Copyright © 1978 by
THE GENEALOGIES OF GEN 5 AND 11 AND THEIR
ALLEGED BABYLONIAN BACKGROUND
GERHARD F. HASEL
With the discovery in the early 1870's of the Babylonian flood
account, which was recognized to be closely related to the flood
story in Genesis,1 there was opened a new chapter of comparative
studies relating the various aspects of the book of Genesis to
materials uncovered from ancient Near Eastern civilizations.
Attention was drawn to the report of the Babylonian priest
Berossos concerning ten antediluvian kings who ruled for vast
periods of time.2 H. Gunkel, among others, considered this as
a background for the ten antediluvian patriarchs of Gen 5. In the
year 1901 he suggested agreement between Gen 5 and the report
of Berossos in the following four major areas: (1) the time before
the flood, (2) the number "ten," (3) the large numbers, and
(4) the correspondence of names (Nos. 3, 4, 7, 8, 9, 10 in the
enumeration of Berossos ).3 At about the same time the well-
known Assyriologist H. Zimmern concluded, "It can hardly be
doubted that the Biblical tradition of Gen 5 (P) concerning the
antediluvian partriarchs is basically identical with the Babylonian
tradition about ten antediluvian primeval kings."4 These views
became dominant and in the course of time, upon the publication
of the Sumerian King List, were applied to the genealogies of
1 On Dec. 3, 1872, G. Smith read a paper to the Society of Biblical Archae-
ology on the Babylonian flood story which was printed in the Transaction of
the Society in 1873.
2 For the text, see C. Muller, ed., Fragm. hist. graec., II, 499-500; P. Schnabel,
Berossos and die babylonisch-hellenistische Literatur (Leipzig: Teubner, 1923),
3 H. Gunkel, Genesis (Gottingen: Vandenhoeck and Ruprecht, 1901), pp.
4 H. Zimmern, Urkonige and Uroffenbarung (
Ruprecht, 1902), p. 539.
362 GERHARD F. HASEL
both Gen 5 and 11.5 E. A. Speiser's commentary, which is par-
ticularly noted for sensitivity in the relationship to ancient Near
Eastern backgrounds, suggests that the biblical genealogies are
dependent upon a Mesopotamian source.6
1. New Ancient Near Eastern Data
The year 1923 was the beginning of a new era as regards the
alleged Babylonian background of Gen 5 and 11, because S.
Langdon published in that year the first cuneiform text of what
is now known as the Sumerian King List.7 About a decade and a
half later T. Jacobsen produced the standard publication, en-
titled The Sumerian King List (1939).8 These cuneiform materials
surprisingly supported much of the information known from
Berossos but at the same time brought about significant cor-
Since 1952 a steady stream of additional texts and fragments
of the Sumerian King List has come to light and seen publication.9
5 G. von Rad, Genesis: A Commentary (Philadelphia: Westminster, 1961),
p. 69; R. A. Bowman, "Genealogy," IDB 2: 363. See also the assessment of M.
D. Johnson, The
Purpose of the Biblical Genealogies (
Press, 1969), pp. 28-31.
6 E. A. Speiser, Genesis, AB, p. 41.
Jacobsen, The Sumerian King List, Assyriological Studies 11 (
Oppenheim in ANLT, pp. 265-266; and most recently by H. Schmokel in
Religionsgeschichtliches Textbuch Zum Alten Testament, ed. W-V. Beyerlin
(Gottingen: Vandenhoeck and Ruprecht, 1975), pp. 113-114 (hereafter cited
9 F. R. Kraus, "Zur Liste der altcren Konige von Babylonien," ZA 50 (1952):
29-60; M. B. Rowton, "The Date of the Sumerian King List," JNES 19 (1960):
156-162; J. J. A. van Dijk, "Die Tontafeln arts dem res-Heiligtum," Vorlaufiger
Bericht uber die von der Notgeneinschaft der deutschen Wissenschaft in
Uruk-Warka unternommenet Ausgrabungen 18 (1962): 43-52; S. N. Kramer,
The Sumerians (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1963), pp. 328-331;
J. J. Finkelstein, "The Antediluvian Kings:
let," JCS 17 (1963): 39-51; W. W. Hallo, "Beginning and End of the Sumerian
King List in the
"A New Look at the Babylonian Background of Genesis," JTS 16 (1965): 287-
300, esp. 292-293; H. J. Nissen, "Fine ncue Version der sumerischen Konigs-
liste," ZA 57 (1965); 1-5; M. Civil, "Texts and Fragments," JCS 15 (1961):
GENEALOGIES OF GEN 5 AND 11 363
The Sumerian King List is now available in more than one
version, with significant differences in the sequence of cities and
of kings and their lengths of reign. These facts have made it
evident that a "canonical" form of the Sumerian King List was
never in existence. Such texts as the genealogy of Hammurapi
and the rulers of Lagas,10 the Assyrian and Babylonian King
Lists,11 and cuneiform chronicles throw new light on the respec-
tive literary genres12 and the relationship of the biblical genealo-
gies to their ancient Near Eastern analogues.13
2. Comparison of Gen 5 and 11 with the Sumerian King List
The new set of cuneiform data relating to the Sumerian King
List and the information given by Berossos provide new insights
into the alleged Babylonian background of the genealogies of
Gen 5 and 11. There remains a formal similarity between the
79-80; W. G. Lambert and A. R. Millard, Atra-hasis. The Babylonian Story
of the Flood (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1969), p. 25; W. W. Hallo,
"Antediluvian Cities," JCS 23 (1970): 57-67.
