The Impact Of The Floods Essay

1818 words - 7 pages

The Impact of the Floods Although there are some differences, the similarities between the Gilgamesh flood story and the Genesis flood story are more significant. 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 god's 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 relatively drastic from one version to the other.The source of the myth in the two cultures is reasonably different, as well as the way the story was told. In the case of the ancient Mesopotamian version of the myth, it is found in The Epic of Gilgamesh. Utnapishtim tells it to Gilgamesh when Gilgamesh meets him while on his quest for the plant of everlasting life (Wilkie, Hurt 55-58) Here is 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 valued as a sacred book in the Mesopotamian culture, but was still treated with a great deal of respect.This is different 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 (Lorey 1). 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 and he was so loud due to his numbers that he was keeping the gods up at night. Because of the disruption men were causing, Enlil approaches the other gods and they agree to get rid of man by way of a great flood, so that they may sleep at night once again. Utnapishtim is warned by Ea through a dream, and is instructed with a rough guide to the dimensions, to build a great ark for himself and his family, animals, craftsmen, and all of Utnapishtim's belongings(Hurt, Wilkie 55).This is a severe contrast to what is found in the Hebrew version. In that account, man was becoming too evil for God to bear, and so it was decided by God that due to man's wickedness, he should be wiped off the earth (Gen. 6). In this case, man was not an inconvenience; he was just not in good terms with God. Noah was the only one out of all of man who was still in God's goodwill (Dalley 33). So God came to Noah and told him to also build an ark, also with the exact dimensions given, and instructed Noah to bring on board his family, their families, and two, a male and female, of all the animals of the world (Gen. 6).Unlike the Gilgamesh Epic, there is no...

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