Talk:Enûma Eliš

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Notice Regarding the Abuse of the NPOV Policy[edit]

There appear to be several individuals who insist on comparing the attributes of the gods in Enuma Elish with the god of Genesis, noting that the Genesis god is "loving and caring" while the Mesopotamian gods are "uncaring and random." This is not the place to argue about which god is better. Comparisons with Genesis should be limited to the critical-historical sphere, and should not take religious objections to critical-historical scholarship into account. Wikipedia is theologically neutral- we do not make disparaging comments about any religions, or about religion in general. However, in the same vein, we do not refrain from stating the general consensus of scholars in a relevant field of study just because some people may have religious objections to the existence of that field of study in the first place. Nor is it appropriate to post religious objections to this field of study in the middle of a paragraph describing the current academic consensus.--Rob117 21:51, 31 October 2005 (UTC)

-aint it great that mythology, being derived from and messing up the truth of what really happened as said in the bible, confirms all this historical stuff to those who are proof obsessed?

How would the Bible's similarity with pre-existing mythology prove it's accuracy? That seems to be.. the opposite of a logical conclusion. It might suggest some truth or a grain of logic leading to similar conclusions, but certainly not that the Bible version is true. If anything it suggests that the Bible version is plagerised or a derivitive work. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 08:01, 15 April 2008 (UTC)

In Conformity With The Previous Notice Regarding the Abuse of the NPOV Policy[edit]

In agreeing with the referenced notice above it should be noted that there exists a scholarly community who advocate the position that the Enuma Elish is derived from the Genesis account or that the two share a common tradition source. I made a small edit in the Genesis section of the entry to include the position of that group.

Genesis Comparisons[edit]

While it is important to discuss the reasons the cited scholar believes that the Enuma Elish and Genesis are not related stories, his assertions must have been spurred by some previous comparisons. It seems that those arguments need to be included and cited to maintain a more impartial and encompassing POV. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talk) 09:25, 8 February 2007 (UTC).

Hi everyone,
I'm new to this article, but when I looked at the history, I was surprised that someone had erased all arguments for Genesis being related to Enuma Elish, replacing them with counterpoints. Unfortunately, since the original points were missing, all that was left was a series of counterpoints with no context. Unless you had a background in the subject, it was hard to tell what was going on.
I restored the original arguments for Genesis being related to Enuma Elish. However, I also kept the counterpoints that they aren't related. It seemed like the easiest thing to do, NPOV-wise, was to make two sections, one saying "this is a list of arguments that the two are related" and the other saying "this is a list of arguments that they aren't related." Hopefully, if someone disagrees with one of the points in these lists, they will add a counterpoint to the appropriate list-- rather than ERASING arguments that they disagree with.
NPOV is your friend,
--Glistenray 14:38, 21 February 2007 (UTC)
that there is a loose relation between the EE and Genesis is absolutely undisputed. Both are texts growing out of the general mythological milieu of the Ancient Near East. The debate surrounds the question just how direct this relation is. dab (𒁳) 08:08, 27 July 2007 (UTC)
Yes. A few points: (a) If you're going to change the orientation of the section from EE/Gen to EE/Tanakha, you need to spell it out - I think EE/Gen.1 would be easier to handle. (b) The article needs to place both EE and Gen1 in time (this is one reason why I'd like to restrict the subject to to EE/Gen.1) - Gen.1 can be shown to have been composed post-Exile, so that the influence runs one way, Genesis 1 based on EE, not vice-versa and not both based on some other source. (c) The last thing: Gen 1 isn't just a retelling of EE, it's a deliberate inversion, intended to denigrate the Babylonian mythos and celebrate the power of Elohim - this was Wenham's proposal and is pretty well generally accepted. PiCo 08:36, 27 July 2007 (UTC) I'd be strongly inclined to drop the "opposing views" or whatever it's called - no mainstream scholar that I know of denies the EE/Gen 1 connection.PiCo 08:39, 27 July 2007 (UTC)
this whole thing is entirely unsourced at present. We need a couple of references even for the mainstream views. The non-mainstream stuff of course absolutely needs a reference, or failing that belongs removed. dab (𒁳) 09:04, 27 July 2007 (UTC)
I would rather expect to find connections between Enuma Elish and the Torah creation stories, but I have to say the section simply doesn't seem convincing at all. Can we get some references for both the pros and cons, and especially flesh out the pros? There's not a whole lot there. For example, that there were six generations of gods doesn't seem particularly important in connection to the 6/7 days of creation, but since it's mentioned as a parallel I imagine there's more to it -- can this be made explicit?
CRGreathouse (t | c) 15:46, 16 August 2007 (UTC)

Parallels between Gen 1 and EE, to be added to as opportunity permits and until there is enough material assembled to revise the section, all from here:

  • Both begin with a primeval, uncreated chaos (Gen. 1:1, bereshith bara elokim, "When in the beginning of God's creating..." - not, incidentally, "In the beginning God created..." - and EE, When above, the heavens had not been named,

(And) below, the earth had not been called by name...).