10 J. J. Finkelstein, "The Genealogy of the Hammurapi Dynasty," JCS 20
(1966): 95-118; E. Sollberger, "The Rulers of Lagas," JCS 21 (1967): 279-291;
W. G. Lambert, "Another Look at Hammurapi's Ancestors," JCS 22 (1968):
11 B. Landsberger, "Assyrische Konigsliste and 'Dunkles Zeitalter,' " JCS 8
(1954): 31-45, 47-73, 106-133;
(1954): 209-230; R. Borger, Einleitung in die assyrischen Konigsinschriften.
Erster Teil, 2d ed. (Leiden: Brill, 1961), pp. 9-xx; A. Poebel, The Second
Dynasty of Isin According to a New King-List Tablet, Assyriological Studies
15 (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1955); ANET, pp. 2711-274, 564-566;
A. K. Grayson, "Assyrian and Babylonian King Lists: Collations and Com-
ments," lisan nzithurti. Festschrift fur Wolfram Freiherr von Soden, ed. M.
Dietrich and W. Rollig (Kevelaer: Butzon and Berger, 1969), pp. 104-118;
R. R. Wilson, Genealogy and History in the Old Testament: A Study of the
Form and Function of the Old Testament Genealogies in their Near Eastern
Context (Ph.D. dissertation; Yale University, 1972), pp. 109-133.
12 W. Rollig, " Zur Typologie and Entstehung der babylonischen and
assyrischen Konigslisten," Alter Orient and Altes Testament, 1 (Kevelaer:
Butzon & Berger, 1969): 265-277.
13 A. Malamat, "King Lists of the Old Babylonian Period and Biblical
Genealogies," JAOS 88 (1968): 163-173; T. C. Hartman, "Some Thoughts on
the Sumerian King List and Genesis 5 and 11B," JBL 91 (1972): 25-32; R. R.
364 GERHARD F. HASEL
genealogies in Gen 5 and 11 and the Sumerian King List in terms
of listings14 divided by a flood. The listings of antedilivian and
postdiluvian rulers in the major recension of the Sumerian King
List are separated by but one sentence: "The Flood swept there-
over [the earth]."15 The genealogies in Gen 5 and 11 are also
separated, but by extensive and various materials: (1) the mar-
riage of the sons of God with the daughters of men (6:1-4), (2)
an intricate story of the flood (6:5-9:7), (3) the universal cov-
enant (9:8-17), (4) the Table of Nations (10:1-32 ), and (5) the
story of the
There are a number of significant areas where comparison
may be made between the genealogies of Gen 5 and 11 and the
Sumerian King List from Old Babylonian times. It is helpful and
revealing to develop these areas as follows
1. Semitic Names versus Sumerian Names. The claim of the
correspondence of the names between the listings by Berossos
and Gen 5 could not be sustained with the discovery of cuneiform
materials relating to the listing of Berossos. H. Zimmern himself
acknowledged that "the beautiful combinations (with the names
in Gen 5) ... have come to a merciless end."16 The names turned
out to be Sumerian instead of Semitic. J. J. Finkelstein has
recently noted, "Certainly, the earlier attempts to harmonize the
Biblical and Mesopotamian names proved utterly futile."17 The
reason for this radical change from the early position of Gunkel
and others rests in the fact that no less than six different cunei-
form versions are now at hand for comparative purposes on the
basis of which the Greek version of Berossos could be reassessed.
