Gilgamesh Flood Legends

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Legends have surfaced in hundreds of cultures throughout the world that tell of a huge, catastrophic flood that destroyed most of mankind, and that was survived by only a few individuals and animals. There are at least 500 flood myths reported from different nations with different cultures such as, China, Babylon, Mexico, and the list goes on. Although the vast number of such legends is surprising, the similarity between much of the content is amazing. The Genesis Flood story is one tale in the worldwide collection which is the most widespread and it is commonly compared with the flood of Gilgamesh. In spite of the fact that the Gilgamesh epic and the Genesis flood story show significant differences in details due to cultural distinctions,…show more content…
A great rain from the immortal being or beings covered the land and mountains with water: “..on that day all the springs of the great deep burst forth, and the floodgates of the heavens were opened” which is a quote from Genesis 7:11 and in the Epic of Gilgamesh, it is recorded, “Just as dawn began to glow there arose from the horizon a black cloud. ...Stunned shock over Adad 's deeds overtook the heavens, and turned to blackness all that had been light. The... land shattered like a... pot. All day long the South Wind blew ..., blowing fast, submerging the mountain in water, overwhelming the people like an attack. (Sandars)”. With these evidence, it is clear that there has been a flood, however, the question is, did it last for the same period of time? In the Bible, it is mentioned, “And rain fell on the earth forty days and forty nights. (Genesis 7:12)” while “The waters flooded the earth for a hundred and fifty days. (Genesis 7:24).”, unlike how it is stated that on the seventh day, the storm calmed down in the Gilgamesh flood story: “When the seventh day arrived... The sea calmed, fell still, the whirlwind (and) flood stopped up. I looked around all day long quiet had set in. (Sandars)”. A proposable reason for this is that the Sumerian myths were passed down through oral tradition until the invention of writing. Consequently, this results in alteration of minor…show more content…
In both narratives, the righteous man sent out birds at regular intervals to find out if the dry land was in their vicinity. In Genesis 8:6-11, it is written, “After forty days Noah opened a window he had made in the ark and sent out a raven, and it kept flying back and forth until the water had dried up from the earth. Then he sent out a dove to see if the water had receded from the surface of the ground. But the dove could find nowhere to perch because there was water over all the surface of the earth; so it returned to Noah in the ark. He reached out his hand and took the dove and brought it back to himself in the ark. He waited seven more days and again sent out the dove from the ark. When the dove returned to him in the evening, there in its beak was a freshly plucked olive leaf.”, which shows that Noah did send out birds until he was sure that the water had withdrawn. Correspondingly, in the Epic of Gilgamesh, Utnapishtim also releases three birds in order to see if they return. Although, the third bird does not circle back to him indicating that the land has dried: “When a seventh day arrived I sent forth a dove and released it. The dove went off, but came back to me; no perch was visible so it circled back to me. I sent forth a swallow and released it. The swallow went off, but came back to me; no perch

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