Free «Gilgamesh and the ark» Essay Sample

The stories of the great floods s given in the book of Genesis and the Gilgamesh Epic are very much similar with just some slight differences. It is evident that, a flood must have hit that certain area causing many fatalities. The interesting aspects of the stories are that, they seem to be describing the same area but doing it very differently.

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The biggest instance to proof both the similarities and the difference involved is the number of days the rain tormented this area. In the book of Genesis (7:4) God tells Noah "...and I will cause it to rain for forty days and forty nights and every substance that I have made will be destroyed from off the face of the earth."  In the Epic of Gilgamesh Utnapishtim said, "For six days and six nights the wind blew, torrent and tempest and flood overwhelmed the world, tempest and flood raged together like warring hosts" (The Epic of Gilgamesh) . Therefore the two stories are much alike than different.   The magnitude of the water levels in this area comes out clearly. It is not imaginable how the situation would be after rain in torrent amounts pounds for forty days and nights. It brings out the anger, and dissatisfaction both the gods have with the people and since they have vowed to completely eliminate them, it is a culmination of the un worthiness that people in both cases had assumed.

Anger, lost love for the creatures comes out here for both animals and human. God said to Noah "the end of flesh is become before me for the world is filled with violence through out them." There is a feeling of lost love in that, God says he has had enough with the people. Therefore there was some patience which became too much to bear and resulted into destructive anger. In the Gilgamesh epic, a similar account is found. The gods were angry with the people because they had taken too much control and floods had to be sent as a punishment to wipe them out (The Epic of Gilgamesh).

Both gods required submission and obedience from their subjects and since they had failed, they had to be removed. The difference in this is that, it might be somehow sensible about the rain pounding for six days and nights as in the Gilgamesh account. For rain to fall for forty nights and days; this is quit too much of rain. The Gilgamesh account according to human conception may appear more realistic and easier to have happened than the Noah's case. This case might be taken as the more vivid one according to the events that follow one another.

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Enril was half god and half human. His mother was a goddess from who he inherited beauty, gentleness, and strength. His father was human from whom he inherited morality. His mother had a temple in Uruk but his father on the other hand was described as a fool by the king (Sanders, 1972). In Genesis (6:3), God tells Noah "my spirit shall not always strive with man, for that he also is flesh: yet his days shall be a hundred and twenty." This statement is may be the greatest difference between God and Enril. God is spirit while Enril is both a god and human and this leads to his mortality.

In the Bible God tells Noah to prepare an ark; in Genesis (6:14) God says" make you an arc of gopher wood rooms hall you make in the ark and shall pitch it inside and outside with pitch" after the water level decreased considerably, the ark rested on top of Mt. Arrat. This explains the severity of the situation in that particular place. A similar account of events is seen in the Epic of Gilgamesh. After the rains stopped, Utnapishtim's arc landed on top of Mt. Nisir a mountain, which was the only place above the floodwaters that you could see. " I looked for the land in vain but fourteen leagues distant there appeared a mountain of Nisir the boat held fast and did not bulge" (sanders, 1972).

These similarities are very striking and with no doubt you may conclude that the floods happened in the same locality. We may conclude that the floods were real and not any other common story by analyzing the happenings in the above stories and directions. In both cases the destruction and termination of lives is evident.

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The most striking aspect of these two stories is that both mountains are about 300 miles apart on the current geographical locations. This is an explanation of the realities involved in these two stories. Another important point here is that in both situations the dimensions of the ark were provided. In the Gilgamesh Epic the measurement of the baroque was given as "let her beam equal her length, let her deck be roofed like the vault that covers the abyss then take into the boat the seed of all creatures." (The Epic of Gilgamesh)  Ea told Utnapishtim in a dream. On the Bible account, God tells Noah "the length of the ark shall be three hundred cubits, the height fifty cubits, and the height thirty cubits" Genesis (6:15)

The difference of the two arks comes in here with one of them (Gilgamesh) being square and the other for Noah with specified dimensions taking the shape of a cube. The size of the Gilgamesh cannot be quantitatively verified and the size comparison may not be possible with the above specifications. The details of the Gilgamesh ark were provided in a dream while Noah talked directly with God and he provided the ark measurements directly. The two accounts however prove of the preparations given by the gods in the advent of the flooding. Both Gods had provided enough time to repent for those who could have listened to Noah or Utnapishtim. This means that the gods still had some love reserved for the rebellious people.                            

The love of Gods in both accounts is still verified by the fact that both Utnapishtim and Noah were instructed to take all types of animals with them in the ark. In the case of Gilgamesh, Utnapishtim was instructed to take the seed of all creatures. A similar instruction is found in Genesis (7:2-3). Noah is told to take the beasts seven each for male and female incase of the clean beasts and two each incase of the unclean beasts.

The Gods are not willing to destroy everything in both cases. The term seed may be taken to mean a male and a female as is the case of Noah. The point here is that, the life that existed at that time was important to both gods and the seeds were meant to propagate again after the calamity. In fact, Noah was told to take his whole household since God had found favor in them due to their difference from the rest.

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