14 Hartman, "Some Thoughts." p. 26.
15 Jacobsen, Sumerian Kind List, p. 77. Cf. ANET, p. 265; RTAT, p. 114.
Research into the origin of the Sumerian King List has led to the conclusion
that the list of kings before the flood and the list of kings after the flood,
were originally separate.
16 H. Zimmern, "Die althabylonischen vor- (und Mach-) sintflutlichen Konige
nach neueren Quellen," ZDMG 78 (1924): 19-35. Similarly also Langdon, "The
Chaldean King List Before the Flood," p. 257.
17 Finkelstein, "The Antediluvian Kings," p. 50, n. 41.
GENEALOGIES OF GEN 5 AND 11 365
All of these versions agree on the Sumerian origin of the names
and the distance from those in Gen 5 and 11.
2. Longevity versus Reigns. C. Westermann noted correctly
that among the differences between Gen 5 (and 11) and the
Sumerian King List is that the former provides the numbers in
terms of "years of life" whereas the latter gives the numbers in
terms of "years of reign."18 The distinction between longevity
and rulership is an important one. Each has its own independent
functions in the context in which it appears.
3. Line of Descent versus Succession of Kings. Gen 5 follows
the standard line of descent formula, "When PN1 had lived x
years, he became father of PN2. Then PN1 lived y years after he
became the father of PN2 and he had other sons and daughters.
So all the days of PN1 were z years, and he died." Gen 11 employs
the same line of descent formula with the exception of the last
sentence. At times additional information is inserted in Gen 5
and 11. Both Gen 5 and 11 have "a descending type of gene-
alogy"19 in which the generations are traced in a supposedly
unbroken line of descent from the first person mentioned to the
last one. The Sumerian King List, on the other hand, lists kings
and seeks to trace a succession of them in various cities. The
flexible pattern employed is as follows: "In CN, RN1, ruled x
years, RN2, ruled x years, RN3 ruled x years, x king(s) ruled y
years." One antediluvian section concludes : "There are x (5)
cities, x (8) kings ruled x (241,200) years. Then the flood swept
thereover." The succession of kings with their reigns differs
radically from the line of descent genealogy in Gen 5 and 11,
which is totally unconcerned and uninterested in kings, dynasties,
4. Lengths of Life versus Lengths of Reign. The relatively
high figures of life-spans of Gen 5 which nevertheless do not ever
18 C. Westermann, Genesis (Neukirchen-Vluyn: Neukirchener Verlag, 1971),
19 T. C. Mitchell, "Genealogy," New Bible Dictionary: Revised (Grand
366 GERHARD F. HASEL
exceed a single millennium "turn out to be exceptionally moderate
by comparison "20 with the Sumerian King List where the respec-
tive lengths of reigns of the kings run from 18,600 years for
king Ubartutu (WB 444)21 to 72,000 for kings Alalgar, [. . .]
kidunnu, and Enmenduranna.22 In many instances there are great
divergencies regarding the lengths of reigns and the number of
kings in the respective witnesses to the Old Babylonian tradition.
The following comparison may be helpful:
WB 444 WB. 62 UCBC 9-1x19 BEROSSOS
Alulim 28,800 Alulim 67,200 Alulim 36,000 Aloros 36,000
Alalgar 36,000 Alalgar 72,000 Alalgar 10,800 Alaparos 10,800
Entnenluanna 13,200 ... kidunnu72,000 Ammeluanna 36,000 Amelon 46,800
Enmengalanna28,800 .. alinuna 21,600 En sipazianna 13,200 Amenon 43,200
Dumuzi 36,000 Dumuzi 26,800 Dumuz,i 36,000 Megalaros 64,800
Ensipazianna 28,800 Enmendurauna21,600 Enmeduranki 6,000 Daonos 36,000
Enmendurunki 21,000 Ensipaizianna 36,000 Ubartutu ? Euedorachos 64,800
Ubarututu 18,600 Enmenduranna 72,000 [Ziusudra?] 16,000+ Amempsinos 36,000
Suruppak 28,800 Otiartes 28,800
Ziusudra 36,000 Xisuthros 64,800
Total: Total: Total: Total:
