The Story of Noah's Ark

Topics: Epic of Gilgamesh, Fertile Crescent, Mesopotamia Pages: 4 (1800 words) Published: October 8, 1999
In Judeo-Christian mythology, one of the best recognized stories from the Old Testament is the story of Noah and the Ark, and how they survived God's great flood. This story is a common one throughout many mid-east cultures, both past and present. The most notable of these is in the ancient Mesopotamian mythology, with the story of Utnapishtim and his story of survival of the gods wrath. Though both are telling what is assumed to be a tale of the same event, there are many similarities as well as differences in certain details of the story. Although some of these differing aspects are for the most part, fairly trivial, some of them are quite drastic from one version to the other. The source of the myth in the two cultures is quite different, as well as the way the story narrated. In the case of the ancient Mesopotamian version of the myth, it is found in The Epic of Gilgamesh. It is told to Gilgamesh by Utnapishtim when Gilgamesh encounters him while on his quest for the plant of everlasting life. Here we have a first hand account of the flood, by one of the sole survivors of the flood, the tale itself is found in an epic of a great king, which wasn't exactly revered as a sacred book in the Mesopotamian culture, but was still treated with a great deal of respect. This is quite from the ancient Hebrew account of the flood. In the Old Testament, it is presumably Moses who is telling the story of Noah in the book of Genesis. In this case, we have a second hand account of the story, found in what is considered to be a sacred piece of scripture, as written by one of the most important figures of the religion. The reason that man was to be exterminated from the face of the earth is also different in both myths. In the Mesopotamian version of the story, man was becoming an inconvenience for the gods he was so loud due to his numbers that he was keeping the gods up at night. Because man was causing this disruption, Enlil approaches the other gods and they...
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