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. It has been passed down through generations for centuries, teaching obedience to gods. The story of Noah’s Ark, found in the Christian Bible, seems to do the …show more content…
Gilgamesh brought his family on the boat as well, but he also brought all the craftsmen that helped to build it, (relg-studies). This is a huge difference between the stories. The craftsmen were an added group that reproduced and passed on their skills. Noah only took his family, relying on God to provide them with the necessary items that they could not produce. There were not any other people on board. Therefore, the corruption of this world is thought to come from one of Noah’s sons, descending down through him. If Gilgamesh brought craftsmen on the boat, this is a new place to lay the blame for today’s violence. The next discrepancy lies in the amount of time it rained. Noah’s story emphasized rain for forty days and forty nights. The number forty also appears in several other biblical stories. Gilgamesh’s rainfall lasts for just six days and nights. However, the numerical system of the Mesopotamians is based on the numbers six, ten, and sixty. So the story directly relates to the numerical system of the time, (Lecture, 9/13/1999). Perhaps this number was adopted because of its wide use. Upon the arrival on the mountain top, each man sent out a dove, which returned because it found no place to land. Then, Gilgamesh sent out a swallow, which also returned. When Gilgamesh sent out a raven, it did not return. He knew the raven had found a place to land and food to live off of. So the
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The Epic of Gilgamesh: story of the flood is a story telling of the time when the Sumerian gods flood the Earth hoping to get rid of the annoying humans. Throughout the story, Utnapishtim would be the preserver of life; by building a ship that would carry two of every animal. In Genesis 6-9, the Hebrew God chose to cleanse humanity by flooding the Earth, and in this story Noah would be instructed by the Lord to build an ark and put two of every animal with this ark. These stories of the flood have many differences, one major difference being that The Epic of Gilgamesh is a fictional story of Sumerian gods, while Genesis is a religious book with in the Bible. Although there are many differences between Genesis’ and Gilgamesh’s story of the flood, there are significantly more similarities linking the two stories.
Another difference in the story is the instructions on how to build the ark. In the bible, God tells Noah to build the ark 450 feet long, 75 feet wide and 45 feet high (New International Version, Gen. 6:15). God continues to tell him to “make a roof and finish the ark to within 18 inches of the top” (New International Version, Gen. 6:16a). Then “put a door in the side of the ark and make lower, middle, and upper decks” (New International Version, Gen. 6:16b). In Gilgamesh, Utnapishtim builds his ark 155 feet high, and the decks 175 feet wide. He also built a top deck and six lower decks (Matthews and Benjamin 26).
However, despite the minor differences there are many similarities between the two stories. Indeed the similarities have led some to speculate that these ancient flood stories were
Both the story of “Noah and the Flood” in the book of Genesis in The Hebrew Bible and the flood story in The Epic of Gilgamesh detail a grand flood in which a man saved life from extinction by building an ark, earning fame and immortality in some form. The theme of completing this grand task for a moral purpose holds true to both stories, but the depiction and actions of the divine and mortal characters in the stories contain different similarities and differences.
Although the stories are similar they are not identical. In Genesis God sent the Flood to destroy humankind because of man’s wickedness. Unlike The Gilgamesha where the reason was never said however the sender of the flood was a secret council of gods the idea was brought up by Enlil , the god of earth wind and air. God favored Noah because he was a righteous man therefore, he was chosen to build the ark that was three hundred cubits long, fifty cubit wide, and thirty cubits high, about three stories. Utnapishtim was chosen out of the cleverness of Ea, the god of wisdom and crafts. God came directly to Noah to tell him about the Flood where as Ea was swore to secrecy so “he repeated their plans to the reed fence” so he would no break the oath to the group. The boat Utnapishtim was directed to build was a rectangle shaped measuring one acre and about 6 stories high. When the floor came in Gilgamesh it was only rainwater however the Flood in Genesis was rain water as well as ground water. Both floods did indeed wipe out all of humankind but the did not last equal as long. After the flood Utnapishtim was gifted the gift of eternal life where as Noah was to multiply and have rule over the animals.
In both Gilgamesh and Noah and the Flood, man’s wickedness leads to death, destruction, and rebirth all caused by billions of gallons of water sweeping the earth’s surface. The flood in both stories destroys most of mankind. The floods represent rebirth and a new beginning for mankind, as well as the gods and God’s wrath. In Gilgamesh the gods decide to destroy mankind by flooding the earth for six days and nights. Utnapishtim is chosen to build a boat in order to restart mankind after the flood. In the Bible God also decides to flood the earth due to the increase in wickedness. God chooses Noah to build an ark and store seven pairs of every clean animal and two of every other kind of animal on it
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
The Epic of Gilgamesh has many similarities to the Bible, especially in Genesis and it’s not just that the both begin with the letter “g”’! One major similarity being the flood story that is told in both works. The two stories are very similar but also very different. Another being the use of serpents in both works and how they represent the same thing. A third similarity being the power of God or gods and the influence they have on the people of the stories. Within these similarities there are also differences that need to be pointed out as well.
