After the Flood - by Bill Cooper
Europe traced back to Noah"
In the Beginning
It is commonly thought in this present age that nothing is worthy of our belief unless first it can be scientifically demonstrated and observed to be true. This idea, known today as empiricism, has been around since the 1920s, and says basically that nothing is to be taken on trust, and that anything which lacks direct corroboration must be discarded from mankind's find of knowledge as simply not worth the knowing. Not surprisingly, a special case was made by those who had thought of the idea for including the Bible in this great process of deselection, and it was assumed without further enquiry that nothing in especially the earlier portions of the biblical record could be demonstrated to be true and factual. This applied particularly to the book of Genesis. There all was relegated, by modernist scholars at least, to the realms of myth and fiction, with very little of its contents being said to bear any relevance at all for 20th-century man. Not even a moral relevance was granted. In other words, we were solemnly assured in the light of modern wisdom that, historically speaking, the book of Genesis was simply not worth the paper it was written on.
When I first came across this problem some thirty years ago, I found it most perplexing. On the one hand I had the Bible itself claiming to be the very Word of God, and on the other I was presented with numerous commentaries that spoke with one voice in telling me that the Bible was nothing of the kind. It was merely a hotch-potch collection of middle-eastern myths and fables that sought to explain the world in primitive terms, whose parts had been patched together by a series of later editors. Modem scientific man need have nothing whatever to do with it.
Now, it simply was not possible for both these claims to be valid. Only one of them could be right, and I saw it as my duty, to myself at least, to find out which was the true account and which was the false. So it was then that I decided to select a certain portion of Genesis and submit it to a test which, if applied to any ordinary historical document, would be considered a test of the most unreasonable severity. And I would continue that test until either the book of Genesis revealed itself to be a false account, or it would be shown to be utterly reliable in its historical statements. Either way, I would discover once and for all whether the biblical record was worthy of my trust or not. It seemed a little irreverent to treat a book that claimed to be the very Word of God in such a fashion. But if truth has any substance at all, then that book would surely be able to bear such a test. If Genesis contained any falsehood, error or misleading statement of fact, then a severe testing would reveal it and I would be the first to add my own voice to those of all the other scholars who declared the book of Genesis to be little more than fable.
With any ordinary historical document, of course, a simple error or even a small series of errors, would not necessarily disqualify it from being regarded as an historical account, or one that could at least be made use of by historians. But Genesis is no ordinary record. No ordinary document would claim inerrancy in its statements, and any document which did make such a claim for itself could expect a thorough and severe drubbing at the hands of scholars. But, if Genesis was indeed a true account of what had happened all those years ago, if it was indeed everything that it claimed itself to be, then the truth that it proclaimed could not be destroyed by any amount of testing. It could only be vindicated. In that regard at least, truth is indestructible.
What I had not expected at the time was the fact that the task was to engage my attention and energies for more than twenty-five years. Nor had I expected the astonishing degree to which Genesis, particularly the tenth and eleventh chapters, was to be vindicated. These chapters are conveniently known to scholars as the Table of Nations, and the sheer breadth and depth of the historical evidence that was available for their study astonished me. It bore very little relation indeed to what I had been led to expect. But that was not the only surprise in store.
The test that I devised was a simple one. If the names of the individuals, families, peoples and tribes listed in the Table of Nations were genuine, then those same names should appear also in the records of other nations of the Middle East. Archaeology should also reveal that those same families and peoples are listed in Genesis (or not as the case may be) in their correct ethnological, geographical and linguistic relation-ships. I allowed for the fact that a good proportion of these names would not appear. Either the records that once contained them had long since perished, or the diversity of language and dialect had rendered them unrecognisable. Some would be lost in obscurity. It simply was not realistic to expect that every name would have been recorded in the annals of the ancient Middle East and would also have survived to the present day. I therefore would have been content to have found say 40% of the list vindicated. In fact that would have been a very high achievement given the sheer antiquity of the Table of Nations itself and the reported scarcity of the surviving extra-biblical records from those ancient times. But when, over my twenty-five years of research, that confirmatory evidence grew past 40% to 50%, and then 60% and beyond, it soon became apparent that modern wisdom in this matter was wide of the mark. Very wide of the mark indeed. Today I can say that the names so far vindicated in the Table of Nations make up over 99% of the list, and I shall make no further comment on that other than to say that no other ancient historical document of purely human authorship could be expected to yield such a level of corroboration as that! And I will add further that modern biblical commentators must make of it what they will.
But the test didn't stop there. I had determined at the very beginning that the test was to be one of unreasonable severity, so even the astonishing level of vindication so far achieved did not fully satisfy the requirements of the test. The reason for this was simple. The Table of Nations was written in the Middle East. But all the records consulted by me in investigating that Table were also written in the Middle East. I therefore decided that the test should continue beyond those geographical bounds, and I carried the search into the records of the early peoples of Europe. I wanted to see firstly whether the same patriarchs mentioned in Genesis were evident in the most ancient genealogies and chronicles of the peoples of Europe, and I wanted also to assess the level at which these early peoples were aware of other events mentioned in Genesis. The important part of this test was that the documents and records consulted by me had to date from before the time that any given European nation was converted to Christianity. That was because it is too often alleged by certain scholars that the early Christian church, particularly the monastic community, was given to forgery and invention. So only documents that pre-dated the coming of Christianity and its forging monks to a particular nation whose records I was consulting would be considered. This part of the test was crucial and was to yield as great a level of vindication for the tenth and eleventh chapters of Genesis as the first part of the test.
What follows is a summary of all that evidence. I will not pretend that this book has been easy to write. It hasn't. Although I have aimed for readability, most of the evidence that I uncovered over the years consisted merely of lists of names, innumerable cross-references, royal genealogies, king-lists and old chronicles. So if I have failed in any way to make all that a rattling good read, then please blame all those skeletal documents that ancient officialdom has left us rather than the present writer, whose self-appointed and lonely task has been to make sense of them all! Any student who wishes to pursue matters further will find copious references to help him or her in further study. The rest, as they say, is history.