A recent New Yorker cartoon shows a bearded, robed figure ascending a mountain. Halfway up he encounters a sign: “Think.” The final drawing shows him reversing course and descending! Should this be the posture of those addicted to what I have called “Ark fever” (CHRISTIANITY TODAY, July 2, 1971)? Is there enough evidence for the thinking person to believe that Noah’s ship or a substantial vestige of it remains on Greater Ararat in Turkey?
Literary detection has yielded some negative, together with a considerable quantity of positive, evidence. On the negative side, I have been able to establish that the March 29, 1953, Chicago Sunday Tribune article on the 1916 Russian expedition to Ararat contained serious misinformation—misinformation that has conditioned more than one subsequent writing on the Ark’s survival. The author, Paris correspondent Henry Wales, who died in 1960, claimed that “information relating to the existence of remains of the Ark … is contained in documents presented to the library of the University of Geneva by Gen. Dmitri Osnobichine, an aide to the Grand Duke Cyril in Czarist days.”
A year’s research has exploded this claim. After thoroughly checking the books Osnobichine gave to the University of Geneva library and finding nothing, I located Grand Duke Cyril’s surviving son Vladimir, who sent me the following note: “I have never come across the report in question among my father’s archives.”
Vladimir promised to make every effort to locate Osnobichine’s living relatives, and several months later I received a letter from Mme. Alexandre Iordanow-Osnobichine of Rome. The general was her husband’s uncle, and she stated that “no report, no document or notes” concerning the Russian expedition of 1916 could be ...1
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