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(dĕl`yo͞oj), in the Bible, the overwhelming flood that covered the earth and destroyed every living thing except the family of NoahNoah
[Heb.,=to rest], in the Bible, the builder of the ark. Righteous Noah and his family were the only people God saved from a world sunk in sin. At divine direction Noah built the ship that saved human and animal life from the Deluge, after which God established a covenant
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 and the creatures in his arkark,
in the Bible. 1 Boat of Noah, which he built at God's command to preserve his family and certain creatures from the Deluge. 2 Ark of the Covenant, the sacred wooden chest of the Hebrews, representative of God or identified with Him.
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. Archaeology has yielded little trace of the biblical flood, but some oceanographers and geophysicists have speculated that the actual deluge occurred in the Black Sea region some 7,600 years ago, when rising sea levels in the Mediterranean (due to melting glaciers) flooded into the Black Sea and inundated the surrounding coast.

Many archaeologists and historians, however, do not believe that the inundation of the ancient Black Sea coast is the origin of the flood story, regarding the periodic flooding of the Tigris and Euphrates as a more likely model for the tale. Flood stories resembling the biblical story are found in the folklore of many races—Native Americans, Fiji Islanders, and Australian aborigines. The earliest known of these stories is Sumerian, one form being found in the record of Berossus (3d cent. B.C.), another on a tablet of the Gilgamesh epic of at least 2000 B.C. See DeucalionDeucalion
, in Greek mythology, son of Prometheus and father of Hellen. When Zeus, angered by humanity's irreverence, flooded the earth, Deucalion, warned by Prometheus, survived by taking refuge with his wife, Pyrrha, in an ark.
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 and UrUr
, ancient city of Sumer, S Mesopotamia. The city is also known as Ur of the Chaldees. It was an important center of Sumerian culture (see Sumer) and is identified in the Bible as the home of Abraham. The site was discovered in the 19th cent.
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See N. Cohn, Noah's Flood: The Genesis Story in Western Thought (1996); W. Ryan and W. Pitman, Noah's Flood (1999).

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia™ Copyright © 2013, Columbia University Press. Licensed from Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.


earth-covering flood that destroyed all but Noah’s family and animals in the ark. [O.T.: Genesis 6–8]
Allusions—Cultural, Literary, Biblical, and Historical: A Thematic Dictionary. Copyright 2008 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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