Kings-8 Kings-10 Kings - 7 [or 8] Kings - 10
Years-241,200 Years-456,000 Years-186,000+ Years-432,000
One notices the striking differences in total years of reigns in
some texts. The total years are exceeded by 200,000 in some
recensions. Of course, these fabulous lengths of reigns are not
trustworthy.23 It has been thought that there has been use of
some kind of scheme built on the Sumerian duodecimal system,24
where all figures can be divided by 1 SAR = 3,600 (60 x 60) or
through a sixth of it (600), or other systems.25 In view of this,
"It would seem fair to conclude that no significance at all is to be
20 Speiser, Genesis, p. 42.
21 ANET, p. 265.
22 Finkelstein, "The Antediluvian Kings," p. 49.
23 R. D. Tindel, "Mesopotamian Chronology," IDB Sup (1976), p. 161.
24 See the attempt at unraveling the system by` J. R. Garcia, C.M.F., "Las
genealogias genesi,:uas y la cronologia," Estudios Biblicos 8 (1949): 337-340;
J, Meysing, "Contribution a 1'etude des genealogies bihliques: Technique de
la composition des chronologies bahyloniennes du deluge," RechSR 39 (1965):
25 RTAT, p. 113, n. 107.
GENEALOGIES OF GEN 5 AND 11 367
attributed to the total number of years given for the entire
antediluvian period in the different texts [of the Sumerian King
5. Ten Antediluvian Ancestors versus Seven-to-Ten Kings.
As recently as 1965 the Assyriologist W. G. Lambert pointed to
the number of "ten long-lived patriarchs from Adam to Noah"
that span the time to the flood as a point of borrowing on the
part of the Hebrews from Mesopotamia.27 However, the major
recension of the Sumerian King List (WB 444) contains only
eight and not ten kings.28 One text contains only seven kings (W)
and another (UCBC 9-1819) either seven or eight,29 whereas a
bilingual fragment from Ashurbanipal's library has but nine
kings .30 Berossos and only one ancient tablet (WB 62), i.e. only
two texts (of which only one is a cuneiform document), give a
total of ten antediluvian kings.31 On the basis of the cuneiform
data it can no longer be suggested that the Sumerian King List
contained originally ten antediluvian kings after which the biblical
genealogies were patterned. In addition, the supposedly unbroken
line of descent in Gen 5 is in stark contrast to the concurrent or
contemporaneous dynasties of the Sumerian King List.32 We must
also note that Gen 11 lists ten postdiluvians from Shem to Abra-
ham whereas the Sumerian King List enumerates thirty-nine kings.
6. Tracing of Ancestors versus Unification of the Land. The
basic ideology of Gen 5 and 11 appears to be to trace the ancestors
in a supposedly unbroken line of descent (i.e. linear genealogy)
from the first man (Adam) at creation to the last man (Noah)
26 Finkelstein, "The Antediluvian Kings," p. 51.
27 Lambert, "The Babylonian Background of Genesis," pp. 292-293.
28 Jacobsen, Sumerian King List, p. 77; ANET, p. 265; RTAT, p. 114.
29 Finkelstein, "The Antediluvian Kings," p. 45; Van Dijk, "Die Tontafeln,"
pp. 44-45 and P1. 27.
30 Lambert, "The Babylonian Background of Genesis," p. 292; RTAT, p. 113,
31 Finkelstein, "The Antediluvian Kings," pp. 47-49.
32 Tindel, "Mesopotamian Chronology," p. 161; Finkelstein, "The Antedilu-
vian Kings," p. 51; Jacobsen, Sumerian King List, pp. 183-190, and Table 2
on p. 209.
368 GERHARD F. HASEL
before the flood (Gen 5) and from one son of the flood hero
(Shem) to the first Hebrew patriarch (Abraham) (Gen 11).
There is a radical difference between this and the basic ideology
of the Sumerian King List. Various scholars have pointed out that
the latter's ideology is built upon the principle of "a widely ac-
cepted political idea which cherished the concept of long-con-
tinued unification of the land."33 W. W. Hallo has pointed out
that the Sumerian King List is "a political tract, designed to
perpetuate the perfectly transparent fiction that
had, since the Flood, been united under the rule of a single king,
albeit that king might come at any given time from any one of
eleven different cities."34 There is not the slightest hint in either
Gen 5 or 11 that it shares with the Sumerian King List a political
ideology or ideal. The Mesopotamian texts have a purpose totally
different from that of the supposed biblical counterparts.
