Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Noah and Deucalion

I've been reading a lot of church fathers in preparation for my Sunday School class (which is actually taking quite a bit longer than I originally anticipated), and I've been impressed with how many of them read Genesis 1-11 as historically valid.  Especially when treating the Genesis narratives apologetically, the fathers tended to defend the straight historical sense of the passages.  With that recent background, I was very interested in Jack Collins's most recent paper  "Noah, Deucalion, and the New Testament," in which he surveys various early treatments of the Greek legends of a Noah-like figure called Deucalion who survived a flood much like Noah did.  In both Jewish and Christian sources, he notes a tendency to use terminology from pagan flood legends when discussing Noah and the ark, and in some cases, the writers explicitly state that either Noah is the same person as Deucalion or that the Genesis account is the correct version of the Greek legend.  Once again, we find that Jewish and Christian believers regarded the Flood story as an actual history.  Collins also argues that similar allusions can be identified in I and II Peter, but I found that argument a bit more tenuous.  Nevertheless, it was a fascinating article and well worth reading.  And it's totally free, so check it out:

Collins. 2012.  Noah, Deucalion, and the New Testament.  Biblica 93:403-426.

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