Letter: Ea, not Noah

Planning to see the new blockbuster movie, "Noah", soon? Here are passages that might enlighten you about this ancient story.

“In those days the world teemed, the people multiplied ... so the gods agreed to exterminate mankind.” They selected a man, Ea, to “tear down his house and build a boat” and “these are the measurements..." Each side of the deck measured 120 cubits.

He gave the shipwrights “wine to drink as though it were river water. When the boat was complete, he loaded it with gold and all living things, my family, my kin, the beasts of the field both wild and tame.”



“For six days and six nights the wind blew, torrent and tempest and flood overwhelmed the world ... but fourteen leagues distant there appeared a mountain ... When the seventh day dawned I loosed a dove ... ”

If this story sounds familiar it is because these passages above are from Book Five of "The Epic of Gilgamesh," a Sumerian narrative written 4,600 years ago, or about two millenniums prior to the writing of the Noah story in Genesis. It is an identical story pilfered from previous literature by biblical scribes wanting to create a Hebrew literary canon, as they did for much of Genesis, by plagiarizing their narratives, adding a few modifications, from more ancient writers.

The Bible is as much about illusion as are Hollywood movies attempting to draw in religious believers deceived by belief in purloined narratives.

Don Sharpes Professor, Emeritus College.

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