Реферат: Egyptian Babylonian And Hebrew Religions Essay Research

Egyptian, Babylonian, And Hebrew Religions Essay, Research Paper

Egyptian, Babylonian, and Hebrew Religions

Egyptians, Babylonians, and Hebrews have similarities yet also differences in

their religions. The importance is not in the similarities as much as it is in

the differences that distinguish the cultures from each other and their views on

life. I would like to point out each civilization’s creation and flood story.

By analyzing these stories we can come to a better understanding of their world

views. The Hebrew creation story from the book of Genesis is one that most

people know well. In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. The

earth was without form and void. God said, “let there be light,” and there was

light. He then separated the light from the darkness. He also created the land,

plants, and animals. He saw everything he created and, behold, it was good.

The heavens and earth were completed and all that dwelled within them. On the

seventh day he rested. The earth was complete, but there was nothing to take

care of this creation. So, God created man in the image of himself. Man was

created from the dust of the ground. God gave him the breath of life and the

man became a living soul (Moses 1:1-2:7). With the background of that story,

one should look at the Egyptian interpretation of the beginning. At first there

was nothing but chaos that contained the seed of everything to come. In this

confusion the sun god dwelled. By an effort of his will he emerged from chaos

as Ra and gave birth to Shu, the god of air, and Tefnut, the goddess moisture.

Shu and Tefnut gave birth to Geb and Nut, the earth god and sky goddess. Thus

the physical universe was created. People were created from Ra’s tears. Time

passed and Ra grew frail, so the ungrateful race of men plotted against Ra.

When Ra learned of this he called the gods together. The gods decided that

mankind must be destroyed. Tens of thousands of men were killed until only a

few were left. Then Ra relented and man was spared. Nevertheless Ra was sick

of the world and retreated into the heavens, leaving Shu to reign in his place.

At that time the present world was established. The Babylonians have their own

interpretation of the beginning. All things came from the water. From the

mixture of sweet water, Aspu, with salt water, Tiamat, the gods arose. Aspu and

Tiamat gave birth to a pair of gigantic serpents, Lakhmu and Lakhamu. These two

serpents produced Anshar and Kishar, the heavens and the earth. Anshar and

Kishar then conceived Anu, Enlil, and Ea. Aspu and Tiamat grew angry because

the younger gods were noisy. So, they decided to destroy the new gods. Ea, the

all knowing, learned of this plan and used his magic to capture Apsu. Tiamat

became furious and created and army of gods and monsters to punish Ea and the

others. Marduk was asked to stand against Tiamat and her army. Marduk promised

to defeat Tiamat if he was given supremacy over the gods. Marduk defeated

Tiamat and her army. While he was cutting up Tiamat’s body he used half her

body and created the dome of the heavens. With the other half he made the earth.

Then to make the other gods happy he created men from the blood of the battle.

He then made rivers, plants, and animals completing creation. With these

stories’ background one can now analyze the likeness and differences among them.

The Egyptian and Babylonian stories show several gods in charge of creating the

world. The difference between these two is that Marduk was given leadership by

the gods bestowing their powers upon him. The Egyptians do not actually raise

one god above another. The Hebrews have only one God, who created the earth.

The gods from each story created man from different items. The Egyptian and

Babylonian gods created man from tears and blood respectively. The Hebrew God

created man from dust, but in the image of himself. This seems to forge a

connection or bond between the Hebrews and their god. They are not gods

themselves, but with his image they have the ability to be godlike. The flood

stories of the cultures also show how they view their gods and the attitude the

gods have toward the people. The Hebrew God flooded the world because people

had turned their backs on God and were no longer worshipping him. In short, one

could say that the people in a way deserved the punishment they received. This

is also shown in the Egyptian creation story when the people turned against Ra.

Both of these gods showed compassion and remorse after the killing was done.

However, the Babylonian gods flooded the earth because it was so noisy that they

could not sleep. Not a fitting punishment for the crime committed. The

Babylonian gods were outraged when they realized Utnapishtim was delivered from

the catastrophe. The Egyptians do not have a flood story, is this because of

the regularity of the Nile’s flooding. The Egyptian saw balance and harmony

with the Nile’s example. The different cultures’ attitude toward their gods is

also shown in their literature. The Egyptians and Hebrews loved and worshipped

their gods… This is shown in the Egyptian “The Hymn to the Aten” and the Hebrew

“Psalms.” Each of these works praises and exalts their respective god. The

Babylonians feared their god as they did their rivers that were unpredictable.

The lifestyles and geography of each civilization helped shape each cultures

view of their gods. For nature was the only physical manifestation of their


Works Cited

Fiero, Gloria K. The Humanistic Tradition. 1992 Madison: Wm. C. Brown

Communications. 1995

Godolphin, F, ed. Great Classical Myths. New York: Modern Library, 1964.

Moses. “Genesis.” The Holy Bible. Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 1976.

The Epic of Gilgamesh. Translated by N. K. Sanders. Baltimore: Penguin, 1960.

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