Gilgamesh and the Bible

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Genesis and Gilgamesh
Throughout the Epic of Gilgamesh there are many parallels with the Book of Genesis in the Old Testament, most notably in the biblical stories of the Garden of Eden and Noah’s flood. Both Gilgamesh and Noah were instructed to build a boat to survive a great flood brought forth by their respective gods. There are also similarities seen between the creation of Ekindu and the creation of Adam in the Garden of Eden. Also in the Garden of Eden a snake’s deception causes Adam to lose his immortality, while Gilgamesh loses a shot at immortality when a snake eats his magical plant.

In the Book of Genesis, the great flood is brought upon the earth as a punishment by God, “The end of all flesh is come before me; for the earth is filled with violence through them; and, behold, I will destroy them with the earth.” In the Epic of Gilgamesh, the flood is also sent from the gods as a punishment for man’s sins and Gilgamesh, like Noah, is instructed to prepare for the disaster by building a boat. Upon building the boats, both heroes spare their families and the animals from the great floods. After the flood, both men found themselves atop a mountain and employed similar methods to determine the safety of the land, by sending out birds to see if they came back with vegetation.

Much like the stories of the flood, there is a strong parallel in both stories in the creation of man. Both Enkidu and Adam are created from clay by a god, and live in a natural setting amongst animals. The men are then introduced to a woman who tempts him, Eve tempting Adam with the fruit and Enkidu tempted by Shamhat. The women give the men food, convince them to cover their nakedness, and cause them to leave their former realm forever.

A similarity can also be seen between Gilgamesh and Adam and Eve. Gilgamesh searches for a magical plant that will make him immortal and upon finding it is denied his immortality as a snake eats the plant. Eve was deceived by the snake to...
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