Gilgamesh vs. Genesis

Topics: Mythology, Epic poetry, Noah's Ark Pages: 2 (488 words) Published: February 27, 2008
In a country with a strong Christian culture it is no surprise that a large number of people know the famous story of the Genesis flood but unknown to many is the striking resemblance it holds to an earlier flood story from the epic of Gilgamesh. Dissecting both stories the reader is revealed similarities but also numerous differences. Both the story from Gilgamesh and the Genesis occur in the Iraqi/Turkey area. This information helps provide a strong connection between the tales. During the ages when Gilgamesh was written and even the Genesis, books were not readily available to the general public, stories were instead spread by word of mouth. This could explain the large similarities both stories share. It could also explain why both stories also share differences. Like the children game "telephone", where a sentence is shared secretly to a chain of individuals, only to be revealed that by the end of the chain the sentence has been changed, the Genesis could be recording a story that had been gradually altered over the years. The flood of Gilgamesh was written before 2000 B.C., while the Genesis story was written in 400 B.C giving ample time for change to occur. The epic of Gilgamesh was also a very prominent story during its age and because of this it is believable that biblical writers knew the story of the much older flood but revised it so it could fit with their own religious history and world views. They very possibly intertwined the original story with their own mythology to help convey a message. In both versions of the flood something angers the higher power/s. In the epic of Gilgamesh, "The uproar of mankind is intolerable and sleep is no longer possible by reasons of the Babel" (Gilgamesh 12). The gods are angered by the disturbance of mankind. In Gilgamesh the Gods are given more human qualities, their decision is an act of selfishness not of a greater good. The council of gods decides to destroy all of humanity so they can sleep soundly. In the...
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