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The Biblical Flood of Genesis Based Upon the Flood of the Epic of Gilgamesh

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Biblical Flood Based Upon the Flood of Gilgamesh  


    In the middle of the nineteenth century, archaeologists unearthed twelve clay tablets. Around the turn of the twentieth century, archaeologists finally managed to decipher the tablets written in Akkadian, the language of ancient royalty and diplomacy. The tablets tell of the story of Gilgamesh. (1)

The eleventh tablet tells that Gilgamesh, in his quest for immortality set out on a long journey to look for his ancestor, Utnapishtim. Utnapishtim was already bestowed with eternal life by the gods. Upon reaching the island of Utnapishtim's abode, Gilgamesh was told a story by his ancestor of a great flood that once swept the world. (2) The similarity between this story and that of Genesis is astounding. The table below gives a comparison of both these stories.

 

The Epic of Gilgamesh

The Book of Genesis

(Utnapishtim told Gilgamesh that he was a true worshipper of the god Ea. When the gods decided to destroy mankind by a flood, Ea warned his devotee and told him): “O man of Shurrupak, son of Ubar-Tutu, tear down your house and built a ship; abandon wealth seek after life; scorn possessions save your life. Bring up the seed of all kinds of living things into the ship; the ship which you shall built. Let its dimensions be well measured.”

Genesis 6:13-14
And God said to Noah “I have determined to make an end of all flesh; for the earth is filled with violence through them...Make yourself an ark...”
Genesis 6: 17-19
“For behold, I will bring a flood of waters upon the earth, to destroy all flesh...but...you shall come into the ark, you, your sons, your wife, and you sons’ wives with you. And of every living thing of all flesh, you shall bring...


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... M. Readings in Ancient History: Thought and Experience from Gilganesh to St. Augustine. Third edition. Lexington, MA: D.C.Heath and Co., 1987.

 

Budge, E. A. Babylonian Story of the Deluge and the Epic of Gilgamesh. Montana, USA: Kessinger Publishing Co., n.d.

 

Gardner, John and John Maier. Gilgamesh: Translated from the Sin-leqi-unninni version. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1984.

 

Harris, Stephen L. “Gilgamesh.” The Humanist Tradition in World Literature. Ed. Stephen Harris. Columbus, OH: Charles E. Merrill Publishing Co., 1970.

 

Heidel, Alexander. The Gilgamesh Epic and Old Testament Parallels. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1949.

 

Ignatius Holy Bible. Revised Standard Version, Catholic Edition. San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 1966.

 

Sandars. N. K. The Epic of Gilgamesh. New York: Penguin Books, 1972.

 


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