Flood Stories in Epic of Gilgamesh and the Genesis Flood of the Christian Bible


Length: 826 words (2.4 double-spaced pages)
Rating: Excellent
Open Document
Need writing help? Check your paper »

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Text Preview

More ↓
Comparison of the Flood Stories in Gilgamesh and the Bible


   The two stories closely parallel each other, though Gilgamesh was written down before 2000 BCE and the version in Genesis was compiled ca. 400 BCE. Biblical writers probably knew of the much older myth but revised it so that it fit with their own history and worldview. They intended it to fit with their own mythology. Despite the many similarities between the two stories, this difference in intention is revealed in a number of motifs that distinguish the biblical story from the ancient myth:

 Gilgamesh

 Genesis

 1. Flood is caused by the fickle nature of the gods We are told in 11.1 lines 14-17 that the gods who were reclining at Shuruppak, "up the constant Euphrates," sent the flood by "intent."

 1. Flood is sent by God to destroy his creation, which has become corrupt and evil The humans are so wicked and evil that "it repented the Lord that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him at his heart" (Gen. 6:6). He says,"I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth. . . " (Gen. 6:7)

 2. On earth one can still find demi-gods and great heroes, like Gilgamesh This is a Golden Age, like that described by Hesiod, when heroes walked the earth and humans and gods commingled.

 2. Earth once had giants and heroes, but they became part of the evil These "giants in the earth" (Gen. 6:4) were the sons of God and of the daughters of men, but they were only men of renown in the old days (Gen. 6:4). There is no Golden Age at the time of the flood.

3. One good man is saved (Utnapishtim), who obeys the god's orders to build a boat  Ea warns Utnapishtim (11.1 lns. 26ff.) to build a covered boat to save himself and the "seed of all [he'll] need" (11.1 ln. 34), to "Reject the corpse-like stench of wealth" (11.1 ln. 28) and live a charitable life of moderation. U. agrees to do this to "honor god" (l1.1 n. 39), but he will tell people he does so because Enlil hates him and he must flee by boat to where Enlil waits to kill him.

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

How to Cite this Page

MLA Citation:
"Flood Stories in Epic of Gilgamesh and the Genesis Flood of the Christian Bible." 123HelpMe.com. 11 Dec 2017
    <http://www.123HelpMe.com/view.asp?id=8421>.
Title Length Color Rating  
Love in the Epic of Gilgamesh and Genesis Essay - At an early point in history, The Epic of Gilgamesh and the story of Genesis were two texts that set the framework of the entire world. They were two epics that established the foundations of religion, literature, and all other standards that were followed by every category of people. Both texts entice the audience through antique language, and the stories of epic heroes and immortal gods. Sin-Leqi-Unninni and the many writers of the Bible use love as their central theme, yet it unfolds as having distinguishing effects on all characters throughout both texts....   [tags: Epic of Gilgamesh, Genesis ] 982 words
(2.8 pages)
Better Essays [preview]
Textual Analysis of Epic of Gilgamesh and Book of Genesis of the Holy Bible - A Textual Analysis of Genesis and the Epic of Gilgamesh The stories of the floods found in both Gilgamesh and Genesis contain many striking similarities that are inevitably beyond mere coincidence. One could surmise that both of these stories might have a basis in common historical occurrence. However, despite the fact that both of these works discuss a common topic, the portrayal of this event is quite different. Like identical twins raised in different cultures, the expressions of these works are products of their environment....   [tags: Epic of Gilgamesh Holy Bible] 1051 words
(3 pages)
Strong Essays [preview]
Genesis Flood of the Christian Bible and the Flood of Gilgamesh Essay - The Flood of Noah and the Flood of Gilgamesh The Epic of Gilgamesh has been of interest to Christians ever since its discovery in the mid-nineteenth century in the ruins of the great library at Nineveh, with its account of a universal flood with significant parallels to the Flood of Noah's day.1, 2 The rest of the Epic, which dates back to possibly third millennium B.C., contains little of value for Christians, since it concerns typical polytheistic myths associated with the pagan peoples of the time....   [tags: Epic of Gilgamesh]
:: 12 Works Cited
1766 words
(5 pages)
Strong Essays [preview]
Epic of Gilgamesh and Book of Genesis of the Holy Bible Essay - Epic of Gilgamesh and the Book of Genesis History tells us that since we have been able to write, our human race has had the habit of recording historical tales, or stories. Most of the first stories were tales of heroic men, scouring their land in search of some noble prize. These stories are known as epics, and they give us an excellent idea of the lifestyles and basic thought processes of early humans. Along the lines of these epics are the accounts told in the Bible, especially those in the Old Testament....   [tags: Epic Gilgamesh essays] 993 words
(2.8 pages)
Better Essays [preview]
Essay on Gilgamesh VS “Genesis”: Noah and the Flood - “Religion is about turning untested belief into unshakable truth through the power of institutions and the passage of time- Richard Dawkins”. We all know the breath taking story of the Genesis flood, but have we ever noticed how similar it is to the Epic of Gilgamesh. Genesis is the story of how one God created mankind, along with everything else on Earth, and what punishments he put upon them when they acted wrong .Genesis is a chapter in the Holy Bible, which was written in the 18th century B.C....   [tags: Creation Stories, Ancient History]
:: 3 Works Cited
1129 words
(3.2 pages)
Strong Essays [preview]
Creation, Flood and the Hero in Epic of Gilgamesh and Book of Genesis of the Christian Bible - Creation, Flood and the Hero in Gilgamesh and the Bible   The Epic of Gilgamesh compares to the Bible in many different ways. The epic has a different perspective than the Bible does. This paper is a contrast and comparison between the two books. The three main points of this paper will be the Creation, Flood and the Hero.   The way these two books start out is creation. This is the first similarity that we can state. God created man out of the earth, “In the beginning God created the Heaven and the Earth”....   [tags: Epic Gilgamesh essays] 1008 words
(2.9 pages)
Strong Essays [preview]
Essay on Flood Myth of Epic of Gilgamesh and Book of Genesis of the Holy Bible - A Comparison of the Flood of Gilgamesh and the Bible People grow up listening to the story of Noah and the flood. They remember the length of the flood, the dove, and the rainbow very vividly. However, most people do not realize that the story is told throughout many different cultures and with accounts older than Genesis¹s version in the Bible. Although each of the accounts tells of the flood, there are many variations to the story. One such story can be found in the Epic of Gilgamesh. Although the Epic of Gilgamesh is similar to the Genesis version, there are some differences in the days leading to, during, and after the flood....   [tags: Epic Gilgamesh Essays] 805 words
(2.3 pages)
Better Essays [preview]
Flood of Epic of Gilgamesh and Book of Genesis of the Holy Bible Essay - The Flood of Gilgamesh Perhaps the most popular comparison with Noah's Flood is that of an ancient Babylonian story of a similar flood. A quick look at the text does show some key similarities between them however there are also some pointed differences. I will show you both and let you decide whether there is or is not a connection. First let us look at the similarities: *It is set in the Iraqi/Turkey area.....similar to the Biblical Flood. *A man is warned by a god to build a ship so he could survive a coming flood, sent by the divine powers....   [tags: Epic Gilgamesh essays] 1107 words
(3.2 pages)
Strong Essays [preview]
Accuracy in Epic of Gilgamesh and The Hebrew Bible Essay - There is much debate over the historical accuracy of the Hebrew Bible and The Epic of Gilgamesh. Some claim that to understand a work of literature requires extensive knowledge of the background of this work. The contrary position is that a work of literature can be interpreted solely on it’s content. The meaning of the term classical literature is that it can be applied during any period of time, it is eternal. Yet the conditions surrounding the author might still be of interest to the reader, and of importance to the work....   [tags: Epic Gilgamesh essays] 1389 words
(4 pages)
Strong Essays [preview]
Flood in Epic of Gilgamish and Book of Genesis of the Holy Bible Essay - The Flood in The Epic of Gilgamish and The Bible The story of the great flood is probably the most popular story that has survived for thousands of years and is still being retold today.  It is most commonly related within the context of Judeo-Christian tradition.  In the Holy Bible, the book of Genesis uses the flood as a symbol of God's wrath as well as His hope that the human race can maintain peace and achieve everlasting salvation.  The tale of Noah's Ark begins with God's expression of dismay as to the degenerate state of the human race at the time.  People were behaving wickedly and sinfully and God decided that a genetic cleansing was necessary.  He spared only Noah and his famil...   [tags: Epic Gilgamesh Essays] 883 words
(2.5 pages)
Better Essays [preview]

