Re: It's no joke!

From: Dick Fischer <>
Date: Mon Apr 11 2005 - 14:41:06 EDT
Hi lain, you wrote:

Thanks for the explanation of the meaning of the Hebrew. It would be good if it were possible to have a translation into English that conveys the meaning you intend.

Christians tend to read Genesis in a vacuum of extra-biblical information, and where discrepancies seem to exist, they try to beat the world into submission.  This is the prime source of conflict and YECs do it flagrantly.

I think the scope and timing of the flood is easier to comprehend when viewed as a (quite likely) historical event described in similar fashion in related ancient manuscripts.  The literature includes in order of writing, Ziusudra, Atrahasis, the 11th tablet of Gilgamesh and Genesis 6-9.  Genesis has the added value of being incorporated in sacred Scripture, but that does not alter the fact that earlier texts existed and the writer of Genesis probably had access to these accounts, or at least accessed the oral tradition from which all the accounts were derived.

Since all the Mesopotamian accounts describe a local, Mesopotamian event that occurred around 2900 BC, you can bet that Genesis is also describing a local, Mesopotamian event that occurred around 2900 BC.  Plus the flood was written about long after. Berossus described the flood in his history of Babylon written about 200 BC.  King Ashurbanipal (668-626 BC) wrote, I study stone inscriptions from before the flood, which are obtuse, obscure and confused.  Peter speaks of the flood in the New Testament.  So we have every reason to believe the flood was historical (and local, and Mesopotamian).

The following excerpts are from flood texts listed in order of writing from Ziusudra (in Sumerian), Atrahasis (in Accadian), the eleventh tablet of Gilgamesh (written in four languages), and Genesis 6-9 (written in Hebrew).

"when their heart led the great gods to produce the flood." Gilgamesh
"every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil." Genesis 6:5

"The great gods decided to make a flood" Gilgamesh XI,14
"God ... decided to make an end of all flesh" Genesis 6:13

"Enki...over the capitals the storm will sweep" Ziusudra iv, 156
"He [Enki] told him of the coming of the flood" Atrahasis III,i,37
"God said to Noah ...I will bring a flood" Genesis 6:13,17

"...the huge boat" Ziusudra v,207
"Build a ship" Atrahasis III,i,22
"Build a ship" Gilgamesh XI,24
"Make yourself an ark" Genesis 6:14

"who protected the seed of mankind" Ziusudra vi,259
"Bring into the ship the seed of all life" Gilgamesh XI,27
"to keep their seed alive" Genesis 7:3

"Draw a design of it on the ground." Atrahasis
"The ship that thou shalt build" Gilgamesh XI
"And this is the fashion which thou shalt make it of ..." Genesis 6:15

"Ten dozen cubits the height of each of her walls" Gilgamesh XI
"... three hundred cubits, the breadth of it fifty cubits" Genesis 6:15

"Like the apsu you shall roof it" Atrahasis 111j,29
"Like the apsu you shall roof it" Gilgamesh XI,31
"Make a roof for the ark" Genesis 6:16

"coming of the flood on the seventh night" Atrahasis,lll,i,37
"after seven days the waters of the flood came" Genesis 7:10

"pitch I poured into the inside" Gilgamesh XI,66
"cover it inside and out with pitch" Genesis 6:14
"some people scrape pitch off the boat" Berossus

"your family, your relatives" Atrahasis DT,42(w),8
"he sent his family on board" Atrahasis III,ii,42
"into the ship all my family and relatives" Gilgamesh XI,84
"Go into the ark, you and all your household" Genesis 7:1

"animals which emerge from the earth" Ziusudra vi,253
"all the wild creatures of the steppe" Atrahasis DT,42(w),9
"The cattle of the field, the beast of the plain" Gilgamesh XI,85
"clean animals and of animals that are not clean" Genesis 7:8

"Enter the boat and close the boat's door" Atrahasis DT,42(w),6
"I entered the boat and closed the door' Gilgamesh XI,93
"And they that entered ... and the Lord shut him in" Genesis 7:16

"the storm had swept ... for seven days and seven nights" Ziusudra
"For seven days and seven nights came the storm" Atrahasis III,iv,24
"after seven days the waters of the flood came" - Genesis 7:10

"Below the fountain of the deep was stopped" Atrahasis
"The fountains also of the deep and the windows of heaven were stopped"
Genesis 8:2

"Ziusudra made an opening in the large boat" Ziusudra vi,207
"I opened the window" Gilgamesh XI,135
"Noah opened the window of the ark" Genesis 8:6

"The dove went out and returned" Gilgamesh XI,147
"sent forth the dove and the dove came back to him" Genesis 8:10

"Then I sent forth and set free a raven" Gilgamesh XI
"And he sent forth a raven" Genesis 8:7
"The king slaughtered ... bulls and sheep" Ziusudra vi,211
"He offered [a sacrifice]" Atrahasis III,v,31
"And offered a sacrifice" Gilgamesh XI,155
"offered burnt offerings on the altar" Genesis 8:20

"[The gods smelled] the savor' Atrahasis III,v,34
"The gods smelled the sweet savor" Gilgamesh XI,160
"And the Lord smelled the sweet savor..." Genesis 8:21

"That I may remember it [every] day" Atrahasis III,vi,4
"I shall remember these days and never forget" Gilgamesh XI,165
"I shall remember my covenant ...I may remember' Genesis 9:15-16

"he touched our foreheads to bless us" Gilgamesh XI,192
"And God blessed Noah" Genesis 9:1

Dick Fischer  - Genesis Proclaimed Association
Finding Harmony in Bible, Science, and History

Received on Mon Apr 11 14:42:26 2005

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.8 : Mon Apr 11 2005 - 14:42:29 EDT