Compare Told By Utnapishtim In Gilgamesh Essay Example
Compare Told By Utnapishtim In Gilgamesh Essay Example

Compare Told By Utnapishtim In Gilgamesh Essay Example

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  • Pages: 4 (1003 words)
  • Published: August 26, 2016
  • Type: Analysis
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Both the flood stories in the Bible and the Gilgamesh epic have been subjects of debate and discussion as they offer insights into the past and divine reactions. Despite some differences, there are notable similarities between these accounts. Both narratives depict a flood happening at different points in history, indicating that they essentially convey the same story.

Examining the intricate details and specifications of the epics or their versions reveals both their overall similarity and simple yet striking differences. In terms of the plot, both floods involve a displeased God or council of Gods in polytheism, such as Gilgamesh, who aims to punish mankind by eradicating them from the earth. However, a few living creatures are spared to carry on the righteous journey of mankind.

Both Genesis an


d Gilgamesh are set in the Mesopotamian region, but they are set in different time periods. According to Hagin, Genesis is set around 400 B.C., while Gilgamesh takes place around 2400 B.C. This difference in time creates a significant contrast in how gods or deities are portrayed in the two stories. In Genesis, there is only one God who commands and oversees humanity. On the other hand, Gilgamesh includes a council of gods led by Enlil, as stated by Sparknotes. Furthermore, in Genesis, the gods express their dissatisfaction with the wickedness found among humans.

Both God in Genesis and Enlil and his council in Gilgamesh express regret for creating humans and animals, viewing them as noisy and troublesome creatures. As a result, they both plan to wipe out mankind through a flood, considering it a harsh but necessary means of destruction.

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This is the first similarity between both versions of the flood: the role of a hero. In both stories, a hero is chosen by either God or a council of Gods to lead and save humanity after the disaster. The chosen individual is someone who holds privilege and represents righteousness. In the Genesis version, Noah is the fortunate one selected by God as the survivor and leader. In contrast, in the story of Gilgamesh, it is Utnapishtim who fulfills this role. It is worth noting a fundamental difference: in Genesis, God personally chooses Noah to be the survivor and leader.

In Gilgamesh, Utnapishtim was not chosen by the council but instead received secret instructions from Ea, the God of wisdom and crafts. Ea broke the secret, revealing that neither Utnapishtim nor any living being had been selected to survive. The council wondered how a living being could have escaped since no man was meant to survive the annihilation. Another difference between these stories is how Gilgamesh and Noah were informed about the secret.

Utnapishtim and Noah, both chosen by higher powers, were righteous individuals with valuable qualities. Utnapishtim discovered the secret through a dream and Ea speaking to a wall, while Noah was chosen by God to lead the ark. Both were tasked by the Gods to build a boat or ark as a shelter for living beings.

Noah's ark and Utnapishtim's ark had different shapes and dimensions. Noah's ark was shaped like a modern ship vessel, while Utnapishtim's ark had a cube-like shape. The measurements of Noah's ark were three hundred cubits in length, fifty cubits in width, and thirty cubits

in height. In contrast, Utnapishtim's ark measured one hundred and twenty cubits in all dimensions. Furthermore, there is a subtle yet significant difference in the account of the people on the two arks in these versions.

Both Genesis and Gilgamesh offer guidance on surviving a flood. In Genesis, God instructs Noah to bring his family and two of every creature onto the ark, with the aim of ensuring the continuity of humanity after the flood. Similarly, in Gilgamesh, Ea advises Utnapishtim to gather his family, belongings, and seeds of all living beings. Although there are some variations in the details, both narratives have a common goal - preserving life during this catastrophic occurrence.

Both Noah and Utnapishtim have contrasting limitations for their arks. While Noah's is made of cypress wood, Utnapishtim's is a combination of reeds and clay. The way the Flood occurs also differs between the two versions. In Gilgamesh, heavy rain is brought by Adad through heralds Shullat and Hanish Nergal who lifted the dams (Hagin). On the other hand, Genesis describes it as "All the wellsprings of the great deep burst and the casements of the heavens were opened" (Lawall), indicating involvement of heavy rain and wind in its spread.

The duration of the flood is different in Genesis and Gilgamesh. In Genesis, it lasted for forty days and forty nights, while in Gilgamesh, it lasted for seven days and seven nights. However, both versions mention the boat landing on different mountains - Mt. Nisir in Gilgamesh and Mt. Ararat in Genesis. Another similarity and difference can be found in how Noah and Utnapishtim determined if the flood had

ended; they both used different types of birds to assess the situation.

Noah and Utnapishtim both used different birds in their respective flood stories. Noah used a raven, a dove (twice), and another dove that returned with an olive branch. However, the third dove didn't come back. On the other hand, Utnapishtim used a dove, a swallow (both of which returned), and finally a raven that didn't return. Both versions also show Noah and Utnapishtim making offerings to the Gods, suggesting a shared practice during that time. Despite the differences in their journeys, both stories end optimistically. In Genesis, Noah's family continues on along with other creatures to repopulate the world as regular humans.

Both in Gilgamesh and the Bible, Utnapishtim and his wife are elevated to the level of gods by Enlil. The flood accounts in both stories have striking similarities, but also display fundamental differences. They can be seen as different perspectives on the same narrative from various historical viewpoints. The significant similarities between the two versions are matched by important divergences. Ultimately, these stories vividly depict their ancient origins.

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