When the Great Abyss Opened
New York: Oxford University Press, 2003. 242 pages.
In his lively, ambitious, and engaging study, Pleins — Professor of Religious Studies at Santa Clara University — investigates the cultural significance of the story of Noah's flood, discussing the connections and conflicts among geology, archeology, myth, literature, the Bible, and popular culture. (A chapter is devoted to "Fundamentalist literalism and 'creation science'.") Michael Ruse writes, "This fascinating book opens up a completely new light on a topic about which we all think we know something and about which we learn we knew very little. One of the great myths of Western culture is seen in a completely fresh light, thanks to the labors of J. David Pleins."