Hesperian coast, of which the minstrels sing. Where the Lord of Okeanos denies the voyager further sailing and fixes the solemn limit of Ouranos which Giant Atlas upholds. There the streams flow with ambrosia by Zeus’s bed of love (The reference is to the marriage of Zeus and Hera, which the scholiast implies was consummated here.) and holy Gaia, the giver of life, yield to the gods rich blessedness.” (Euripides, “Hippolytus” 742 ff.).

The Tree and the Fruit

There were two famous trees in the Garden of Eden, the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, and the tree of eternal life; “And the LORD God said, Behold, the man is become as one of us, to know good and evil: and now, lest he put forth his hand, and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live for ever” (Genesis 3:22 KJV). But which tree is being referred to in the Greek myth? The tree of the knowledge of good and evil, was introduced in the Scriptural narrative before the creation of Eve; It was not given (by God,) to Adam, in fact God forbade him from it (although He did not set a guard on it as he did later with the tree of life).

“You have probably heard one time or another about Eve eating the apple. The Hebrew word for fruit in Chapter 3 of Genesis is a general term. The idea that Adam and Eve took a bite of an apple comes to us as part of the Greek tradition.” (From Chapter 9: “The Forbidden Theory of Ancient Greek Art”)

Not only does it appear that Greek mythology has imposed itself upon Judeo-Christian theology, with the Greek “apple” becoming the “fruit” of the Original Sin, it also seems like the influence also flows in the other direction as well. For the golden apples of the Hesperides are, now-a-days thought to impart immortality upon one who eats of it, however I can’t find one ancient Greek source that says so (and even though these apples are acquired by some, nobody ever seems to take a bite of one). This idea is apparently taken from the Edenic “tree of eternal life” (not the one picked and eaten by Adam and Eve, but a different tree altogether) and is then back-applied by we moderns upon the Greek myth without any real justification (Herakles was said to have achieved immortality by completing his 12 labors, of which obtaining the golden apples was but one. It is nowhere stated that he ate from the apples.) It should here be noted that the Greek myth hopelessly conflates the two trees, the tree producing the forbidden fruit of Original Sin, with the tree producing the fruit of eternal life. The serpent who entices people to pick from the tree of knowledge in the Hebrew story, becomes, in the Greek myth, the Scriptural Cherubim who guards the way to prevent people picking from the tree of life. Perhaps it was Gaea, the serpent woman (Gaea is the archetypal mother of all the mythic serpents and monsters, she is the mother of Typhon, Echidna, Python, the dragon who guarded the golden fleece, as well as the grandmother of Ladon, the never sleeping, serpent guard, of the apples of Hesperides.) who played the role of a Greek, female, personification, of the serpent; and, of course, it was the serpent who gave the apples to Eve, sometime after her separate creation. There is no story or depiction, picture or sculpture, connecting Zeus and Hera with the serpent at the time that they received the fruits. Placing the serpent as a guard at the tree was supposed to have been a later development. The unauthorized pilfering of the tree, the resultant expulsion, and the guardian serpent are associated more with Atlas, his wife Hesperos, and her daughters, than with Zeus and Hera.

Goddess Hebe Derived From Eve

12 Mar

Goddess Hebe Derived From Eve


John R. Salverda Writes:


Similar attachments, making the story of Hera more Eve-like, are also discernible, for instance, consider her two daughters, Hebe and Eileithyia. Could these two names be nothing more than Greek transliterations of the names Eve and Lilith?

A footnote from the book “Hebrew Myths: The Book of Genesis” by Robert Graves and Raphael Patai (New York: Doubleday, 1964), pp 65-69 explains the Hebrew form of the word “Eve” rendered here as “Hawwah”; “… this may well be a Hebraicized form of the divine name Heba, Hebat, Khebat or Khiba … Her Greek name was Hebe, Heracles’s goddess wife.” Scholars often suppose the Greek Hebe to have been derived from the Hurrian goddess Hebat, through Greek contact with the Hittites who had adopted the Hurrian goddess.

They also expect that Eve was developed from Hebat through Hebrew contacts with the Hittites.

More likely, in my view, is that the Greek Hebe was influenced directly from the Hebrew Eve through ancient Greek contact with the Israelite/Phoenicians. After all Lilith (Eileithyia), an associate of Eve mainly in the Hebrew culture, seems to have come along with her.


