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Comparison of the Flood Stories

There have been numerous flood stories identified from ancient sources

throughout the world. The Bible and the Koran both have flood stories that are similar

but also share differences. The Epic of Gilgamesh also has a flood myth that is contrary

to other flood accounts. Even though these stories are all dissimilar they all start because

of the faults of man.

The notion of the flood comes from a varied source in each story. In the Koran it

was Noah who asked God to flood the Earth because of man’s sins while in the Bible,

God called down upon Noah and told him of the plan to flood the Earth and destroy all

that was upon it because of man’s wickedness. In Gilgamesh the flood comes to

Utnapishtim in a dream. Utnapishtim is told that the world will be destroyed because of

man’s sins.

The actual boats contrasted each other in the tales. In Gilgamesh the arc was

around six stories high and was of a square shape. The arc in the Bible was only around

three stories high and of a rectangular shape. The Koran does not tell much about the

boat but it does show that Noah tried to warn the unbelievers about the great tragedy

about to strike their lands.

The amount of passengers taken on each voyage differed. The Bible states that

Noah took only his family members and two of each animal. In the Epic of Gilgamesh it

is said that Utnapishtim took not only family members but others as well including

craftsmen and a pilot for the boat. Utnapishtim also took some of every species of animal

with him because he was told to do so in his dream.

The source of the waters and the duration of the excursions were not the same.

The Bible states that it rained for forty days and forty nights with the water coming from

heavy rain and ground water. It also says that after Noah landed on a mountain it took a

long time for the Earth to dry up. During this time Noah sent out a raven and three doves

until the last of the three doves did not return and then he knew the land was dry. In

Gilgamesh the rain only lasted for six days and six nights and after stopping on the

mountain the land did not take as long to dry up. Utnapishtim also sent out birds to see if

the water was still standing but he sent out a dove, a swallow, and a raven. When the

raven did not return Utnapishtim knew the Earth was clean. Both Noah and Utnapishtim

made sacrifices at the end of the flood and both were blessed but in different ways. Noah

was told his family was blessed and to go out and multiply while Utnapishtim was made a

god and given eternal life.

It is believed that the flood story in the Bible occurred first although it was

recorded at a later time by Moses. The Epic of Gilgamesh, a spin of the Bible’s story, is

said to have been embellished upon and corrupted by non-believers of the Hebrew God.

The Koran flood story was written down by Muhammad and to some extent was taken

from the primary story in the Bible. Although many flood stories or myths as some are

called were told or written throughout the world’s long history the most believable and

presumably the original is the story of Noah that was told in the Genesis book of the



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