Ancient Sumerian Literature and the Bible

page: 1
28
<<   2  3  4 >>

log in

join
+4 more 
posted on Mar, 17 2011 @ 08:07 PM
link   
Mods, I am not sure if this is the correct forum for this, so please move to the correct one if you feel it should be elsewhere.

With that said, please enjoy ATS =)

############################################################################################
#DISCLAIMER - THERE ARE SOURCES AT THE END OF THE OP AND THOSE SOURCES ARE CITED #THROUGHOUT THE PAPER. PLEASE READ THE ENTIRETY OF THE OP BEFORE COMMENTING. THIS IS #NOT A BIBLE BASHING THREAD. THIS IS A PAPER THAT I WROTE COMPARING THE TWO. IF YOU #BELIEVE THIS IS A BASHING THREAD, PLEASE READ THE FINAL PARAGRAPH FIRST. IF YOU ARE #HERE TO BASH THE BIBLE, GO BECOME AN HERO
############################################################################################

The Bible was written using stories and themes from earlier cultures and religious texts.

Much of Sumerian religion and epic poetry can be found today throughout the Bible. The earliest known version of The Epic of Gilgamesh was transcribed during the Third Dynasty of Ur somewhere between 2150 and 2000 BCE. The earliest Akkadian versions of the story have been dated somewhere around the eighteenth or seventeenth century BCE, and were written on 12 clay tablets using cuneiform script. The standard Akkadian version that is used for a majority of the current translations was found in the library of Ashurbanipal in Nineveh, and was written between 1300 and 1000 BCE. The theoretical date that religious scholars believe that the Hebrew Bible, the Torah was written by Moses is between 1446 and 1406 BCE. Just by those dates alone, it shows that The Epic of Gilgamesh was written a minimum of 500 years before Moses first wrote the first books of the Torah. Also, you will find that even in the book of Ezekiel, which was written around 550 BCE, there are references to Sumerian deities. In Ezekiel 8:14, you will find that Ezekiel sees the women of Israel weeping for Tammuz, a Sumerian goddess, because of a drought.

Many of the similarities between Sumerian religion and the Bible can be found in the book of Genesis. In both the Sumerian story of creation and the Bible, the world is formed from “a watery abyss” and the “heavens and earth” are separated from one another by a supreme being. In the second chapter of the book of Genesis, we are introduced to the Garden of Eden. This draws a direct parallel to the Sumerian Dilmun, which comes from the story of “Enki and Ninhursag”(ETCSL). In the story of Enki and Ninhursag, Dilmun is described as a pure and holy land. Enki blessed Dilmun to have sweet, overflowing waters. Enki also fills Dilmun with rivers, lagoons and palm trees. In the Sumerian story, Enki impregnates Ninhursag. This causes a total of eight new plants to spring from the ground. The Garden of Eden also has a river which overflows and causes the creation of four rivers, which are the Pison, Gihon, Hiddekel and Euphrates rivers. The Garden of Eden is also filled with many fruit bearing trees, including the tree of forbidden knowledge.

You will also find similarities in the creation of man. In the Bible we find that god created man “And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life” (Genesis 2:7) In the Sumerian story of “Enki and Ninmah”(ETCSL), you will see that they used a similar method and fashioned man out of clay.

“My mother, the creature you planned will really come into existence. Impose on him the work of carrying baskets. You should knead clay from the top of the abzu; the birth-goddesses (?) will nip off the clay and you shall bring the form into existence. Let Ninmah act as your assistant; and let Ninimma, Cu-zi-ana, Ninmada, Ninbarag, Ninmug, (missing text)...... and Ninguna stand by as you give birth. My mother, after you have decreed his fate, let Ninmah impose on him the work of carrying baskets." (5 lines fragmentary) ...... she placed it on grass and purified the birth.” (Enki and Ninmah: 24-37)

The similarities quickly vanish as Enki and Ninmah create five more versions of man, each with some sort of malformation and eventually Enki and Ninmah get in to an argument.

