Josephus and Noah's Ark
* Josephus is a world-famous first century historian
* We examine a 1620 English translation by Thomas Lodge
* Story is of the great deluge, Noah, and the Ark
* It is recorded that Noah took his mother onto the Ark
* The Holy Bible should always have the final Authority!
By FRANK DEFREITAS for WONDERS OF THE BIBLE
PUBLISHED: March 31, 2021 | UPDATED: March 31, 2021
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Josephus and Noah's Ark
Me (Frank DeFreitas) holding a 1620 English translation of one of the works of first century Jewish historian, Josephus. It documents the Biblical account of Noah's Ark, and states that Noah brought his MOTHER onto the Ark.
Sometimes, printed mistakes make popular collectibles ... and I have a very interesting one to share with you concerning Noah and the Ark.
Hello, my name is Frank DeFreitas, and I would like to welcome you to Wonders of the Bible.
Today’s program is about the historical account of Noah and the Ark. We will look at two written accounts: The first is from the first book of Moses called Genesis of our Christian Holy Bible, and the second is written by the famous chronicler of Jewish antiquity, Flavius Josephus.
Josephus is well known as someone who has given us detailed accounts of many of the historical records contained within the Holy Bible. But we’ll take it one step further with today’s show … you’ll hear something that you may not have ever heard before, and I hope that many of my listeners will find it fascinating.
You see, a piece in my collection is proving itself to be rather rare … I have tried to find information online through book sellers and libraries, but I keep coming up empty handed. I won’t make you wait any longer to find out what it is, so I will tell you now:
What is truly fascinating about this particular account — and much to the absolute joy of any collector — is that Josephus records that Noah took his MOTHER onto the Ark. When I viewed an up-close photo of the page that was up for auction, and read what it said, I nearly fell out of my chair. I just had to add it to the Wonders of the Bible collection … even if only under the category of mistakes and errors.
Now, we all know that the Biblical account states that Noah took himself, his wife, his sons, and their wives onto the ark. And this account of Josephus mentions all of that as well. But it also includes his Mother.
But let's just remember one thing, when it comes to taking mans word for something, or taking God’s word, one must always go with the Word of God — and we will certainly do so today.
So let’s move forward:
First, let’s begin with the Biblical account of Noah and the Flood, taken from the first book of Moses, Genesis, Chapter 6:
And it came to pass, when men began to multiply on the face of the earth, and daughters were born unto them, that the sons of God saw the daughters of men that they were fair; and they took them wives of all which they chose. And the Lord said, My spirit shall not always strive with man, for that he also is flesh: yet his days shall be an hundred and twenty years. There were giants in the earth in those days; and also after that, when the sons of God came in unto the daughters of men, and they bare children to them, the same became mighty men which were of old, men of renown. And God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. And it repented the Lord that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him at his heart. And the Lord said, I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth; both man, and beast, and the creeping thing, and the fowls of the air; for it repenteth me that I have made them. But Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord. These are the generations of Noah: Noah was a just man and perfect in his generations, and Noah walked with God. And Noah begat three sons, Shem, Ham, and Japheth. The earth also was corrupt before God, and the earth was filled with violence. And God looked upon the earth, and, behold, it was corrupt; for all flesh had corrupted his way upon the earth. And God said unto Noah, The end of all flesh is come before me; for the earth is filled with violence through them; and, behold, I will destroy them with the earth. Make thee an ark of gopher wood; rooms shalt thou make in the ark, and shalt pitch it within and without with pitch. And this is the fashion which thou shalt make of it: The length of the ark shall be three hundred cubits, the breadth of it fifty cubits, and the height of it thirty cubits. A window shalt thou make to the ark, and in a cubit shalt thou finish it above; and the door of the ark shalt thou set in the side thereof; with lower, second, and third stories shalt thou make it. And, behold, I, even I, do bring a flood of waters upon the earth, to destroy all flesh, wherein is the breath of life, from under heaven; and every thing that is in the earth shall die. But with thee will I establish my covenant; and thou shalt come into the ark, thou, and thy sons, and thy wife, and thy sons' wives with thee. And of every living thing of all flesh, two of every sort shalt thou bring into the ark, to keep them alive with thee; they shall be male and female. Of fowls after their kind, and of cattle after their kind, of every creeping thing of the earth after his kind, two of every sort shall come unto thee, to keep them alive. And take thou unto thee of all food that is eaten, and thou shalt gather it to thee; and it shall be for food for thee, and for them. Thus did Noah; according to all that God commanded him, so did he.
And that ends the reading of Genesis, chapter 6, the Biblical account of Noah and the Ark.
Now, let us move onto the historical account by the world-famous Flavius Josephus.
Close-up of 1620 Josephus english translated text which states that Noah brought his mother onto the Ark.
