Gilgamesh vs Genesis Essay examples

627 Words Oct 29th, 2005 3 Pages
Stories of creation exist in every religion and have been passed down for generations in their respective cultures. Striking similarities are readily seen between the Book of Genesis and the Epic of Gilgamesh of the Hebrews and Sumerians respectively. Both sources include a tale of a great flood that was to clear the earth of its inhabitants. Although the Epic of Gilgamesh predates the Book of Genesis by hundreds of years, the Sumerian text probably had a profound influence over the latter. Genesis, the first book of the Old Testament in the Bible, is so named because it opens with an account of the creation of the world. The first 11 chapters, which are heavily indebted to Mesopotamian tradition, trace the gradual expansion of …show more content…
In Gilgamesh Utnapishtim releases a raven, a dove, and a swallow to achieve the same. Both stories reveal as well that the vessels land on top of a mountain. Even though the stories name different mountains, the general locations of each are relatively in the same proximity. Apart from the similarities, there are crucial differences that should be examined. The most obvious discrepancy is the duration of the flood. The Sumerian account states that the Earth was flooded for six days and nights, contrary to the much longer Hebrew version of it being forty days and nights. Following the flood Noah is given the task to proliferate life back onto the Earth, however Utnapishtim is granted eternal life. Obviously, there is a striking relation between the two accounts of the flood. If the Hebrews did indeed borrow the ideas of the flood from the Sumerians, some may ask why there are still differences. The number forty is seen a lot in Hebrew writing to describe an extended time period, which may or may not have been the actual duration. Also, the Hebrews were a monotheistic people, so the notion of immortality being granted to a man would have been dismissed without delay. Discrepancies aside, the pure number of consistent or comparable details makes it exceptionally likely that the Hebrew text was reliant on the Sumerian.


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