GENESIS I – THE CREATION – NOAH AND THE “GREAT FLOOD” – SUMERIAN, BABYLONIAN, AND ASSYRIAN VERSIONS

The Sumerian “Noah” Great Flood Myth:

The earliest record of the Sumerian creation myth and flood myth is found on a single fragmentary tablet excavated in Nippur, sometimes called the Eridu Genesis. It is written in the Sumerian language and datable by its script to the 17th century B.C. (1600-1700 B.C.) during the first Babylonian dynasty, where the language of writing and administration was still Sumerian.

[The Sumerican gods An, Enlil, Enki and Ninhursanga and the first cities founded: Eridu, Bad-tibira, Larsa, Sippar, and Shuruppak]

When Ziudsura was the king, Ea, or Enki, the god of the waters warns the hero Atrahasis and gives him instructions for the building of an ark … seven days and seven nights …

After the flood is over – Ziudsura (Sumerian Noah) sacrifices oxen and sheep and prostrates himself before An (sky-god) and Enlil (chief of the gods) who give him eternal life and take him to dwell in Dilmun

Ziusuda and Xisuthros

Xisuthros is included in Berossus’ king list: this text diverges from all other extant king lists by listing the city of Shurruppak and as a king, including Ziusudra as “Shuruppak’s” successor

[Berossus]

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Berossus

[Atrahasis]

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Atra-Hasis

The Epic of Atrhasis:

http://www.livius.org/as-at/atrahasis/atrahasis.html

The 18th century B.C. Akkadian Epic of Atrhasis … comparison between Atrahasis and Gilgamesh –

The editor of Babylonian Gilgamesh utilized the flood story from the Akkadian Epic of Atrahasis. The (Babylonian) Epic of Gilgamesh Utnapishtim the hero of the Flood myth, tells his story to Gilgamesh – related to the Akkadian Epic of Atrahasis

Alan Millard while working at the British Museum 1961-1964 rediscovered the Epic of Atrahasis which had lain unrecognized in a drawer for some time

… – Before the Hebrew Bible and Abraham

: The Unity of Genesis 1-11 (1985) is a book written by Univ of Calif at Berkeley faculty members Isaac M Kikawada and Arthur Quinn.

The book present historical and rhetorical analysis that affirms a single author of the first element chapters of Genesis, challenging the documentarhy hypothesis view of multiple sources and authors. It compares these first chapters of Genesis with the Akkadian Atrahasis epic ( and analyzes these chapters usage of chiasmus. (similar comparison in Kenneth Kitchen’s The Bible in its World) … The book acknowledges the work of Umberto Cassuto … it compares these first chapters of Genesis with the Akkadian Atrahasis e

According to Old Testament scholar Gordon Wenham, this creation account bears he marks of a carefully contrived literary creation, written with a distinct theological agenda: the elevation of Yahweh, the God of Israel, over all other gods, and notably over Marduk, the god of Babylon. [footnote: Gordon Wenham, “Exploring the Old Testament, Volume 1, The Pentateuch, SPCK (2003), PP. 15-18

The opening passages of the Book of Genesis consecutively contain two creation stories. First story – creates the world in 6 days by divine incantation 1st day: let there be light , 2nd day: creates an expanse (firmament) to separate the waters above the sky from those belwo (the ocean/abyssos) – 3rd day: waters recede and dry land appears and fills the earth with vegetation, puts lights in the sky to separate day from night to mark the seasons -5th day: creates creates sea creatures and birds of every kind and commands them to procreate – 6th day: creates land creatures of every kind – man and woman are created last, after the entire world is prepared for them and 7th final day of creation is Sabbath.

“2nd story: creation of man follows the creation of the heavens and earth, but occurs before the creation of plants and animals (Gen 2:4-2-25 – God takes dirt (adamah, ochre) from the ground to form a man and breathes life into him. Prepares garden in the East of Eden and puts the man there, then fills it with trees bearing fruit for him to eat. Man invited to eat the fruit of any tree but one: the tree of the knowledge of good and evil – God commands the man not eat of that one tree “for when you eat of it you willo surely die. (Gen 2:17) – bird and animals are then created as man’s companions and helpers and God presents them to the man. The first man gives names to each one, but finds none of them to be ‘like him.’

God puts the first man into a deep sleep and removes something from man’s side, and uses it to make the first woman. “For this reason,” the text reads, “a man will leave his father and mother for his wife, and they shall be joined as oneflesh.”

“Modern scholarship persuaded by (1) the use of two different names for God, (2) two different emphases (physical vs. moral issues), and (3) a different order of creation (plants before humans vs plants after humans), advances that these are two distinct scriptures written many years apart by two different sources. [footnote: The New Oxford Annotated Bible with the Apocrypha. Oxford University Press, 1991 (isbn 0195283562. Annotation to Genesis 2:4b.

Traditionally attributedto Moses, today most scholars accept that the Pentateuch is ‘a “composite work, the product of many hands and periods.[39 Genesis 1 and 2 are seen as the products of two separate authors, or schools. Genesis 1 is by an author or school of authors called the P (for Priestly) while Genesis 2 is by a different author or group of authors called J (for Jahwist – sometimes called non-P). There are several competing theories as to when and ho9w these two originallycomplete but separate narratives spanning the entire biblical story from cration to the death of Moses, while others believe that J is not a complete narrative but rather a series of edits of the J material, which itself was not a single document so much as a collection of material.

In either case, it is generally agreed that the J account (Genesis 2) is older than P (Genesis 1), that both were written during the 1st millennium B.C. and that they reached the combined form in which we know them today about 450 B.C.

 

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About Harold L Carter

Bachelor of Science, Columbia University Masters degree, Ohio State University Undergraduate National Officer, Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Eastern Asst Vice President, when a student at Columbia University Profile Photograph: Mom & Me, when I was a graduate student
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