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Claim CG211:

The flood story in the Epic of Gilgamesh, which is clearly related to the flood story in Genesis, is known from tablets from Nineveh from the 7th century BCE and surely is older. It was believed to predate the written Genesis account. But a fragmentary tablet (CBM 13532) discovered in Nippur dated to around 2200 BCE is consistent with the Genesis version and differs from the Babylonian version, confirming the priority of Scripture.


Morris, John D., 2011. Genesis, Gilgamesh, and an early flood tablet. Acts & Facts 40(11) (Nov.), 16.


  1. The claim rests entirely on Hilprecht's translation of the tablet (Hilprecht 1910). Because the tablet is so fragmentary, Hilprecht's translation includes interpolations based on context, and sometimes these are mere guesses. In particular, Hilbrecht's translation of bringing "creeping things, two of everything" is supplied purely from Hilbrecht's imagination based on a translation, dubious in itself, where he renders, "instead of a number." Barton (1911) renders the same line, "let the artisans (or people) come" and calls Hilprecht's version "grossly mistranslated." (See also Prince and Vanderburgh 1910.)

    Without the "two of everything" line, everything in the CBM 13532 fragment is as consistent with the Babylonian flood version as it is with Genesis.

  2. The early date ascribed to the tablet is unsupportable. The exact location where the tablet was excavated was not recorded, and when Hilbrecht came to it, it had been kept in boxes mingling tablets from different periods (Barton 1911). The philology and style of writing indicate a date from the Cassite period (c. 1750-1170 BCE), and not before the First Babylonian Dynasty (ca. 1830-1531 BCE) (Barton 1911).

    Sumerian and Assyrian versions of the flood story, quite similar to the Babylonian version, date back to 1700 BCE or earlier (Tigay 1982).


  1. Barton, George A. 1911. Hilprecht's fragment of the Babylonian deluge story (Babylonian Expedition of the University of Pennsylvania, Series D, volume V, fasc. I). Journal of the American Oriental Society 31: 30-48.
  2. Hilprecht, H.V. 1910. The earliest version of the Babylonian deluge story and the temple library of Nippur. The Babylonian Expedition of the University of Pennsylvania, Series D, Volume V, Fasc. 1. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania.
  3. Prince, John D. and Frederick A. Vanderburgh. 1910. The new Hilprecht deluge tablet. The American Journal of Semitic Languages and Literatures 26: 303-308.
  4. Tigay, Jeffrey H. 1982. The Evolution of the Gilgamesh Epic, Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press.

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