Genesis and the Ancient Near Eastern Texts

One of the common issues encountered in the study of Genesis 1-11 is the relationship of the Biblical account to Ancient Near Eastern (ANE) texts such as the Epic of Gilgamesh, Atrahasis, the Sumerian King List, and Enuma Elish. The apparent similarities are found in the creation and flood stories. Some commentators believe that the writer (or writers) of Genesis borrowed from these stories when composing or compiling Genesis 1-11. Others believe that all of these texts, including the Bible, were drawing on much older stories. I thought it would be interesting to look at a couple of these ANE texts to see how they compare to the Bible.

The Epic of Atrahasis is a Mesopotamian story of creation and a great flood. Here is a summary I found:

The story of the Flood is the final part of this epic, which starts with complaints by the Lesser Gods, who refuse to work any longer. Humankind is created, but men make so much noise, that the gods decide to wipe them out. The plan to send a Deluge, however, is betrayed by the god Enki, who sends a dream to Atrahasis.

Here are a couple of  short excerpts from the Epic of Atrahasis. The first excerpt is about creation: Continue reading