The Bible Is a Parable: A Middle Ground Between Science and Religion
Could these people-of-the- north be descendants of the displaced victims of that great
Some of the Bible‘s critics suggest that the story of Noah had been borrowed during
the Israelite seventy- year Assyrian captivity around 586 BC. I would suggest that if it
was borrowed it took place at a much earlier date.
The first discovered copies of the Epic of Gilgamesh are estimated to have been
written at about 1,900 BC as if copied from earlier sources. Later discoveries of the
probable earlier sources progressively moved that date back in time. It is now thought to
have been originally written at about 3,500 BC according to the most recent
The story of Abraham, by my estimate, took place around the middle of the
seventeenth century BC. He was born in -Ur of the Chaldes. | His family moved up the
Euphrates River to Haran, which I would place close to the eastern border of the early
Hittite Empire. This is similar to the journey of Gilgamesh where he went up the
Euphrates to fight the -giants of the mountains | on his way to meeting Utnapishtim of the
flood story. Based on the earliest discoveries of that Epic, my educated guess would have
put these occurrences no more than two hundred years apart, but the epic turned out to be
much older, as those later discoveries indicated. It would seem that Gilgamesh had made
his journey sometime before 3,500 BC. The length of Abraham‘s stay in Haran is not
certain, but with the long popularity of the Epic story, certainly it would have been told
and retold more than enough times to have become a tradition long before the time when
-God | spoke to Abraham about leaving for parts south.
If the biblical flood epic came into the Israelite storytelling tradition from that source,
I find it more reasonable, because of its early position in Genesis of the Bible among
other things, to believe that its inclusion came at this historical juncture rather than at the
later date. It‘s reasonable to believe that the Israelite‘s rancor at their defeat and seventy-
year captivity would have militated against acceptance and inclusion of any part of their
enemy‘s belief system into such an honored part of theirs.
Even if they had been forced, during their captivity, to nominally accept and even
ritually incorporate their captor‘s belief system into their own, once they had been freed
by invaders, who had conquered their overlords, the natural reaction, as witnesses to their
tyrant‘s humbling, would be to have thrown off all signs of that yoke.
In paragraph four at the beginning of this chapter, I quoted from Genesis 4:6 of the
biblical flood story -In those days…when the…beings from the spirit world were sexually
involved with human women, their children became giants, of whom so many legends are
-Language like that, | I said, -seems to me like one of those borrowings whose basis
is more akin to mythological folklore. |
In the Epic of Gilgamesh, there might be a basis rooted in mythological folklore
which retains a kernel of a real experience. Gilgamesh might have actually gone up the
Euphrates, but fighting the -giants of the mountains | sounds more like myth being added
to an original adventure.
In the glossary of names, there is listed:
Gilgamesh: A hero of the epic; son of the goddess N insun and of a priest of K ullah (a
part of Uruk).