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**Before the Flood

The Biblical Flood as a Real Event and How It Changed the Course of Civilization

by Ian Wilson

Reviewed February 1, 2003.
St. Martin’s Press, New York, 2002.  336 pages.
Available at Sembach Library (MCN 222 WIL)

This book caught my eye with its subtitle, but the Biblical flood is only the starting point for this book.  The overall thrust of the book ends up being ancient history-- and the fact that we now have clues that civilization may have begun, not in the “cradle of civilization” of Mesopotamia, but in what is now Turkey, near the Black Sea.

The premise is that the Black Sea was once only a small lake, but that the melting of glaciers at the end of the Ice Age caused a flood, wiping away human civilizations clustered on the shores of the ancient lake.  From there, mankind spread out around the ancient world, explaining why so many cultures have a story of an ancient flood.

The author has some sound new discoveries to support his theory.  Robert Ballard, the explorer who discovered the remains of the “Titanic,” has sent down his submersibles and discovered evidence of human habitation on an ancient shoreline of the Black Sea.

Ian Wilson is not trying to prove the Bible true, nor does he treat it differently than any other of the “Noah family” of flood stories.  In fact, he spends a great deal of space tracing the cult of the “Great Mother Goddess.”  Evidence of the worship of such a goddess have been found in a surprisingly advanced ancient civilization near the Black Sea, so he believes that artifacts in other places may be evidence of the way survivors of the flood scattered throughout the earth.

I’m afraid I wasn’t quite interested enough in ancient cultures and archaeology to keep my interest going in this book.  I did manage to finish the whole thing, but I thought that some of his speculation about historical places connecting with the myths of Jason and the Argonauts was stretching the evidence a bit farther than it can go.  Still, I did recognize that some of the “truths” I was taught long ago about where civilization started are now being challenged.  I perked up when I heard on the news this week that Robert Ballard discovered a ship on the Black Sea floor from a few hundred years before Christ.  So he’s obviously still exploring.  Will he find more evidence that humans lived there and were swept away around 5600 BC?  It will be interesting to find out.


Copyright © 2003 Sondra Eklund.  All rights reserved.

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