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Collections | Ancient Near Eastern Seals & Tablets

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Tablet Inscribed in Akkadian with a Fragment of the Epic of Adapa
Mesopotamia, Neo-Assyrian period (ca. seventh century B.C.); clay
MLC 1296
See CORSAIR catalog record for this item »

Alapa, the first of the antediluvian sages, is equated by some modern scholars with the biblical Adam. In the epic he rovokes the divine wrath and is summonef before the heavenly tribunal, where he is offered the bread of life. He refuses, and mankind loses the opportunity to win immortality as did Adam when, in the Garden of Eden, he failed to eat from the tree of life and instead tasted the forbidden fruit. The story breaks off when Adapa returns to earth still a mere mortal.

Translation:
He (the god Ea) made broad understanding perfect in him (Adapa), to disclose the design of the land. To him he gave wisdom, but did not give eternal life ... (The god Anu's) heart was appeased, he grew quiet. "Why did Ea disclose to wretched mankind The ways of heaven and earth, Give them a heavy heart? ... What can we do for him? Fetch him the bread of (eternal) life and let him eat." "Come, Adapa, why didn't you eat? Why didn't you drink? Don't you want to be immortal? Alas for downtrodden people!"

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