Synopses & Reviews
In Tibet, geologist David R. Montgomery heard a local story about a great flood that bore a striking similarity to Noah's Flood. Intrigued, Montgomery began investigating the world's flood stories and — drawing from historic works by theologians, natural philosophers, and scientists — discovered the counterintuitive role Noah's Flood played in the development of both geology and creationism. Steno, the grandfather of geology, even invoked the Flood in laying geology's founding principles based on his observations of northern Italian landscapes. Centuries later, the founders of modern creationism based their irrational view of a global flood on a perceptive critique of geology. With an explorer's eye and a refreshing approach to both faith and science, Montgomery takes readers on a journey across landscapes and cultures. In the process we discover the illusive nature of truth, whether viewed through the lens of science or religion, and how it changed through history and continues changing, even today.
"Many theologians and scientists within the Christian tradition have long interpreted the biblical story of Noah's flood as a worldwide event and a foundation for determining the geological age of the earth. In this rich, animated narrative, geologist Montgomery points out that theologians have often bent an amazing array of geological evidence to support a literal interpretation of Noah's flood. But what does the Earth itself tell us? Using the evidence he finds in the various strata of rocks in a roadbed in Kentucky, Montgomery contends that the '440 million-year-old, trilobite-bearing limestone' is clearly not a chaotic, mixed-up product of an earth-churning flood. The rocks formed when an ancient 'proto-Atlantic Ocean' led to the formation of a thick pile of sediment that gradually accumulated layer by later — stretching from Newfoundland to Alabama. Moreover, plate tectonics shatters the myth of a global flood by explaining the sequences, ages, and assemblages of rocks we find throughout the world, as well as the global distribution of topography. Brilliant and provocative, Montgomery's exploration of scientific and theological understandings of Noah's flood vibrantly opens our eyes to the marvels of ancient rocks that are far grander than ourselves. 20 illus., maps. Agent: Elizabeth Wales, Wales Literary Agency." Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
"Though Montgomery obviously knows his science, he also knows how to write, so this isn't just history of science. It's literature." Ray Olson (Starred Review)
"Examining a wide variety of flood and creation stories across centuries, Montgomery provides an enthusiastic and valuable recounting of the history of geology and how the advances in science have consistently faced opposition from the guardians of so-called religious authority, based on a literal reading of the Bible." Booklist
"Montgomery...offers a thorough critique of creationist worldviews...while treating his opponents with respect, reflecting on both ancient and modern debates and demonstrating that Christians have been arguing among themselves about these subjects for millennia....The combination of historical study and humility on behalf of geology makes for an extremely persuasive work. Highly recommended." Kirkus Reviews
"A MacArthur Fellow presents a surprising perspective on Noah's Flood by interrogating the rock strata in a roadbed in Kentucky." John M. Kistler Library Journal
"Starred review. Brilliant and provocative, Montgomery's exploration of scientific and theological understandings of Noah's flood vibrantly opens our eyes to the marvels of ancient rocks that are far grander than ourselves." Publishers Weekly
"Starred review. Though Montgomery obviously knows his science, he also knows how to write, so this isn't just history of science. It's literature." Ray Olson
How the mystery of the Bible's greatest story shaped geology: a MacArthur Fellow presents a surprising perspective on Noah's Flood.
About the Author
David R. Montgomery is a professor of geomorphology at the University of Washington in Seattle, where he lives. The author of Dirt and King of Fish, he was a 2008 MacArthur Fellow.