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Sumerian Flood Story, 1740 BCE

 

Sumerian_Flood_Story (1)

The Sumerian flood story cannot serve as the basis for independent meaningful comparison with the Bible for it has survived only in a very fragmentary state. The first 38 lines are missing, and there are long gaps in the narrative. As a result the outlines of the story must be reconstructed from the other texts, particularly from the Atrahasis Epic. Enough remains of the Sumerian text to indicate that we are dealing with the same basic tale of a hero (here called Ziusudra) who survived the flood and was thereafter made immortal, but the extensive gaps in the narrative mean that the composition cannot be analyzed as an independent unit.

Adapted from Tikva Frymer-Kensky, “What the Babylonian Flood Stories Can and Cannot Teach Us About the Genesis Flood,” BAR Nov-Dec 1978.

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