Compare and contrast historical sources from the Bible- Compare and contrast historical sources from the Bible introduction.
The Sumerian myth of Enki and Ninhursag is about a relationship of two mythological entities. Enki was the god of water and of semen, while Ninhursag was the goddess of the Earth. Enki was also considered as the god of crafts, intelligence and creation. However, this god was also known to be mischievous, as explained by various myths that were related to him. Ninhursag, on the other hand, was strongly associated with fertility, with milk as the symbol for growth and reproduction. These two deities played the main characters in the myth of Enki and Ninhursag.
The story of Enki and Ninhursag revolved around their relationship, wherein Enki showed a great affinity to beer, as this material is also a format of water. In addition to drinking beer, Enki was also regarded as the god who engaged in various incestuous relationships with other goddesses. During the time that Enki and Ninhursag were together, they brought about a child who was named Ninsar and later known as Lady Greenery. A second child was also brought forth into their family, named as Ninkurra or later known as Lady Fruitfulness. Unfortunately, the continuous engagement of Enki with other entities prompted Ninhursag to leave him.
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The departure of Ninhursag resulted in Enki’s freedom to form more relationships with other goddesses, one of which was their daughter Ninsar. Subsequently, Enki also established an incestuous relationship with his second daughter, Ninkurra. This relationship, in turn, resulted in the birth of Uttu, which literally personified a spider. When Uttu grew up, Enki attempted to engaged in an incestuous relationship with her. With great disgust, Uttu consulted Ninhursag regarding Enki’s attempt to seduce her and was given suggestions on which places to avoid, in order to prevent future attempts of seduction.
Other versions of this myth portrayed Ninhursag collecting the semen of Enki and spreading this on the earth. The semen then generates plants that Enki consumes, resulting in the intake of ills and other swellings in different parts of his body. The myth teaches about responsibility, as well as balance in life, wherein any activity or material that is consumed in excess could be deleterious to one’s self.
The story of Adam and Eve is about two individuals who were created by God and left to dwell in the Garden of Eden1. In this garden, food was plentiful and thus there was no need for Adam and Eve to plant and even to find a way of living in order to survive their days in the garden. One unique feature of the story of Adam and Eve is that Eve was created from the rib of Adam, as God was concerned that Adam might be lonely in the Garden of Eden if he stayed there by himself.
The conflict in the story of Adam and Eden arose when a snake appeared in an apple tree and talked to Adam about eating the fruit of this tree. It should be understood that God instructed both Adam and Eve to eat any fruits that were present in the garden except that of the apple tree. The snake in the apple tree represented the devil, which was actively pursuing to tempt Adam to pick an apple from the tree and subsequently bite of it. Eventually, Adam was convinced by the snake to do this and as soon as he bit into the apple, he discovered that both Adam and Eve were naked. In addition, they then felt guilty of what they had done and thus God banished them from the Garden of Eden.
The myth of Enki and Ninhursag is similar to the story of Adam and Eve because both accounts were about following the right path, especially in terms of the amount of specific things
1Anonymous, The Holy Bible.
that they needed in order to survive. For example, intercourse is a need of every individual yet in the case of Enki, he was actively pursuing as much sexual relationships with other goddesses, even if he already established a relationship with Ninhursag. In the case of Adam and Eve, their source of food in the Garden of Eden was enough to sustain them for the rest of their lives, yet Adam still wanted to partake of the fruit of the forbidden apple tree.
Both stories are also similar in terms of being punished by what they have performed with regards to trying to get excessive amounts of what they desired. In the case of Enki, his desire to engage in intercourse was punished by his consumption of plants that were germinated from his own semen, thus resulting in multiple ills and swollen parts of his body. In the case of Adam, his consumption of the forbidden apple resulted in their banishment from the garden and their resort to plant vegetables and other edible flora in order to have a source of nourishment for the rest of their lives.
The two stories are different in terms of teaching lessons from the mistakes that were performed. In the case of Enki, the lesson taught involved the regulation of his intercourse with other goddesses, as he had learned this through the hard way of accumulating sores and swellings around his body. On the other hand, Adam was not given the chance to learn from his mistake of partaking of the fruit of the forbidden tree. Instead, Adam was left to support himself and Eve outside the Garden of Eden.
Another difference is that eventual outcome of the characters in each story. In the case of Enki and Ninhursag, these two characters did not mend their relationship and thus continued on with their own separate lives. On the other hand, Adam and Eve continued on living together and eventually reared two children, namely Cain and Abel. It is possible that the similarities and differences in the two stories could be due to the principles that were being followed in each religion or mythological concept. The myth of Enki and Ninhursag is different because it portrays the origin of specific plants that were germinated from Enki’s semen, while the story of Adam and Eve focused on following God’s instructions and the punishment given when one does not follow God’s rules.
Anonymous. The Holy Bible. (2003). Crossway Bibles Publishers, 1088 pages.