Gilgamesh flood tablet: a 2,600-year-old text that's eerily similar to the story of Noah's Ark

By Jurassic JennJun 17, 2024 13:12 PMScience
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Gilgamesh flood tablet
Gilgamesh flood tablet. Source: www.worldhistory.org

The incredible discovery of a clay tablet, known as the Gilgamesh flood tablet, unveils a narrative that bears an uncanny resemblance to the story of Noah's Ark. This particular fragment from the Epic of Gilgamesh is an ancient piece of literature etched onto baked clay, making it one of the oldest written works ever known. This was reported by SSPDaily.

Unearthed in Nineveh, an ancient Assyrian city in present-day Iraq, the tablet provides a glimpse into a tale that dates back to the third millennium B.C., although the tablet itself is believed to originate from the seventh century B.C. It sheds light on an epic flood that ravaged Babylon, as described in intricate cuneiform inscriptions.

Drawing parallels to the biblical account in the Book of Genesis, the Gilgamesh flood tablet tells of how the gods sent a catastrophic flood aimed at obliterating life on Earth. However, the god Ea communicated this plan to Utu-napishtim, an ancient ruler, urging him to construct a boat to protect himself, his family, and a diverse array of animals, as described by the British Museum, custodian of this precious artifact.

Significantly, similar to the story of Noah's Ark, birds were released to determine if land had reemerged from the receding waters. Subsequently, Utu-napishtim imparted his experiences to Gilgamesh, adding an extra layer of profundity to this ancient account.

The Gilgamesh flood tablet came into the possession of the British Museum in the late 1800s, initially perplexing researchers who were unable to decipher its messages. Yet, thanks to the perseverance of George Smith, a dedicated scholar, the text was finally deciphered. After unlocking its secrets, Smith reportedly declared, "I am the first man to read that after more than two thousand years of oblivion," attesting to the triumph of understanding harnessed from the depths of time, as Smithsonian recounts.

While this tablet marked the first tangible evidence of a flood story parallel to Noah's Ark emerging from a different culture, further archaeological finds have uncovered even older cuneiform tablets with comparable flood narratives. These intriguing discoveries imply that tales of the deluge had ambulated across civilizations long preceding the writing of the Hebrew bible. In essence, the Epic of Gilgamesh may have served as the wellspring inspiring the timeless chronicles of Noah's ark.

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