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Stories in Genesis

The Flood Story in Atrahasis consists of approximately 405 lines and is more than twice the length of the Gilgamesh version, about 190 lines. They seem to tell the same story, but the function of the floods in the two epics is quite different. In Atrahasis the flood is a means of population control and a divider of epochs, while in Gilgamesh it explains how immortality was once granted to a mortal. The Atrahasis Epic begins with the creation of humankind because the labor-class gods are tired of the heavy tasks imposed on them by the management-class gods. Because of their objection, the mother goddess Mami created procreating people as a substitute for the laboring gods. However, in 1200 years the people had multiplied so much that they made a great "noise," to the annoyance of Enlil, who tries first to exterminate them with a famine, then 1200 years later by a drought, and another 1200 years later by a flood. Three times Enlil's plans are foiled by Enki and his faithful worshipper Atrahasis. Enlil calls a divine assembly to discuss the problem, and a compromise is reached to limit the expanding population. The Genesis version parallels the Atrahasis Epic but comes to precisely the opposite conclusion. the Atrahasis Epic suggests birth control as a means to curb the human population, while Genesis suggests dispersion as a means of accommodating the expanding population (Freedman 1124-1125).

Sir Henry Layard conducted excavations on the sites of Nineveh and Nimrud between 1845 and 1854 and filled several large crates with cuneiform tablets that were then brought to the British Museum. They remained there until 1863 when George Smith, a young English engraver, pieced together the tablets. He revealed what he had found in 1872--he had found the Mesopotamian version of the Flood. Gibson writes about the archaeological evidence for the Flood and notes that evidence for an inundation in Mesopotamia is clear and has been attr...

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Stories in Genesis. (1969, December 31). In Retrieved 13:29, August 17, 2017, from
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