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Ancient Mesopotamia
Assyria Nineveh
Arslan Tash Til Barsip
Iran Palace of Darius
Phoenicia Arabia Palmyra
Syrian coast
Ougarit Byblos

The Flood    inv 7380

Baron Jean-Baptiste Regnault
Sully 2nd floor room 5

The biblical flood,
a true event?

Bas-relief Dedicated to
the Goddess Ninsun,
Mother of Gilgamesh  

AO 2761
Richelieu room 2 showcase 4

Anu, Enlil and Enki formed the highest cosmic triad of the Sumerian pantheon. Enki, Ea in Akkadian,
was the lord of freshwater.

 The Flood, Jean-Baptiste Regnault

A Babylonian literary theme ?

In a distant time, “when the gods inhabited Shuruppak”, and they decided to exterminate humanity, Enki intervened in support of humankind, and warned his friend, the super sage Ziusudra, according to a Sumerian myth which described a version of the flood. A131

The Epic of Gilgamesh, written subsequently, is a long epic poem on twelve tablets. This King of Uruk (Erech in Genesis 10:10) describes his fear of death and his efforts to achieve immortality. The eleventh tablet of the account tells the story of the flood. Gilgamesh learns that his friend Enkidu is dead. He crosses the River of Death and meets Utnapishtim, the only man who had achieved immortality. He then tells him the instructions he had received from Enki/Ea before the flood: “Destroy your house and build a boat, abandon your property and search for life. Gather inside the seed of all living creatures.”

“The mythologies of all the ancient nations are interwoven with the events of the Deluge […]. A great festival of the dead in commemoration of the event is celebrated by nations separated both by the ocean and by centuries of time. This festival is, moreover, held by all on or about the very day on which, according to the Mosaic account, the Deluge took place, the seventeenth day of the second month – the month nearly corresponding with our November.” 
J. Garnier, The Worship of the Dead


The Chinese character that signifies 'boat' is derived from the idea of 'eight people in a small craft', which strangely resembles the story of the bible concerning Noah and his family, eight people, who survived the flood

- 1 Peter 3:20

This concept is found
in nearly all mythologies,
except those of Egypt and Japan.

The biblical account is often considered to be a continuation of a literary theme coming from Mesopotamian tradition, and not the description of a real curse. A132

A planetary flood nonetheless remains a plausible hypothesis. Fiction is often unique and non-universal. Yet, there are almost 500 legends in existence relating to the flood. A133

Fundamental similarities are found in each of them: a moral issue, universal destruction and survival of a family in an ark or boat. The universal nature of these stories is generally considered to be the confirmation of a real event ; humankind being dispersed on Earth from a single region and from the same family.  A134 , A135

 Fundamental similarities in the legends of the Flood


Winter or Flood     inv  7306

Nicolas Poussin
Richelieu 2nd   floor room 16

Humanity perished in
the universal flood,
from which everyone tried
in vain to run away.

On the left, just Noah’s Ark
was to escape.

 Winter or Flood, Poussin

Noah’s ‘logbook’ presents all the characteristics of an authentic historical document. Precise information is found about the time (about the year, the month and the day the rain started to fall). Thanks to its chronological references, the Bible enables the start of the flood to be placed, through methodical calculation, at 2370 BCE. Moses, the author of Genesis, could very well have received his information through a direct revelation, oral tradition or thanks to written documents. The proportions of the ark are those of a floating container; the time it took to build – several decades – is reasonable. These details, which ring true, are in distinct contrast to the Epic and its 60-metre-sided cube built in just seven days. A136

Bible story presents all the characteristics of an authentic historical document


The Flood    inv 699

Alessandro Turchi

Denon 1st floor room 16

Probably painted in Rome,

where Turchi settled permanently around 1614.


Outside of the story of Genesis, the Bible mentions Noah and the flood ten times.

The researcher Ezra included Noah and
his sons in the genealogy of the nation
of Israel (1 Chronicles 1:14-17).
The great Prophets Isaiah and Ezekiel
quote his name (Isaiah 54:9; Ezekiel 14:14).
Luke the Evangelist mentions him among
the ancestors of Jesus (Luke 3:36).
The Apostles Peter and Paul refer to
this story of survival and take example
from the fear of God and the great faith
of Noah, ‘preacher of justice’  (2 Peter 2:5; 3,5-6; Hebrews 11:7).


If Noah were merely a legendary character, and the flood just a fable,

these reminders would certainly blur the spiritual vision of the Bible reader


The words of Christ, the heavenly eyewitness, are for Christians

the supreme argument supporting
a real rather than a mythical event

If Noah were merely a legendary character, and the flood just a fable, these reminders would certainly blur the spiritual vision of the Bible reader.

“Moreover, just as it occurred in the days of Noah, so it will be also in the days of the Son of man.” (Luke 17:26). These words of Christ, the heavenly eyewitness, are for Christians the supreme argument supporting a real rather than a mythical event.


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