Three Versions of the Great Flood

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Just about everyone has heard a story about the Great Flood. Where you live and your religious beliefs impacts which myth you’ve heard. They all have the same basis; mankind is going to be destroyed because of their sins, a man is told to build an Ark, which he does, sacrifices to birds searching for dry land and ends up saving mankind and gaining immortality. Although the basis of every story is the same, they have their differences. I will be comparing three versions of the Great Flood, the Sumerian flood myth, the Babylonian flood myth and the version told in the Bible. There has only been one tablet found with any inscription of the Sumerian flood myth and that tablet was partially destroyed. Only a third of the tablet was preserved and it is the bottom third. Even within this preserved third of the tablet, there are many lengthy breaks in the context. There are five breaks of over thirty lines within this tablet, so it is extremely difficult to piece together the whole story. They really have only been able to piece it together. From where the inscription starts, there was a deity proclaiming to save mankind from destruction, the flood. They believe the deity did things to make everyone believe what he was saying. Then there are lines about the man, animals and plants in reference to how they were created. After a gap in the text, the gods lowered kingship and found five cities. Now comes another long break in which it is believed that the gods decided to send the flood and destroy all of mankind. Some of the gods were not happy with this decision. Now Ziusudra, a god-fearing king, hears a deity telling him that the gods have decided to send a flood. In yet another break in the text, they assume that Ziusudra was told t... ... middle of paper ... ...d the Ark. It also is different in how the person was told about the flood. In the Biblical version, Noah is told by God so Noah and his family are not destroyed by the flood. In the Babylonian version, Atrahasis is informed of the flood through Enki who created mankind. In the Sumerian version, Zuisadra finds out through a deity. There is also a variation in the length of time of the flood. Another big difference is what happened as a result of the flood. The Sumerian version is destroyed at the end, but the Babylonian version end with the gods coming up with ways to control the size of the population in order to keep noise to a minimum. The Biblical version went in a different direction because God felt that mankind was too evil. He tells Noah that the survivors can grow the population and their offspring should not be evil, promising to never destroy mankind again.

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