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Yahweh Vs. Shurrupak Gods Essay

1178 words - 5 pages

In the Epic of Gilgamesh, Utnapishtim tells Gilgamesh of how he attained immortality. Interestingly, the story Utnapishtim relays to Gilgamesh is eerily similar to the story of Noah and the great flood found in Genesis. The city of Shurrupak was mature and flourishing with people, causing great uproar from the busy city. The gods that were worshipped in this city grew wearisome of the clamor the people there made. Their slumber was disturbed daily which lead Enlil, their counsellor, to petition the extermination of mankind. One of the gods, however, Ea had different plans. He approached a human by the name of Utnapishtim in a dream warning him of the eminent disaster. Ea kept the real reason for the calamity from Utnapishtim and falsely told him that Enlil was wrathful against only him and not the rest of the city. Therefore, Utnapistim must leave but Enlil will send great blessings to the people of Shurrupak. In the story of the flood in Genesis, God decides to exterminate mankind not because of the noise but rather their sinfulness which grieved God. He, however, saved one man and his family—Noah. God allowed Noah to warn the people of the calamity but no one heeded Noah’s words. The nuances that rose when contrasting these two very profound stories not only entail crucial information about the gods in the Epic of Gilgamesh and the God of the Bible but it gave deep insight into the character of the gods themselves.
The Epic of Gilgamesh is the oldest Sumerian text that narrates a flood. The story of Noah and the flood in Genesis is the second oldest known flood story which its details being very similar to that of The Epic of Gilgamesh. One of the questions that arise when contrasting these narratives is: why did the Ea chose Utnapishtim and why did Yahweh chose Noah? The Epic of Gilgamesh gave very little background information on Utnapishtim. In fact, it only said that he was the son of Ubara-Tutu. It did not say what type of character was he nor did they tell us of his children. Assumedly, this could be a result of a lack of personal and moral convictions, unlike The Bible where all stories therein contains deep personal and moral implications. Furthermore, Noah was described as just and perfect—“9 This is the genealogy of Noah. Noah was a just man, perfect in his generations. Noah walked with God.10 And Noah begot three sons: Shem, Ham, and Japheth” (Genesis 6: 9-10). Ultimately, the lack of moral evaluation is a testament to the frivolity of the gods in The Epic of Gilgamesh. Perhaps the many years after the Epic of Gilgamesh was written allowed humans to developed a more solid concept of virtue and morality which in turn gave them the necessary tools to write a deeply spiritual and morally righteous text, namely, The Bible.
Polytheism is the religious theme in the Epic, whereas Genesis, and the entire Bible is monotheistic. These consistent features is crucial to the contrast of these two stories...

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