In the story “Enki and Ninhursaja” (ETCSL), we find the first possible similarity to the biblical Eve. In this story, Enki and his minister Isimud are in a marsh in the city of Dilmun, which has been given to Ninhursaja. Enki ends up eating eight different plants from the garden, which happen to be Ninhursaja’s children. When Ninhursaja finds out about this, she curses Enki. “Ninhursaja cursed the name Enki: "Until his dying day, I will never look upon him with life-giving eye"" (Enki and Ninhursaja: 220). This curse causes Enki to have eight wounds on his body, one for each of the plants that he has eaten. Enlil, Enki’s brother, and a fox act on behalf of Enki. They track down Ninhursaja and have her undo the damage caused by the curse she has placed on Enki. Ninhursaja and Enki have sex, the result being eight new children being born to replace the ones that Enki has eaten. As they are born, these new children in turn each heal one of Enki’s wounds. The child that heals Enki’s rib is named Ninti. “"My brother, what part of you hurts you?" "My ribs (ti) hurt me." She gave birth to Ninti out of it.” (Enki and Ninmah: 264-271) Ninti is also known as the Queen of months and the lady of the rib (ti). In the book of Genesis, Eve is created by God by taking one of Adams ribs.

“And the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall on Adam, and he slept; and He took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh in its place. Then the rib which the Lord God had taken from man He made into a woman, and He brought her to the man.” (Genesis 2: 21-22)

This shows that both stories have the creation of woman by taking a rib from man. If you take in to consideration the tale of Lilith, Adams first wife, we find it is also the creation of a replacement woman, which is what Ninti was.

In The Epic of Gilgamesh and the Bible, there is a plant that has special powers. In The Epic of Gilgamesh, it is called "The Old Men Are Young Again". In the story, our hero, Gilgamesh is searching for a way to bring his half-brother, Enkidu, back to life. He travels with a ferryman named Urshanabi across the sea to a wild place where the flower grows. When they arrive, the two travel to a washing place, where Gilgamesh spots the flower. As he reaches for the flower, a serpent that resides in the pool of water rises up out of the water and takes the flower. As soon as the serpent does this, it “immediately sloughed its skin and returned to the well” (Epic of Gilgamesh pg.22). After this happens Gilgamesh gives up searching for a cure for Enkidu and goes home. In the narrative of Adam and Eve, Eve is convinced by a serpent to partake of the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. Even after the warning from God, Eve not only eats the fruit, but convinces Adam to eat it as well. As a result of this God curses the serpent. ““So the Lord God said to the serpent: “Because you have done this, you are cursed more than all cattle, and more than every beast of the field; on your belly you shall go, and you shall eat dust all the days of your life.””(Genesis 3:14). God also casts Adam and Eve from the Garden of Eden. This is where the two stories share common ground. ““Then the Lord God said, “Behold, the man has become like one of us, to know good and evil. And now, lest he put out his hand and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live forever.”” (Genesis 3:22). This shows that in both stories the end the result is the same. The intervention of a snake causes the loss of immortality for not only Enkidu, but also for Adam and Eve.

Another similarity in themes between the two stories is both Enkidu and Adam and Eve and the loss of innocence. They both start off naked living among wildlife and trees, and both having no knowledge of good or evil. Both lose this innocence after participating in acts that disrupt their harmony with nature. After Enkidu meets a trapper that works for Gilgamesh, he is lured to a watering hold to meet the trapper and a harlot. After Enkidu has sex with the harlot, the animals no longer respond to Enkidu and bolt away when he comes near.(The Epic of Gilgamesh pg.4-5) Once Enkidu loses this innocence, he starts wearing clothes and joins civilized society with Gilgamesh. In the Garden of Eden, once Adam and Eve do eat the fruit from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, they too lose their touch with nature. The two also clothe themselves and join society once they are cast out of the garden. The main difference between the two is that Enki’s situation is seen in a positive light, while the story of Adam and Eve has negative connotations.

