Atlantis is one of those stories that seems to perpetually captivate the imagination. From movies made by Disney to books that attempt to find support for civilization actually existing, say the word Atlantis and all manner of ideas come to mind. But did Atlantis really exist in some for or fashion or was it merely the imagination of Plato? Can any valid support, specifically historical or geological, be presented that proves such a place existed? In the interesting book Atlantis: Fact or Fiction edited by Edwin Ramage, six scholars contribute their perspective from the approach of literature, mythological studies, history, and geology.
The overarching belief by the contributors to this book is Atlantis is nothing more than the imagination of Plato. Little if any proof can be discovered in their estimation to support Atlantis as being real. Despite the efforts of authors such as Ignatius Donnelly and others to carry on the fascination with Atlantis, the contributors to this particular work reject outright Atlantis as being real. If anything, it is nothing more than an attempt by Plato to describe the state of affairs in his lifetime.
I have long found the idea of Atlantis to be fascinating. Could Atlantis have been a place that existed for instance before the Noahic flood? Given the catastrophic events described by Plato that led to the demise of this supposedly advanced civilization, could there be some method to connect the global deluge described in Scripture with the destruction of Atlantis? I went into reading this book hoping such an approach would be alluded to with some level of series thought given to that idea. While the biblical flood narrative was mentioned by contributor S. Casey Fredericks, it was in the context of Noah’s flood being just another in a long line of ancient flood legends. In fact, Fredericks clearly states his belief that the story of Atlantis as told by Plato is rooted in same foundation as all the other mythological flood stories in the various Ancient Near Eastern (ANE) cultures. The biblical account is simply just another ANE story or perhaps a legend.
Ultimately, it seems clear, at least from the perspective of the various scholars who contributed to this book, that the story of Atlantis belongs squarely in the realm of myth. I found it interesting; however, that the basis for that belief to some degree is founded on the rejection of a global catastrophe as being valid. One contributor in particular discussed the lack of geological evidence for the destruction of Atlantis. She referenced the slow and methodical movement of continents with another contributor noting the millions of years of the geologic scale. The millions of years statement of course is in keeping with the theory of evolution which rejects any sort of perspective taken from a source such as the Bible and more specifically, the notion of a global catastrophic flood as being a major factor for consideration.
It would be interesting to read what a creation scientist might have to say about the geological factors that might have an impact on the validity of the Atlantean myth. In the end, the story of Atlantis might be just that, a fun story told by Plato that has no verifiable historical roots. The contributors to Atlantis: Fact or Fiction definitely sit on the side of Atlantis being fiction. The evidence they presented is compelling and thus I would consider this a worthwhile read if you are interested in the veracity of Plato’s story of Atlantis. If nothing else, it will provide you with some food for thought and it might, as it has done for me, drive you to study this topic a bit further to see if there is a possibility of connection the global catastrophe of Noah’s flood to something such as the destruction of Atlantis. It may be just rabbit hole, but sometimes rabbit holes are a fun journey to take.
Outside of the rejection of the biblical account of Noah’s flood as mere myth and the embracing of evolution’s millions of years mantra to discussion matters of geology, I found this book to be quite interesting. It does not fully solve for me the mystery of Atlantis nor do the arguments presented create a full doubt in my mind of the existence of Atlantis, but after reading this book, I definitely am more informed of the various pro and con arguments, and I realize even more the need to support the biblical account of something like Noah’s flood as being actual history even when engaging what may prove to be the story of Atlantis being just a story/myth.
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