7. Genealogy versus King List. Gen 5 and 11 are commonly
recognized as belonging to the type of literature designated by the
term "genealogy." A "genealogy" in the Bible consists of a list of
names indicating the ancestors or descendants of a person or
persons by tracing lineage through an ascending scale (individual
to ancestor) or a descending one (ancestor to individual).35
It has been noted correctly that the Sumerian King List is not a
genealogy at all.36 Indeed, "The decisive difference lies in the
fact that both texts [Gen 5 and the Summerian King List]
belong to a different genre: Gen 5 is a genealogy, the Old
Babylonian [Sumerian] King List is a presentation of the sequence
of dynasties of a series of cities with the sequence of their kings
and their spans of reigns."37 It is an undisputed fact that none
of the six currently known recensions of the Sumerian King List
33 Hartman, "Sumerian King List and Genesis 5 and 11B," p. 27.
34 W. W. Hallo, "Royal Hymns and Mesopotamian Unity," JCS 17 (1963):
35 See the definitions of "genealogy" in Bible dictionaries. Cf. Bowman,
"Genealogy, p. 362; Mitchell, "Genealogy," p. 456; etc.
36 Rollig, "Typologie," pp. 266-273.
37 Westermann, Genesis, p. 472.
GENEALOGIES OF GEN 5 AND 11 369
contains any genealogical notices at all for the antediluvian
period, and in the postdiluvian period such notices are sporadic
and limited to two generations only.38 The Sumerian King List
is a "political tract"39 of the "king list" genre, but Gen 5 and 11
belong to the "genealogy" genre. Both of these genres are
distinguished also in cuneiform literature.40
8. History of Mankind versus History of a People. The gene-
alogy of Gen 5 has the repeated clause "and he had other sons
and daughters."41 This, along with other indicators, seeks to
express the growth of mankind from generation to generation.42
It also emphasizes the spread of mankind from Adam to Noah.
Essentially the same emphasis is evident in the Table of Nations
(Gen 10), which presents a remarkably accurate picture of the
origin and interrelationship of the various races along the line of
complementary criteria of classification.43 The universal or world-
wide outlook is a typical feature of the whole of Gen 1-11, as is
The Sumerian King List, on the other hand, not only lacks this
universal emphasis concerning the growth and spread of man-
kind, but it is in particular, and by design, geared as a political
document44 which emphasizes that the dynasty of Isin is the
successor of all the previous dynasties. Its primary concern is with
"kingship" in various cities. From the time that "kingship" was
38 The brief genealogical notices (A NET, pp. 265-266) consist of a two-
generation genealogy in the form of "RN1 son of RN2,, ruled x years." In
no instance is there a statement linking more than one ruler to the next in
simple "father-son" relationship. Cf.
39 Hallo, "Royal Hymns," p. 112.
40 Rollig, "Typologie," pp. 266-273.
41 Gen 5:4, 7, 10, 13, 16, 19, 22, 26, 30; 11:11, 13, 15, 17, 19, 21, 23, 25.
42 Westermann, Genesis, p. 472.
43 Speiser, Genesis, p. 71, points out that it "stands out as a pioneering effort
among the ethnographic attempts of the ancient world."
Konige," pp. 46-49, 55-57; G. Buccellati, "The Enthronement of the King
Presented to A. L. Oppenheim (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1964),
p. 54; Hallo, "Beginning and End," p. 56; idem, "Antediluvian Cities," p. 66.
370 GERHARD F. HASEL
"lowered from heaven," it resided in various cities until it came
to rest in Isin. The Sumerian King List is tendentious.45 It seeks
to prove that "kingship" belongs to
In this sense the Sumerian King List is a local history which
seeks to legitimitize the
primacy of the
9. Beginning with Creation versus Beginning with the Lower-
ing of Kingship from Heaven. The genealogy of Gen 5 makes a
distinct point of tracing mankind from the point of the creation
onward. This is particularly emphasized through the usage of the
temporal clause, "When God created man" (5:1) and the identi-
fication of Adam as the father of Seth (5:3). After dealing first
with the creation of man, the author of Gen 5 traces a continuous
genealogical chain from Adam to Noah. The idea appears to be
to emphasize the continuity of the line directly created by God,
"in his image" (5:1), down to Noah, the "righteous" man (6:9)
who survives the flood and through whom the human race is
preserved for the world.