‘Goddess Metis a kind of female personification of the clever serpent’.

12 Mar

‘Goddess Metis a kind of female personification of the clever serpent’.

John R. Salverda writes to Robert ‘Bowie’ Johnson Jr.:


Zeus took over from his father Kronos, who was a previous Adam figure (destroying his offspring with an act of “eating”). Kronos had himself, taken the place of his father Ouranos, the god of Heaven, an even earlier depiction of Adam (the husband of Gaea, an original mother figure). Eventually Herakles, the son of Zeus by a mortal woman, would sacrifice himself and be found worthy to wed Hebe (another Eve).

Hesiod informs us, that before marrying Hera (the queen of heaven) Zeus had several other paramours, including the goddesses Metis, Themis, Eurynome, Demeter, Mnemosyne, and Leto; “Lastly, he made Hera his blooming wife : and she was joined in love with the king of gods and men, and brought forth Hebe and Ares and Eileithyia.” (Hesiod, Theogony 921 ff.). Noteworthy in Hesiod’s list of Zeus’ pre-Hera lovers, as we attempt to connect him with Adam, is the Goddess called “Metis.” She is a kind of female personification of the clever serpent; “Now the serpent was more subtil than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made.” (Genesis 3:1 KJV) “Now Zeus, king of the gods, made Metis his wife first, and she was wisest among gods and mortal men. … But Zeus put her into his own belly first, that the goddess might devise for him both good and evil.” (Hesiod, Theogony 886-900 ff.) thus Zeus eats to acquire his knowledge of good and evil. “For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.” (Genesis 3:5 KJV). It is almost as though motifs from the story of Adam had been incorporated by design into the biography of Zeus in order to make him more acceptable to an Israelite constituency.


For full discussion, see:

Cain and the Nephilim

12 Mar

Cain and the Nephilim


Robert ‘Bowie’ Johnson Jr. writes to John R. Salverda:


As to so-called fallen angels/nephilim in Genesis 6, you must have the concordant translation. Accurate translations means everything in these passages as it does in all the rest of Scripture.

“. . .and taking are they for themselves wives of all whom they choose” (v. 2) refers to the men in the line of Seth taking women from the line of Cain. The Greeks depicted this on the south side of the Parthenon and on the west pediment of the temple of Zeus as Kentaurs (Seth-men) taking the Cain women. The Cain women maintained their idolatry and corrupted the families of the line of Seth leading to the Flood. I have a chapter on that in “The Parthenon Code” and some more detail in the DVD “The Serpent’s Side of Eden.”

Ignoring the truth of the Scriptures, and exalting their vain reasonings, academics have concluded that they are descended from reptiles and worms through chance copying errors in their reproductive genes. They are too dull to even wonder where the copying originates. Having such an intellectually debased and spiritually degenerate view of their own origins, why should we expect them to have any real understanding of ancient art?

We don’t get to the truth by reasoning, but by God’s revelation.

I pray that every deluded member of academia will receive from our Creator “a spirit of wisdom and revelation (apo-kalupsis = uncovering) in the realization of God, the eyes of their heart having been enlightened . . .” (Ephesians 1:17). You may enjoy


John R. Salverda replies:

Dear Bob,


I do like some of your theories. For instance, you have associated Cain with the Centaurs.


I find this to be an especially inspired connection, for Cain is like Ixion, in that the Greeks make Ixion out to be the very first person ever to kill one of his own relatives; “the hero who, not without guile, was the first to stain mortal men with kindred blood” (Pindar “Pythian Ode” 2.33). He was said to have mated with Nephele (Nephilim) and fathered the race of the Centaurs upon her. This speculation has a lot going for it; the Greek “X” sounded much like the hard “C” in the name Cain, they each were the first to murder kin, and the “cloud” Nephele is a lot like the “shades” Nephilim who engender a mixed race of monsters upon the Earth. So perhaps we can see eye to eye on some things.

