Yeah, that’ll get me in some trouble…
So, last night, as we ate our dinner, the children and I were discussing Gilgamesh and Utnapishtim. The previous night, we had discussed Hammurabi and his
Ten Commandments Law. Well, last night, we started to discuss the difference between history, fiction, and myth while attempting to understand that sometimes we tell stories not for ourselves but against others. The Jews who composed the Torah, especially the narrative portions, did this very well, so much so that I would say they were inspired.
I was able to help them draw comparisons between Gilgamesh and Noah, although they got stuck on the myth part. They still believe myths are about gods and goddess raging in the skies, making animals and rainbows. No, I told them. The best way to understand a myth is a story told in our words about something we do not understand. For example, the Theology.
I tried to get them to understand that stories are shared by people, and sometimes, we take stories from others to explain something important to us. I didn’t get to the point of the new creation story in Noah’s narrative, as I didn’t think they could handle the massive amount of information already.
But, why is it that we can so easily suggest Gilgamesh is a myth but take Noah as literal fact? Why? Because we have a fuzzy understanding of how stories work, and we are wholly anti-Semitic when it comes to reading the Jewish Scriptures. We insist these authors are modern day white male historians trained at Harvard, and not Jews in Babylon building the Jewish identity.
What is truth? Truth is never a matter of fact. Facts are great, but they are hardly “truth.” Myth may be truer than historical fact. Chew on that for a while…
- Preaching on Noah’s Ark Without Falling Into Fundamentalism (gregbentall.com)
- ‘Baywatch’ Star Abandons Search for Noah’s Ark Fearing Abduction (livescience.com)
- Legal expert calls for the adoption of the ziggurat slogan for Baghdad, the capital of culture instead of Gilgamesh (thecurrencynewshound.com)
- Notes to a Fundamentalist on a Noah’s Ark sermon (gregbentall.com)
- Atrahasis * Mesopotamian Flood Hero (slewsgranger.wordpress.com)