Noah’s Ark is considered the vessel in the Genesis flood narrative (Genesis chapters 6–9) through which God spares Noah, his family, and examples of all the world’s animals from a world-engulfing flood; aka the Great Flood.
But what exactly was Noah’s Ark? Was it real? And did the Great Flood even exist?
If it did, and Noah’s ark was real, how could all animals on Earth have been preserved?
These are just some of the mystery engulfing the story behind the Great Flood and the Ark built by Patriarch Noah.
The Dead Sea Scrolls
The Dead Sea Scrolls are a series of ancient religious manuscripts discovered in the Qumran Caves in the West Bank near the Dead Sea.
Scholarly consensus dates these scrolls from the last three centuries BCE and the first century CE.
The Dead Sea Scrolls have great historical, religious, and linguistic significance because they include the second-oldest known surviving manuscripts of works later included in the Hebrew Bible canon, along with deuterocanonical and extra-biblical manuscripts which preserve evidence of the diversity of religious thought in late Second Temple Judaism.
Technology to the rescue
Now, a digitized version of the dead sea scrolls has revealed a religious mystery; Noah’s ark was not an ordinary ship but was shaped like a pyramid.
The discovery comes after scientists digitized the dead sea scrolls with state-of-the-art equipment which revealed previously illegible letters and words.
As part of the Leon Levy Dead Sea Scrolls Digital Library project, a laboratory established by the Israel Antiquities Authority has been scanning the dead sea scrolls in the authority’s possession with a custom-made camera.
As noted by Haaretz, each scroll and fragment was photographed up to 28 times at high resolution using different wavelengths of light, allowing experts to obtain an unprecedented view of the ancient document.
The special camera revealed words or text fragments that had been erased or were illegible due to the fact that the portion of the document was burnt.
The results of the scans revealed new interpretations of well-known Biblical texts and previously unknown facts like how the roof of Noah’s Ark was pointed–shaped like a pyramid.
Dr. Alexey Yuditsky, a scientist from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem explained that one part of the fragment (previously illegible) mentions “the ark’s tallness;” ne’esefet, meaning “gathered,” which Dr. Yuditsky believes signifies that the ark’s ribs were gathered together at the top, meaning it was shaped like a pyramid.
This is backed up by the Septuagint, the earliest extant Greek translation of the Hebrew scriptures from the original Hebrew.
Maimonides, a medieval Sephardic Jewish philosopher who became one of the most prolific and influential Torah scholars of the Middle Ages also came to the conclusion that Noah’s Ark had a pyramid-shaped roof.
All of the new interpretations, discoveries and previously illegible parts of the scrolls can be found at the academy’s website Maagarim.