It’s Not Noah’s Ark

10 Mar

It’s Not Noah’s Ark

The following article supports what Joanna Lumley was told by a geologist in Ankara (Joanna Lumley: The Search for Noah’s Ark). See video:

Article taken from:


Lorence Gene Collins
Department of Geological Sciences
California State University Northridge
Northridge, California 91330-8266

David Franklin Fasold


A natural rock structure near Dogubayazit, Turkey, has been misidentified as Noah’s Ark. Microscopic studies of a supposed iron bracket show that it is derived from weathered volcanic minerals. Supposed metal-braced walls are natural concentrations of limonite and magnetite in steeply inclined sedimentary layers in the limbs of a doubly plunging syncline. Supposed fossilized gopherwood bark is crinkled metamorphosed peridotite. Fossiliferous limestone, interpreted as cross cutting the syncline, preclude the structure from being Noah’s Ark because these supposed “Flood” deposits are younger than the “Ark.” Anchor stones at Kazan (Arzap) are derived from local andesite and not from Mesopotamia.


Thirty-five years ago, Life magazine carried a story of an expedition sent to investigate the outline of a ship in a mud-flow near Dogubayazit in eastern Turkey (Life, 1960); see p. 112). An aerial photo in this story was captioned: “Noah’s Ark?” Upon reaching the site (Figure 1) at 7,000 feet elevation, investigators found the boat-like appearance (Figure 2) to be only superficial. One scientist in the group ventured that nothing in nature could produce such symmetry, although nothing man-made was discovered. But after two days of looking for a cause of the phenomenon, the site was temporarily abandoned for lack of evidence. Other searches for the Ark continued, however, and placed Noah’s barge on Mount Ararat farther to the north, much closer to where various creationists placed the Ark.

With the search still underway twenty-five years later, another explorer reclaimed the mound near Dogubayazit as Noah’s Ark, which according to him contained “trainloads” of gopherwood (Wyatt, 1994). On the basis of this renewed interest in the area, representatives of the Turkish Ministry of Cultural Affairs and the High Commission on Ancient Monuments moved quickly to protect the site from exploitation, declaring the area a national park. However, skeptics and those who believed that the Ark was on Mt. Ararat remained unconvinced the Dogubayazit phenomenon is the Ark.

David Fasold, co-author of this paper, also began studies of the site in 1985, making nine trips in the following years to look for evidence. Today, the area is a military forbidden zone and is off limits to all researchers, except for Fasold who officially remains the only non-Turk having access. Placed directly on the project by the Rector of the Ataturk University at Erzurum, Fasold worked closely with project leader, Associate Professor Salih Bayraktutan, with on-site investigations.

During his investigations, Fasold found the following bits of evidence to suggest that this structure could have been the Ark. (1) The length and average overall width of the structure is exactly the same as prescribed in the Bible, “300 by 50 cubits.” (1 Egyptian cubit = 0.5236 m or 20.6 inches) (2) The buried structure exhibits the same nine divisions described in the Epic of Gilgamesh: “Its innards I divided into nine parts,” says the Assyrian flood hero, “One IKU (acre) was its whole floor space” (Gardner and Maier, 1984). Also, the structure displays the same area as in the Ark (44,100 square feet). (3) Metal-detecting surveys have located over 5,000 buried iron targets arrayed in a symmetrical pattern from the pointed end to the rounded end of the structure, which recalls Tubal-Cain, a biblical antediluvian “instructor of every craftsman in bronze and iron” (Genesis 4:22, NKJV).

Much of what Fasold uncovered should be viewed as circumstantial. Other streamlined rock-shapes have been found in the area (Guner, 1986), but according to Bayraktutan, these shapes do not display the same morphological and internal features. Fasold’s ground-penetrating radar survey appeared to confirm the existence of an internal structure, featuring symmetry and regular distribution (Fasold, 1988). Nevertheless, Bayraktutan found it difficult to explain why the site had so many geometric properties if it were just some randomly formed natural outcrop. Even marine engineers had made studies and commented on it (Windsor, 1992, 1993).

Furthermore: (4) Scattered some 24 km away are eleven, large, flat stones, each with a circular hole at one end and weighing between 4 and 10 tons (Figure 3). These could be interpreted as the anchor drogues referred to in the Qur’an: “In the name of Allah, it will cast anchor” (Dawood, 1966; see Houd 11:40). And, (5) Ancient place names relating to the Flood story abound and virtually surround the location (Fasold, 1988). Here are a few examples: Hero’s Anchorage, Voluntary Pilgrimage, Vowing Sacrifice, Raven Won’t Land, and Judgement Day. Fasold noted that such historians as Berossus, Nicholas of Damascus, and Josephus, recorded hearsay in their day, reported that pilgrims often visited the biblical Ark to recover pitch, highly prized for talismans.

