Was The Flood Story Copied From Babylonia?

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#1
Read this today...

Noah's Ark: the facts behind the Flood

In the year 1872 one George Smith, a banknote engraver turned assistant in the British Museum, astounded the world by discovering the story of the Flood – much the same as that in the Book of Genesis – inscribed on a cuneiform tablet made of clay that had recently been excavated at far-distant Nineveh (in present-day Iraq). Human behaviour, according to this new discovery, prompted the gods of Babylon to wipe out mankind through death by water, and, as in the Bible, the survival of all living things was effected at the last minute by a single man...

In 1872 everyone knew their Bible backwards, and the announcement that the iconic story of the Ark and the Flood existed on a barbaric-looking document of clay in the British Museum that pre-dated the Bible and had been dug up somewhere in the East was indigestible.

A hundred and thirteen years after Smith’s breakthrough, a similar episode of British-Museum-curator-meets-amazing-cuneiform-flood-story befell me...
Basically, in 1985 this guy comes across a newly-found Babylonian tablet. As he starts to translate it, he realizes it is related to the Babylonian flood story contained within the Epic of Gilgamesh.

The Ark Tablet, like many documents of its period, is designed to fit comfortably in the reader’s hand; it is much the same size and weight as a contemporary mobile phone.

The tablet was written during the Old Babylonian period, broadly 1900–1700BC. The document was not dated by the scribe, but from the shape and appearance of the tablet itself, the character and composition of the cuneiform and the grammatical forms and usages, we can be sure that this is the period in which it was written. It was composed in Semitic Babylonian (Akkadian) in a literary style. The hand is neat and that of a fully trained cuneiform scribe.
So it's definitely Babylonian and predates Genesis.

The most remarkable feature provided by the Ark Tablet is that the lifeboat built by Atra-hasıs – the Noah-like hero who receives his instructions from the god Enki – was definitely, unambiguously round. “Draw out the boat that you will make,” he is instructed, “on a circular plan.”...

For the first time we learn that the Babylonian animals, like those of Noah, went in two by two, a completely unsuspected Babylonian tradition that draws us ever closer to the familiar narrative of the Bible. (Another interesting matter: the Babylonian flood story in cuneiform is 1,000 years older than the Book of Genesis in Hebrew, but reading the two accounts together demonstrates their close, literary relationship. No firm explanation of how this might have really come about has previously been offered, but study of the circumstances in which the Judaeans exiled to Babylon by Nebuchadnezzar II found themselves answers many crucial questions.)
So the Babylonian flood story, which predates Genesis, includes animals being taken aboard "two by two".

IMO, this is further evidence that when the Israelites were captive in Babylon, they picked up this flood story, tweaked it a bit over time to fit their own culture, and it ended up being the story of Noah and the flood in Genesis.

I'm curious to see what other interpretations of this new information are.
 
#2
Many cultures have world flood accounts. The Babylonian is only one of them. I haven't time to read the article, but I expect the writer believes the flood did not happen, therefore he assumes it is just a story passed on from one culture to another. In that case, it is only natural to wonder who plagiarized from who.

However, if the flood did happen (as I believe), I would expect there to be other flood accounts, and there are. One did not copy the story from another. Each nation had a cultural memory of a historical flood.

It is like watching the news on TV and each network is giving the same or similar story. Did NBC copy the story from ABC, or CNN from CBS? No. However, since the flood was not recent history, each culture had details that varied. Only Genesis has the accurate account.
 

Glomung

Account Closed
#3
There is no doubt that there have been severe floods in that area.
When Thera blew up about 1625 B.C. the tidal wave trashed most of the Mediterranean,
and there was another (don't remember the date) that caused movement of huge amounts of sediment
in the Black Sea.

The was a flood (or several) and there was a Noah, how extensive the flood was is the question.
As far as a "world wide deluge" goes, there is no evidence to support that.
 
#4
Many cultures have world flood accounts.
But they vary really, really widely. Given that people tend to settle in floodplains along large rivers and that floods are common, it's hardly a surprise that "big flood" legends are common.

The Babylonian is only one of them. I haven't time to read the article, but I expect the writer believes the flood did not happen, therefore he assumes it is just a story passed on from one culture to another. In that case, it is only natural to wonder who plagiarized from who.
It's not as simplistic as that. We know that: 1) the Israelites were held captive in Babylon, 2) Babylonians had a flood story where a god punishes mankind by flooding the world, except a man, his family, and animals that were spared "two by two", 3) after the Israelites left Babylon, Genesis was written and it included a flood story where God punishes mankind by flooding the world, except a man, his family, and animals that were spared "two by two".

