Newsflash: Methuselah was *only* 120 year old!

Still, nothing to sneeze at! :-)

From today's Il Gazzettino newspaper (translation mine):

"According to Mikhail Verba, a Russian scientist from Saint Petersburg who is an enthusiast of biblical texts, Noah was only 60 years old - and not 500 - when he built the ark to excape the great flood, and Methuselah reached the age of 120 years, not the nearly 1000 attributed to him. The scholar sustains that the incorrect ages were the result of an error in interpretation by the Bible's first translators of the Sumerians' system of calculating numbers, completely different from the base-10 system used today."


planettom said...

Not that I take the idea of the Great Flood seriously, but I always thought it was interesting how, though not mentioned explicitly, Methuselah appears to have died in the Flood; his age works out to the same year of the Great Flood. So I always assumed the answer to "how did Methuselah die?" was "Treading water!"

But apparently in some Jewish texts:

"As long as Methuselah lived, the Flood did not come upon the world. And when Methuselah died, it was withheld for another seven days after his death to fulfill the period of mourning" (Avot d’Rabbi Natan 32:1).

Old Oligarch said...

Well-known Egyptologist and bible scholar K. A. Kitchen offers a somewhat different explanation in his _On the Reliability of the Old Testament_, but also argues for a scale factor in the pre-flood ages. Interesting link. Too bad the original did not reference the essay in which Verba published his hypothesis.