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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
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
Does not apply
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