Although Fasold dismissed tabloid discoveries of petrified rib timbers, coprolite, and exotic metal rivets, which were uncovered in clandestine excavations, as being the fruit of over-active imaginations, the prime evidence that an Ark with true artifacts really might exist came from an iron fitting recovered in situ in 1985 by a physicist, John Baumgardner, from Los Alamos, New Mexico. On the basis of an interpretation by Baumgardner (1988) that chemical analyses demonstrated that the fitting is composed of man-made iron, Fasold surmised how all the iron fittings came to be arrayed in a boat-like pattern (Fasold, 1988).

Fasold was fully aware that there is no geological evidence for a flood of such magnitude as could float a ship of these dimensions so far and so high beyond the modern ocean, except through the power of myth. Nevertheless, the reports of supposed man-made iron held out the hope for a legitimate discovery. After nine years of surveys and deploying every remote sensing device available, he waited for the Turks to excavate the structure. A reluctance on their part to do so caused him to become suspicious, and his enthusiasm for discovery began to wane. His first logical step then was to start from the beginning and request confirmation for the iron fitting. Was it really man-made?

It was at this time that I (Collins), as senior author and a geologist, came into the picture. In order to respond to Fasold’s question and other queries, I first examined thin sections of the supposed iron bracket from the Ark to determine whether the iron could have been forged in a furnace. I also analyzed thin sections of what he thought might be replacement material that had seeped into void spaces, which he thought were places where wood poles and other structural supports had decomposed to leave cavities, and which now were filled with layered deposits.

Fasold also brought me a sample chip recovered from an anomalous ribbed-rock at Kazan (Arzap). This large rock had once been held in veneration by the local people, mounted upright and carved with glyphs. Sounding hollow when hit with a hammer, this rock was claimed by one researcher in his video to be petrified gopherwood (Wyatt, 1994). Fasold disagreed because he did not envision the Ark as being constructed of wood. It would be logical to assume, Fasold says, that Noah built an overly large proto-Sumerian-type craft of bundled reeds. There would be nothing left after so many years since Noah’s time, but the anomalous rock displayed some interesting rippled impressions. If anything, Fasold felt it was more likely some pitch-like substance, now hardened, which was originally applied over the hull leaving imprints of reeds. It was worth looking at a thin section of this rock.

I also made a thin section of one of the “anchor drogues” (Figure 3) and obtained a chemical analysis to see if these stones could have been quarried by Noah in Mesopotamia. Finally, I interpreted aerial and ground photographs of the site and surrounding region. Some of my conclusions are preliminary, but are represented here because the site is now currently inaccessible to investigators, due to political unrest near the Iran-Turkey border. The following are the results of my analyses and interpretations.

Microscopic and Chemical Studies

The “anchor stone” (Figure 3) at Kazan (Arzap) is a fine-grained (0.001-1.0 mm) porphyritic volcanic rock in which phenocrysts (0.2-1.0 mm) consist of about 6% ilmenitic magnetite (a titanium and iron oxide containing some manganese) and about 29% plagioclase (andesine-labradorite). The very fine-grained ground mass (about 65%) contains plagioclase and ilmenitic magnetite, but with large amounts of ilmenitic magnetite than occurs as phenocrysts. The composition of this anchor stone is unusual because it lacks magnesium-rich minerals such as pyroxenes and olivine. A chemical analyses of this rock is given as Table 1.

All rock samples from the structure are pyroxene-bearing andesite or basalt partly altered to serpentine. Local calcite veins (3-5 mm wide) cut across the rock. Ilmenitic magnetite is a common accessory.

The supposed “iron bracket” is composed of granules of limonite, some of which have sizes and shapes that match those of ilmenitic magnetite crystals in the andesite of the Ark, the anchor stone, and nearby peridotite. These granules are enclosed in a matrix of calcite, clay, quartz, and fragments of anthophyllite. Many limonite granules exhibit rhythmic concretionary layers. Rare veins of pyrolusite (MnO2) locally cut the limonite.


