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The first person narrative format means that Utnapish. tim can only tell those parts of the story that he knows. and that he may leave out those aspects that do not. concern him or fit his purpose For example even though. Babylonian gods are not portrayed as capricious and are. considered as having reasons for their actions, Utnapishtim tells us nothing about the reasons that the. gods brought the flood This lapse is dictated by the. literary format Utnapishtim may not know the reason. for the flood or he may not record it because it is irrele. vant to his purpose which is to recount how he became. immortal Similarly the only event after the flood that. Utnapishtim relates to Gilgamesh is the subsequent. convocation of the gods that granted him immortality. The result of the personalization of the flood story in. the Gilgamesh Epic is that the scope of the story is. Jacob J Finkelstein restricted to the adventures of one individual and its. significance to its effects upon him with the flood itself. emptied of any cosmic or anthropological significance. 1922 1974 The flood stories in Genesis and in Gilgamesh are so far. removed from each other in focus and intent that one. cannot compare the ideas in the two versions of the flood. In the three years since Jacob J Finkelstein s without setting up spurious dichotomies. premature death at 52 the measure of his loss to, Assyriological and biblical studies has become. increasingly apparent J J Finkelstein was a many, faceted scholar He was a superb cuneiformist his The Atrahasis Epic. ability to read and copy cuneiform texts was, unparalleled among Assyriologists and the volumes The recovery of the Atrahasis Epic provides new. of cuneiform texts that he published are an enduring perspectives on Genesis because unlike the other two. monument to his work Also an acknowledged Babylonian versions of the flood the Atrahasis Epic. master of cuneiform law Finkelstein published presents the flood story in a context comparable to that. seminal and provocative articles on many aspects of of Genesis that of a Primeval History The flood. Babylonian law His interest in law was far reaching episode of the Atrahasis Epic has been known for a. and his essays The Goring Ox Some Historical long time but the literary structure of the epic and. Perspectives on Deodands Forfeitures Wrongful therefore the context of the flood story was not under. Death and the Western Notion of Sovereignty stood until Laessoe reconstructed the work J Laessoe. Temple Law Quarterly 46 2 1973 169 290 demon The Atrahasis Epic A Babylonian History of. strates an interest in and mastery of the entire field Mankind Biblioteca Orientalis 13 1956 90 102 In. of History of Law Although Finkelstein would not 1965 Lambert and Millard Cuneiform Texts from. have considered himself a biblicist he had a deep Babylonian Tablets in the British Museum London. interest in the Bible particularly in the relationship published many additional texts from the epic including. of biblical law and religion to Mesopotamian an Old Babylonian copy written around 1650 B c E. culture His insights in this area were so numerous which is our most complete surviving recension of the. and perceptive that many biblicists came to Yale to tale These new texts greatly increased our knowledge. sit in on his classes and to discuss their ideas with of the epic and served as the foundation for the English. him His death is thus a deep loss to everyone edition of the Epic by Lambert and Millard Atrahasis. interested in the development of biblical and The Babylonian Story of the Flood Oxford 1969. Western culture A complete bibliography of The Atrahasis epic starts with a depiction of the. Finkelstein s publications has been compiled by world as it existed before man was created When the. Peter Machinist and Norman Yoffee and appears in gods worked like Man the first line and ancient title. Essays on the Ancient Near East in Memory of of the composition At this time the universe was. Jacob Joel Finkelstein Memoirs of the Connecticut divided among the great gods with An taking the. Academy of Arts and Sciences vol 19 Dec 1977 heavens Enlil the earth and Enki the great deep Seven. gods called the Anunnaki in this text established, DECEMBER 1977.
themselves as the ruling class while the rest of the gods same problem recurs and the gods bring famine and. provided the work force These gods whose work was saline soil which again do not end the difficulties At. heavy whose distress was much dug the Tigris and last Enlil persuades the gods to adopt a final solution. Euphrates rivers and then rebelled refusing to continue II viii 34 to the human problem and they resolve to. their labors On the advice of Enki the gods decided to bring a flood to destroy mankind Their plan is. create a substitute to do the work of the gods and Enki thwarted by Enki who has Atrahasis build an ark and. and the mother goddess created man from clay and so escape the flood After the rest of mankind have. from the flesh and blood of a slain god We ilu a god been destroyed and after the gods have had occasion. who has sense from whom man was to gain ration to regret their actions and to realize by their thirst and. ality The various themes and motifs out of which this hunger that they need man Atrahasis brings a sacri. part of the epic is composed can all be documented fice and the gods come to eat Enki then presents a. elsewhere and do not seem to have originated with this permanent solution to the problem The new world. text for details see box after the flood is to be different from the old for Enki. This epic ancient though it is is already the summons Nintu the birth goddess and has her create. product of considerable development and the author new creatures who will ensure that the old problem. of the composition has utilized old motifs and has does not arise again In the words of the Epic III vii 1. In addition let there be a third category among the. The Atrahasis Epic presents the flood story peoples. in a context comparable to that of Genesis Among the peoples women who bear and women who. that of a Primeval History do not bear, Let there be among the peoples the Pasittu demon. to snatch the baby from the lap of her who bore it. Establish Ugbabtu women mw women and Igisitu, united them into a coherent account of Man s begin women. nings in which he presents a picture of the purpose of and let them be taboo and so stop childbirth. Man s creation his raison d tre as doing the work of. the gods and thus relieving them of the need to labor. In the same way he seems to have taken the previously. Other post flood provisions may have followed but the. known story of the flood and juxtaposed it to his, text now becomes too fragmentary to read. creation story to continue