History Journal 1


The Old Testament story of Noah’s Ark is one of the best-known stories of the Judeo-Christian tradition. What are the origins of this famous story? The

first three known stories are from ancient Mesopotamia. The first to have appeared is the Sumerian King List in about 2000 B.C., but it is probably based

on an earlier version; the second flood story is the account from the Myth of Atrahasis III, which was written on a tablet in about 1600 B.C., and the

third is from the “Standard Version” of the famous Epic of Gilgamesh written about 1300 B.C. The Genesis story most certainly came last, but there is no

way of knowing exactly when this version was first composed and written down. The book of Genesis was a part of the Hebrew Torah, which was essentially

complete and recognized as authoritative at least as early as the fourth century B.C.

Answer these questions in a 300-500 word essay. Make sure you put these in context using the textbook (Jerry H. Bentley & Herb Zeigler. Traditions &

Encounters, Vol. 1 From the Beginnings to 1500, 6th Ed. 2015). Use the documents as your examples.

Why did this story appear and acquire significance in several of the Near Eastern cultures? Do these references to a great flood represent some commonly

believed myth, or do they reflect an actual event? When reading, consider the point of each story and its significance to the larger story being told.

What do all of these stories have in common? In what ways do the narratives differ? How do the stories add to or complement what we know about the ways

these societies functioned and in what they believed?