Volcanic rocks similar to the andesitic “anchor stones” occur in the area surrounding Mt. Ararat (Pearce and others, 1990). The almost total absence of volcanic rocks in Mesopotamia (now Iraq) (Pearce and others, 1990; Aswad and Elias, 1988), where Noah’s Ark is alleged to have been constructed, reasonably eliminate the possibility that the anchor stones were transported to Kazan by Noah’s Ark. Because of the great weight of these stones, a nearby source is much more likely.

The layered samples of rocks in the mud that Fasold recovered and believed to be cavity-fillings are andesite and basalt pebbles, typical of conglomeratic mud-flows in volcanic terranes. Similar samples recovered by him from areas claimed by others to be rib timbers, planking, and deck beams are also andesite or basalt pebbles or boulders and show no evidence of petrified wood.

In the field, the supposed iron brackets have the outward appearance of pieces of black, metallic, elemental iron. The black, shiny surfaces, however, are characteristic of goethite (crystalline limonite), a hydrated iron oxide). This mineral is associated in the “structure” with black, ilmenitic, magnetite granules, and possibly pyrite or pyrrhotite because locally some sulfur is reported in chemical analyses. Both magnetite and goethite cause a metal detector to buzz just like elemental iron. Therefore, investigators might presume that they had found rusted iron metal (Wyatt, 1994).

If Noah’s ship builders had forged this supposed iron bracket in a primitive smelter, the bracket would not consist of iron that was thoroughly mixed with clay, quartz, calcite, and anthophyllite particles but would have been solid iron. In molten iron these matrix minerals would have been separated as slag or destroyed. Furthermore, scanning electron (SEM) chemical analyses of five different places in the iron bracket show the variability given in Table 2.

This variability also rules out the idea that the iron was formed by smelting because smelting would homogenize the molten metal and produce a nearly constant composition. The high and variable titanium contents occur because the limonite grains were derived from hydrous alteration of ilmenitic magnetite granules eroded from different volcanic sources and having variable TiO2 contents.

Potassium, aluminum and silicon oxides reported in the iron bracket occur in interstitial clay. Small percentages of calcium oxide are either from calcite and apatite (where phosphorous occurs) or are totally from calcite where phosphorous is absent. Apatite is common in volcanic rocks where it is intergrown with plagioclase or magnetite, and, therefore, it can be eroded, transported, and become a constituent of rocks in the structure (Figure 2).

Supposed Walls In The Ark Structure

Linear (planar) limonite concentrations along supposed walls in the Ark were traced independently by three investigators, each using different electronic instruments but producing the same results (Wyatt, 1994). Thirteen lines of limonite, marking supposed walls, converge toward the structures pointed end, and a similar convergence occurs at the opposite, “blunt” end. Transverse to the longitudinal limonite concentrations are nine lines of limonite, which were interpreted to be walls dividing Ark rooms.

Although these relationships might seem to be logical evidence to indicate that the structure was originally man-made, I, as a geologist, can show that all these features could be formed by natural processes. Joining of lines in concentric shells at the structure’s pointed end is consistent with the structure being an eroded doubly plunging syncline (Figure 4). At the blunt end, however, lines were not found wrapped around parallel to the outer relatively resistant rock of the Ark, which a cross-sectional view of a doubly plunging synclinal structure predicts. Their absence here occurs because eroded alluvium from the Ark’s interior spills over the rounded end and buries the bedrock. Therefore, converging lines of limonite and magnetite are covered so that they are undetected. Moreover, streams of eroded limonite and magnetite granules, projecting beyond the resistant layer, give the false appearance of a metal-braced structure extending beyond the rounded end (Fasold, 1988).

Limonite concentrations in dividing walls can be formed naturally because stresses applied to rocks that are folded into a boat shape commonly produce fracture patterns that cut across sedimentary layers. Water moving through these fractures and coming in contact with ilmenitic magnetite (or pyrite) granules in the layers, would produce the limonite concentrations and stains.

Finally, no fossilized wood or traces of elemental carbon, wood, or reed fragments have ever been found associated with the limonite walls or in any other place during trenching or core drilling. The absence of ancient biotic carbons supports the hypothesis that the boat-shaped structure is not Noah’s Ark. Inorganic carbon in calcite in veins cutting the layers, however, is common.

