Historical Notes for Noah’s Wife


Çatalhöyük dig

Although Noah’s Wife is a work of fiction, there is scientific evidence to support the theory that a great flood nearly wiped out a relatively advanced civilization living along the shores of a fresh water lake we now know as the Black Sea.  Marine geologists, William Ryan and Walter Pitman proposed this theory and cited significant geological and archeological evidence in their book,  Noah’s Flood, The New Scientific Discoveries About the Event that Changed History.  This theory is supported by the exciting explorations of Robert Ballard, the famous adventurer who discovered the sunken Titanic.  Ballard has recorded videos of the remains of a civilization beneath the Black Sea, corroborating previous radiocarbon dating and paleontological evidence from shells and sediment. From these sources, the date of the flood was set at approximately 5500 BCE.  Further research around this time period established the setting for this novel, which takes place in Anatolia, current day Turkey.

Stories about a flood are found in almost every civilization on earth, the oldest written one being the Sumerian story of Gilgamesh.  Many scholars believe that the Genesis story “borrows” from this much older work, which makes sense as Abraham is from the city of Ur, according to the Bible and Ur was a great Sumerian city.

In the Genesis story, Noah’s wife is barely mentioned and not directly named, however, some Hebrew scholars believe a later section giving the genealogy of a woman named Na’amah, referred to Noah’s wife.  I drew on the Biblical story primarily for the names and relationships of Noah and his family.  From there, the tale is my own. 

Goddess figureThe oldest physical evidence of human worship are small statuettes of female deities.  Similarly, excavation at one of the world’s most ancient sites of civilization, Çatalhöyük, has uncovered a society that primarily worshiped a goddess.  Michael Balter explores this fascinating dig in The Goddess and the Bull: Çatalhöyük –An Archaeological Journey to the Dawn of Civilization.  The goddess, the Earth Mother, was repressed by a patriarchal interpretation of history and worship, which culminated in the writing of the Hebrew Bible during the Babylonian exile.  Even so, evidence exists that she played a significant part in early Hebrew culture, as Raphael Patai documents in The Hebrew Goddess, and she has reappeared in many guises and forms throughout history. Around 5500 BCE, societies in the Black Sea area were transitioning from hunter-gatherer/herder to agricultural cultures. I take responsibility for using the concept of Father God and Mother Goddess to represent this conflict and foreshadow the patriarchal dominance in Judeo/Christian religious views.

BIBLIOGRAPHY   Auroch cave painting

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