Friday, May 13, 2016

The Epic of Gilgamesh again

ARCHAEOLOGY MAGAZINE: The World's Oldest Writing: Cuneiform Religion. The story of George Smith's discovery of the Mesopotamian Flood narrative in the Epic of Gilgamesh is a great one, only the first part of which is told at the link. For the rest, see the link at this post. In brief, Smith found part of the Flood story on a tablet in the British Museum, he convinced the Daily Telegraph to put up money for him to go to Ottoman Iraq to try to find the rest of the story, and then within three days of digging at the site of Nineveh he found a fragment of the Epic of Atrahasis which filled in the missing material. The full story is so implausible that it would have to be true: fiction dares not rely on coincidence and good luck the way reality can. His story ended in tragedy and premature death, but left him a name and glory. Gilgamesh would have approved.

Lots more on the Epic of Gilgamesh and its relevance to ancient Judaism etc. is here and links.