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Title: The flood in genesis and the epic of Gilgamesh
Authors: Azzopardi, John
Keywords: Epic literature -- History and criticism
Literature -- Translations
Semitic literature
Floods -- Religious aspects
Bible. Genesis -- Biography
Issue Date: 1981
Publisher: University of Malta. Faculty of Theology
Citation: Azzopardi, J. (1981). The flood in genesis and the epic of Gilgamesh. Melita Theologica, 32(1-2), 1-5.
Abstract: The flood in Genesis is recounted at length from 6:5 to 9:17. It is a relatively long account with a double introduction - the corruption of mankind and preparations for the flood - the actual flood and a doubt e conclusion - the flood subsides and the disembarkment. Chapter 9 gives us the new world order, i.e. the second covenant. In the Epic of Gilgamesh the flood is the fifth - from a total of seven - narrative. It is the most complete and the best preserved part of the whole Epic. In December 1872 a,t a meeting of the then recently-founded Society of Biblical Archaeology, George Smith announced: HA short time back I discovered among the Assyrian tablets in the British Museum an account of the Flood." This was the eleventh tablet of the Assyrian narrative of the Epic of Gilgamesh. It was part of the library of table'ts excavated at Nineveh in 1853. In this collection there was the Assyrian collation of the Epic of Gilgamesh. The importance of the discovery began to be appreciated b;,( Smith's announcement. Soon after this, Smith published the Chaldean Account of the Deluge. The interest was great, but the flood tablet was still incomplete. The search for more tablets was renewed. The Daily Telegraph contributed 1000 guineas for further excavation at Nineveh. Smith undertook the excavation for the British Museum, and soon after his arrival at Nineveh he found the missing: lines from the flood narrative. Hence, it became, and still is, the most complete of the whole Epic. It is the eleventh tablet, which is the fullest and best preserved of all, with over three hundred extant lines. The Gilgamesh Epic is edited by Hugo Gressmann in Altorientalische Texte, published by Walter de Gruyter & Company, Berlin & Leipzig, second edition, 1926, pp. 175 ff. It is translated by James B. Pritchard, Ancient Near Eastern Texts Relating to the Old Testament, Princeton University Press, second edition, 1955, pp. 72 ft. At the turn of the century there was a great discussion on the relationship of the Biblical to the Babylonian story of the flood as it is in the Gilgamesh Epic. There is certainly a material relationship between the two versions. However, today no one holds that the Genesis narrative depends on Gilgamesh.
Appears in Collections:MT - Volume 32, Issue 1-2 - 1981
MT - Volume 32, Issue 1-2 - 1981

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