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Flood Myths


Flood Myths Story Patterns of The Flood Productive sacrifice The Deluge cleanses and gives rebirth Primordial Chaos Purification by water Baptism overcoming ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Flood Myths

Flood Myths
Story Patterns of The Flood
  • Productive sacrifice
  • The Deluge cleanses and gives rebirth
  • Primordial Chaos
  • Purification by water
  • Baptism overcoming destructive chaos
  • The dark waters of the unconscious
  • Re-bootLets start over

Mesopotamian Flood Story
  • This is recorded in the ancient tale of Gilgamesh
    and was the source for the later Bible story
  • This versions depicts the whims of the gods

Enlil heard the clamour and he said to the gods
in council, The uproar of mankind is intolerable
and sleep is no longer possibleSo the gods
agreed to exterminate mankind. But Ea because of
his oath warned me (Ziusudra) in a dream. I was
told to tear down my house and build a boat,
abandon possessions and look for life, despise
worldly goods and save my soul. Let this boat be
equal in length and width, her deck be roofed
like the vault that covers the abyss, and then
take up into the boat the seed of all living
In the first light of dawn all my household
gathered around me, the children brought pitch
and the men whatever was necessary. On the fifth
day I laid the keel and the ribs, then I made
fast the planking. The ground-space was one
acre, each side of the deck measured on hundred
and twenty cubits (a cubit is one forearm length
or about 20 inches) making a square. I built six
decks below, seven in all On the seventh day the
boat was complete (120 cubits 200 feet)
With the first light of dawn a black cloud came
from the horizon it thundered within where Adad,
lord of the storm was ridingA stupor of despair
went up to heaven when the god of the storm
turned daylight to darkness, when he smashed the
land like a cup... Even the gods were terrified
at the flood. Then Ishtar the sweet-voiced Queen
of Heaven cried out Alas the days of old are
turned to dust because I commanded evil The
great gods of heaven and of hell wept, they
covered their mouths.
For six days and nights the winds blew, torrent
and tempest and flood overwhelmed the world All
mankind was turned to clay. The surface of the
sea stretches as flat as a roof-top. In the
distance there appeared a mountain, and there the
boat grounded. When the seventh day dawned I
loosed a dove and let her gobut she returned. I
then loosed a raven, she saw that the waters had
retreated, she ate, she flew around, she cawed,
and she did not come back. Then I threw
everything open to the four winds, I made a
sacrifice and poured out a libation on the
mountain top.
When the gods smelled the sweet savour, they
gathered like flies over the sacrifice. Then the
god Istar said, Let all the gods gather round
the sacrifice, except Enlil. He shall not
approach this offering, for without reflection he
brought the flood that consigned my people to
destruction. When Enlil had come, when he saw the
boat, he was wrath and swelled with anger at the
gods Not one was to have survived the
destruction. Then to Enlil he was said, Who is
there of the gods that can devise without Ea? It
is Ea alone who knows all things. Then Ea asked
of Enlil how could he so senselessly bring down
the flood.
And Ea said to the gods, It was not I that
revealed the secret of the gods the wise man
(Utnapishtim) learned it in a dream. Now take
your counsel what shall be done with him. Then
the god Enlil went up into the boat, took me by
the hand and my wife and made us enter the boat
and kneel down on either side. He touched our
forehead to bless us saying. In time past
Utnapishtim was a mortal man henceforth he and
his wife shall live in the distance at the mouth
of the rivers.
Thus it was that the gods took me and placed me
here to live in the distance, at the mouth of the
rivers (in Mesopotamia)
Hebrew Noah Flood Story
  • Based on older Babylonian story
  • Older story is based on a whim of the gods
  • This time the flood is punishment and Noah is
    saved so humankind can be reborn in a cleansed

That the sons of God saw the daughters of men
that they were fair and they took them wives of
all which they chose And God saw that the
wickedness of man was great in the earth, and
that every imagination of the thoughts of his
heart was only evil continually And the Lord
said, I will destroy man whom I have created from
the face of the earth both man, and beast, and
the creeping things But Noah found grace in the
eyes of the Lord
And God said unto Noah, The end of all flesh is
come before me for the earth is filled with
violence through them and , behold, I will
destroy them with the earthMake thee an ark of
gopher woodthe length of the ark shall be three
hundred cubits, the breadth of it fifty cubits,
and the height of it thirty cubits I bring a
flood of waters upon the earth to destroy all
fleshbut with thee will I establish my covenant
Noah was six hundred years old when the flood of
waters was upon the earth. And Noah went in, and
his sons, and his wife, and his sons wives And
the rain was upon the earth forty days and forty
nights. Fifteen cubits upward did the waters
prevail and the mountains were covered. And the
waters prevailed upon the earth an hundred and
fifty days. And the ark rested in the seventh
month, on the seventeenth day of the month, upon
the mountains of Ararat.
And at the end of forty days, Noah opened the
window to the ark He sent forth a raventhen he
sent forth a dove. He stayed another seven days
and again sent forth the dove out into the
darkness. The dove returned in the evening with a
olive leaf so Noah knew that the waters were
abated After Noah left the ark he built an altar
unto the Lord and offered burnt offerings. And
the Lord smelled a sweet savour and the Lord
said in his heart, I will not again curse the
ground any more for mans sake
And God blessed Noah and his sons, and said unto
them, Be fruitful and multiply, and replenish the
earth. And the Lord made a covenant with Noah and
to his sons not to destroy the earth with another
flood. I do set my bow in the cloud, and it
shall be for a token of a covenant between me and
the earth. And the sons of Noah that went forth
from the Ark were Hem, Ham, and Japheth. These
three sons of Noah repopulated the earth.
Chinese Yu Flood Story
  • One of the oldest stories in Chinese mythology
  • Practical matter of channeling an unruly river to
    make more land for cultivation
  • Historical mythological account of this event

(Historical account) Everywhere the tremendous
flood waters were wreaking destruction. The
people were groaning. A ruler named Ti commanded
Kun to deal with this flood. Nine years Kun
labored without success to dam up the waters. At
the end of that time Kun was executed at the
Feather Mountain. Kuns son Yu was ordered to
continue the task. Yu, rather than trying to dam
the river, instead re-channeled with waters back
into the sea. He thus conquered the flood and
made the land fit for habitation. As a reward he
was given the throne by Shun and became founder
of the Hsia dynasty.
(Mythological account) On being ordered to deal
with the flood, Kun stole from the Lord the
swelling mold, a magical soil which had the
property of ever swelling in size. With this he
tried to build dams to hold back the waters. He
failed. When the Lord discovered this theft he
executed Kun at Feather Mountain. Kuns body
remained for three years without decomposing,
until someone cut it open with a sword and Yu
emerged from his fathers belly.
Yu came down from on high to continue his
fathers work. He was helped by a winged dragon
which, going ahead of him, trailed its tail over
the ground and thus marked the places where
channels should be dug. Yu succeeded in
draining the great rivers to the sea, expelling
snakes and dragons from the marshlands. Were it
not for Yu we would indeed be fish!
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