The Epic of Gilgamesh is significant because:



  • It contains many parallels with the flood story of Genesis


  • It was written before Moses wrote the Torah (the first five books)




Similarities between Genesis and the Epic of Gilgamesh



  • Mankind had become obnoxious to God (or the gods)


  • God (or the gods) decided to send a worldwide flood


  • The flood would destroy people and all land animals and birds


  • A man is chosen to save a few people and samples of creatures


  • The man is told to build a multi-storey wooden ark


  • The ark is sealed with pitch


  • A great rain covers the land


  • The ark lands on a mountain in the Middle East


  • The hero sends out birds to find dry land


  • The hero and their family on leaving the ark, offer an animal as a sacrifice


  • They are blessed and repopulate the earth
Key Differences between Genesis and the Epic of Gilgamesh



  • The Gilgamesh Epic records that God was angry because of the people’s excessive noisiness, not their wickedness.


  • The Gilgamesh ark is not seaworthy (6 stories high and square), whereas Noah’s Ark has the dimensions of a usable vessel (3 stories high and rectangular)


  • The ark lands on a mountaintop in both stories and birds are released but the Gilgamesh Epic tells us that the gods quarrel among themselves giving immortality to the hero.