The Sumerian King List, to the contrary, knows nothing of a
creation of man. It traces "kingship" from the time it descended
from heaven. Its beginning reads: "When kingship was lowered
from heaven, kingship was (first) in Eridu."47 For the period
after the flood had come, the narrative continues as follows:
"After the Flood had swept over (the earth) (and) when king-
ship was lowered (again) from heaven, kingship was (first) in
separate entities49 which were later joined into the presently
45 Kraus, "Lisle der alteren Konige," pp. 45-49.
46 Jacobsen, Sumerian king List, pp. 140-141.
47 ANET, p. 265; RTAT, p. 113.
48 ANET, p. 265; cf. Jacobsen, Sumerian King List, p. 77.
49 It is presently debated whether the Old Babylonian version of the post-
King List began originally with i.43: "In
Jacobsen. Sumerian King List, pp. 6-1, 77) or with i.41: "When kingship was
lowered (again) from heaven" (so Hallo, "Beginning and End," pp. 56-57) or
with i.40: "After the flood had swept over (the earth) (and) when kingship
was . . ." (so Lambert and Millard, Atra-hasis, p. 25) on the basis of the
GENEALOGIES OF GEN 5 AND 11 371
known Sumerian King List.50 The lowering of "kingship" from
heaven was not coincident with the initial creation in Mesopo-
tamian tradition,51 so that it can be concluded that the Sumerian
King List, in contrast to Gen 5, was not intended to make a
statement anywhere in terms of an absolute beginning of man.
It merely traces kingship from the beginning of civilization.52
10. Concluding with the Man Noah versus Concluding with
the City of
man Noah (vss. 28-29, 32), who becomes the hero of the flood
(Gen 6:5-9:7). As pointed out already, there is no mention of
cities or of kingship. The Old Babylonian tradition of the ante-
diluvian period was never fixed in "canonical" form,53 because
the sequence and number of kings and cities differ in the cunei-
form texts. There is, however, a uniform consensus in all avail-
able cuneiform texts regarding the last antediluvian city, namely
the city of
flood. In contrast to the cuneiform texts, Berossos has the city of
Larak as his third and last city.55 Berossos also has Xisuthros
genealogy of the rulers of Lagas (Sollberger, "The Rulers of Lagas," pp. 280-
290) which begins with what is i.40 in the Sumerian King List.
50 Jacobsen, Sumerian King List, pp. 55-68; Kraus, "Liste der alteren
Konige," pp. 31, 51; Rowton, "Date of the Sumerian King List," pp. 161-162;
Finkelstein, "Antediluvian Kings," pp. 44-45; Hallo, "Beginning and End,"
pp. 52-57; Nissen, "Fine neue Version," pp. 1-5; Hartman, "Sumerian King
List and Gen 5 and 11B," p. 27.
51 This is argued effectively on the basis of the Etana epic (ANET, p. 114)
by Hartman, "Sumerian King List and Gen 5 and 11B," p. 27.
52 Lambert, "The Babylonian Background of Genesis," p.:299: "The Sumero-
Babylonian tradition is of a line of kings from the founding of civilization to
the flood, not of a line of patriarchs . . . from creation onward."
53 Finkelstein, "Antediluvian Kings," pp. 45-49.
54 Note the sequence and last city in the following texts:
WB 444 has Eridu, Bad-Tibira, Larak,
WB 62 has Eridu (?), Larsa, Bad-Tibira, Larak,
UCBC 9-1819 has Eridu,
CT 46:5 has [Eridu?],
Ni 3195 has [Eridu], Larak, [Bad-Tibira], rest lost
Berossos has the sequence
See Jacobsen, Sumerian King List, pp. 74-75, nn. 24, 27, 31; Finkelstein, "An-
tediluvian Kings," pp. 46-47.
372 GERHARD F. HASEL
(Ziusudra) as the last king of Larak, whereas the flood hero
Ziusudra of the Sumerian flood story56 is the last antediluvian
king of Suruppak in only one complete cuneiform text (WB 62).57
The other complete cuneiform text (WB 444) has Ubartutu as
the last king of Suruppak. Ubartutu never figures as a flood hero.
