The Olive Branch

Satisfactory Essays
The Olive Branch
“ Like dragonflies their [dead bodies] have filled the river. Like a raft they have moved to the edge [of the boat]. Like a raft they have moved to a river bank ” (, 3/15/00).
Whether the above is fact, fiction, myth, or legend it appears that all civilizations have a strong fascination with The Deluge. Bible believers feel that it was an act of God, who intern wanted to cleanse the earth of immoral people and evildoers. Chosen survivors, for example Noah, as well as present day Christians believe that the Flood was a marking point for a new covenant between God and themselves. However, the myths that have accumulated from each culture provide great colorful characters and death defying heros against the angst of the gods.
Often times the bible is compared to the “Gilgamesh Epic”, which is the oldest fictional novel known to man. The Babylonian epic tells a similar story of the flood. The gods within the story are very angered by humankind’s behavior. So they decided to punish them a flood. Ea, a Babylonian God, disagrees with extremely harsh treatment. He then instructs Utnapishtim to flee with his family and all the animals on a boat. This basic myth emerges from the “Gilgamesh Epic” but neighboring civilization, such as Sumeria, retell the same with different protagonist gods.
Traveling east into China the flood legend seems to take on a new meaning. The myth is recorded around 1000 b.c. by the Chou Dynasty. “The main difference between the Chinese flood myth and that of Western cultures seems to be the emphasis on why there was a flood. In the Western Myths the floods are brought about because of the anger of the gods, or at a whim of the gods, while in the Chinese myth the emphasis is on a very practical matter, the channeling of unruly waters in such a way to make the cultivation of land possible.”( ,15 March) In other words, the purpose of the flood was to create better farm land. There was no sense of divine intervention.
Continuing east, the story picks up in the Mayan ruins. The “Popol-Vuh” , the Mayans sacred book, relates the tale of the destruction from flood. They felt that the purpose of the flood was to remedy the faulty creation of man, not to punish to mankind. The Feathered Serpent, who is the Mayan creator, first created man from mud, but they were without sight or substance.
Get Access