Is the Gilgamesh Flood the Basis of the Biblical Flood in the Book of Genesis?

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Is the Gilgamesh Flood the Basis of the Biblical Flood? Genesis of the Old Testament records a worldwide Flood early on in the history of human civilization. Tablet 11of the Sumero-Babylonian version of the epic of Gilgamesh also records a total Flood of the entire earth very early in mankind’s development. Let’s examine the two to determine if one could be the basis for the other. Nels M. Bailkey in Readings in Ancient History: Thought and Experience from Gilganesh to St. Augustine, comments on the likenesses and lack thereof between the two versions: The striking similarities with the later Hebrew story are quite evident, but the great gulf between them needs to be emphasized: the Hebrew version has…show more content…
In the Gilgamesh epic, Utnapishtim is not invested with any royal power or entrusted with any priestly office; from it we learn simply that he was a citizen of Shurippak (Tablet XI:23) and a man of considerable wealth (XI:70ff). (227) 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. Ishtar speaks, perhaps in her capacity as goddess of war, but Enlil prevails with his weapon of the storm. Only Ea, in superior wisdom, either was not present, or being present was silent, and with his usual cunning saw to it that at least one of the race of men should survive. (41) Column 1 on Tablet 11 begins the Sumero-Babylonian Flood narrative (Gardner 226). The sage Utnapishtim from Shurippak (100 miles south of Babylon), says: The great gods stirred their hearts to make the Flood. [. . .] Build an ark. [. . .] Load the seed of every living thing into your ark, the boat that you will build. Let her measure be measured; let her breadth and length be equal. Cover it with a roof as the abyss is covered. (Gardner 226) There is no reason given by Utnapishtim for the deluge. On the contrary, the Judaic version of the Flood in Genesis states in 6:5-8 a very clear, explicit reason for the

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