So it's not exactly a stretch to conclude that the Israelites copied the Babylonian flood story, tweaked it a bit, and made it their own. In fact, given what we know it's the most obvious, logical conclusion.

However, if the flood did happen (as I believe), I would expect there to be other flood accounts, and there are. One did not copy the story from another. Each nation had a cultural memory of a historical flood.
That wouldn't make sense if they were all descended from the same source (Noah and family). You should read some of the stories. They're extremely different. They don't just differ on the details, they differ in every major aspect.
 
#5
the Epic of Gilgamesh was written AFTER the deluge ..
and Gilgamesh cuts God head off for sending the flood ..
because it predates the Genesis authoring does not mean Genesis borrowed from it ..
Noah predates them, thus they borrowed it from those who came off the Ark ..
 
#8
the Epic of Gilgamesh was written AFTER the deluge ..
and Gilgamesh cuts God head off for sending the flood ..
because it predates the Genesis authoring does not mean Genesis borrowed from it ..
Noah predates them, thus they borrowed it from those who came off the Ark ..
I understand that's what you believe, but it just doesn't line up with the facts God has given us.
 
#9
Do you believe that Genesis is the Word of God or of men?

"All Scripture is God-breathed..." 2 Timothy 3:16
So you believe the OT authors were just robots used by God? IOW, God was being somewhat deceptive...."You know those books you thought were written by Moses and the rest? Heh, heh, heh....that was ME!!!"
 
#10
I do not particularly believe in the historicity of the Torah. There is very little evidence to support the events that are part of the mythology. I tend to believe that the flood narrative in Genesis was written as a criticism of the pagan flood narrative. In the pagan narrative, the gods are fickle and evil, but the Hebrew tradition changes it around so that human evil is the cause of the deluge.

the Epic of Gilgamesh was written AFTER the deluge ..
and Gilgamesh cuts God head off for sending the flood ..
because it predates the Genesis authoring does not mean Genesis borrowed from it ..
Noah predates them, thus they borrowed it from those who came off the Ark ..
When does Gilgamesh cut a god's head off for sending the flood. I have read the story and I cannot remember that part at all. Gilgamesh lives after the flood, and he goes on a quest to find Utnapishtim who is the man given immortality after surviving the flood aboard the ark.

Do you believe that Genesis is the Word of God or of men?

"All Scripture is God-breathed..." 2 Timothy 3:16
Why cannot it be both? God gave the breathed in Adam in Genesis. Does that mean that everything Adam did was merely God's actions? It is illogical to immediately jump from the notion of "inspiration" to the notion that the biblical authors were pens for God.
 
#11
Do you believe that Genesis is the Word of God or of men?

"All Scripture is God-breathed..." 2 Timothy 3:16
God ..
even when Paul stated "my opinion" I think he was inspired in making them, because it was an evolving issue ..

2Ti 3:16 All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness;

theopneustos

BTW: I like your translation because it is literal .. and gives more accurate data .. that being the "pneuma" (breath/spirit) (in the tense of pneustos) IS the HS part of God ..

God Bless you ..
 
#13
So you believe the OT authors were just robots used by God? IOW, God was being somewhat deceptive...."You know those books you thought were written by Moses and the rest? Heh, heh, heh....that was ME!!!"
actually it is the Jews that said Moses wrote the Torah ..
which is impossible for Moses to have written about his own death and afterward, not to mention before his death it records Moses said this or that ..
so logic dictates Joshua recorded post-Moses death and possibly Aaron on some of it pre-Moses' death ..
 
#14
Well Ixoye, there's a reason European geologists of the 18th and early 19th centuries ended up concluding that there was no global flood as told in Genesis. Remember, all of these scientists were Christians, many of them devoutly so. But as Europeans began digging, mining, and traveling, the geologists had no choice but to conclude that there was no flood. If you read their writings, it was extremely painful for many of them. They didn't want to come to that conclusion, but the facts on the ground they were seeing were unmistakable.

Since then we can add in genetic and paleontologic data that confirms that conclusion. Throw in the historical material (as described in the OP) and from any objective standpoint, it's a no-brainer.
 