the tale of primeval man and. indicate the prerequisites of human life upon earth Despite the lacunae the structure presented by. the Atrahasis Epic is clear Man is created there is a. In the Atrahasis Epic the creation of man causes problem in creation remedies are attempted but the. new problems In the words of the Epic I 352f problem remains the decision is made to destroy. restored from II 1 8 man this attempt is thwarted by the wisdom of. Twelve hundred years had not yet passed Enki a new remedy is instituted to ensure that the. when the land extended and the peoples multiplied problem does not arise again Several years ago Anne. The land was bellowing like a bull Kilmer The Mesopotamian Concept of Overpopula. The gods were disturbed with their uproar tion and its Solution as Represented in the Mythology. Enlil heard their noise Orientalia 41 1972 160 77 and William J Moran. and addressed the great gods The Babylonian Story of the Flood review article. The noise of mankind has become too intense for me Biblica 40 1971 51 61 working independently. with their uproar I am deprived of sleep demonstrated that the problem that arose and that. necessitated these various remedies was that of over. To solve this problem the gods decided to bring a population Mankind increased uncontrollably and the. plague which ends when Enki advises man to bring methods of population control that were first attempted. offerings to Namtar god of the plague and thus induce drought pestilence famine only solved the problem. him to lift the plague This plague does not solve the temporarily This overpopulation led to destruction. problem permanently for twelve hundred years later the flood and permanent countermeasures were. the same problem arises again Tablet II 1 8 and the introduced by Enki to keep the size of the population. gods bring a drought which ends when men upon down The myth tells us that such social phenomena as. Enki s advice bribe Adad to bring rain Despite the non marrying women and such personal tragedies as. fragmentary state of Tablet II it is easy to see that the barrenness and stillbirth and perhaps miscarriage and. BIBLICAL ARCHEOLOGIST 149, infant mortality are in fact essential to the very will fill the number of your days seems to be a repudi. continuation of man s existence for humanity was ation of yet another of the natural methods of. almost destroyed once when the population got out of population control that of premature death In the. control ideal world which is to be established in the land of. Israel there will be no need for such methods for over. population is not a major concern, Genesis and Atrahasis Genesis states explicitly that God decided to.
destroy the world because of the wickedness of man. This Babylonian tale composed no later than, Gen 6 5 Although this traditionally has been under. 1700 B C E is very attractive to us today and can, stood to mean that God destroyed the world as a. almost be called a myth for our times for we share. punishment for man s sins this understanding of the. with the Babylonians a consciousness of a limited, passage entails serious theological problems such as. ecology and a concern aboyt controlling the human, the propriety of God s destroying all life on earth. population In addition to this inherent relevance, because of the sins of man Such an interpretation also.
however it is very important for biblical studies for it. causes great problems in understanding the text of. points out what by the clear logic of hindsight should. Genesis itself and creates what seems to be a paradox. have been obvious to us all along there is an organic. for the wickedness of man is also given as the reason. unity to the first section of Genesis The importance of. that God decides never again to bring a flood Gen, the Atrahasis Epic is that it focuses our attention away. 8 21 Since the evil nature of man is presented after the. from the deluge itself and onto the events immediately. after the rains subside In Genesis as in Atrahasis the. flood came in response to a serious problem in creation. a problem which was rectified immediately after the. flood A study of the changes that God made in the Unlike Atrahasis the flood story is. world after the flood gives a clearer picture of the emphatically not about overpopulation. conditions prevailing in the world before the flood of. the ultimate reason that necessitated the flood which. almost caused the destruction of man of the essential. differences between the world before the flood and the. world after it and thus of the essential prerequisites for flood as the reason for God s vow never again to bring. the continued existence of man on the earth a flood we should not infer that God brought the flood. Unlike Atrahasis the flood story in Genesis is as a punishment because man was evil Genesis also. emphatically not about overpopulation On the states that God brought the flood because the world. contrary God s first action after the flood was to was full of h m s The term h m s is very complex. command Noah and his sons to be fruitful and and a semantic analysis is presented below p 154 The. multiply and fill the earth Gen 9 1 This echoes the wide range of meanings for the term h m s means that. original command to Adam 1 28 and seems to be an a lexical analysis of the word is not sufficient to allow. explicit rejection of the idea that the flood came as a us to determine what particular evil is here called h m s. result of attempts to decrease man s population The and what it was about this particular evil that neces. repetition of this commandment in emphatic terms in sitated a flood The nature of the evil and the cause of. Gen 9 7 and you be fruitful and multiply swarm over the flood must be found in the story of Genesis. the earth and multiply in it makes it probable that the The Atrahasis Epic is so important to biblical. Bible consciously rejected the underlying theme of the studies because it enables us to determine the cause of. Atrahasis Epic that the fertility of man before the the flood by focusing our attention away from the. flood was the reason for his near destruction deluge itself and onto the events immediately after the. It is not surprising that Genesis rejects the idea flood i e to Genesis 9 In this chapter God offers. of overpopulation as the reason for the flood for the Noah and his sons a covenant in which he promises. Bible does not share the belief of Atrahasis and some never again to bring a flood to destroy the world and. other ancient texts that overpopulation is a serious gives the rainbow as the token of this promise At this. THE ATRAHASIS EPIC AND ITS SIGNIFICANCE FOR OUR UNDERSTANDING OF GENESIS 1 9 Dedicated to the memory of J J Finkelstein whose unique genius is sorely missed

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