Eden in the Persian Gulf March 30, 2011Author: Beach Combing | in : Ancient, Prehistoric , trackback
Beachcombing finds himself on the train hurtling through the early morning. He cannot then do the necessary research into an unusual theory he just ran across, though he throws it out there for anyone who might be interested or opinionated. The theory is described by Colin Tudge in Neanderthals, Bandits and Farmers (1998) (p. 37) – a short book that has proved well worth the read.
‘An American scholar, Juris Zarins of the University of Missouri, has suggested that the flooding of the Persian Gulf and the subsequent events underpin the story of the Garden of Eden, so beautifully recorded in Genesis; and I find this thesis eminently plausible. Of course it has often been suggested that the end of Eden represents a folk memory of hunting and gathering, when life was easy. But Zarins is far more specific. He points out that Genesis (2:10-14) meticulously describes where Eden was:
And a river went out of Eden to water the garden; and from thence it was parted, and became into four heads. The name of the first is Pison: that is it which compasseth the whole land of Havilah, where there is gold;
And the gold of that land is good there is bdellium and the onyx stone.
And the name of the second river is Gihon: the same is it that compasseth the whole of Ethiopia.
And the name of the third river is Hiddekel: that is it which goeth towards the east of Assyria. And the fourth river is Euphrates.
Zarins now does a little geographical speculation. Havillah is in the south-west of Mesopotamia: gold was indeed mined there, and the aromatic resin bdellium can still be found. The Pison could be the present-day Wadi Batin, which is now a wadi – a dried river bed. ‘Ethiopia’ is probably a mistranslation, and more than likely refers to an area of south-east Mesopotamia, in which case Gihon could be the present-day Karun. The Karun has now been dammed but at one time it carried most of the sediment out of the highlands of Iran to form the delta of the modern Persian Gulf. Hiddekel is the Tigris, and the Euphrates is the Euphrates. Trace these four rivers back and they converge at a spot that now lies several kilometers off shore in the Persian Gulf.
As we have seen, 8,000 years ago a great deal of the Persian Gulf was still dry land. This great, flat, bountiful plain was not hypothetical. It was real and glorious and remembered. Of course, Genesis was probably written about 1500 BC and the events that are being remembered probably occurred about 4,500 years before that, so the memory is indeed ancient.’
Colin Tudge then scratches his head about whether these kinds of memories can actually last this long and concludes that perhaps they can. Beachcombing is not so sure, but has come across similar alleged oral memories spanning millennia (many other posts, many other days). Beachcombing has been able, while riding on the 5.45 to check a few websites but has not found the reference to the original Zarins article or piece that supposedly dates back to 1988 – CT doesn’t give it. Have any bizarrists out there a copy or a reference? drbeachcombing AT yahoo DOT com The Persian Gulf is also a location for Atlantis (but where isn’t?) – perhaps Plato’s fantasy was built on top of a Semitic paradise!
4 April 2011: Invisible has dug up an article/interview with Professor Zarins that goes into considerable detail. KMH meanwhile writes in: ‘Ethiopia as a translation for ‘Cush’ is inappropriate for this stage in history before the sons of Cush and the other sons of Ham supposedly migrated to the south and west. after the fall of Babylon. Another plausible theory about the Garden of Eden is that all the four rivers issuing out of it flowed south toward the Persian Gulf (at least temporarily – the two missing rivers may have ultimately become tributaries to the Tigris or Euphrates). This would give a location somewhere in Turkey. Of course, this is what the Turks teach in their public schools. Some identify the land of Dilmun with the Garden of Eden and wind up with a location in Armenia, etc. thanks Invisible and KMH!