Other Names for Noah?

A couple of years ago we wrote Top Ten Reasons Noah’s Flood is Mythology. It’s been viewed almost 8,000 times, so we were concerned when one of our top ten reasons was recently called into question.

Our reason number 9 was:

Why has Noah been forgotten? Except for those cultures that have been exposed to the tale of the Ark as found in the Old Testament, no other people on Earth remember the name of Noah — the father of us all. It is absurd in the greatest degree to think that nations which routinely preserve the names of their great kings, warriors, and heroes, have somehow forgotten about Noah, to the point where they don’t even remember his name or the fact that he once existed.

No one ever informed us that we were mistaken about that, so we were surprised by a recent post at the website of the creation scientists at Answers in Genesis, the on-line ministry of Ken Ham (ol’ Hambo), the ayatollah of Appalachia. It was written by ol’ Hambo himself: The Flood of Noah: Legends & Lore of Survival.

It’s a promotion for a new children’s book about the Flood. We were going to ignore it because it’s the usual creationist material, but then one paragraph caught our attention. Describing the book’s contents, Hambo says:

We then are given some of the names of Noah and his wife in the different cultures’ Flood accounts from around the world. Quite a few of the accounts have the name of Noah, or a very similar name like Nuah, Noe, Noeh, Nol, or Nu’u. Why would cultures as far away as China, Ireland, and Hawaii have similar names for the patriarchal figure who survived a great Flood unless there was an actual worldwide Flood with human survivors and the account was passed down almost universally?

How could we have been unaware of those other names for Noah? So we looked some of them up. The first one, Nüwa, according to Wikipedia:

is a goddess in ancient Chinese mythology best known for creating mankind and repairing the wall of heaven. Depending on the source, she might be considered the second or even the first Chinese ruler, with most sources not putting her on the role, but only her brother and/or husband Fu Xi.

Sorry, Hambo, but she ain’t Noah. Not even close.

Then there’s the last name in Hambo’s list, Nu’u, of whom Wikipedia says:

In Hawaiian mythology, Nu’u was a man who built an ark with which he escaped a Great Flood. He landed his vessel on top of Mauna Kea on the Big Island. Nu’u mistakenly attributed his safety to the moon, and made sacrifices to it. Kane, the creator god, descended to earth on a rainbow and explained Nu’u’s mistake.

Huh? We searched further. Hawaiian Mythology by Martha Beckwith gives a few different versions of the story, one with no boat at all, and states that the natives’ legend was intermingled with stories told to them by missionaries. That guy ain’t Noah either.

We searched for Hambo’s other names for Noah — Noe, Noeh, and Nol — but we couldn’t find them. If you know who they are (or were), dear reader, please let us know.

For the moment, we intend to stick with our top ten reasons. If there really is another legend about Noah and the global flood out there — one that isn’t the result of missionary influence — we’ll make an appropriate notation in our original post.

Copyright © 2014. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

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12 responses to “Other Names for Noah?

  1. I think you’re safe. If “Noah”, or anyone identifiable as the Noah of the biblical flood appeared in the myths of any unrelated culture it would have been widely publicized and trumpeted by not only Ham but Christian apologists everywhere. The fact is, we know the myths (of the major cultures and religions, at least) and so far – no Noah. At this point, finding Noah in another culture would be highly suspicious, like the Hawaiian example.

  2. Hey, Mr. Fussy, they all start with an “N” don’t they? This is creation science, remember? You’re **supposed** to stop at the first superficial correlation that seems favorable to your pre-arranged endpoint.

  3. Sanskrit “nauh” means “boat”.

  4. More evidence here that Hambo and his merry band just make stuff up, knowing as they do that their target audience are too stupid and lazy to check for anything approaching reality. . . .Not that those droolers would recognize reality, mind you.

  5. There are flood myths all over the world, but they don’t match up for dates or other details.

    And they all seem to originate in cultures which emerged in river valleys (the Tigris-Euphrates, the Nile Delta, the Yangtze and so on) or are below sea level and protected from the ocean only by a land barrier which might be overtopped (think Bangladesh)–places which flood periodically (Egypt absolutely depends on the yearly Nile floods for its agriculture) and might, every few thousand years, experience superfloods which would swamp entire populated regions.

    There is no, repeat, no, evidence for a flood which submerged the tallest mountains. Just to take one point, if such a flood had occurred, Australia would be a wasteland today.

  6. Nao, Portuguese, (with an accent I can’t recreate) means a particular type of early sailing ship. Knarr, probably pronounced “nar”, was a Norse trading ship. Nef, also an early merchant vessel.

    There are probably others. Most people who are, you know, sane attribute the similarity of some basic words across a whole swath of Eurasia from Scandinavia to India as being evidence for an Indo-European protolanguage. The “islands” of totally different languages, such as Basque, are usually taken as evidence for survivals of an even earlier group.

    But, hey, Hebrew could be the mother-tongue of all humanity, and all the others might have originated from a plain in Shinar. Uh… actually not.

  7. The ProtoIndoEuropean nau- meant “boat”, so there are a lot of languages which have a similar word. Greek “naute means “sailor” (as in “astronaut”) and on and on. The word “nef” is familiar to crossword fans as “ship-shaped clock”.

  8. Charles Deetz ;)

    Don’t forget in the 70s there was the Nova, and if you didn’t tune it, the carburetor could flood.

  9. “Noe” is simply the Spanish name of the biblical Noah, not a separate character.

  10. Hey, take it easy on Mr. Ham, everybody. He is doing his level best to promote diversity, multiculturalism, and an appreciation for world history. But I do have one question:

    Do all those different cultures also believe that the color of their skin was determined when Noah cursed his son?

  11. TPK, there’s a separate set of legends using “Noe” from a syncrestic religion that merged Islam with Catholicism with a dash of paganism and gnosticism for flavour. I forget the name of the tradition, but that’s probably what Ham’s referencing. It’s not the story of Noah, it’s fanfic written about Noah.

  12. Oh, oh! Hambo missed Noggin the Nog off his list.