Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Is the Ark of the Covenant in Zim?

Peter Davies on the latest "rumor" about the Ark...

The hero who claims to have found the Ark is a lecturer in Hebrew at the University of London, one Tudor Parfitt. His search took him “from Zimbabwe to Papua New Guinea, Israel, Egypt, and Ethiopia via the dusty Bodleian Library at the University of Oxford” (Daily Mail). His search began in a cave in the Dumghe Mountain, which is the spiritual home of the Lemba people. (The Lemba people are known as the “Jews of Africa” and live among the indigenous African tribes of Malawi, Zimbabwe and South Africa. They avoid intermarrying, are proud of their Jewish origins and live according to ancient Jewish lore. They also refer to themselves as the “children of Abraham” and are thought to have left Israel over 2,700 years ago – they have DNA that is remarkably similar to other Jewish groups.)

Twenty years after he began his odyssey, Parfitt learned that some of the Bulawayo Museum’s collection had been moved to the Victoria Museum in Harare, Zimbabwe and he went there in March 2007. What Parfitt saw when he got there convinced him that he’d found the Ark; “I felt a shiver down my spine. Without a doubt this was the Von Sicard ngoma. ... He took a sample of the wood for carbon dating, but was disappointed to learn that it “only” dated from around 1350AD. Bearing in mind that the original Ark – wood covered with gold – was unlikely to have survived for over 3,000 years, he believes this 700 year old “Ark” in Zimbabwe is “the last thing on Earth in direct descent from the Ark of the Covenant.” Tudor Parfitt has written a book of his adventures: The Lost Ark of the Covenant.

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