  • Both make reference to a primordial "wind" associated with Creation (Genesis, "and a wind from God sweeping" (not a spirit, which was introduced in Christian times, and not hovering, which is simply wrong for the Hebrew); EE has the four winds begot by the sky-god Anu, plus seven more created later - the EE winds are used for subsequent acts of creation, but the Genesis wind never makes a reappearance). —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talk) 09:13, August 20, 2007 (UTC)

"The dependence of at least part of the creation myths found in Genesis on a common ancient Near Eastern 'creation-by-combat' myth are 'not gainsayable.'" This statement is ridiculous. Has no one noticed there is no combat in Genesis 1? Although it may have escaped the notice of this author, several others have made note of this fact (Gerhard F. Hasel, “The Significance of the Cosmology in Genesis to Ancient Near Eastern Parallels.” Andrews University Seminary Studies 10 (January 1972): 1-20; Richard S. Hess, “One Hundred Fifty Years of Comparative Studies on Genesis 1-11: An Overview.” In “I Studied Inscriptions from before the Flood”: Ancient Near Eastern, Literary, and Linguistic Approaches to Genesis 1-11, ed. Richard S. Hess and David Toshio Tsumura, 3-26. Winona Lake, IN: Eisenbrauns, 1994. Perhaps for this reason, when scholars talk about 'creation-by-combat,' they go to the poetic literature and not Genesis (Oden, Robert A. Jr. “Cosmogony, Cosmology.” In Anchor Bible Dictionary, ed. David Noel Freedman, 1:1162-71. New York: Doubleday, 1992). Yet, it should be noted that, since the discovery of the Ras Shamra texts, suggesting the poetic combat illusions (Ps. 74:13; Job 9:8; 38:8; cf. Ps. 89:9) were of Mesopotamian origin (making it relevant to Enuma Elish) has fallen out of favor (Lambert, “A New Look,” 99; Robert A. Oden Jr., “Cosmogony, Cosmology,” in Anchor Bible Dictionary, ed. David Noel Freedman [New York: Doubleday, 1992], 1:1164). Because of this, these poetic illusions to combat (Chaoskampf; creation-by-combat) are often not connected with creation (Frank Moore Cross, Canaanite Myth and Hebrew Epic: Essays in the History of the Religion of Israel [Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1973], 39-43, 120; Clause Watermann, Genesis 1-11: A Commentary, trans. John J. Scullion (Minneapolis: Ausburg Publishing House, 1984), 28-33; cf., Arvid S. Kapelrud, “Creation in the Ras Shamra Texts,” Studia Theologica 34 [1980]: 1-11; also Jakob H. Groenbaek, “Baal's battle with Yam: A Canaanite Creation Fight,” Journal for the Study of the Old Testament 33 [October 1985]: 27-44, who suggests equating battle scenes with creation). So, I would strongly suggest that someone involved in writing this article amend this egregious error. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 18:57, 5 July 2008 (UTC)

  I couldn't agree more.  I emailed the website where that information is posted and the author has never responded to my request that he elaborate on the notion of combat. (talk) 22:37, 22 July 2008 (UTC)

Although there are certainly too many similarities between Genesis and Enuma Elis, the claim that Gen 1:1-3 should be combined to a single sentence, in order to reject the creation-ex-nihilo notion should not be presented within the article as the only one worth studying. As others have pointed out (Procksh, Cassuto, von Rad etc.), there are too many "ve" ('and') in this portion, breaking it to many sentences. After all, such a long sentence is incompatible with Hebrew grammar. The traditional, "ex-nihilo" interpretation is favoured by the Septuagint and 2nd Maccabees 7:28 (a canonical OT book for both Eastern Orthodox and Roman Catholics). These two works date before Christianity or Rabbinical Judaism. See also V. Hamp, Lex Tua Veritas [Fest. H. Junker; Trier 1961] p. 113-126. G.F Hasel, Recent translations of Genesis 1,1: A critical look [Bible Translator 22 (1971)], p. 154-167. I hope this contribution is useful, sorry for my poor English. -- (talk) 06:25, 27 September 2008 (UTC)grsv

I was looking for an article on the Enuma Elish but instead I found one on the Hebrew Bible. Go figure! —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 03:38, 16 October 2008 (UTC)

