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McMaster University
Religious Studies
Tristan Carter

SOURCE CRITICISM—THE FLOOD NARRATIVES GENESIS 6-9 OCTOBER 24, 2011 GRAF-WELLHAUSEN (DOCUMENTARY) HYPOTHESIS COSMOLOGY OF GENESIS (AND THE ANCIENT NEAR EAST) J’s Narrative continues (with help from P [and Gilgamesh])—The Flood • The flood narrative (Gen. 6 -9) betrays a much more complex interweaving of sources than what we find in Genesis 1 -3 (See the annotations in the NOAB). • Note also that the Epic of Gilgamesh includes a very similar story in what Utnapishtim tells Gilgamesh about how he attained immortality. The Flood in Gilgamesh Excerpt from The Epic of Gligamesh (Stanford U. Press, 1989) [Tablet XI] The hearts of the Great Gods moved them to inflict the Flood. O man of Shuruppak, son of Ubartutu: Abandon wealth and seek l iving beings! Spurn possessions and keep alive living beings! Make all living beings go up into the boat. The boat which you are to build, its dimensions must measure equal to each other: its length must correspond to its width. Roof it over like the Apsu. It (the boat) was a field in area, its walls were each 10 times 12 cubits in height, the sides of its top were of equal length, 10 times 12 cubits each. Excerpt from The Epic of Gligamesh (Stanford U. Press, 1989) [Tablet XI] I provided it with six decks, thus dividing it into seven (levels). Six days and seven nights came the wind and flood, the storm flattening the land. When the seventh day arrived, The sea calmed, fell still. On Mt Nimush the boat lodged firm. When the seventh day arrived I sent forth a dove and released it. The dove went off, but came back to me; no perch was visible so it circled back to me. I sent forth a swallow and released it. Excerpt from The Epic of Gligamesh (Stanford U. Press, 1989) [Tablet XI] The swallow went off, but came back to me; no perch was visible so it circled back to me. I sent forth a raven and released it. The raven went off, and saw the waters slither back. It eats, it scratches, it bobs, but does not circle back to me. 6 Genesis 8 7 After forty days Noah opened a window he had made in the ark and sent out a raven, and it kept flying back and forth until the water had dried up from the earth.Then he sent out a dove to see if the water had receded from the surface of the ground. 9 But the dove could find nowhere to perch because there was water over all the surface of the earth; so it ret10ned to Noah in the ark. He reached out his hand and took the dove and brought it back to himself in the ark. He waited seven more days and again sent out the dove from the ark.11 When the dove returned to him in the evening, there in its beak was a freshly 12 plucked olive leaf! Then Noah knew that the water had receded from the earth. He waited seven more days and sent the dove out again, but this time it did not return to him. 1 The Flood in Gilgamesh Excerpt from The Epic of Gligamesh (Stanford U. Press, 1989) [Tablet XI] Then I sent out everything in a ll directions and sacrificed (a sheep). I offered incense in front of the mountain-ziggurat. Seven and seven cult vessels I put in place, and (into the fire) underneath I poured reeds, cedar, and myrtle. The gods smelled the savor, the gods smelled the sweet savor, and collected like flies over a s(heep) sacrifice. * * * Enlil went up inside the boat and, grasping my hand, made me go up. He had my wife go up and kneel by my side, he touched our forehead, and, standing between us, he blessed us: “Previously Utanapishtim was a human being, But now let Utanapishtim and his wife become like us, the gods! ” Genesis 8 20 Then Noah built an altar to th21LORD and, taking some of all the clean animals and clean birds, he sacrificed burnt offerings on it. The LORD smelled the pleasing aroma and said in his heart: “Never again will I curse the ground because of humans, even though every inclination of the human heart is evil from childhood. And never again will I destroy all living creatures, as I have done . Two Sources, One Story (Genesis 6:5 -7:3) 6:5 The LORD saw how great man's wickedness on the earth had become, and that every inclination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil all the time. 6 The LORD was grieved that he had made man on the earth, and his heart was filled with pain. 7 So the LORD said, "I will wipe mankind, whom I have created, from the face of the earth —men and animals, and creatures that move along the ground, and birds of the air—for I am grieved that I have made them." 8 But Noah found favor in the eyes of the LORD. 9 This is the account of Noah. Noah was a righteous man, blameless among the people of his time, and he walked with God. 10 Noah had three sons: Shem, Ham and Japheth. 11 Now the earth was corrupt in God's sight and w as full of violence. 12 God saw how corrupt the earth had become, for all the people on earth had corrupted their ways. 13 So God said to Noah, "I am going to put an end to all people, for the earth is filled with violence because of them. I am surely goin g to destroy both them and the earth. 14 So make yourself an ark of cypress wood; make rooms in it and coat it with pitch inside and out. 15 This is how you are to build it: The ark is to be 450 feet long, 75 feet wide and 45 feet high. 16 Make a roof for it and finish the ark to within 18 inches of the top. Put a door in the side of the ark and make lower, middle and upper decks. 17 I am going to bring floodwaters on the earth to destroy all life under the heavens, every creature that has the breath of lif e in it. Everything on earth will perish. 18 But I will establish my covenant with you, and you will enter the ark —you and your sons and your wife and your sons' wives with you. 19 You are to bring into the ark two of all living creatures, male and female,to keep them alive with you. 20 Two of every kind of bird, of every kind of animal and of every kind of creature that moves along the ground will come to you to be kept alive. 21 You are to take every kind of food that is to be eaten and store it away as food for you and for them." 22 Noah did everything just as God commanded him. 7:11 The LORD then said to Noah, "Go into the ark, you and your whole family, because I have found you righteous in this generation. 2 Take with you seven of every kind of clean animal, a male and its mate, and two of every kind of unclean animal, a male and its mate, 3 and also seven of every kind of bird, male and female, to keep their various kinds alive throughout the earth. Two Sources, One Story (Genesis 7:4 -24) 7:4 Seven days from now I will send rain on the earth for forty days and forty nights, and I will wipe from the face of the earth every living creature I have made." 5 And Noah did all that the LORD commanded him. 6 Noah was six hundred years old when the floodwaters came on the earth. 7 And Noah and his sons and his wife and his sons' wives entered the ark to escape the waters of the flood. 8 Pairs of clean and unclean animals, of birds and of all creatures that m ove along the ground, 9 male and female, came to Noah and entered the ark, as God had commanded Noah. 10 And after the seven days the fl
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