Comparing the Epic of Gilgamesh and Genesis

Better Essays
The Epic of Gilgamesh has many similarities to the Bible, especially in Genesis and it’s not just that the both begin with the letter “g”’! One major similarity being the flood story that is told in both works. The two stories are very similar but also very different. Another being the use of serpents in both works and how they represent the same thing. A third similarity being the power of God or gods and the influence they have on the people of the stories. Within these similarities there are also differences that need to be pointed out as well.
The flood story that is told in The Epic of Gilgamesh has the same principle as the story of Noah told in the book of Genesis in the Bible, but there are some major differences. In the epic, Utnapishtim is immortal and, although Noah was extremely old when he died, he wasn’t immortal. Utnapishtim was a human, but because he saved mankind, Enlil said, “Hitherto Utnapishtim has been a human, now Utnapishtim and his wife shall become like us gods.” (Gilgamesh 11.206-207) In the Biblical story, God told Noah that he was going to send a flood and asked him specifically to make the ark in order to save mankind. In Genesis 6:13-22, God tells Noah why he’s flooding the earth and exact instructions to build the ark. “13 So God said to Noah, “I am going to put an end to all people, for the earth is filled with violence because of them. I am surely going to destroy both them and the earth. 14 So make yourself an ark of cypress[a] wood; make rooms in it and coat it with pitch inside and out. 15 This is how you are to build it: The ark is to be three hundred cubits long, fifty cubits wide and thirty cubits high.[b] 16 Make a roof for it, leaving below the roof an opening one cubit[c] high all arou...

... middle of paper ...

... Meaning of The Epic of Gilgamesh: An Interpretive Essay." Journal of the American Oriental Society 121.4 (2001): 614-23. Web. 19 Feb. 2014. .
Gilgamesh, The Epic of. Vol. A. The Norton Anthology of World Literature. Ed. Martin Puchner, et al. 3rd ed. New York: W. W. Norton and Company, 2012. 95-150. Print.
New International Version. [Colorado Springs]: Biblica, 2011. Web. Mar. 2011.
Ziolkowski, Eric. "Ancient Newcomer to Modern Culture." World Literature Today 81.5 (2007): 55-57. Web. 19 Feb. 2014. .
Get Access