In The Epic of Gilgamesh, during Gilgamesh’s quest for immortality to save Enkidu, he meets a man by the name of Utnapishtim. Gilgamesh asks Utnapishtim how he gained his eternal life, Utnapishtim relates to Gilgamesh the story of the great flood. While Utnapishtim was living in the city of Shurrupak, one of the four primary Sumerian gods EA came to Utnapishtim and whispered to him that he should:

“tear down your house and build a boat, abandon possessions and look for life, despise worldly goods and save your soul alive. Tear down your house, I say, and build a boat. These are the measurements of the barque as you shall build her” (Epic of Gilgamesh pg.20)

EA then proceeds to give Utnapishtim the measurements to build the boat, and commands him to “take up into the boat the seed of all living creatures.” (Epic of Gilgamesh pg. 20) In the Story of Noah and the great flood, God comes to Noah and instructs him to build an Ark built of gopherwood. He then tells him the measurements, and instructs Noah “of every living thing of all flesh you shall bring two of every sort into the Ark, to keep them alive with you; they shall be male and female.” (Genesis 6:19). In both stories the flood is created by the gods because they are unhappy with man and that the impending flood is related to common man by a divine presence. Also in both stories they are instructed not only how to build the boat with exact dimensions, but also to bring their families and animals with them. More similarities between the two arrive later in the story, with specificity for how long the flood lasted. ”For six days and six nights the winds blew, torrent and tempest and flood overwhelmed the world, tempest and flood raged together like warring hosts. When the seventh day dawned the storm from the south subsided, the sea grew calm, the flood was stilled.” (The Epic of Gilgamesh) “Now the flood was on the earth for forty days.” (Genesis 7:17) Another similarity comes after the flood subsides, when both Utnapishtim and Noah both release not only ravens but also doves to see if the waters had dried from the earth. After this happens, both men build alters and make offerings to their God in acts of worship. There are many differences between the stories of the great flood in the book of Genesis and The Epic of Gilgamesh. However, when the similarities are pointed out between the two there is a clarity of reason about why the flood happened, the relationship between the hero of the story and their respective God, the specifics about not only how to build the ship but what to bring on it, the timed duration of the flood, the kinds of birds that were released after for their test flights for land. Even after the flood, both boats come to rest on a mountainside, instead of perhaps on a plain or valley. By examining the relationship between the two stories, even with their differences, you find that their commonalities are great. The most glaring similarity is the point by point order of these similarities throughout the stories, even though logically there are so many other possibilities, variations and alternatives.

There are numerous direct parallels in the Epic of Gilgamesh with stories, facts and events in the Bible. While it is true that other flood stories like the Epic of Atra-Hasis (1635 BC) and the Eridu Genesis (2150 BC) have details that predate Genesis (1440 BC), the Gilgamesh Epic was written at least 500 years before Genesis. This may explain some of the parallels. Above all, the many parallels give evidence that both are truly ancient documents with figures of speech and themes typical of the age and culture of the ancient Middle East. This should not surprises us, for today, many books are written with similar figures of speech and culture ideas. For example, if someone said “he only has 8 lives left” we all know that the person almost died. The idea that a “cat has nine lives” might appear, 1000 years from now, an idea that one person copied from another and another. On the other hand, we all know that, it is a foundational cultural communication tool. This could explain some of the parallels between the book of Genesis and The Epic of Gilgamesh without interdependence between sources. A universally believed fact like Noah’s Ark would clearly ignite a lot of stories given that Noah lived after Gilgamesh. Having said this, it is possible that the book of Genesis might have incorporated specific ideas from the the Epic of Gilgamesh that was written at least 500 years earlier. However, some parallels could be explained as common figures of speech of the era.

edit on 17-3-2011 by Vizzle because: nudity


Bibliography
Black, J.A., Cunningham, G., Ebeling, J., Flückiger-Hawker, E., Robson, E., Taylor, J., and Zólyomi, G., The Electronic Text Corpus of Sumerian Literature (etcsl.orinst.ox.ac.uk...), Oxford 1998–2006.

