The Bible

The Flood: Comparing Gilgamesh and the Bible College

The story of the flood in Genesis 6-9 in the Old Testament is familiar to the readers of the Bible, but the record of such a flood first appears much earlier in ca. 2,500 B.C. on the eleventh tablet of the Mesopotamian epic of Gilgamesh. Although thousands of years stand in between the Bible and Gilgamesh, the story of the flood prevails; the authors of the Bible mirror the flood of Gilgamesh in Genesis. The flood is significant to the Bible and makes an appearance in Genesis because it carries values of human life and piety, and messages about the relationship between God and mankind. The Biblical flood follows closely to the Gilgamesh flood, but the two are not identical. Comparing and contrasting the two stories of the flood, the authors of the Bible mimic much of the mythical flood, but also change and innovate certain pieces of the plot. Both similarities and differences between the flood in Gilgamesh and the flood in Genesis matter because they tell us what values and messages of the flood the authors of the Bible wanted to preserve from the Mesopotamian epic and communicate to the readers of the Bible, and what values and messages the authors of the Bible wanted to change about the Mesopotamian epic, why, and what these...

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