For those listeners that may not be familiar with Josephus, although many of you have probably heard his name, here’s a little background information:
Born the year 37, and died the year c.100 AD. He was a 1st-century Romano-Jewish historian of priestly and royal ancestry who recorded 1st century Jewish history, such as the First Jewish–Roman War which resulted in the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 AD. He has been credited by many as recording some of the earliest history of Jesus Christ outside of the gospels. Josephus was a law-observant Jew, who believed in the compatibility of Judaism and Graeco-Roman thought, commonly referred to as Hellenistic Judaism. His most important works were The Jewish War, written in 75 AD; and Antiquities of the Jews, written in 94 AD. The Jewish War recounts the Jewish revolt against Roman occupation, from 66 to 70 AD; and Antiquities of the Jews recounts the history of the world from a Jewish perspective for a Roman audience. These works provide valuable insight into 1st century Judaism, and the background of Early Christianity.
Now I am going to read from an antique leaf that I have in the Wonders of the Bible collection. I collect a lot of historical items related to Noah and the flood, and people love to see this particular page on display when I do a visitation and presentation. It is a 1620 English translation, and its title is: "The Famous and Memorable Works of Josephus, A Man of Much Honor and Learning Among the Jews. Faithfully translated out of the Latin and French by Thomas Lodge, Doctor in Physics."
If we turn to Chapter III, which is the chapter that my particular page is taken from, we find it has the sub title of: "The Deluge from which Noah and his family escaped, and dwelt in the field of Shinar."
And I will now read from that page:
In this manner pursued they during the course of seven ages, honoring one God the Lord of all things, having always a respect of virtue. But afterwards in process of time, they degenerated from the ancient institutions of their forefathers, neither observing human law, neither continuing their accustomed service of God; and they that before time industriously exercised themselves in virtue, afterward with twice as zealous study followed wickedness; and grew at last to that height of impiety, that they provoked God's heavy displeasure against them.
For Angels of God accompanying themselves with women engendered outrageous infants, and contemners of all god, by reason of that trust that had in the forces, whose heinous actions were not much unlike those which the Greeks have in their fables said of the Giants.
But Noah perplexed and extremely displeased with such their misdemeanors, exhorted them to change their thoughts, and amend their misdeeds; and seeing them mollified by no admonitions, but that they were wholly possessed with the pleasure which they took in vice, fearing least they should kill him and his family, left them, and with his wife, children, and all his family departed into another country.
Then God not only condemned the men of that age of extreme malice, but also concluded to destroy all whatsoever creatures were in the world, and to produce another new race, devoid, and repurged from all impiety -- also the life of them -- so that they lived not any more so long time as they were wont, but only attained the terms of six score years. And he covered the land with waters, and by this means all of them were destroyed.
Now here is the paragraph where Josephus mentions Noah taking his mother onto the ark:
Only Noah escaped by the means and way which God had taught him in such manner as followeth: He builded an Ark of four stages; in length, three hundred cubits; in breadth, fifty; and in the height, thirty; into this he entered *WITH HIS MOTHER*, his wife, and his children and their wives, purveying himself of all things required both for their sustenance and life. He closed also therein all sorts of living creatures, two and two, male and female, for the consternation of every kind, and of some of them seven couples.
The sides of this Ark were strong and the cover also, so that no water could pearce the same, and whatsoever storm might come of it was able to resist it. Thus was Noah (by succession of nature, the tenth from Adam) saved with all his household; for he was the son of Lamech, whose father was Methusala.
Download Noah's Ark Page:
Click on the image to download your very own copy of this curious 1620 Josephus Noah's Ark page that states Noah took his mother onto the ark. You have WOTB permission to share this with friends and others.
And that’s the story that I have about the Josephus page in the Wonders of the Bible collection. Before we close out, I would just like to say that I do not know if the mistake about Noah’s mother on the Ark was made by Josephus himself, or the person doing the translation from the Latin and French. I have seen other editions of this work available that were from a date later than 1620, but, as far as I know, they did not include the reference to Noah’s mother. It seems to be unique to this 1620 edition.
In any case, it just goes to show that mistakes can be made. And they can be made with copies of the Bible itself as well. There are several very famous misprints in different editions of the Bible. But, once again, this can be attributed to human error in the printing process. Overall, and throughout it all, God’s Holy Word can be fully trusted.
Don’t forget that you can view photos of this fascinating page over at my Wonders of the Bible web site. You can even download your very own copy of the page to share with others. Just go to wondersofthebible.org, and click on the link for podcasts. The title of this podcast and page should be “Did Noah Take His Mother onto the Ark?”.
Once again, my name is Frank DeFreitas, and may God Bless you today and every day, and, remember, to always love others, just as Jesus Christ loves you.
"Science is the study of the physical manifestations of God in action."
-- Frank DeFreitas (Click Here for BIO)