History of Civilization "Utnapishtim" Essay

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HI 101 History of Civilization
Essay 1 Option 1

Have you ever played the game "Telephone"? The game begins by having a group of people sit in a circle. The first person whispers a phrase in the ear of the next person who whispers what he heard to the next person and so on. When the phrase finally reaches the first person, he says the original phrase out loud followed by the phrase that was whispered to him. The result is often comical. Sometimes the two phrases sound nothing alike, but you can usually tell that there is at least some similarity between the original phrase and the distorted one. I believe this is the effect that we see when we compare the Biblical flood to the Epic of Gilgamesh. The Epic of Gilgamesh has lost some of the details of the original Genesis account through constant retelling, but we can still see some similarities between the two.

There have been many accounts and tales of a worldwide flood written down throughout the centuries. Some of them closely resemble the Biblical account of Genesis 6-8 such as the Epic of Gilgamesh. As the story of the flood was told and retold to the next generation certain main aspects of the story remained the same while others may have been slightly altered or exaggerated. The Epic of Gilgamesh retains the facts that the flood was universal and the purpose of it was to destroy mankind. It is interesting that the reason that mankind needs to be destroyed is because of their wickedness, that is a key similarity. In both stories, the main character is told to build a large ship. The ships are similar in that they are very large, they only have one door, and they have a box-like shape. In both accounts, the main character brings his family and all living species aboard, and he sends out birds to determine whether the water has subsided. Also, the ship comes to rest on the top of a mountain. It is not the same mountain, but they are both in the same region of the world. It is interesting to see how close the…