Complete Dictionary of Scientific Biography. Vol. 7. 27 vols. Detroit: Charles Scribner's Sons, 2008. Gale Virtual Reference Library. Web. 20 Oct. 2010.

Kramer, Samuel Noah. History Begins at Sumer. Garden City, N.Y.: Doubleday / Anchor, 1959. DS 72 .K7.

The Epic Of Gilgamesh, Assyrian International News Agency. Books Online. (www.aina.org...), Mar. 2011.

The Holy Bible, New King James Version. National Publishing Company, 1985

edit on 17-3-2011 by Vizzle because: DISCLAIMER




posted on Mar, 17 2011 @ 08:12 PM
link   
reply to post by Vizzle
 


In the Gilgamesh epic, everyone is a superhuman who does incredible things.

In the Genesis account, only God does incredible things. The humans are human and do nothing but stuff up.

I see a vast difference.

Perhaps the Sumerian tradition was based on the earlier "Adamic" instead of the other way around?
edit on 17/3/2011 by chr0naut because: (no reason given)



posted on Mar, 17 2011 @ 08:13 PM
link   
reply to post by chr0naut
 


read, then comment. thanks =)



posted on Mar, 17 2011 @ 08:15 PM
link   

Originally posted by chr0naut
reply to post by Vizzle
 


In the Gilgamesh epic, everyone is a superhuman who does incredible things.

In the Genesis account, only God does incredible things. The humans are human and do nothing but stuff up.

I see a vast difference.


I had to comment on this first before the OP....

Considering that the old books were created during times of tyranny...

If you were a tyrant or a king or a dictator of some kind, would you want "actual" accounts of there being someone smarter, stronger or better than you on record anywhere except your personal library?

Think about it...


~Namaste



posted on Mar, 17 2011 @ 08:17 PM
link   
reply to post by Vizzle
 





The Bible was written using stories and themes from earlier cultures and religious texts.


This opening statement is nonesense. Provably nonesense because the TORAH code that runs through the first 5 books of the bible is just one of many examples of the bible's autheticity.



posted on Mar, 17 2011 @ 08:18 PM
link   
reply to post by DanUKphd
 


You may want to read the paper and not just the first line, before you put your foot in your mouth. Thanks =)



posted on Mar, 17 2011 @ 08:20 PM
link   
I don't know that I want to argue this but I'll give you my version. I don't see a contradiction per-se. Yes, there are civilizations older than the "Bible" - God does not choose Abraham to establish his covenant with man for a long time after man has been on the eart. The Bible confirms a lot of what is stated in Sumerian and other texts and vice versa because the Old Testament is God's version and the Sumerian texts are Enki's (god of the Earth or Lucifer) version. After the flood, Lucifer tried to establish a one-world government / religious system in Sumeria which was overthrown; the world was divided up among multiple "princes". After that point "prince" after "prince" has been defeated - with rulership slowly consolidating back to a one-world system under Enki's control. This is why satanists don't believe they are worshipping anything "evil" - they are worshipping Enki - they believe the Sumerian account that Enki is the benevolent god to mankind. There isn't an "original" correct story - there is knowledge passed down in spoken word for a long time, and then branched in to a lot of different languages after "The Event" that took place at Babel.
edit on 3/17/2011 by ararisq because: (no reason given)



posted on Mar, 17 2011 @ 08:28 PM
link   

Originally posted by ararisq
I don't know that I want to argue this but I'll give you my version. I don't see a contradiction per-se. Yes, there are civilizations older than the "Bible" - God does not choose Abraham to establish his covenant with man for a long time after man has been on the eart. The Bible confirms a lot of what is stated in Sumerian and other texts and vice versa because the Old Testament is God's version and the Sumerian texts are Enki's (god of the Earth or Lucifer) version. After the flood, Lucifer tried to establish a one-world government / religious system in Sumeria which was overthrown; the world was divided up among multiple "princes". After that point "prince" after "prince" has been defeated - with rulership slowly consolidating back to a one-world system under Enki's control. This is why satanists don't believe they are worshipping anything "evil" - they are worshipping Enki - they believe the Sumerian account that Enki is the benevolent god to mankind. There isn't an "original" correct story - there is knowledge passed down in spoken word for a long time, and then branched in to a lot of different languages after "The Event" that took place at Babel.
edit on 3/17/2011 by ararisq because: (no reason given)