Related Searches






3. One good man is saved (Noah), who obeys God's orders to build an ark God decides to destroy all but Noah who "found grace in the eyes of the Lord" (Gen. 6:8). He becomes the source of salvation for the creation, a hope for re-creation after the flood. He is also a symbol of God's mercy. God orders Noah to build an ark of gopher wood to save himself, his wife, his sons and their wives, along with animals to repopulate the earth. The exact number of animals is unclear--either 2 of each (Gen. 6:19; 7:9) or 7 of each clean beast and fowl, 2 of each unclean beast (Gen. 7:2-3).

 4. A great storm rages and wipes out everyone and everything except the passengers on the boat The gods begin to cry and their tears become rain (11.2 lns. 95-7). The rain lasts 7 days (11.3 ln. 98) and destroys everything. As the waters recede, the boat lands on Mt. Nimush (11.3 ln. 115). The boat is on the mountain seven days (11.3 ln. 116).

  4. A great storm rages and wipes out everyone and everything except the passengers on the ark After seven days "the waters of the flood were upon the earth" (Gen.7:10). The rain was "upon the earth forty days and forty nights" (Gen. 7:12) The flood lasts 150 days (Gen. 7:24) and destroys everything. As the waters recede, the ark lands on Mt. Ararat (Gen. 8:4). The other mountain tops appear after approximately 2.5 months more.

5. U. releases birds to find land (11.3 lns. 117ff): "watch-bird"--can't find land so it returns swallow--can't find land so it returns raven--finds food and rest and does not return.

 5. After a total of 40 days, Noah releases birds to find land (Gen. 8:5-11): raven--sends it out repeatedly, to and fro, looking for land dove--sent once and returns sent again after seven days, returns with olive branch, sent again after seven more days, does not return.

 6. Those saved show proper reverence to the gods and are rewarded U. offers a sacrifice to the gods. Enlil becomes angry because he is excluded from the sacrifice and because U. has defied his wishes by escaping his wrath. Ea tells him that U. figured out the plan on his own (11.4 lns170-2). Enlil then blesses U. and his wife and makes them divine (11.4 lns. 173ff).

  6. Those saved show proper reverence to the gods and are rewarded God orders Noah to leave the ark. Noah offers a sacrifice to God. God makes the first covenant of the Hebrew Bible with Noah. God gives the rainbow as a sign that He will never again destroy the earth in a flood.


Return to 123HelpMe.com