Panbabylonism: Was the Old Testament directly derived from Mesopotamian (Babylonian) mythology?

Panbabylonism – is a school of thought within Assyriology and Religious studies that Atra-Hasisconsiders the Old Testament as directly derived from Mesopotamian (Babylonian) mythology. Appearing in the late 19th century, it gained popularity in the early 20th century, advocated notably by Alfred Jeremias. Panbabylonists believe the creation myth in the Book of Genesis came from older Mesopotamian creation myths. The Mesopotamian creation myths are recorded in the Enûma Eliš (or Enuma Elish), the Atra-Hasis, the ‘Eridu Genesis’ and on the ‘Barton Cylinder’. Although the plots are different, there are similarities between the Mesopotamian and Jewish stories.

This idea was posed way before and separate from the Ancient Astronaut theory and Zecharia Sitchin. Some of the Parallels include:
– in the beginning the universe is shapeless and there is nothing but water
– six generations of gods, created one after the other, each associated with something, such as sky or earth. This parallels the six days of creation in Genesis.
– the sixth-generation god consults with other gods and decides to make mankind as servants, so that the gods can rest. Likewise, Elohim makes mankind on the sixth day (saying “let us make mankind in our image”) and then rests.
– In both tales there is a plant that can bestow immortality and a snake that prevents the characters from gaining that immortality
– In another Mesopotamian tale, a mythical man named Adapa (Adam?) also unknowingly excludes himself from immortality
– There are three main parallels between the tales of Adapa and Adam. Both men undergo a test before a god based upon something they were to eat; both fail the test and thus forgo immortality; their failure has consequences for mankind.
– In the beginning both Enkidu and the Eden couple are in harmony with nature. They live naked among the trees and wildlife and have a naive innocence.
– The 11th tablet of the Epic of Gilgamesh contains the Utnapishtim flood myth and has a number of parallels to the Noah flood myth of Genesis 6–9. According to Alan Millard, “No Babylonian text provides so close a parallel to Genesis as does the flood story of Gilgamesh XI”
– This list goes on and on…

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Panbabylonism