In view of these divergences it is evident that the cuneiform
consensus places emphasis on the last antediluvian
pak but is ambiguous regarding the last antediluvian king--
who may be the flood hero (so Ziusudra ), or who may not be the
flood hero (so Ubartutu).58
What counts in the various recensions of the Sumerian King
List is the "kingship" that continues to reside in various cities
down to Suruppak; what counts in the genealogy of Gen 5 is the
personal lineage which continues in a supposedly unbroken
chain of antediluvian descendants from Adam down to Noah,
the flood hero. It is once more apparent that the ideology, func-
tion, and purpose of the Hebrew and Sumerian documents are
quite different. The end of the genealogy of Gen 5 is as different
from that of the Sumerian King List as is the beginning of the
former from that of the latter.
This comparison of the genealogies of Gen 5 and 11 with
the several newly discovered versions of the Sumerian King List
appears to demonstrate that aside from the "superficial simi-
larity"59 of the sequence of listing-flood-listing, which is a later
56 M. Civil, "The Sumerian Flood Story," in Lambert and Millard, Atra-
hasis, pp. 138-145; RTAT, pp. 114-115; ANET, pp. 42-44.
57 For discussions of this problem, see Jacobsen, Sumerian King List, p. 76,
n. 34; Finkelstein, "Antediluvian Kings," pp. 47-49.
58 Unfortunately, two cuneiform texts (UCBC 9-1819 and Ni 3195) are broken
at the crucial point and do not help to fill in information on the last king
and last city. It is a striking fact that in y-VB .111 Ziusudra is deliberately
omitted from the dynasty of Suruppak, as is clear from the summary provided
at the end of the antediluvian section of this tablet. See Jacobsen, Sumerian
King List, p. 77; Finkelstein, "Antediluvian Kings," p. 47.
59 Hartman, "The Sumerian King List and Gen 5 and 11B," p. 32.
GENEALOGIES OF GEN 5 AND 11 373
construct in the Sumerian King List and which is in itself different
in Gen 5-11, there is a complete lack of agreement and relation-
ship. This is manifested through a comparison of names, longevity
and reigns, line of descent and royal succession, number of
antediluvians, chronographic information, ideology, genre, his-
torical emphasis, and the beginning and end of the respective
The rich current cuneiform data significantly facilitate the
precision of the evaluation of the relationship between the gen-
ealogies of Gen 5 and 11 and the traditions of the Sumerian King
List. On the basis of limited cuneiform data, A. Deimel wrote
over five decades ago that "it may be better to admit honestly,
that until now there is no evidence for any connection of any
kind between the Babylonian and Biblical traditions regarding
the antediluvian-forefathers."60 Recent cuneiform finds have led
to a reinvestigation of the ideology of the Hebrew and Sumerian
traditions, causing T. C. Hartman to conclude that the Sumerian
materials relating to the king list cannot have been a source for
the genealogies of Gen 5 and 11.61 My above investigation of
additional aspects and essential details appears to show that the
Hebrew genealogical picture of Gen 5 and 11 is totally devoid
of any influence from the currently available data relating to the
Sumerian King List.62 It is not only evident that the structure,
60 A. Deimel, "Die babylonische and biblische uberlieferung bezuglich der
vorsintflutlichen Urvater," Or 17 (1925): 43.
61 Hartman, "The Sumerian King List and Gen 5 and 1113," p. 32. W. F.
Albright's suggestion (Yahweh and the Gods of Canaan [Garden City: Double-
(lay, 1968], p. 98) that "the variations in numbers and ages prove some sort of
connexion-though not through written tradition" is in need of revision in
view of the materials now available. Aside from the material published by
Jacobsen, Sumerian King List, Albright was apparently aware of only. the text
W 20030 7 published by van Dijk (p. 98, n. 118).
62 In view of this, the popular Babylonian influence on Gen 5 "in establish-
ing a line of succession" and "a list of names with extraordinary numbers for
the antediluvian period," as suggested still by Johnson (The Purpose of the
Biblical Genealogies, pp. 30-31), as well as with regard to "the ten antediluvian
and the "long life spans of these figures" as also mentioned by
(Genealogy and History, p. 201), calls for revision.
374 GERHARD F. HASEL
purpose, and function of the Hebrew and Sumerian documents
are different, but the new data of ancient Near Eastern literature63
seem to indicate that they belong to different types of literature,64
each of which has its own matrix and serves its own aims.
63 Supra, nn. 10-11.
64 Cf. Rollig, "Typologie," pp-265-277.
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