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Ark of the Covenant Revealed (again)

February 21, 2010

The BBC News has an article on a 700 year old artifact purported to be a replica of the biblical Ark of the Covenant. The Lemba people of Zimbabwe claim that the ngoma lungundu drum was created from the remains of the original Ark (for problems with concepts of an original Ark see this previous post). The artifact was feared lost, but had been found a few years back.

Tudor Parfitt, who rediscovered the artifact three years ago, told the BBC he believed it was the oldest wooden object ever found in sub-Saharan Africa.

“On each corner there is the remnants of a wooden ring, and obviously at one point, it was carried by inserting poles through these two rings on either side,” he said.

“Of course in the biblical account, that’s precisely how the Ark of the Covenant was carried across the wilderness.”

Then again, in the biblical account the rings are made of cast gold not of wood (Ex 25:12). But that is far from my only reservation with such sensational claims. There are many differences between the Ark of the Covenant as found in the biblical texts (a wooden box with gold overlay) and the ngoma lungundu (a large wooden drum). It would have been nice if the BBC piece had incorporated some of these differences and the reservations of scholars.

(HT: Claude Mariottini)

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