BR 21:01, Anniversary Issue
The Genesis of Genesis
Is the Creation Story Babylonian?
On December 3, 1872, George Smith, a former bank-note engraver turned Assyriologist, stunned the Western world by announcing that he had discovered a Babylonian story of a great Flood resembling the well-known account of the Deluge in the Book of Genesis. Four years later, Smith published a collection of Mesopotamian myths and heroic legends entitled The Chaldean Account of Genesis (Chaldean being a synonym for Babylonian used in the Bible).1 The book included Smiths own English translation and discussion of a Babylonian Creation myth and other mythological compositions that he had pieced together from cuneiform fragments discovered during the preceding quarter of a century by the British excavations at Kyunjik, ancient Nineveh.