Monday, September 10, 2012

Reading Blog Gilgamesh: Tablet XI

Through the first part of the tablet I connects the events of the flooding with the story of Noah and his arc. The city of Shuruppak was going to be flooded by the gods who believed people were behaving in a wrong way. But Utnapishtim was warned secretly by Ea about this flooding. He was told to build a huge boat, and he builds it, abandoning his house. Then the "world is flooded" by most of the gods, and some are even angry that Utnapishtim and his wife were able to survive. In the boat there were several birds, pigeons and ravens primarily according to the book. Utnapishtim would let these birds go, and if they came back it meant that there was no land near, but if they did not come back, land was close.

This compares to the story of Noah's arc, since he too was warned of a flooding and he builds an arc where he puts 2 of each species, which I believe also happened with Utnapishtim although it is not mentioned. His wife, sons, and himself are able to survive. G-d too floods the region because of wrong behavior, but he believes that the punishment fits the crime. Only those who committed offenses should pay (same as in Gilgamesh). Noah uses the same strategy Utnapishtim used, in which he released birds and saw if they came back or if they circled above any land.
The story of Noah might come out of this story as well as it might be vice-versa, the story of Utanpishtim growing out of Noah's. Personally, I think Noah's story grew out of Utnapishtim, since the civilization of Sumer was first than the Jews.

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