That is pretty interesting. I had never heard of the luciferian version, thank you for sharing. This actually is not an attack on anything, or one contradicting the other, which two of the previous posters have completely missed. It really just is a comparison, showing similarities between the two. Unfortunately, some people get there knickers twisted if you say anything about the bible. If they would have made it to the last paragraph before commenting, they probably would have left more of a conversational reply, instead of hate mail. Anyhow, thanks again for the luciferian perspective. I think that the fact that these stories get passed down from so many years ago is a feat in itself =)



posted on Mar, 17 2011 @ 08:30 PM
link   
reply to post by DanUKphd
 


TORH TORH YHWH HROT HROT (1st 5 books).

The code is more complex than just the Torah (for those who don't know, starting from the first "tau' characher in the first two books, and taking every 49th [7 x 7] letter, we get the hebrew name for the five books. The third book reveals the name of God using the same distance between the letters and the last two books reverse the order of the letters in the torah, as shown above).

There are also much more incredibly complex encodings within the text. So complex and pervasive that it is unlikely that a human genius would have been able to do it. These encodings work for all three "original' versions of the Torah in Hebrew.



posted on Mar, 17 2011 @ 08:33 PM
link   
reply to post by chr0naut
 


Do you think you could stay on topic? We are not discussing the Torah code in this thread =)



posted on Mar, 17 2011 @ 08:33 PM
link   
Yada, yada, yada. Even granting that the Sumerian texts are older than the Books of Moses - so what? If, and I stress again, IF the records of Genesis, etc. are true, and things happened just like the Bible's early books describe, THEN we would expect to find similar accounts here and there.

In fact, there is a tribe in southern China which has handed down, by oral tradition, the basic Genesis story UP TO the Tower of Babel incident. If the events unfolded just as Genesis describes, we would expect just that. If you have any doubts, note that this tribe (I think they are known as the Miao people) has preserved the names of many of the people from the Genesis account, essentially correct phonetically. Adam is called the "Patriarch Dirt" and the name Adam has been translated as "Red Clay." The Miao even preserve the name of Noah's wife, and I'm not sure Genesis does that.

I see the Sumerian texts in the same light. Another theory of the scoffers/skeptics down in flames...

Laz has spoken.



posted on Mar, 17 2011 @ 08:34 PM
link   

Originally posted by Vizzle
reply to post by chr0naut
 


Do you think you could stay on topic? We are not discussing the Torah code in this thread =)


Um, he must have hit a nerve with that...



posted on Mar, 17 2011 @ 08:34 PM
link   
Consider that there may be similarities not because the Hebrew account copied the Akkadian account but because the Akkadians copied the 'Adamic' account which is also reflected (more accurately?) in the Hebrew account.



posted on Mar, 17 2011 @ 08:36 PM
link   
reply to post by Lazarus Short
 


Not really. If people would actually read the OP, instead of seeing the word bible and spouting off nonsense, I do believe that this thread would go a lot farther. I do not bash the bible once in the OP, yet the thumpers have come out already WITHOUT EVEN READING THE OP, to bash the thread.

I would appreciate that anyone else who comments in this thread, READ THE OP IN ITS ENTIRETY before making comments.



posted on Mar, 17 2011 @ 08:36 PM
link   
reply to post by Vizzle
 





You may want to read the paper and not just the first line, before you put your foot in your mouth. Thanks =)


Nah. No sources no read is my motto. I'm sure it's a good article but so many people post without sources, who knows what you've added or removed from the original to support whatever contention you're aiming at. Having said that, the paper does look enticing as I've looked into the sumarian tablets but there's method in my madness to only read stuff with sources.



posted on Mar, 17 2011 @ 08:37 PM
link   

Originally posted by chr0naut
Consider that there may be similarities not because the Hebrew account copied the Akkadian account but because the Akkadians copied the 'Adamic' account which is also reflected (more accurately?) in the Hebrew account.


