Christianity. Nearly 2.2 billion adherents, or 31% of the world’s population embrace this dominant religion. For some, Christianity offers a set of tools to traverse daily life while embracing a monotheistic approach to the world. For others, the dominant religion serves as an obligatory and recurring Sunday event. For the former, the biblical accounts are definitive examples of patriarchs interacting with God, divine intervention, and the like. However, many Sunday sermons are conveniently omitting the origin of many of the biblical stories – originals that predate the Bible by thousands of years.
Often heralded as the cradle of civilization, ancient Mesopotamia was a hotbed for cultural development, animal husbandry, agriculture, architecture, astronomy, and many other crucial sciences and skill sets. The oldest kingdom of ancient Mesopotamia, Sumer, is an enigmatic chapter of human history – a chapter that archeology is still working to unravel. The Sumerians are credited with having founded one of the earliest systems of writing: Cuneiform script. According to Wikipedia, Cuneiform script is “distinguished by its wedge-shaped marks on clay tablets, made by means of a blunt reed for a stylus. The name cuneiform itself simply means “wedge shaped”, from the Latin cuneus “wedge” and forma “shape,” and came into English usage probably from Old French cunéiforme.”
Between half a million and two million cuneiform tablets are estimated to have been unearthed in modern times. These tablets not only contain the daily delta of ancient Sumer, but they also contain droves of cultural lore, creation accounts, and narratives of worldwide deluge and calamity. The similarities found between the Mesopotamian tablets and the biblical accounts are eerily reminiscent and contain a sobering hint of timeworn plagiarism.
For example, Genesis begins with the retelling of a story many of us are familiar with – the story Adam and Eve. Adam and Eve lived in the wondrous Garden of Eden and walked with God. The two wanted for nothing until Eve was tempted by the serpent to eat the forbidden fruit from the Tree of Knowledge. This transgression quickly found the unholy duo evicted from their stupendous home. While this account serves as an explanation for not only humanity’s creation, this portion of the Bible also sets the stage for illustrating mankind’s sinful nature.
Interestingly, this story found within the Old Testament is not an original work. Within the Mesopotamian tablets, we find the account of Adapa and Titi – the first “civilized humans.” Not only are they recognized by the Sumerians as the first humans to embrace civilization, but the two also begot two sons called Ka’in and Abael. If the next of kin similarity isn’t enough to convince the skeptical, the tablets also explain how Adapa and Titi reside in the Garden of Edin (Sumerian spelling). This version of Adam and Eve predates the biblical account by more than 1500 years.
We also find striking biblical similarities within the Epic of Gilgamesh. The Epic of Gilgamesh was uncovered during the zenith of Assyriology, the study and unearthing of ancient Mesopotamia. The 1853 discovery made by Christian Assyriologist, Hormuzd Rassam is credited as one of the most important archaeological revelations of the nineteenth century. Rassam happened upon the twelve cuneiform stone tablets while completing field work and excavation efforts in Nimrud and Kuyunjik, after discovering a timeworn library of the ancient Mesopotamian king, Ashurbanipal. Once translated by British Assyriologist, George Smith, the world was presented with the one of the oldest-known written works of literature – The Epic of Gilgamesh. While the tablets unearthed by Rassam and his team have been dated to the seventh century BCE, archaeologists have since discovered multiple partial manuscripts of the same account dating back to as early as 2000 BCE. It is commonly accepted that the grand retelling of the exploits of Gilgamesh originally spanned five poems and the texts were eventually compiled into the compendium edition between 1200 and 1300 BCE.
The tablets chronicle the feats of Gilgamesh, a Mesopotamian hero who strives to obtain immortality after his close friend, Enkidu, dies. While the first ten tablets are an epic retelling suitable for Hollywood source material, the eleventh tablet contains a flood myth account that to be a point of arduous contention for supporters of the biblical flood narrative. It is within the eleventh tablet that Gilgamesh seeks out a man named Utnapishtim – the survivor of a worldwide cataclysmic event who was able to obtain immortality. Utnapishtim explains to Gilgamesh how he was able to outlast the cataclysm and the dialogue he shares is eerily reminiscent of the achievements of Noah.
What do these similarities mean? That depends upon your belief system. Members of the Christian community will attribute the earlier accounts to the omnipresent power of God and his influence on ancient man. Skeptics contend that this link is indicative of an act of plagiarism on a massive and global scale. Others will throw the connections out completely and label the links as purely coincidental. Regardless, it is evident that an immense chapter of human history has been lost, forgotten, rewritten, and/or destroyed. In her book, DNA of the Gods, Dr. Chris Hardy states “It is ample time we take a good fresh look at our origins.” Only by embracing our lack of understanding, can we ever truly unearth the full history of our species.
About the Author: Andrew is the founder and editor in chief of Lost Origins. He is also the host of the radio show that falls under the same moniker. Andrew has been researching ancient mysteries, alternative historical theories, and lost civilizations for over fifteen years and founded Lost Origins to provide a sounding board for authors and researchers to share their theories and concepts with the world. Andrew is currently working to complete two manuscripts that explore several ancient mysteries. He lives in Denver with his family.