Letter to the Editor

Eden and Noah

Peter G. Nelson
5 Duesbery Street

From: PSCF 53 (Septemeber 2001): 218.

In her articles on Eden (PSCF 52, no. 1 [March 2000]: 31-46) and Noah (PSCF 53, no. 1 [March 2001]: 24-40), Carol Hill locates Eden in Mesopotamia, and identifies Noah as King Ziusudra of Shuruppak in Sumer (ca. 2900 B.C.). Hill makes her case very well, but there are some difficulties:

1. Taking "heads" in Gen. 2:10 to refer to estuaries goes against normal usage.

2. Ancient Hebrew did not distinguish between bronze and copper. Native copper and iron were worked much earlier than Hill dates Tubal-Cain.1

3. The flood from which King Zuisudra escaped lasted only about two weeks,2 whereas Noah's lasted over a year.

4. Gen. 6-11 gives the impression that the Flood covered the ancient world, which Noah's family subsequently repopulated. However, there was no break in the history of Egypt around 2900 B.C.3

It may be possible to resolve these difficulties. If any readers can throw light on them, this would be helpful.


1J. Mellaart, The Neolithic of the Near East (London: Thames and Hudson, 1975).

2J. B. Pritchard, ed., Ancient Near Eastern Texts, 2d ed. (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1955).

3S. Quirke and J. Spencer, eds., The British Museum Book of Ancient Egypt (London: British Museum Press, 1992).