That is discussed in the OP =) you should probably read it before commenting further =)



posted on Mar, 17 2011 @ 08:38 PM
link   

Originally posted by DanUKphd
reply to post by Vizzle
 





You may want to read the paper and not just the first line, before you put your foot in your mouth. Thanks =)


Nah. No sources no read is my motto. I'm sure it's a good article but so many people post without sources, who knows what you've added or removed from the original to support whatever contention you're aiming at. Having said that, the paper does look enticing as I've looked into the sumarian tablets but there's method in my madness to only read stuff with sources.


LOL there is a bibliography at the end of the OP, once again, read OP in its entirety before sticking your foot in your mouth =)

but for you, ill post it again =)

Bibliography
Black, J.A., Cunningham, G., Ebeling, J., Flückiger-Hawker, E., Robson, E., Taylor, J., and Zólyomi, G., The Electronic Text Corpus of Sumerian Literature (etcsl.orinst.ox.ac.uk...), Oxford 1998–2006.

Complete Dictionary of Scientific Biography. Vol. 7. 27 vols. Detroit: Charles Scribner's Sons, 2008. Gale Virtual Reference Library. Web. 20 Oct. 2010.

Kramer, Samuel Noah. History Begins at Sumer. Garden City, N.Y.: Doubleday / Anchor, 1959. DS 72 .K7.

The Epic Of Gilgamesh, Assyrian International News Agency. Books Online. (www.aina.org...), Mar. 2011.

The Holy Bible, New King James Version. National Publishing Company, 1985


sheesh =)
edit on 17-3-2011 by Vizzle because: the blind must be blind



posted on Mar, 17 2011 @ 08:46 PM
link   
reply to post by Vizzle
 




LOL there is a bibliography at the end of the OP, once again, read OP in its entirety before sticking your foot in your mouth =)


Wow so you added a biblio after I commented about no source, your edit at the top says you added a biblio, and then deceptively you try to accuse me of not reading! lol

OK I did read it, lol, so what method of dating was used to establish your point? Radio Carbon 14? lol I can rip it to pieces. But I'll stick with the obvious for now. Go back and read the reason for your edit!
edit on 17-3-2011 by DanUKphd because: (no reason given)



posted on Mar, 17 2011 @ 08:48 PM
link   
reply to post by DanUKphd
 


actually, the biblio was there right after i posted it. foot, see mouth =)

the dating comes from oxford university, who run the ETCSL website. This is the website almost all of the translations that I used come from. if you have an issue with the dating, please contact oxford =)


edit on 17-3-2011 by Vizzle because: big smiles



posted on Mar, 17 2011 @ 08:52 PM
link   
reply to post by Vizzle
 


I apologise, I did read the whole post but the general trend of the post was that the Hebrew text copied the Sumerian and the possibility that it went the other way or that there was an earlier source was not well explained.

If you know the style of Akkadian documents, you CAN see echoes of that in the Genesis account.

Due to the limited room for writing on clay tablets (the Akkadian preference) they had to provide a way to link to other physical tablets. What they would do was write an attribution at the end of one tablet and the repeat the last line prior to the attribution, on the next tablet. One could then follow the logical flow of a narrative.

The genesis account contains "toledot" phrases which are generally assumed to be "these are the generations of" type geaneologies but which seem to miss important people. It these toledots actually mean "this is the account of" it makes more sense. The fact that the statement prior to the toledot phrase and the statement after having the same theme or wording would conform to the Akaddian tablet documentary form.
edit on 17/3/2011 by chr0naut because: (no reason given)





top topics
 
28
<<   2  3  4 >>

log in

join