Are the Anunnaki in the Epic of Gilgamesh and the Nephilim in the Bible the same?
The Anunnaki are mythological deities of ancient Mesopotamia. They appear in the ancient poem The Epic of Gilgamesh, a famous story about Gilgamesh, an unruly and oppressive king, and Enkidu, a wild man created by the Anunnaki to distract Gilgamesh from his misdeeds. The epic is about the adventures of Gilgamesh and Enkidu, and it ends with Enkidu's death.
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There are a number of similarities between accounts of the Anunnaki and the Nephilim mentioned in Scripture. First, the Anunnaki are chthonic deities—that is, they are associated with the underworld. The Nephilim were fallen angels, or demons. Second, the Anunnaki are the offspring of Anu (the sky god) and a female called Ki. It is unclear from the mythology whether Ki was human or goddess, but we do know that Ki has no cult of followers so it can be assumed she was a human female. This corresponds to the biblical account of the Nephilim being the offspring of the sons of God (the most direct interpretation is that these were angelic beings) and the daughters of men (Genesis 6:1–4). So the Anunnaki are offspring of the union of underworld deities and a (perhaps) human female. The Nephilim were the offspring of the union of fallen angels and human women. Third, both the Bible and the Epic of Gilgamesh mention a global flood event. In the epic, a man named Utnapishtim is told by the god Enki (or Ea) to build a great big boat and put his relatives and baby animals into the ship. After twelve days, the boat comes to rest on Mount Nisir. He sends out a dove, and then a swallow, to search for dry land, and then a raven, which does not return—showing that it was safe to disembark. Utnapishtim then sets the animals free and makes a sacrifice to the gods. This story is similar to the biblical account of Noah, which occurs just after the story of the Nephilim in Genesis (Genesis 6:11—8:20).
These two stories come from a common source, but they occur independent of one another—that is, the account of the flood in the Bible was not copied from Gilgamesh, nor was Gilgamesh copied from the biblical account. These stories are two separate accounts of an event that everyone in the ancient world was familiar with—the Great Flood. In both accounts, supernatural beings interact with men during the time of a Great Flood. Because of this, we can say there is perhaps a connection between the Nephilim and the Anunnaki, but there is not enough information to be certain.
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