Gilgamesh Flood Story vs. Biblical Flood Story

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  • Topic: Noah's Ark, Deluge myths, Antediluvian
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  • Published : October 8, 1999
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The amazing stories of the great flood that are described

in, The Epic of Gilgamesh which is translated by N.K. Sandars and "The

Story of the Flood" which is the King James version, both stories similarly.

Many of the events of each story are very similar in ways and very different in

some of them. From reading both stories I concluded that there was a huge

flood that took place in that area of the world. Even though the way both

stories describe the flood; The Epic of Gilgamesh is more imaginable. I say

that because it is more realistic to have rain for six days, six nights than for

forty days, forty nights. Both flood stories have a major similarity and

difference though. Both stories described the same flood but they did it in

different ways. One difference that backs it up is in The Epic of Gilgamesh the

rains that cause the floods only last six days, six nights and in "The Flood

Story in Genesis" the rains last forty days, forty nights. A quote that tells about

the flood is when Utnapishtim said, "For six days and six nights the wind blew,

torrent and tempest and flood overwhelmed the world, tempest and flood

raged together like warring hosts (pg. 25)." This quote by Utnapishtim

describes how bad the weather, rains, and wind were during the six days and

six nights of the storm. On the other hand in "The Story of the Flood" it rained

for forty days, forty nights. While God was talking to Noah he said, "For yet

seven days, and I will cause it to rain upon the earth forty days and forty

nights; and every living substance that I have made will I destroy from off the

face of the earth (pg. 48 line 4)." This quote describes how long God will

have the rain go for. It also says that he is doing it to destroy all of mankind.

After reading the two stories I concluded that forty days and forty nights was

too long for it to rain without stopping; that is why the flood in Gilgamesh is

more realistic. The length of the rains in the flood story in The Epic of

Gilgamesh is easier for someone to believe than the length of the rains in

Genesis. Even though the stories were different there was many similarities in

the stories. In The Epic of Gilgamesh after the rains had stopped

Utnapishtim's arc landed on top of, Mt. Nisir, a mountain. It was the only

place above the floodwaters that you could see. Utnapishtim said, " I looked

for land in vain, but fourteen leagues distant there appeared a mountain, and

the boat grounded; on the mountain of Nisir the boat held fast, she held fast

and did not budge (pg. 25)." This quote describes how Utnapishtim was

looking for land while stranded out in the floodwater and the only place he

could see was Mount Nisir. Correspondingly, in "The Story of the Flood"

basically the similar thing happened. After the forty days and forty nights of

rain Noah landed on Mount Ararat which is geographically three hundred

miles away from Mount Nasir. This is another way to prove that the flood was

probably real and not just a story to tell children so they would be scared to

cause chaos. The two stories are both similar for the way described in the

above paragraph. The major similarity between the two stories is that the god

or gods sent the flood because the people of the world because they were

causing chaos and were corrupt. In The Epic of Gilgamesh Enlil and the other

gods were mad about how the people were taking too much control and that

is why the gods sent the flood. Ea told Utnapishtim in a dream to build an arc

because the gods were going to send a flood that was going to wipe out all of

mankind. " O man of Shurrupak, son of Ubara-Tutu; tear down your house

and build a boat, abandon possessions and look for life, despise worldly

goods and save your soul alive. Tear down your house, I say, and build a

boat. These are the measurements of the baroque as you shall...
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