Wednesday, 28 November 2007

ARKYOLOGY

I'm on about Arks again, today...

I've always been amused by the notion that the Ark would have embarked from somewhere in 'The Holy Land' with - if we are to believe the numerous representations of the event - specimens of animals not found within a thousand miles of Noah's shipyard: such as polar bears, penguins and kangaroos and kinkajous...

In fact, it's doubtful, surely whether Mr N could have even laid his hands on one elephant, let alone two!

What's intriguing about the ark below (from the 16th century Halberstadt Bible) is that apart from the birds - including a cockerel, an owl and a brace of peacocks - there are more people than animals: in fact, there only seems to be two dogs and one cat (or, maybe, two cats and one dog) plus a mouse or, possibly, a rat...


Nevertheless, this remarkably under-subscribed cruise is accompanied by a couple of mermaids (one of whom is busy at her toilette) no doubt accounting for Noah's slightly anxious expression!

Anyway, it gives me a chance to offer a preview of a book scheduled for publication next March which contains a couple of lively ark-scenes by a brilliant young artist with a witty, vibrant style in illustration - STEPHEN WATERHOUSE...

Click to enlarge

The book, published by Lion Hudson, is entitled 50 Favourite Bible Stories and they are retold by Yours Truly from an earlier work by God.

"Why fifty?" you ask. To which the not-entirely-obvious answer is: because the stories have been chosen by Sir Cliff Richard who, next year, celebrates 50 years in show-biz!

"Ah, yes," I hear you saying, "of course! Silly of me not to have thought of that!"

And, so, along with the book itself (160 pages stuffed with Stephen and my versions of such "standards" as 'Creation', 'Jonah and the Whale', 'The Good Samaritan', 'The Feeding of the Five Thousand' and, of course, 'Noah's Ark') there are three CDs of them being read -- not sung! -- by Sir Cliff himself.

Whilst anticipating the kind of comments this announcement is likely to evoke from some quarters, I'll leave you with Stephen Waterhouse's charming visualisation of the Ark finally coming into dock...

Click to enlarge

Images: The Bible Story © Look and Learn; Noah's Ark illustrations from 50 Favourite Bible Stories © Stephen Waterhouse, 2007

7 comments:

Justin said...

Very nice post. I will be zooming this. That first picture is very interesting. I hope you will join and submit your blog posts to bloggingzoom.com for others to become more aware. Keep up the long time blogging!

Boll Weavil said...

You and Cliff together in a publication now Mr B ! If you could get Mr Attenboro to make a film of it, perhaps he might forget to mention God's part in the original and you'd get the credit as the original author....

Brian Sibley said...

JUSTIN - Thanks for the zoom... I joined BloggingZoom but can't work out how to submit a story, yet...!! Oh, the delights and pitfalls of the net!

BOLL - Great idea! And, yes, of course (as WE know, Boll), it's been done before... ;-)

Diva of Deception said...

Catching up with your offerings this week on your blog I was interested to see this post.

I was intrigued by last night's QI (brilliant quiz type programme where Stephen Fry asks questions of four comedians who should know better and are shown to know only what most of us know - and are now myths rather than truths).

The talk turned to Noah (as it does of course!) and it was stated that mankind only started eating animals from the time of Noah onwards as prior to that Adam and Eve were told to eat the fruits and things growing from the ground (not, obviously, the tree of life's offerings but that's another story).

Noah was told he could eat every that lives on earth (apart from each other I guess). As was said last night - if he only had two of each on board how could he eat of them...? There must be more extinct species than we are aware of....

But what i want to know is this; If mankind, in the form of Noah, was told to eat everything - why did God then give Moses the laws that forbade us Jewish people (well in those days it was more than just us i guess) to eat shellfish, certain animals etc. What had we done wrong to be excluded at this later date?

I think I'll start a campaign to bring prawns back into the fold at the very least.....

Brian Sibley said...

DIVA - I'm not sufficient a good enough OT scholar to explain how and when the food laws changed, but I can explain the issue about what Noah & Co ate when the got out of the ark...

We only THINK (or remember) that Noah took animals into the ark two-by-two; actually, he took some in seven-by-seven...

In Genesis Chapter 6 (verses 19-20), we read: "Take into the boat with you a male and female of every kind of animal and bird, in order to keep them alive."

BUT in Chapter 7 (verses 2-3) the instructions are rather more specific: "Take with you seven pairs of each kind of ritually clean animal, but only one pair of each kind of unclean animal. Take also seven pairs of each kind of bird. Do this so that every kind of animal and bird will be kept alive to reproduce again on the earth."

The imagery that survives is of those unclean animals; more of the clean variety survived the flood, but it was a dubious privilege since they were Noah's future lunches!

Diva of Deception said...

Thanks - now i understand. The ruling was: take seven pairs of those clean animals that we can all eat but only one pair of the unclean ones and let the non-Jewish people eat them at their own risk and at the risk of depleting the world of those species!

Now I get it! :)

Brian Sibley said...

Well, since God was Jewish (or, at least, was then) that seems entirely reasonable...