I disagree that the initial realm of creation before Gen 1:1 chronologically takes place is in chaos. The Bible never says that. All it says is that the Earth was without form and dark. A handful of pudding is without form, but not necessarily in chaos... to be fair though, both creation accounts do state that in the beginning there existed some body of water, so this is an undeniable similarity. The New International Version study bible even deliberately states that unlike most Mesopotamian creation accounts that have a chaotic world brought into order by the gods, YHWH exists in near nothingness and purposefully & in an ordered manner simply brings forth existence as we know it by mere word in six distinct and ordered 'days' (sometimes interpreted to just be partitions of time for identification purposes, rather than literal days). The use of voice as catalyst for creation is also an undeniable similarity, but unlike the EE (which tells us that two bodies of water existed in chaos, then mingled together and bore gods who had wives, propensity toward violent competition, and many - but not all - powers), the Gen story tells of an unimaginable state in which YHWH lives (trying to imagine where He was before Gen 1:1 would be like trying to imagine a new color), then how he calls into being Heaven and an oceanous Earth; his position is now above the water, and it is He who creates, not the water or anything else He has made. He then declares, "Let there be..." light, a firmament, land, plants, stars, animals, and man. YHWH has no wife in the Pentateuch. He competes with no one; He is omnipotent. The only children he has are those which he created (asexually) to love and be loved (not work as his laborers, as was the case with Marduk in the EE), and Christians believe Jesus Christ was YHWH's "only begotten son"; However, the gospels do not say that YHWH slept with Mary, but that she simply became "with child." In full disclosure, I am a Christian. However, I do not believe that my beliefs should be forced upon anyone else. But I do believe that any statement which depicts certain scriptures incorrectly or in a misleading fashion should be dealt with by being made factual and neutral. Let the reader decide from the facts. And let's make this discussion page professional and civil. There are many beliefs out there and it does us no good to fight with each other. =) -- Jared Taylor —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 16:29, 4 October 2010 (UTC)

I see the apologists have gotten their hands all over this page. The present version is simply a huge whitewash that attempts to minimize into oblivion the influence of earlier myths on the Genesis account, and in no way reflects the scholarship or the scholarly consensus on the matter. I just love how one will read this present version and come away with the idea that there is no or hardly any influence, which is absurd. The above comment stated, "YHWH has no wife in the Pentateuch." You only have to read Did God Have a Wife?: Archaeology and Folk Religion in Ancient Israel by William G. Dever to see how wrong this view is. So, tell that to the bozos without an education and maybe they'll believe you. Uroshnor (talk) 04:17, 19 February 2012 (UTC)

Relationship to Tanakh[edit]

I've substantially rewritten this section, drawing heavily on the Encyclopedia Judaica. Unfortunately the EJ is not free - you have to pay to read it on-line. But for those willing to pay, please check whether I've used it in a responsible manner.

Also, I've made the point that it's impossible to compare the EE and Genesis based on English translations - the English is only an approximation to the Hebrew, and carries a lot of ideological baggage. I've tried to find the best, most accurate translations, but I'm aware that this is a contentious area. Others might like to come in on this.

Finally, I've quoted Chris Heard's Higgaion blog as an authority for a quote, but, though Heard is a highly qualified scholar, but, it's a blog. If a better source for the same thing could be found, it would be better. PiCo 06:13, 11 November 2007 (UTC)

Your edits are a distinct improvement over what was there before. However, I think it's fairly common now to see the EE and Genesis as dependent on Canaanite myth (this also applies to the combat myth stuff in the rest of the OT). So we might want to expand the scope of the section beyond the bible, to cover the EE's relationship to NE texts/mythology more generally. --Akhilleus (talk) 17:26, 11 November 2007 (UTC)

Would you please check some archaeological works and list the dates which make EE dependent on Canaanite myth. Thanks (talk) 00:34, 3 February 2008 (UTC)

Translation of Rosh as wind[edit]

Can someone please cite where they are reading that the Hebrew word "rosh" is more correctly transliterated as wind (not spirit - as in "the spirit of God")? In Brown - Driver - Brigg it is described as meaning either wind,Sarahgel (talk) 05:26, 6 December 2007 (UTC) spirit or breath and Strong’s Concordance shows multiple usages of it under each of these meanings. I would really appreciate being able to reference the scholarly articles that restrict "rosh" to the meaning "wind" in this particular usage as I cannot imagine the critical reasoning that lead to this conclusion.Sarahgel (talk) 05:26, 6 December 2007 (UTC). I will not preclude that the usage could specifically mean wind, however; I do not see how the argument can be made that it necessarily does. Also, as far as Brown - Driver - Brigg is concerned, the Hebrew word translated as hover does in fact mean hover and it is used only, I think, one other time in the bible to describe a bird hovering over its young. Where is the argument that this word means anything else? Finally, while I am no expert on the royal archives at Ebla, I think that if anyone is, additions of information about the bearing that these relatively newly discovered texts may have on this exploration into the relationship between the Babylonian creation stories and Gen1 would be very helpful. I have heard that they have some accounts of creation included in these texts. In addition, early forms of many words in the Hebrew texts are in the Ebla texts and this may help us in a more correct transliteration of the Hebrew text especially as it relates to the Babylonian creation myth(s).