Analysis of Regional Geology

Fossiliferous limestone intersects the Ark structure on one side and is also found in outcrops on both sides beyond the adjacent landslide debris. On that basis, the doubly plunging syncline has likely formed in situ rather than being an allochthonous block transported in a landslide.

Across the landslide (200 m from the Ark) there is a resistant bed at the top of a scarp (Figure 5). Layers above and below this resistant bed have erosional forms and vegetation that match that of layers above and below the outer resistant bed of the Ark. These matching characteristics suggest that rocks composing the Ark are the same as those in the distant slope. Therefore, if such a correlation can be demonstrated, further support is provided that the Ark structure is not man-made.

Geologic History

On the basis of the information given above, I suggest the following geologic history for the origin of the structure. Rocks in the supposed Ark, which now conform to the U-shape of the syncline, were deposited initially in a horizontal or near-horizontal position. These rocks were composed of tiny grains of clay, quartz, calcite, anthophyllite, and local concentrations of ilmenitic magnetite as well as poorly sorted pebbles of andesite and basalt. They were products of weathering and erosion of volcanic rocks in nearby mountains and were transported by streams and deposited in a basin. Subsequently, these layers were compacted into rock and folded into a doubly plunging syncline. A marine sea advanced over the folded rocks and eroded and cut a channel in which fossiliferous limestone was later deposited. This was followed by uplift and further erosion that removed most of the limestone and scoured the fold to create the boat-shaped profile. Finally, swelling clays (bentonite) in mud in surrounding mountains caused a large landslide to occur. This landslide carried disoriented blocks of rock and mud that were channeled around the synclinal structure (Figure 5). Some time early in this history, following uplift, the limonite concretions (“iron brackets”) were formed in the sediments, both inside and outside the synclinal structure, as ground water from rain and melting snow reacted with ilmenitic magnetite (and pyrite) granules along bedding planes and fracture zones.


Evidence from microscopic studies and photo analyses demonstrates that the supposed Ark near Dogubayazit is a completely natural rock formation. It cannot have been Noah’s Ark nor even a man-made model. It is understandable why early investigators falsely identified it. The unusual boat-shaped structure would so catch their attention that an eagerness to be persons who either discovered Noah’s Ark or confirmed its existence would tend to override caution. An illustration of the degree to which caution was disregarded by supporters of the Noah’s Ark hypothesis is shown by the mistaken identification of a metamorphosed peridotite with crinkle folds as either gopherwood bark or casts of fossilized reeds that supposedly once covered the Ark (Wyatt, 1994). Furthermore, if the Creationism Flood hypothesis were valid (Baumgardner, 1985, 1990), the “dead animals” represented by fossils in this limestone must have died in the supposed Flood, and these fossilized remains are found in channels that cut the supposed Ark. Therefore, the supposed Ark is older than the deposits of the supposed Noachian Flood, and this relationship in itself conclusively refutes the hypothesis that the structure is the preserved remnants of the Ark.

When the site is again accessible to foreign investigators, the area near Kazan (Arzap) needs to be examined to see if outcrops of volcanic rocks occur there that have a mineralogy similar to that of the anchor stones. If so, a local source for the anchor stones is strongly supported. Lacking this information for this article, however, in no way negates the conclusion that the boat-shaped rock formation is totally natural.

Finally, David Fasold suggested that, although the structure is not Noah’s Ark, it may very well be the site which the ancients regarded as the ship of the Deluge and may have played a role in the Flood story. As a geologist, I find this to be a interesting speculation.


Thanks are given to the MA-GUR Project for photographs and specimens and to David Liggett, Peter Weigand, and Barbara Collins for editorial suggestions.

