Essay PreviewMore ↓
The most well-known parallel between the Epic of Gilgamesh and the Bible is the story of the Flood, in Genesis 6-7. This is essentially equivalent to the story that Utnapishtim, the Sumerian Noah, tells to Gilgamesh on Tablet XI. Even the way the narrative is laid out is similar - the gods put a bug in Utnapishtim's ear; a description of how the ark is built ("daubed with bitumen," a common glue or mortaring agent in Mesopotamia); everyone piles in, and it starts to rain. When it's over, Utnapishtim releases a dove, then a swallow, and finally a crow.
However, the section of the Bible that really seems linked to Sumerian mythology is the book of Ecclesiastes. The writer of that book informs us, in Eccl. 12:9-10, that in the course of composing it he read widely, presumeably everything that he could get his hands on in those days. From internal evidence it's obvious that he read some version of the Epic of Gilgamesh. It's fascinating to see that the story, already very ancient by Biblical times, circulated so widely in the Middle East.
Ecclesiastes 4:9-10 (in the Revised Standard version) runs, "Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil. For if they fall, one will lift up his fellow; but woe to him who is alone when he falls and has not another to lift him up." This appears in fragmented form in Tablet V column ii of the epic. (If you want to look at the tablets in English translation the best one is by John Gardner.) It was apparently a common proverb in the Middle East, and you can easily find equivalents all over the place in literature. It appears in King Lear and in Beowulf, "Bare is back without brother behind it." (Alliteration's artful aid, what?)
The Epic of Gilgamesh has two main parts. In the first, Gil has a number of the standard Conan-the-Barbarian style adventures, whomping monsters, humping maidens, defying the goddess Ishtar. And he's king of Uruk, one of mankind's first cities - all very picturesque, and would make a great cover for a genre paperback. Then, in the second half, Gil has a spiritual crisis and goes on a quest for eternal life. Well, when he's wandering around having angst, he meets a Wise Woman, a barmaid - it seems the Sumerians invented beer, too.
How to Cite this Page
"Comparing Epic of Gilgamesh and Book of Genesis of the Holy Bible." 123HelpMe.com. 19 Jul 2018
Need Writing Help?
Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.Check your paper »
- The Flood of Gilgamesh and Genesis The Epic of Gilgamesh records a story of a world-wide flood and pre-dates Genesis. So some claim that this invalidates the Genesis record. But P.J. Wiseman presents an interesting theory in this regard in his book Ancient Records and the Structure of Genesis (New York: Thomas Nelson, 1985). He believes that Moses did not write Genesis but rather translated it from ancient stone tablets written in Cuneiform script. The tablets each would have been originally written by eye-witnesses of the particular events, or those who received their information from eye-witnesses.... [tags: Epic Gilgamesh essays]
724 words (2.1 pages)
- 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)
- The Problem of Woman in Gilgamesh and Genesis The snake hands Eve the apple, and with a twinkle in her eye she bites into the apple, gaining the elusive knowledge the serpent has promised. With shame deep in her heart, Eve smiling offers the precious fruit to Adam, her mate. The prostitute lures Enkidu, protector of nature, into her arms with the fruits of her womanhood. She offers him sexual satisfaction. He like Adam is an innocent taken in by the wiles of a woman. Why do the women tempt the innocents.... [tags: Epic Gilgamesh essays]
1258 words (3.6 pages)
- 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)
- Obedience and Arrogance in Gilgamesh and Genesis The issue of obedience figures prominently in both "The Epic of Gilgamesh" and the book of Genesis in the Bible. These works were produced by very different cultures and traditions (Middle Eastern and Hebraic, respectively) and the characters in each react to authority or advice with very different levels of obedience. Noah is found to be righteous by God and is rewarded with a means to escape the devastation of the flood. Gilgamesh, in his arrogance, thinks himself to be above the mortal concept of death.... [tags: Epic Gilgamesh essays]
1239 words (3.5 pages)
- 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)
- Parallels Between the Epic of Gilgamesh and the Bible The most well-known parallel between the Epic of Gilgamesh and the Bible is the story of the Flood, in Genesis 6-7. This is essentially equivalent to the story that Utnapishtim, the Sumerian Noah, tells to Gilgamesh on Tablet XI. Even the way the narrative is laid out is similar - the gods put a bug in Utnapishtim's ear; a description of how the ark is built ("daubed with bitumen," a common glue or mortaring agent in Mesopotamia); everyone piles in, and it starts to rain.... [tags: Comparison Compare Contrast Essays]
756 words (2.2 pages)
- 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)
- Comparing the Great Flood in Epic of Gilgamesh and the Biblical story of Noah’s Ark Many of the same ancient stories can be found in different cultures. Each story differs in a small way, but the general idea remains synonymous. One story that is paralleled in several cultures is the legend of a great flood. The epic of Gilgamesh resembles the Bible’s story of Noah’s Ark, but specific details differ in several aspects. The story of Gilgamesh originates from twelve fire-hardened, mud tablets, written in cuneiform, in the Mesopotamian culture from around 2500 B.C.E.... [tags: Epic of Gilgamesh Holy Bible]
1165 words (3.3 pages)
- The Biblical Flood and The Epic of Gilgamesh Flood In Genesis of the Old Testament the account of the Flood approximates the account recorded on Tablet 11of the Sumero-Babylonian version of the epic of Gilgamesh, discovered in the 1800’s by British archaeologists in Assyria. N.K. Sandars in the Introduction to his book, The Epic of Gilgamesh, sums up the involvement by the pagan gods in the Sumero-Babylonian Flood narrative: In the Gilgamesh flood Ishtar and Enlil are as usual the advocates of destruction.... [tags: Epic Gilgamesh essays]
1642 words (4.7 pages)
A close analysis of Gilgamesh's spiritual crisis reveals it revolves around the futility of all life. The crushing awareness of his own pointless existence drives him away from his throne and his kingdom to wear skins and wander the wilderness. This is the entire theme of Ecclesiastes: "Vanity of vanities! All is vanity. What does a man gain by all the toil at which he toils under the sun?" (Eccl. 1:2-3) Both protagonists arrive at the same solution. The meaning of life is found only in the divine. The Preacher mulls it over for 12 amazingly prosy chapters and concludes, "Remember your Creator in the days of your youth, before the evil days come and the years draw nigh when you will say, I have no pleasure in them." (Ecc. 12-1) Because he was the world's first fantasy hero, Gilgamesh comes to the same answer in a flashier way - he undergoes a peril-ridden sea voyage; puzzles over riddling answers from Utnapishtim; dives to the ocean floor to pluck the flower of eteran life; loses it to a snake. He returns to Uruk empty-handed but at peace, and finds that it is the home of his god: "Three leagues and the temple precinct of Ishtar measure Uruk, the city of Gilgamesh."