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Why is the biblical flood story so like the Babylonian flood myth?

The Gilgamesh Epic Read more from
Chapter Middle Eastern Mythologies

We do not know for sure why this is so. Scholars argue that the compilers of Genesis were directly influenced in the story of Noah and the flood by stories of the flood told by the Sumerians and retold and developed by the Assyrians and the Babylonians. The influence could have come during the so-called Babylonian Captivity or Exile in the sixth century B.C.E. or, perhaps more likely, during an earlier Assyrian captivity in the period around 700 B.C.E., or even still earlier from contact between the Israelites and the Canaanites, who might well have known the story.

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