For a discussion of the meanings of ruah, see Harry Orlinsky's commentary on the 1987 JPS translation of Genesis. Orlinsky notes that this word can be translated as "breath", "spirit" or "wind" depending on context, and gives reasons for favouring "wind" in this particular verse. (The linked article is quite long, but the relevant part begins slightly before the half-way point.) PiCo (talk) 06:02, 6 December 2007 (UTC) I've now edited the text to make clear that Orlinski's ruah=wind instead of spirit translation is only meant to apply to to this specific verse, not universally. PiCo (talk) 04:12, 7 December 2007 (UTC)

Also NJMauthor (talk) 00:15, 20 February 2008 (UTC)

Higgaion reference[edit]

This would be a more useful reference if Higgaion explained what is combative about the Genesis story. I mean I want Heard to point to words that express combative issues. I have read the Tannakh in Hebrew (and the bits of Aramaic) many times and it's just not there. So Heard may regard his attitude as something that can't be gainsaid but he doesn't convince me he has read the original language. (talk) 00:32, 3 February 2008 (UTC)

i've removed the reference to the heard quote, as it was citing a blog, a no-no on wp on several grounds.

Where's the Enûma Eliš discussion page?[edit]

As of Feb 24, 2009, every entry on this page is about the tenuous link between the Enûma Eliš and the Bible/Torah. While some discussion on this point is expected, is there nothing regarding the Enûma Eliš itself that is worth discussion? (talk) 13:22, 24 February 2009 (UTC)

You're right, but feel free to do this yourself :) PiCo (talk) 07:01, 25 February 2009 (UTC)

What language?[edit]

"Akkadian litterature" the article says at its very last, as a category link. Shouldn't the article mention that earlier? ... said: Rursus (bork²) 07:17, 9 June 2009 (UTC)

Source of last line[edit]

What is the source of the quote in the last line: "Thus, it appears that the so-called priestly source of the documentary hypothesis account echoes this earlier Mesopotamian story of creation." PloniAlmoni (talk) 15:04, 14 September 2009 (UTC)


The last paragraph, starting at "However, these parallels do not necessarily suggest that Hebrew beliefs ...", is entirely related to, well, Hebrew BELIEFS, and as such has no place in this article. This article is about one of the creation myths of the time; when the article shows similarities with the creation myths contained in the Hebrew Bible, it does so in a measured, NPOV way, since it clearly does NOT get into the language of belief. However that last paragraph does exactly that, and in so doing completely violates NPOV (it is in fact trying to defend Hebrew beliefs from a perceived attack; the problem, however, is in the perception of the author of that paragraph, not in the rest of the article). The quote included is also non-neutral: if in Enuma Elish Marduk is treated as a god, then the statement that he is not is an attempt to argue *against* Enuma Elish, not to enrich the understanding about the text itself. The fact that said attempt is sourced does not make it acceptable. Stick to exposition, stay away from exegesis. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 00:06, 4 January 2011 (UTC)

improve this article[edit]

See the Gilgamesh Epic article which does an excellent review of the sites where copies were found and the dates of the different recensions. Do the same thing on this page. (talk) 12:06, 18 March 2011 (UTC)


Isn't it interesting that in Norse Mythology we find a similar story regarding the slaying of Jormungandr by Thor? Just as Marduk slew Tiamat? Or Baal who slew Yam in Ugarit myth - the Baal cycle?
What's even more interesting: The clay tablets describing the Enûma Eliš were found in the 19th century, and the clay tablets describing the Baal cycle were found in the 20th century.
But the story about Thor slaying Jormungandr was written hundreds of years prior. No one knew about the Enûma Eliš or the Baal cycle back then.
How can this be explained? We all know how it can. These "myths" have one true background. It really happened. And not only this. All stories described in the Bible, the Enûma Eliš, Sumerian "mythology", Ugarit, etc REALLY happened. It is all true. (talk) 02:44, 22 September 2011 (UTC)

link rot[edit]

The following link gives a 404 error. (talk) 13:36, 14 February 2014 (UTC)