The Book of Genesis vs. the Epic of Gilgamesh

Only available on StudyMode
  • Download(s) : 749
  • Published : October 21, 2012
Open Document
Text Preview
Two Different Books with Similar Stories
The Book of Genesis and The Epic of Gilgamesh have many clear similarities. One major, noticeable similarity is that in both stories, there are flood legends. There is the legend of Noah and the Ark in The Book of Genesis and the story of Utnapishtim in The Epic of Gilgamesh. In both stories, a higher power wants to wipe out the human race and decides to save one person who is then assigned to build an ark to hold himself, his family, and one of each animal. There are also many specifics about this flood that the two stories have in common, not just the basis of the tale. For example, both stories tell of a long storm. In The Epic of Gilgamesh, it says: "Six days and seven nights the wind and storm" (Gilg. Tabl. XI, 127). In The Book of Genesis, it says: “rain fell upon the earth forty days and forty nights" (Gen. 7:12). In both cases, the story is specific about the number of days the storm lasted. Noah and Utnapishtim make sacrifices to their respective higher power-- Noah to God and Utnapishtim to Enlil. In the story of Noah and the Ark, it says that he “"offered burnt offerings on the altar" (Gen. 8:20) which is a sacrifice to God. In the story of Utnapishtim, it says that he "offered a sacrifice" (Gilg. Tabl. XI, 155) by pouring a libation to Ea, which is a form of spiritual sacrifice.

These stories do not exist for entertainment, they serve the purpose of teaching people lessons about humankind and God or the gods. These flood legends tell us about a couple of different religious beliefs of the ancient people, one being that people are instinctually bad. A higher power wanted to wipe out the human race in both legends because humans were doing wrong. If humans were good by nature, the higher powers would not have wanted to destroy them all. The stories of these floods also show flaws in the high powers. Usually the gods or God are considered to be perfect, but in this story we see that the higher powers do...
tracking img