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8 of The Best Podcast Episodes for Irving Finkel. A collection of podcasts episodes with or about Irving Finkel, often where they are interviewed.

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8 of The Best Podcast Episodes for Irving Finkel. A collection of podcasts episodes with or about Irving Finkel, often where they are interviewed.

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Irving Finkel: The Ark Before Noah: Decoding the Story of the Flood

Earth Ancients
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The recent translation of a Babylonian tablet launches a groundbreaking investigation into one of the most famous stories in the world, challenging the way we look at ancient history.
Since the Victorian period, it has been understood that the story of Noah, iconic in the Book of Genesis, and a central motif in Judaism, Christianity and Islam, derives from a much older story that existed centuries before in ancient Babylon. But the relationship between the Babylonian and biblical traditions was shrouded in mystery. Then, in 2009, Irving Finkel, a curator at the British Museum and a world authority on ancient Mesopotamia, found himself playing detective when a member of the public arrived at the museum with an intriguing cuneiform tablet from a family collection. Not only did the tablet reveal a new version of the Babylonian Flood Story; the ancient poet described the size and completely unexpected shape of the ark, and gave detailed boat building specifications. Decoding this ancient message wedge by cuneiform wedge, Dr. Finkel discovered where the Babylonians believed the ark came to rest and developed a new explanation of how the old story ultimately found its way into the Bible. In The Ark Before Noah, Dr. Finkel takes us on an adventurous voyage of discovery, opening the door to an enthralling world of ancient voices and new meanings.

Dr. Irving Finkel is Assistant Keeper of ancient Mesopotamian script, languages, and cultures at the British Museum. He is the curator in charge of cuneiform inscriptions on tablets of clay from ancient Mesopotamia, of which the Middle East Department has the largest collection of any modern museum.

Jul 28 2018

1hr 48mins


19. Diary "Rescuer" Irving Finkel

For Keeps
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British researcher Irving Finkel discusses his passion for collecting diaries and launching the Great Diary Project, which he says has "rescued" thousands of diaries from oblivion.

The Great Diary Project website • Opening theme: "Keepers" by Still Flyin' • Closing theme: "Slow Draw/Feeling In My Heart" by Eric Frisch • Additional music by Chris Zabriskie and Blue Dot

Jun 01 2018



6 - Board Games - Irving Finkel, Cluedo, and Big Funeral

Don't Need To Know Podcast
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Kathy tells all about the origins of Monopoly, Clue(do), and the oldest boardgame ever!!

Mar 30 2018



The Ark before Noah by Irving Finkel

Oriental Institute Podcast
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Irving Finkel, Assistant Keeper I with responsibility for cuneiform in the Department of the Middle East, British Museum.
Wednesday, June 1, 2016

This talk will describe what befell the speaker after one quite remarkable cuneiform tablet was brought for examination to the British Museum in London. The inscription on this four-thousand-year-old tablet led to a series of altogether unexpected discoveries, demanding a whole new look at Noah and his Ark, and culminating in a book and a documentary film.

This audio recording was originally presented as an illustrated lecture. The video of this lecture is available on the OI YouTube channel:

May 30 2016



Little Atoms 322 – Irving Finkel & Lucianne Walkowicz

Little Atoms
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Irving Finkel is an archaeologist and Assyriologist, currently Assistant Keeper of Ancient Mesopotamian Script, Languages and Cultures in the Department of the Middle East at the British Museum. He’s also an expert on the history of board games, and the founder of the Great Diary Project. Irving is the author of numerous books, most recently The Ark Before Noah: Decoding the Story of the Flood. Also on this week’s show, astrophysicist Lucianne Walkowicz on the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Temple of Dendur.  

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Jan 28 2016

1hr 27mins


Martina Cole, Jack Wolf and Irving Finkel interviews

Book Talk
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In this edition of Book Talk, Ryan Van Winkle talks modern day crime with Martina Cole, 18th century science with Jack Wolf, and ancient Memopotamian stories with Irving Finkel.

Martina Cole is a legendary British crime writer. She's the author of 21 books, including her most recent novel The Good Life.

Cole discusses her background, how she stays up-to-date with the changing criminal world and her attraction to writing about criminals and prison life rather than from the police perspective: "I prefer writing from the perspective of the criminal, I think they're much more exciting people to write about... You know in my book who's bad and who's not."

As one of the most borrowed - and stolen! - authors in prison libraries, Cole also discusses her work in prisons and why she's encouraging prisoners to escape (with a book!)

Jack Wolf, whose debut novel The Tale of Raw Head and Bloody Bones, takes us back to 1750, a time where medieval superstition was on the way out and modern rationalist thinking on the way in. Wolf's protagonist, Tristan Hart, is a conflicted man caught between science and superstition.

Wolf talks about conveying the mental pain of the character and also how he coped with writing a novel while keeping the language of the book as authentic as possible. "You just write. It becomes as instinctive as speaking the language I speak now".

Finally, Ryan talks to Irving Finkel, a curator at the British Museum in London whose book The Ark Before Noah: Decoding the Story of the Flood looks at the origins of the Biblical story of Noah's Ark.

After deciphering a cuneiform tablet brought into the British Museum, Finkel discovered that it was the beginning of the flood story. While the story of Noah in the Bible is a universally known narrative, the tablet demonstrates that the ancient Mesopotamians knew a very similar story 1000 years before the Bible came into being.

Finkel discusses the strong literary link and striking similarities between the stories and his theory about how the Babylonian story developed into the biblical version that we know today.

Podcast contents
00:00 - 00:58 Introduction
00:58 - 10:22 Martina Cole
10:22 - 20:18 Jack Wolf
20:18 - 30:00 Irving Finkel

Nov 12 2014



Irving Finkel

Private Passions
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Assyriologist Irving Finkel talks to Michael Berkeley about his passion for clay tablets, chamber music, and Jimi Hendrix.

Irving Finkel is one of the world's leading experts in the world's oldest, and most impenetrable, system of writing - cuneiform.

Because the scribes of Ancient Mesopotamia imprinted cuneiform with a stylus into clay tablets, lots of it has survived, and indeed Irving Finkel has spent the past 45 years delighting in the company of more than 130,000 cuneiform tablets at the British Museum. But one day a member of the public brought in a clay tablet which changed his life - it was a 4000-year-old blueprint for Noah's Ark - a thousand years older than the story in the Bible.

Irving is also passionate about music - particularly old recordings - and his choices include string quartets by Schubert and Dvorak, 1930s blues and a blast of Jimi Hendrix.

Producer: Jane Greenwood.

Jun 01 2014



Irving Finkel on the Ark Tablet

Start the Week
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Tom Sutcliffe looks at the role of the expert. The curator Irving Finkel decodes the symbols on a 4,000 year old clay tablet and discovers the instructions for the building of an ark. Harry Collins asks why attitudes towards scientific expertise have changed and looks to reassert the special status of science. Colin Blakemore is an expert in neuroscience and vision and he reflects on his part in the documentary, Tim's Vermeer, which explores the relationship between art and science. The playwright Hattie Naylor tells the story of an astronomer going blind who learns to see the wonder of the universe in a different way.

Producer: Katy Hickman.

Feb 10 2014