Age information at Timeline-Of-Humanity
When determining the age in the world history, it can sometimes be difficult the earlier the persons lived. Since we have to define a year (beginning and end) by the structure of the database, we do not guarantee that the data is completely accurate in every case. However, we rely on sources that are as recognized as possible.
It becomes interesting, if we consider age data of the persons from the time before and immediately after the Flood in the history of mankind. There are different opinions about this.
The Flood of Noah and Companions by Léon Comerre. Musée d'Arts de Nantes.
Many liberal theologians and religious scholars hold the view that the Israelites in the Babylonian exile revised the Book of Genesis and were influenced by ancient Near Eastern myths. Indeed, the references to ancient Near Eastern parallels are remarkable. A Greek writer reports from the old Babylon that there were ten primeval kings there. They had ruled from prehistoric times until the great flood. What is striking is the extremely high number of years of reign. The first king, Alorus, reigned 36'000 years, the third 46'800 years and the tenth even 64'800 years. Cuneiform texts found during excavations confirm the high numbers.
For the high numbers there is also a plausible reason. The Hebrew text is based on an accounting system that calculates the Exodus from Egypt to the year 2666 after Creation. If one recalculates the ancestral chain, the first ten successors of Adam reach their great age.
Evangelical Christians argue that the parallels go back to a different origin. The Flood was such an incisive event in the history of mankind that it actually found its way into the collective memory of many cultures. According to Genesis 6:1-4, God eventually limited life to a hundred and twenty years, which came to pass a few generations later. God had created humans originally perfect, without age and hereditary diseases, which explains the high life ages in the time up to the Flood. With each new generation, however, more and more genetic defects arose so that siblings together could not have children without the high risk of miscarriages or disabilities.
In the biblical narrative of the Flood and the Gilgamesh epic there are indeed striking similarities.This are the three reasons:
- In Genesis as well as in the Gilgamesh epic it is reported that birds were sent to check whether dry land was already available again.
- In both stories, a god warned a particularly exemplary person. He also explains what is necessary to survive.
- In both epics, the families bring a sacrifice to the god, or gods, as thanks for their survival, the scent of which appeased the deity(ies).
Tablet with Gilgamesh epic
Conclusion: Today, many people cannot imagine that the age of life could once have been much longer. But we also don't know how the whole climatic conditions were before the Flood. It is certainly impossible from today's point of view, but if in former times the circumstances were completely different, one cannot exclude it categorically. The history of the world still hold many secrets.
It is gratifying to see how the life expectancy of people is increasing again nowadays. Thanks to modern medicine, today's hygiene and technical progress in general, we owe a much more pleasant and safe life than was the case in earlier eras.
However, the current worldwide Corona crisis also teaches us how many things that were completely normal a short time ago seem almost surreal in the present time. Timeline-Of-Humanity also teaches us humans to look back on the events of the past with a certain humility. The knowledge of mankind today is as great as never before. Nevertheless, we are not omniscient regarding our history.