God said to Noah, “And I behold, I establish my covenant with you and with your seed after you; and with every living creature with you. And I will establish my covenant with you; neither shall all flesh be cut off any more by the waters of a flood; neither shall there anymore be a flood to destroy the earth.” That’s when God made an everlasting covenant between himself and every living creature of all flesh on earth. Even though, in the story of Gilgamesh, the Gods decided that it was wrong to punish mankind, they still did not make a covenant with man. Instead of making a pact with humans they granted immorality to Utnapishtim and his wife. In both stories they settled the flood in different ways separating the stories.
Both Gilgamesh and Noah build arks because of an impending devastation of the earth by rain and flooding. Shamash had warned, "In the evening, when the rider of the storm sends down the destroying rain, enter the boat and batten her down." (p. 147) God told Noah, "For in seven days' time I will make it rain upon the earth, forty days and forty nights, and I will blot out from the earth all existence that I created." (p. 172) Both boats were built to detailed specifications in order to withstand the torrents of rain. Following the cessation of the rain, both Noah and Gilgamesh send out birds as a test of the recession of the waters so that they can safely exit onto the land. Gilgamesh sends first a dove, then a swallow, and then a raven, who, "…saw that the waters had retreated, she ate, she flew around, she cawed, and she did not come back." (p. 148) Noah first sends a raven which, "…went to and fro until the waters had dried up from the earth. " (p. 173) He then sends a dove that returns to the ark having found no resting place. After seven days Noah again sends the dove which returns with an olive leaf in its bill. "Then Noah knew that the waters had decreased on the earth. He waited still another seven days and sent the dove forth; and it did not return to him any more." (p. 173) Both Noah and Gilgamesh, immediately upon leaving their boats, make a sacrifice. Gilgamesh says, "Then I threw everything open to
Gilgamesh had a different way of building his ark he had everyone's help and despite knowing that almost everyone was going to be wiped from existence he threw a party.” He gave the shipwrights wine to drink as though it were river water, raw wine and red wine and oil and white wine. There was feasting then” (The Epic of Gilgamesh pg. ). Noah took the whole thing more serious the Gilgamesh ever did, but he still managed to have the boat done in seven
The tales of Gilgamesh and Noah are as memorable as they are incredible. They materialize the beliefs of two cultures telling very similar yet very different stories. Gilgamesh, a mighty warrior overwhelmed by grief of his passed friend, went an an epic adventure to find the secret of eternal life. Noah, a morally right and genuine man saved the future of the entire human race and every animal through great endurance and faith. The personality traits, reasons for journeys, and stories of origin of each myth have a plentiful amount of both commonalities and diversities.
“The uproar of mankind is intolerable and sleep is no longer possible by reason of the babel.’ So the gods agreed to exterminate mankind.” (“Epic of Gilgamesh” 146). This quote describing an extreme punishment is an excerpt of a 4,000 year old epic, describing a story about a god-like man journeying in the search of immortality who learns of a flood that nearly eliminates mankind (Introduction 136). Similar to the “Epic of Gilgamesh” flood narratives, “Noah and the Flood” depicts a faithful believer who is advised to create a boat harboring those faithful to God. By examining the heroes’ characteristics and relationships, theology, and situations of the two stories, it becomes apparent they refer to the same event.
The Epic of Gilgamesh has been important to Christians as far back as its revelation in the mid-nineteenth century in the vestiges of the library at Nineveh, with its record of a general flood with critical parallels to the flood in the Book of Genesis. There have been various flood stories distinguished from antiquated sources scattered around the world. The stories that were found on cuneiform tablets, which involve a portion of the most punctual surviving written work, and have clear similitudes. The cuneiform style of writing was developed by the Sumerians and carried on by the Akkadians. The Epic of Gilgamesh was contained on twelve extensive tablets, and since the first discovery, it has been found on others and additionally having been converted into other early languages. There are numerous similarities between the Gilgamesh flood account and the scriptural flood account starting above all with God picking an honest man to assemble an ark as a result of a looming incredible flood. In the two records, tests from all types of creatures were to be on the ark, and birds were utilized after the downpours to decide whether flood waters had died down anyplace to uncover dry land. There are different similitudes between the Gilgamesh flood account and the scriptural flood account.
When examining the story of the Biblical flood, it is essential to point out that there are other flood stories in Ancient Near Eastern cultures. In fact, there are up to sixty-eight different cultures with stories of a great flood! It is important for one to see how each flood story affects and influences one another. For example, it is evident that the Babylonian culture influenced the writer of the Biblical flood story, which was made hundreds of years after the making of the Babylonian story. One of the greatest examples of this is in “The Epic of Gilgamesh”, a Babylonian story that includes the tale of Utnapishtim, a man some would like to say is similar to the character Noah in a few ways. Both men are called upon by a being of higher