#15
When does Gilgamesh cut a god's head off for sending the flood. I have read the story and I cannot remember that part at all. Gilgamesh lives after the flood, and he goes on a quest to find Utnapishtim who is the man given immortality after surviving the flood aboard the ark.
right .. Utnapishtim and Atrahasis = Noah ..
same as The Epic of Atrahasis

Gilgamesh cuts for THE God who sent the flood .. Noah's God ..

The Epic of Atrahasis is the fullest Mesopotamian account of the Great Flood. The text is known from several versions: two written by Assyrian scribes (one in the Assyrian, one in the Babylonian dialect), the third one (on three tablets) was written during the reign of king Ammi-saduqa of Babylonia (1647-1626 BC).
The story of the Flood is the final part of this epic, which starts with complaints by the Lesser Gods, who refuse to work any longer. Humankind is created, but men make so much noise, that the gods decide to wipe them out. The plan to send a Deluge, however, is betrayed by the god Enki, who sends a dream to Atrahasis.
Parts are quoted in Tablet XI of the Epic of Gilgameš. The translation offered here is adapted from the one by B.R. Foster.
 
#16
Well Ixoye, there's a reason European geologists of the 18th and early 19th centuries ended up concluding that there was no global flood as told in Genesis. Remember, all of these scientists were Christians, many of them devoutly so. But as Europeans began digging, mining, and traveling, the geologists had no choice but to conclude that there was no flood. If you read their writings, it was extremely painful for many of them. They didn't want to come to that conclusion, but the facts on the ground they were seeing were unmistakable.

Since then we can add in genetic and paleontologic data that confirms that conclusion. Throw in the historical material (as described in the OP) and from any objective standpoint, it's a no-brainer.
I'm laughing at their conclusions ..
the evidence is on every continent ..
 
#17
Gilgamesh and Enkidu (a half-man) cut Humbaba (YHWH) head off in the story ..
some scholars think Gilgamesh is actually Nimrod ..
hence instead of Nimrod being the one that dies, they make Nimrod kill God .. aka revisionism ..
 
#18
Ixoye,

No, sorry it isn't. There is no geologic, paleontologic, genetic, or other scientific data to support the idea that the entire earth was flooded a few thousand years ago, and all life on earth wiped out except what rode aboard a wooden boat.

I guarantee you whatever source is telling you otherwise is being deceitful. I've looked into this and studied very extensively.

Now if you want to say "I don't care what the scientific data says one way or the other. I believe what the Bible says no matter what", that's fine and we can just agree to disagree on that. But if you're going to try and argue that the science actually supports this story and that all the relevant scientists over the last 230 years are either horribly bad at their jobs, conspiring, or under some sort of satanic spell, that's an entirely different matter, and one that I would take great issue with.
 
#19
Ixoye,

No, sorry it isn't. There is no geologic, paleontologic, genetic, or other scientific data to support the idea that the entire earth was flooded a few thousand years ago, and all life on earth wiped out except what rode aboard a wooden boat.

I guarantee you whatever source is telling you otherwise is being deceitful. I've looked into this and studied very extensively.
you might as well take issue .. because I have with those who call themselves scientist and are being deceitfully otherwise ..

as to the date of the flood .. the bible places it at about 2400 bce ..
 
#20
right .. Utnapishtim and Atrahasis = Noah ..
same as The Epic of Atrahasis

Gilgamesh cuts for THE God who sent the flood .. Noah's God ..

The Epic of Atrahasis is the fullest Mesopotamian account of the Great Flood. The text is known from several versions: two written by Assyrian scribes (one in the Assyrian, one in the Babylonian dialect), the third one (on three tablets) was written during the reign of king Ammi-saduqa of Babylonia (1647-1626 BC).
The story of the Flood is the final part of this epic, which starts with complaints by the Lesser Gods, who refuse to work any longer. Humankind is created, but men make so much noise, that the gods decide to wipe them out. The plan to send a Deluge, however, is betrayed by the god Enki, who sends a dream to Atrahasis.
Parts are quoted in Tablet XI of the Epic of Gilgameš. The translation offered here is adapted from the one by B.R. Foster.
here is my Mesopotamian flood account names for Noah ..

Ziusudra (Sumerian)
Atrahasis (Akkadian)
Utnapishtim (Babylonian)
Lugal (Sumerian)
Sharru (Akkadian)
Hasshu (Hittite)
Ereli (Urartaean)
Ivri (Hurrian)
 
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