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The Great Flood(s)

The story of Noah’s Ark is a well-known biblical tale that tells the story of a global flood that destroyed all life on earth except for Noah, his family, and a pair of every animal species on the planet. The oldest known version of the story of the Ark of Noah comes from the ancient city of Nippur in Mesopotamia and dates back to around 2000 BCE.

This version of the story is known as the “Eridu Genesis” and is written in cuneiform on clay tablets. The story shares many similarities with the biblical account of the flood, including the building of an ark, the sending of birds to find dry land, and the salvation of a righteous man and his family. However, there are also significant differences between the two versions, such as the length of the flood and the reason for God’s decision to destroy the earth.

The Eridu Genesis tells the story of a great flood that is sent by the gods to destroy humanity because of their wickedness. The flood is survived by a man named Ziusudra, who is instructed by the god Enki to build a large boat to carry himself, his family, and various animals to safety. After the flood, Ziusudra lands on a mountaintop and offers sacrifices to the gods.

An excerpt from the Sumerian flood story known as the “Eridu Genesis,” as translated by historian Thorkild Jacobsen:

“O man of Shuruppak, son of Ubartutu: Tear down the house and build a boat! Abandon wealth and seek living 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. I understood and spoke to my lord, my master: “Behold, my lord! What you have thus ordered, I will heed and will do it.

This passage describes the instructions given to the hero of the story, Ziusudra (also known as Utnapishtim), by the god Enki to build a boat in preparation for the coming flood. The full text of the Eridu Genesis, along with other Sumerian flood stories, can be found in various translations and editions of Sumerian literature.

The lord who gives the instructions to the hero Ziusudra (also known as Utnapishtim) is the god Enki.

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