Enuma Elish – The Babylonian-Mesopotamian Epic of Creation

Enuma Elish

The Enuma Elis is the Babylonian creation myth (named for its incipit). It was recovered by Henry Layard in 1849 (in fragmentary form) in the ruined library of Ashurbanipal at Nineveh (Mosul, Iraq), and published by George Smith in 1876.

The Enuma Elish has about a thousand lines and is recorded in Old Babylonian on seven clay tablets, each holding between 115 and 170 lines of text. The majority of Tablet V has never been recovered, but aside from this lacuna the text is almost complete. A duplicate copy of Tablet V has been found in Sultantepe, ancient Huzirina, located near the modern town of Sanlõurfa in Turkey.

This epic is one of the most important sources for understanding the Babylonian worldview, centered on the supremacy of Marduk and the creation of mankind for the service of the gods. Its primary original purpose, however, is not an exposition of theology or theogony, but the elevation of Marduk, the chief god of Babylon, above other Mesopotamian gods.

The Enuma Elish exists in various copies from Babylonia and Assyria. The version from Ashurbanipal’s library dates to the 7th century BC. The story itself probably dates to the 18th century BC, the time when the god Marduk seems to have achieved a prominent status, although some scholars give it a later date (14th to 12th centuries BC.)

Enuma Elish – Passing Time on Planet X
Gods of the New Millennium; Alan Alford

In 1976, Zecharia Sitchin came forward with an amazing, but as yet unrefuted claim, that the Enuma Elish is a cosmological epic, accurately describing the formation of the Solar System 4.6 billion years ago!

Enuma Elish – “When on High…”
The Mesopotamian/Babylonian Creation Myth

The Enuma Elish is a Babylonian or Mesopotamian myth of creation recounting the struggle between cosmic order and chaos. It is basically a myth of the cycle of seasons. It is named after its opening words and was recited on the fourth day of the ancient Babylonian New Year’s festival. The basic story exists in various forms in the area. This version is written in Akkadian, an old Babylonian dialect, and features Marduk, the patron deity of the city of Babylon. A similar earlier version in ancient Sumerian has Anu, Enil and Ninurta as the heroes, suggesting that this version was adapted to justify the religious practices in the cult of Marduk in Babylon.

The Seven Tablets of Creation
Luzac’s Semitic text and translation series. vol. xii-xiii; Leonard William King

This is an etext of L.W. Kings’ authoritative work on the Enuma Elish, the Babylonian creation myth. This etext includes the complete introduction, and the English text of the Enuma Elish and other related texts, with selected footnotes. The Enuma Elish is the earliest written creation myth, in which the God Marduk battles the chaos Goddess Tiamat and her evil minions. The name ‘Enuma Elish’ is derived from the first two words of the myth, meaning ‘When in the Height’. Tiamat takes the form of a gigantic snake, and Marduk battles and defeats her using an arsenal of super-weapons. After his victory Marduk is made the leader of the Gods by acclamation. Marduk divides Tiamat’s corpse into two portions, the upper half becoming the sky and the lower half, the earth. Marduk then creates humanity from his blood and bone.

The Enuma Elish has long been considered by scholars to be primary source material for the book of Genesis. It has also been hypothesized that this is a legend about the overthrow of the matriarchy or records of some cosmic catastrophe.

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