Perhaps the most popular comparison with Noah’s Flood is that of an ancient Babylonian story of a similar flood. A quick look at the text does show some key similarities between them however there are also some pointed differences. I will show you both and let you decide whether there is or is not a connection.
First let us look at the similarities:
*It is set in the Iraqi/Turkey area…..similar to the Biblical Flood.
*A man is warned by a god to build a ship so he could survive a coming flood, sent by the divine powers.
*The man is told to save himself, his family, and a sampling of all living things.
*The boat was to be sealed with resin inside and out.
*A set time is made by the divinity for the flood to begin.
*The flood includes both rain and water from the surface.
*The flood covered the mountains.
*The boat came to rest on a mountain first.
*Birds were released to test for whether or not the waters had receeded. In the Biblical account, a raven and a dove were released. In the Gilgamesh account, a dove, swallow, and raven were released.
*Once out of the boat, the man offers a sacrifice to the divinity which brings comfort to the divinity at the sweet scent of the sacrifice.
Now for the differences:
*The Babylonian tale never says why the gods chose to save the man in the story. It was pretty much dumb luck. In the Bible, Noah was a rightous man amidst a population of evil.
*The boat dimensions are quite different. The boat in the story of the Babylonian flood is a cube, equal on all sides. While in the Bible, Noah is told to build his Ark in a 450x75x45 ratio. This ratio is what is known to ship builders as the perfect ratio for stabilty for a boat but it was not known until the 15th century AD. The Gilgamesh boat, being equal on all sides, would have been wildly unstable and unseaworthy.
*The Babylonian man took seven days to build his boat while Noah took 120 years. Why would such a numerology rich people use such a non-numerology number as 120 when seven was already in the story?
The Lesson of Quinn’s Ishmael
The Lesson of Quinn’s Ishmael
There are some books that you can just sit back and enjoy, just let the authors words wash over you and, most importantly, you don’t have to think. And then there’s Daniel Quinn’s Ishmael.
The novel Ishmael, “an adventure of the mind and spirit,” opens with a disillusioned and depressed man in search of a teacher, and not just any teacher. He wants someone to show him what life is all about. And so he finds Ishmael, a meiutic teacher (one who acts as a midwife to his pupils, in bringing ideas to the surface), who turns out to be a large telepathic gorilla of extraordinary intelligence. The largest part of the book consists of their conversations, in which Ishmael discusses how things got to be this way (in terms of human culture, beginning with the agricultural revolution). Ishmael shows the narrator exactly what doesn’t work in our society: the reasoning that there is only one right way to live, and that that way is with humans conquering the planet. Daniel Quinn points out that many other cultures, most notably those who have a tribal lifestyle, work, in that they do not destroy their resources, have no need for crime control or other programs, and do not have population problems. He insists that our culture is not based on humans being human, it is based on humans being gods and trying to control the world.
Ishmael has a habit of raising questions and ideas. The gorilla Ishmael not only brought out thoughts and questions in the narrator, he brought up a lot of questions and ideas in Coast to Coast 2000. Ishmael took us all aback. Although many of us questioned some of Daniel Quinn’s minor points, we all agreed on one of his main points: that there is no one right way to live. The Bushmen of Africa are living in a way that is just as right and works just as well as ours, and possibly even better, as they are capable of living without destroying everything in their paths. These “Leaver” cultures are in no way inferior to ours though we consider them to be uncivilized.
In fact, Ishmael says that it is “Taker” civilization itself, the hierarchical structure that locks up food and spreads through the idea that people must live the same way, that is actually inferior.