Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Animals too large for the Ark?

Dr. Pursiful recently posted a round-up of posts on Noah's flood from a fellow who thinks the flood was historical but not global. Along those same lines, it bears mentioning an ancient Jewish legend about the flood: that there were animals too large to fit on the ark. After first discussing the question of whether or not the flood had covered the land of Israel, the discussion continues:
On the view that the Flood did not descend there, it is well: thus the re'em (an animal too large for the ark) stayed there. But on the view that it did descend, where did it stay? — Said R. Jannai: They took the young [of the re'em] into the Ark. But surely Rabbah b. Bar Hanah said: I saw a sea re'em, one day old, which was as big as Mount Tabor. And how big is Mount Tabor? Forty parasangs. Its neck, stretched out, was three parasangs; the place where its head rested was a parasang and a half. It cast a ball of excrements and blocked the Jordan! — Said R. Johanan: They took its head [only] into the Ark. But a master said: The place where its head rested was three parasangs? — Rather, they took the tip of its nose into the Ark. But surely R. Johanan said: The Flood did not descend in Eretz Israel? — He explains [it thus] on the view of Resh Lakish. But the Ark plunged up and down? — Said Resh Lakish: They tied its horns to the Ark. (Talmud: Zevachim 113b)
I'm not entirely convinced this conversation recorded in the Talmud was meant to be taken seriously. Still, it's interesting to note that even in older days there was discussion of animals too large to fit on the ark.

1 comment:

Bruce M. Axtens said...

Lots of helpful things at CMI about the ark.