A Question For The Scholarly Re Gilgamesh

by jonahstourguide 7 Replies latest watchtower bible

  • jonahstourguide

    Hi All.

    Read this article re the Gilgamesh clay tablet.


    How does it impact the dating of the biblical flood? It seems earlier.

    I am going to do some research myself to make a comparison.

    It's interesting as I have not previously heard of the tablet but have heard of the

    Epic of Gilgamesh.

    Stay safe.


  • Disillusioned JW
    Disillusioned JW

    I saw over two years ago a science program on PBS TV about an ancient recently discovered (or recently translated) tablet(s) which has(have) a version of the flood story older than biblical story. It(they) gave different dimensions for the Ark (where the Ark was much taller than it was wide and long) and later the scientists determined that likely originally the story described the Ark as having a circular base. They then constructed that Ark as best as they could and tested it. See https://www.pbs.org/video/nova-secrets-noahs-ark/ .

    The program I saw might have been based upon that which is "preserved on 12 clay tablets from the library collection of 7th-century BC Assyrian king Ashurbanipal" instead of the individual 3,500-year-old tablet.

  • fulltimestudent

    OK. Jtg, you can have a lot of fun researching this topic.

    There ae various ancient documents, tht have varied ages. But as a general view of the story, it depends on when the genesis account was written. Traditionally, that could be anywhere from the 15th C BCE and the 7th C,BCE,

    Some attribute a date of circa 2100 BCE to an initial Gilgamesh document.

    Maybe you'll the info in this Wikipedia entry to be helpful:

    Quote: "The earliest record of a Sumerian creation myth, called The Eridu Genesis by historian Thorkild Jacobsen,[1] is found on a single fragmentary tablet excavated in Nippur by the Expedition of the University of Pennsylvania in 1893, and first recognized by Arno Poebel in 1912. It is written in the Sumerian language and dated to around 1600 BCE.[1] Other Sumerian creation myths from around this date are called the Barton Cylinder, the Debate between sheep and grain and the Debate between Winter and Summer, also found at Nippur"

    - Sumerian creation myth (Link: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sumerian_creation_myth )

    At least this entry is referenced, so you can check back on lots on points that seem controversial.

  • Anony Mous
    Anony Mous

    Flood myths have been around as long as humans have been around, there are cave paintings depicting waters drowning large amounts of animals and people, all the way back to pre-humans and you can find similar stories as well amongst Native Americans, Aboriginals in Australia and other groups across the world. Given the split between some of those groups happened well before the Bible started to be written (~500-1500BCE) it is likely flood myths had passed through folklore for millennia before ever being written down.

    Floods were a part of life until the Romans and later monks started building infrastructure to protect humans, and we are still seeing it today. Imagine living in the area of what is now New Orleans and after a hurricane, your entire 'world' is underwater, as far as you can see and as far as anyone in your tribe ever traveled is submerged. How many people in your tribe would survive? Well, at least enough to reproduce and tell the story ~5-7 is sufficient.

  • fulltimestudent
    Would a group of approx. 5-7 be sufficient to restart the human race? Is there a scientific answer to that question?
  • vienne

    This is way outside my field of study. But my thought, for what it's worth:

    There is no way to successfully date the Biblical account and the various flood myths. All dating is based on speculation and on preference.

    Could the 8 survivors noted in the Genesis story refill the earth? Given prolific reproduction [no birth control is a factor here], yes. Whether that could happen in the short time the Bible seems to allow, I do not know. That would take some mathematic calculations based on tones of guess work. But I think you could construct a model of population growth over time. Anyone truly ambitious?

  • Bobcat

    Try this post (off-site). It posits a chronological model using the MT, but modified with the LXX, SP & Josephus where they differ for seven post flood patriarchs. The difference puts the flood back 650 years to 2953 BCE. (WT places the flood at 2370/69 BCE. But that is based on a 1513 BCE exodus and a 997 BCE split in the kingdom of Israel. Nor does it take into account any differences with LXX/SP/Josephus.)

    The chart in the link is premised on an exodus date of 1446 BCE, and 430 years between the covenant with Abraham and the exodus. This places Jacob and his family in Egypt for 215 years (based on Ex 12:40-41 LXX/SP)

    The post just before the linked one has a link to a population calculator that will allow playing with the numbers. A couple of factors that may skew the population calculator are the wider spread practice of polygamy and the longer lifespans reported in the Bible for the several centuries after the flood. These factors would tend to cause larger populations.

    It is interesting how population growth is exponential in nature. Small increases in birth rates, over lengthy periods, can produce huge differences in population.

    Just for some example numbers: You could start with 8 (post flood survivors), and about 400 years to the building of the tower at Babel. Or about 1500 years from the flood to the exodus. (The Torah reports roughly 600,000 grown men in the Israelite camp at the exodus.)

  • Anna Marina
    Anna Marina

    My friend Tadua has done a lot of research on the Flood - here is a link work he has done related to the Bible Book of Genesis. This is Part 1 - you'll see there are many other parts. So browse around for what interests you.

    The Bible Book of Genesis – Geology, Archaeology, and Theology - Part 1 - Understand The Word of God

    He has also carefully put together an interactive map with markers for every Flood legend and Myth that has been documented from around the world.

    Noah's Flood - Distribution Map of Flood Myths and Legends - Understand The Word of God

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