Example Of Gilgamesh And Hebrew Bible Flood Comparison Essay

Type of paper: Essay

Topic: Disaster, Flood, Literature, Gilgamesh, Bible, Life, Mesopotamia, World

Pages: 2

Words: 550

Published: 2020/12/09

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Sometime in the early history of Western civilization, there was likely a great flood throughout the Mesopotamian region. The reason for this is that there are a number of “flood myths” that document a large flood throughout the entire known world. There are several accounts of this, and the most popular ones are found in the Epic of Gilgamesh and the Bible. Both of these documents reflect some aspects of culture and life from their time, but also exhibit certain similarities showing that these accounts may have been based off of each other.
The Epic of Gilgamesh, one of the oldest stories ever recorded, describes the life journey of Gilgamesh, the king of Uruk. There is debate about whether or not this king actually existed, as there is evidence to suggest he did. Nevertheless, the story originated from the ancient Sumerian culture, which is one of the foundational civilizations in Mesopotamia. The story was likely transmitted via oral tradition in its early stages, which is explains the variations and why the account in the Bible has such similarities. Its origins are speculated at being around 3000 B.C., and was eventually standardized in the Akkadian tradition around 700 B.C. Therefore, it is likely that this flood myth was written before the Biblical account. Seeing as Mesopotamia was a land in between two major rivers, it was very likely it flooded frequently, which is what this story is likely based on (Thompson).
The Epic of Gilgamesh documents the epic flood that consumed the entire world, which was sent by the gods due to a too numerous and noisy population. They people had angered the gods. The flood drowned nearly all life on the planet, but saved the one righteous person, Ut-Napishtim. The gods ordered him to build a wooden ark that was sealed with pitch. The ark was then loaded with many animals as to preserve them. Then the floods started and submerged even the mountains. In order to search for ground to land on after the rain, Ut-Napishtim was commanded to send out birds, and on the third one sent out, land was discovered. They then left the ark and offered a sacrifice to the gods (“Noah’s ark and the flood”).
These are most of the details that are similar to the Biblical account. The Bible’s flood story is documented in Genesis 6-8, where a man named Noah built an ark to save him and his family from a flood that consumed the entire world because of man’s wickedness. It is unknown when this story was actually written, but it is generally assumed after Gilgamesh. The Old Testament section of the Hebrew scriptures were likely assembled somewhere around 500 B.C., although this date is much disputed as well. The actual stories are a compilation of centuries of stories, poems, and prophecies. The only major differences between the two accounts were that Noah got his instructions about the boat directly from God, whereas Ut-Napishtim received them from a dream. The specifications of the boat were slightly different, the rain lasted longer in the Bible, and the two arks landed on different locations, although both in the Middle East (“Noah’s ark and the flood”).
Because of these similarities, it can be concluded that these documents likely influenced each other in some way. While Gilgamesh is usually credited with being the earlier story, there is some debate over this. There is also a chance there was a flood myth in circulation before either of these two, which could have inspired both of these documents. Nevertheless, each of these provide valuable insights into life in Mesopotamia, especially in how the common floods of the time were viewed by the people.

Works Cited

Thompson, Diane. "ENG 251 Gilgamesh Study Guide." Web. 6 Mar. 2015. <https://novaonline.nvcc.edu/Eli/eng251/Bb_version/eng251gilgameshstudy.html>.
"Noah's Ark and the Flood." ReligiousTolerance.org. Web. 6 Mar. 2015. <http://www.religioustolerance.org/noah_com.htm>.

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WePapers. (2020, December, 09) Example Of Gilgamesh And Hebrew Bible Flood Comparison Essay. Retrieved May 11, 2021, from https://www.wepapers.com/samples/example-of-gilgamesh-and-hebrew-bible-flood-comparison-essay/
"Example Of Gilgamesh And Hebrew Bible Flood Comparison Essay." WePapers, 09 Dec. 2020, https://www.wepapers.com/samples/example-of-gilgamesh-and-hebrew-bible-flood-comparison-essay/. Accessed 11 May 2021.
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"Example Of Gilgamesh And Hebrew Bible Flood Comparison Essay." WePapers, Dec 09, 2020. Accessed May 11, 2021. https://www.wepapers.com/samples/example-of-gilgamesh-and-hebrew-bible-flood-comparison-essay/
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"Example Of Gilgamesh And Hebrew Bible Flood Comparison Essay," Free Essay Examples - WePapers.com, 09-Dec-2020. [Online]. Available: https://www.wepapers.com/samples/example-of-gilgamesh-and-hebrew-bible-flood-comparison-essay/. [Accessed: 11-May-2021].
Example Of Gilgamesh And Hebrew Bible Flood Comparison Essay. Free Essay Examples - WePapers.com. https://www.wepapers.com/samples/example-of-gilgamesh-and-hebrew-bible-flood-comparison-essay/. Published Dec 09, 2020. Accessed May 11, 2021.
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