Sunday, 21 August 2011

2 by 2 - but not only 2 of each

Continuing the mini-series on the myth of the flood . . . 

The animals went in two by two.  We all know that from our childhood songs and rhymes.  But did they?

Last year I was at a village quiz evening, and one of the questions was

"How many animals of each type did Moses take onto the ark?"

Its a good trick question - and the old ones really are the best.  Try it out on some people you know and see how many fail to notice that Moses wasn't actually involved.  But after the end of the quiz I was chatting with the vicar and I speculated that even if the question had been about Noah instead of Moses most people would not have got the answer right.  He looked puzzled and asked what I meant. 

So I referred him to the story in Genesis - a story that we all think we know very well.  But when you read it again it suggests rather strongly (in its internal string of inconsistencies) that the 'ritually unclean' animals should be gathered in pairs, but that seven pairs of the 'ritually clean' should be saved.

Noah quickly sacrificed some of them after the end of the flood, so I suppose he needed a few spares to keep him going for a while.

So that leaves me some questions.  Were the dinosaurs ritually clean or not?  What about unicorns?

1 comment:

Eric Haas said...

Two different versions of the story were merged together. In one, Noah takes two of every animal. In the other, he takes seven of every clean animal, and two of every unclean animal. God is referred to by different names in the two different versions. In one, he is Yahweh, and in the other, he is Elohim.