NOAH: NAVIGATOR AND VINTNER
THE FOUR OR FIVE CHAPTERS of Genesis devoted to the story of Noah are probably amongst those even now most readily brought to mind, although memory of the Bible can be selective, especially if that memory dates from the nursery. In a recent study, The Biblical Flood, Davis Young notes quite rightly that 'most of us envision a long, orderly parade of animals marching up a ramp into the ark under the watchful eye of Patriarch Noah, adorned with a long white beard and armed with a staff. The animals include, of course, elephants, giraffes, zebras, lions, tigers and monkeys, and the ark is typically imagined as a stubby double-prowed ship with a large peak-roofed cabin on top.' 1 The animals went in two by two, as we are told in Genesis 6, except, of course, in Genesis 7, 2―3 that refers only to the unclean beasts, with seven (or seven pairs?) required of the clean beasts and of the birds. Noah is entitled, since he is biblically six hundred years old, to be patriarchal. But in spite of an extensive iconographic tradition, selectivity frequently filters out the last part of the narrative concerning Noah, involving the planting of vines and his drunken self-exposure. 2 Not only is the flood story in Genesis itself an amalgam from two sources, as linguistic analysis makes clear, 3 but there are two not intrinsically connected Noah stories, in the darker, second of which the survivor of the deluge is mocked by his son, whose descendants are cursed into servitude. An heroic escape by the just is followed immediately by a new breakdown in society, almost before it has started up again, and the hero of the flood ― the way in which Noah is recalled elsewhere in both Testaments 4 ― is distinct from Noah the wine-maker. But he is also the progenitor of all the races of mankind, and as such a new Adam. Both stories are important, and they are received in different ways in the vernacular writings which go to make up the notional medieval popular Bible. The familiar name Noah may once again be retained here rather than the form Noe, used in the Vulgate (and occasionally in the Authorised Version), as may Shem, Ham and Japheth, although it should be____________________
Questia, a part of Gale, Cengage Learning. www.questia.com
Publication information: Book title: The Medieval Popular Bible: Expansions of Genesis in the Middle Ages. Contributors: Brian Murdoch - Author. Publisher: D.S. Brewer. Place of publication: Rochester, NY. Publication year: 2003. Page number: 96.
This material is protected by copyright and, with the exception of fair use, may not be further copied, distributed or transmitted in any form or by any means.