When the Great Abyss Opened: Classic and Contemporary Readings of Noahs Flood

Paperback | August 22, 2009

byDavid J. Pleins

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What does the story of the Flood mean to us and why does it so stir the collective imagination? When the Great Abyss Opened examines the history of our attempts to understand the Flood, from medieval Jewish and Christian speculation about the physical details of the ark to contemporary effortsto link it to scientific findings. Unraveling the mythical dimensions of the parallel Mesopotamian flood stories and their deeper social and psychological significance, J. David Pleins also considers the story's positive uses in theology and moral instruction. Noah's tale, however, has also beeninvoked as a means of justifying exclusion, racism, and anti-homosexual views. Pro-slavery advocates, for example, used the story of Noah's Curse on Ham's son Canaan to rationalize the enslavement of Africans.Throughout this expansive and lively book, Pleins sheds new light on our continuing attempts to understand this ancient primal myth. Noah's Flood, he contends, offers a unique case study that illuminates the timeless and timely question of how fact and faith relate.

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From the Publisher

What does the story of the Flood mean to us and why does it so stir the collective imagination? When the Great Abyss Opened examines the history of our attempts to understand the Flood, from medieval Jewish and Christian speculation about the physical details of the ark to contemporary effortsto link it to scientific findings. Unraveli...

David J. Pleins is Professor of Religious Studies at Santa Clara University.
Format:PaperbackDimensions:260 pages, 9 × 6 × 0.68 inPublished:August 22, 2009Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0199733635

ISBN - 13:9780199733637

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Table of Contents

1. Of Angels, Mangers, and Arks: Black Sea Flooding and Mountain Mania2. For the Bible Tells Me SO!: Competing Ways to Read Genesis3. Not as Seamless as It Seems: The Literalist's Lens4. Just after Breakfast on Sunday, October 23, 4004 B.C.: Fundamentalist Literalism and Creation "Science"5. From Sarcophagus to Ship: Traditional and Early Scientific Visions of the Flood6. Weather Reports? : Adopting the Mythic View7. Diverting the Stream of Tradition: Reinventing the Flood Myth8. Race, Sex, and the Cruse: When Myths Go Wrong9. Simone de Beauvoir aboard the Ark: Male Hero Fantasies and the Second Sex10. Can We Really Dig Up God? : Science, Myth, and the Flood TodayConclusion: Telling Many StoriesAppendixNotesBibliographyIndex

Editorial Reviews

"This book is enjoyable and thought-provoking. One can recommend it to biblical scholars, archaeologists, theologians, and scientists-all who are interested in a lively discussion about human culture and religion." --RBL