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A Comparison of the Epic of Gilgamesh and the Hebrew Scriptures Essay

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A Comparison of the Epic of Gilgamesh and the Hebrew Scriptures

The Hebrew Flood story of Noah and his obligation to preserve man kind after God had punished all living creatures for their inequities parallels The Epic of Gilgamesh in several ways. Even though these two compilations are passed on orally at different times in history the similarities and differences invoke deliberation when these stories are compared. Numerous underlining themes are illustrated throughout each story. Humans are guilty of transgressions and must be punished, God or Gods send a flood as punishment to destroy this evil race, a person is selected by the gods to build a craft that will withstand the flood and allow this person to create a new race. An investigation of the inconsistency and similarities of both flood stories exposes the relationship between the Gods and the stories hero, insight on each cultures moral perspective on friendship and values as it applies to the flood, and each stories common origin.
There are many similarities and differences in the Epic of Gilgamesh and the Hebrew scriptures. In both works you have Supreme beings or a being that has come to the conclusion that the earth and the people that reside on it are wicked. Because of these iniquitous individuals the earth must be destroyed. The supreme beings chose to destroy the earth by flood. In the Epic of Gilgamesh the gods influenced by Enlil their counselor make the decision to destroy the earth “The uproar of mankind is intolerable and sleep is no longer possible by reason of the Babel. So the gods agreed to exterminate mankind.” (Norton35). In the Hebrew scriptures the same conclusion was made by God that the earth was evil and would need to be destroyed “And the Lord said, I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth; both man, and beast and the creeping thing, and the fowls of the air; for it repenteth me that I have made them.” (Norton60). In both works the gods or God seem to have the same attitude and feelings after the flood. The Gods show feelings of remorse and grief in the Epic of Gilgamesh Ishtar speaks out in distress “Alas the Days of the old are turned to dust because I commanded evil: Why did I command this evil in the council of the Gods?” (Norton37). In the Hebrew scripture the Lord did not seem to be as remorseful but did acknowledge that what he did may no...


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...ulation” (Smith). Approximately 60 million copies, or portions thereof, are distributed annually. The Tanakh is a acronym that identifies the Hebrew bible. The acronym is based on the initial Hebrew letters of each of the text's three parts. The Law, The prophets and the writings.
In conclusion we have looked at the similarities and differences in the two flood stories and seen how the stories are so similar even though they were orally passed on at different time periods. Also we examined the moral differences of each society and what values each culture holds dearly. We have also discussed the origin of each compilation.




Works Cited
1. Unknown. The Epic of Gilgamesh.Trans. N.K. Sandars. Sarah Lawall. Norton Anthology of World Literature. New York: W.W. Norton and Company, 2002. 10-61.

2. Perlin, John. A Forest Journey: Mesopotamia. Pp 35-45, SIRS Renaissance:1989. Werner
3. Miller, John J. “The Worlds First Story”. Foundation for Cultural Review. v23 i2 p74(4) (2004): . InfoTrac OneFile. Gale. NC LIVE. Oct 2004 .
4.Karel van der Toorn. “Did Ecclesiastes Copy Gilgamesh?”. Bible Review.: Feb. 2000, pp. 22+. Gilgamesh (Legendary Character). SIRS. Feb 2000 )


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