Comparison Of The Bibles And Tablet Xi Flood Story

1661 words - 7 pages

“The most remarkable parallels between the Old Testament and the entire corpus of cuneiform inscriptions from Mesopotamia . . . are found in the deluge accounts of the Babylonians and Assyrians, on the one hand, and the Hebrews, on the other,” Heidel stated. A story of a great flood has been recorded by various civilizations, such as the Hebrews with Genesis, from the Bible, and the Babylonians with the Epic of Gilgamesh. The flood story, in the book of Genesis is remarkably similar to the Tablet XI of the Epic of Gilgamesh. Some people make the claim; the Bible plagiarizes The Epic of Gilgamesh, though no conclusive evidence has been found. Their storylines are quite analogous; however ...view middle of the document...

In acknowledging that, we cannot decipher when either story originated relatively first. We can compare and interpret the content and elements of both texts to try to determine whether or not the Bible was actually heavily influenced by the Epic of Gilgamesh.
There are many small but significant differences in the content matter of each myth, even though the structures of each story are alike. In both the Epic of Gilgamesh and Genesis, God(s) created a great flood killing all of the people and animals of the land. Both stories describe the flood destroying all living things, except one boat carrying very few people and some animals. Though before the flood, God says to Noah in Genesis, “But I will establish my covenant with you, and you will enter the ark—you and your sons and your wife and your sons’ wives with you.” This differs from the Epic of Gilgamesh where Gilgamesh states that other craftsmen were also saved. “I had all my kith and kin go up into the boat…and the craftsmen I had go up.” If the flood story in the bible were copied from Gilgamesh, why did the Bible fail to include the events of the craftsmen helping? On the one hand, it would seem more realistic for Noah and his family to have had help building the ark, instead of adding more impractical changes. People argue that it is possible, in order to convey a certain message, the Bible purposefully did not adopt certain aspects of the epic. This would be unlikely since the Hebrew’s speak lowly of polytheistic religions especially, they believe them to be blasphemous. The Bible reads, "the whole world lies under the sway of the wicked one” (1 John 5:19) because people, "follow deceiving spirits and things taught by demons.” (1* Timothy 4:1) Hebrews believed that the stories from other religions were words of the devil. It wouldn’t make sense for them to copy, what they would have believed to be, evil words.
Multiple times in The Epic of Gilgamesh, they reference the number seven unique to Genesis, such as, the amount of days to build the boat. It is again referenced, as the amount of decks, on the boat, then another reference with the length of the flood. (epic) While the Bible’s holiest number, “Used 735 times (54 times in the book of Revelation alone), the number 7 is the foundation of God's word. If we include with this count how many times 'sevenfold' (6) and 'seventh' (119) is used, our total jumps to 860 references.” (http://www.biblestudy.org/bibleref/meaning-of-numbers-in-bible/7.html) Nevertheless the use of the number seven is a difference between the two stories that seems situational-ironic. If the Genesis plagiarized Gilgamesh, they wouldn’t have much of a reason to change the story from their holy number to a non-holy number. After referencing it 860 times in the bible, they would be scared of overuse? Or, based on this argument, more likely Genesis and Gilgamesh were both individually written.
The ethics and religion behind each myth differs greatly. The Epic of...

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