References Noted

Aswad, K. J., and Elias, E. M., 1988, Petrogenesis, geochemistry and metamorphism
of spilitized subvolcanic rocks of the Mawat ophiolite complex, NE Iraq: Ofioliti, v. 13, p. 95-108.
Baumgardner, J., 1985, ABC TV 20/20, October 17: “Considerable evidence that
it’s not a natural object.”
Baumgardner, J., 1988, “SEARCH FOR THE ELUSIVE ARK,” Newsletter, Los Alamos,
August 19, 1988: “…these occurrences of limonite are of special interest as they could represent the rusted remains of metallic iron objects.”
Baumgardner, J., 1990, Second International Conference on Creationism, “I personally have
to include the Scripture as a critical part of my basis in believing the correlation of the beginning of the Flood at the Precambrian/Cambrian boundary.”
Dawood, N. J., 1956, The Koran: Suffolk, Chaucer Press, 427 p.
Fasold, D., 1988, The Ark of Noah: New York, NY, Wynwood Press, 331 p.
Gardner, J., and Maier, J., 1984, Gilgamesh: New York, NY, Alfred A. Knopf, 304 p.
Guner, Y., 1986, Is Noah’s ark on Mt. Ararat? Geomorphological development on
the Dogubayazit-Telceker landslide which is assumed to be related to Noah’s Ark: Jeomorfoloji, Dergisi, v. 14, p. 27-37.
Life, 1960, September 5 issue, p. 112-114.
Pearce, J. A., Bender, J. F., De Long, S. E., Kidd, W. S. F., Low, P. J., Guner, Y.,
Saroglu, F., Yilmaz, Y., Moorbath, S., and Mitchell, J. G., 1990, Genesis of collision volcanism in Eastern Anatolia, Turkey: Journal of Volcanolgy and Geothermal Research, v. 44, p. 189-229.
Windsor, S. R., 1992, Noah’s vessel: 24,000 deadweight tons: Catastrophism
& Ancient History, January, p. 5-31.
Windsor, S. R., 1993, Noah’s Ark, its geometry: Catastrophism & Ancient History,
January, p. 40-57.
Wyatt, R. E., 1994, Discovered – Noah’s Ark. Video documentary of research and field
work, Wyatt Archaeological Research, 713 Lambert Drive, Nashville, TN, 37220.


Lorence G. Collins is a retired professor of geology from California State University, Northridge. He was educated at the University of Illinois and has special interests in the origin of granite and ore deposits.

David Fasold is a merchant marine officer who has been fascinated with archaeology and biblical history. He headed one of the last teams that was allowed excavation rights in Turkey. (He is now deceased.)

The above has been published in the Journal of Geosciences Education, v. 44, 1996, p. 439-444 and has been reproduced here by permission of the editor, Dr. James Shea.

First King On Earth

5 Mar

First King On Earth

John R. Salverda Writes:

…. isn’t it funny how we never seem to associate Atlas with Atlantis (even though he was said to have been its first king, and the place was named for him). The two stories, as separate accounts, don’t seem to ring a bell with people. Atlantis was just an ancient idealized civilization that had a series of ten kings before it was washed away in a massive aqueous cataclysm; it is seldom compared with the Scriptural pre-flood civilization. While Atlas was just an ancient gardener who, in Greek myths, had a wife after whom the garden was named; there was a special tree with “golden” fruits; people who weren’t supposed to pick from the tree did so; there was an expulsion and a serpent was placed to guard the way to the tree. Also, in a story that is apparently unrelated to the garden story, Atlas rebelled against god (Zeus) and was punished by becoming the mountain that keeps Heaven away from the Earth. However, taken together the two accounts do seem to weave a very much more familiar story.

Once we recognize Atlas as Adam, we can use this same recognition when we look at the whole series of myths, having to do with the characters who are related to him, in the mythic genealogies. The mythic motifs of Prometheus, the brother of Atlas, are full of possible references to the writings of Moses, Exodus (the wandering Io) as well as Genesis (the creation of man from clay). Epimetheus, another brother of Atlas, was the husband of the world’s first woman, Pandora who introduced evil into the world by disobeying an order she was given. And Iapetus, the father of Atlas, Prometheus, and Epimetheus, is recognizable as Japheth.

  Furthermore, just because we may see Atlas and Atlantis as Adam and the antediluvian world, doesn’t necessarily relegate our theory about its location to the Atlantic Ocean only. The western emplacement of Atlantis seems to be a more recent convention. The father and brother of Atlas, Iapetus and Prometheus for instance, are associated more with Cappadocia and the Caucasus respectively. And Atlas, as Mount Sinai would certainly tend to preclude his supposed Western Africa location.